Best Places We’ve Ever Spent New Year’s Eve

A lot of people believe that how you ring in the new year sets the tone for the 12 months that follow … so why not begin with inspiration instead of a hangover? To give you some ideas for switching up your December 31, we asked our Yahoo Travel Explorers about the most inspirational and exciting places they’ve ever spent New Year’s Eve. It might be too late to get to these destinations this time around, but the great thing about this holiday is: There’s always next year!

Sydney Harbor on New Year’s Eve (Photo: Raj Singh/Flickr)


“Without question, it would be bringing in the new year on Sydney Harbor.”
—Gary Arndt, Everything Everywhere

New York City

“There is no better place to see the ball drop than New York City. I know it is a cliché , but honestly, it is so much fun. Do it at least once in your lifetime.” —Cacinda Maloney, Points and Travel

Utila, Honduras

“We found ourselves on the Caribbean island paradise Utila off the coast of Honduras for one sensational New Year’s Eve. Every bar was pumping, the beaches had reggae and electro music wafting over the sands, and hundreds of ecstatic revelers were celebrating the end of an amazing year. There’s nothing quite like dancing until the sun rises over a tropical island filled with the happiest travelers on the planet.” —Jarryd Salem, Nomadasaurus


(Photo: Eric Stoen/Travel Babbo)


“My best New Year’s Eve was in Antarctica two years ago with my 8-year-old. After a day and a half crossing the Drake Passage from Argentina, we arrived at the continent on the morning of New Year’s Eve and went off to explore. So much fun spending the day with chinstrap penguins! Then we celebrated 2014 at midnight Argentinian time, which was the first time my daughter had stayed up until the official changeover. New Year’s Day brought kayaking and more exploration — and more penguins. It couldn’t have been a more perfect place to be.” —Eric Stoen, Travel Babbo

Related: Yahoo Ranks the World’s Top New Year’s Eve Celebrations

Rwanda and The Gambia

“I’ve spent a few New Year’s in Africa, but my favorites were spent on the gorgeous, seldom-visited beaches of The Gambia during a two-month overland trip across West Africa from Mauritania to Nigeria, and a quiet New Year’s Eve in Kigali, Rwanda, before an early morning expedition to track silverback gorillas in the jungle New Year’s morning!” Lee Abbamonte


A few years ago, I decided to take advantage of super cheap New Year’s Eve flights to start a months-long adventure in Southeast Asia. I figured it’d be most fun to start 2012 in a brand-new country instead of with a hangover! I flew from Australia to Bali, landing in Bali right around midnight. I figured the celebrations would be over, but boy was I wrong: All sorts of fireworks and parties were happening all over the place, especially in the streets! It was the perfect welcome to the joyous chaos of Bali.” —Christine Amorose, C’est Christine


(Photo: La Carmina)

Osaka, Japan

“I had a bizarre New Year’s Eve in Osaka, among decaying zombies and Japanese girls in fetish boots. This is the dark magic of Black Veil, the longest running Goth party in Japan! The organizer, DJ Taiki, rings in each year with a diabolical celebration that runs until morning. Creatures from all underground walks of life — drag queens, Victorian tight-lacers, latex-maskers — come here to dance to industrial and EBM bass lines. I’ve been to quite a few crazy NYE parties, but none has come close to the decadence of Black Veil!” La Carmina

Related: How to Celebrate the Holidays When You’re Far From Home

New Zealand … and L.A.

“After a year of pre-email-era backpacking through Southeast Asia, I flew from New Zealand to L.A. with a layover in Tahiti. This routing provided two New Year’s Eves — and cause to eliminate one hangover via the hair that bit the dog.” —Bruce Northam, American Detour


“A beach party on Palolem Beach in Goa, India. There were fireworks, there was great music, and it wasn’t too crowded.” —Alexandra E. Petri, The Write Way Around


(Photo: Johnny Jet)

Pasadena, California

“Checking out the Rose Parade floats up close! The decorated floats don’t start rolling out onto Orange Grove Boulevard until around 10 p.m., but it really gets fun after midnight.” Johnny Jet

Related: This Town Has the Coolest Christmas Wreaths Ever

Koh Pha Ngan, Thailand

“The New Year’s Eve party on Koh Pha Ngan is a whole-night beach party on an island only accessible by speedboats which leave and arrive at fixed timings. This makes it sound very exclusive if you do not consider the 30,000 other revelers also partying there. There are different genres of music to choose from, with speakers blaring at different areas on the beach, drinks of your choice served in buckets yet relatively inexpensive, and an assortment of fire games to see, play and injure yourself on. You can smear yourself with fluorescent UV colors or choose to get a tattoo from one of the tattoo parlors at the site, or simply pass a wasted smile at people coloring themselves only to be dunked in the sea by their friends or complete strangers a few minutes later. Definitely the craziest party we’ve been to, and arguably the best NYE party in the world. It gets crazy in every sense of the world. We recommend that you avoid carrying valuable electronics susceptible to water, wear proper footwear, and carry some extra cash in hand for emergencies.” —Rishabh Shah, Gypsy Couple

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