New Year’s Eve is a truly worldwide event, and a great holiday to experience away from home. One of the world’s most iconic celebrations is in Sydney, Australia, which puts on a spectacular fireworks display in Sydney Harbor. Actually, there are two displays: a 9 p.m. show to accommodate families with young (or not-so-young) members who will fall asleep before midnight; and a show that starts at the stroke of 12 a.m. There’s a lot to see in the harbor before and between the fireworks, too, including demonstrations of aerial acrobatics and a parade of vessels illuminated by miles and miles of rope lights.
For a more exotic far eastern celebration, consider Tokyo, Japan. New Year is an important holiday here, a time to let go of old sorrows and welcome new hopes of good fortune. There are “Countdown Parities” all over the city, and when the clock strikes midnight, you can join the crowds who head to the city’s shrines and temples for the first visit of the New Year. The atmosphere at most shrines is festive, with food and lucky charms for sale.
To be in the center of the celebration in Paris, France, head to the Champs-Elysees. There are lots of cafes and clubs along the famous street where you can dine and dance while waiting for midnight. At midnight, the Eiffel Tower will light up as fireworks illuminate the sky. To celebrate with a smaller crowd, head to the plaza in front of Sacré-Coeur Basilica in Montmartre, the city’s highest point. You’ll have a view of the fireworks, and there are plenty of clubs and bars in the surrounding streets.
In Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, New Year’s Eve – commonly referred to as Réveillon – is second only to Carnival for glamorous fun. You can attend an elegant Réveillon party at one of the city’s hotels or museums. Or, head to the beach at Copacabana to enjoy live music from multiple stages and see a massive fireworks display. Note that it’s traditional to wear white to this party, which attracts as many as two million people to the 2.5 miles of beachfront.
As always, all eyes will be on New York City as the famous New Year’s Eve Ball descends in Times Square just before midnight. While the live music and blizzard of confetti in Times Square are fantastic, there are celebrations and special performance across the city, from the New York Philharmonic at Lincoln Center to the Concert for Peace at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine.
To make your arrangements for a global New Year’s Eve celebration, talk with your travel professional.