There’s no night more hyped than the last one of the year. But, before you start worrying about how it’ll all live up to expectations, check out some of these great places to celebrate 2014 and look forward to 2015. The most-searched New Year’s Eve destinations are bound to promise a good time, no matter what you’re looking for.
10. London, England: A Treat on the Thames
Sold out this year: watching fireworks over the Thames in London. (Photo: Clarence Ji/Wikimedia Commons)
Unfortunately, this is the first year you’ll need a ticket to get close to the fireworks over the Thames River, and those tickets were all handed out in a lottery months ago. You can still see the New Year’s Day Parade on Jan. 1. And, check out one of the swanky parties taking place around town, like The Dark Circus Party, The Prohibition New Year’s Eve Special, or The Blitz Party.
9. Miami, Florida: Midnight on the Beach
(Photo: Junior Henry/Flickr)
Miami is a party town and New Year’s Eve is one of the biggest parties of the year. Take in the outdoor fun, live music, and midnight countdown at Bayfront Park or on the beach at Lummus Park in South Beach, starting at 9 p.m. If you want a Miami experience, then you’ll want the parties at Nikki Beach or at The Clevelander. Does that all sound a little much? Don’t worry; Miami has great dining too. Try the many prix fixe menus for the evening, like the one at The Federal.
8. Las Vegas, Nevada: America’s Party
(Photo: Jeremy Andrews/Flickr)
You don’t go to Vegas on New Year’s Eve for a low-key evening. Over 300,000 people will come to Sin City to ring in 2015, and most of them will do so on the famous Strip. At midnight, fireworks will go off from seven different rooftops and America’s Party will just keep on rolling. No one under 21 years old is allowed on the street after 9 p.m. Open containers and alcoholic drinks, however, are permitted just for the one night. Downtown will also host the Fremont Street Experience, if you want to get off the Strip. But, make your plans early. Snoop Dogg will make an appearance at TAO for the club’s New Year’s Eve party. Maroon 5 will play at Mandalay Bay and Lady Gaga will perform with Tony Bennett at the Cosmopolitan.
7. San Diego, California: California Dreaming
(Courtesy: New Year’s Eve Beach Party)
You’re in San Diego, so a sandy New Year’s Eve seems natural. Head to the New Year’s Eve Beach Party at The Catamaran. Or, try a yacht party on the water. There are plenty of boating options both for the night and for a lovely New Year’s Day cruise. With so many people coming to San Diego for the warm weather, the New Year’s Eve choices are plentiful. Try Big Night San Diego for six dance floors and, if you’re under 21, OMFG! NYE has a show for you.
6. Berlin, Germany: One Million Strong
Brandenburg Gate (Photo: Trevor Mills/Flickr)
Before going out to the party of the night, work up an appetite at the Berliner Silvesterlauf — the annual race that ends in pancakes and champagne. Then, one million people will head to the Brandenburg Gate to close out the year. There are stages, music, fireworks at midnight, and, of course, David Hasselhoff . Alternatively, the biggest indoor party takes place at The Kulturbrauerei , where one ticket gives you entrance to a dozen clubs.
5. Maui, Hawaii: Sail Into the Sunset
Drums of the Pacific. (Photo: Mike Boudreaux/Flickr)
You’re on an island, so of course you’ll want to ring in 2015 on the water — it’s one of the most popular Hawaiian New Year’s Eve activities. While many of the New Year’s Eve cruises on the Leilani and Pride of Maui are sold out, you can still take a luxurious midnight sail. Or, try the Pacific Whale Foundation’s less crowded boat. If boats aren’t your thing, hula the night away with Drums of the Pacific at the Hyatt. (Check out a preview of the show.) And, the Kaanapali Beach Hotel can put a little magic in your evening with a three-course dinner, show, and some Hawaiian history to go with your drinks.
4. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: Celebrate on Copacabana
New Year’s at Copacabana Beach. (Photo: Mike Vondran/Flickr)
New Year’s Eve in Rio is second only to Carnivale in terms of massively popular parties. Celebrations on Copacabana Beach begin around 8 p.m. and include a giant fireworks display at midnight. Bring some champagne to share with the crowd and wear white for good luck. Over two million people line the beaches, which has set a world record for the biggest New Year’s Eve party. Because of the crowds and traffic, get there early and plan to hang out in the area after the fireworks — at a hotel or nearby club.
3. Sydney, Australia: Summer Fun
(Photo: Rob Chandler/Wikimedia Commons)
This year’s theme for Sydney’s huge New Year’s Eve celebration is “Inspire.” Get inspired by the breathtaking fireworks over the Sydney Harbor and, don’t worry, there are two shows — one at 9 p.m. for the kids and one at midnight for everyone else. Plus, it’s summer down under, so the weather is nice enough to ring in 2015 outdoors. New Year’s Eve Under the Stars will give you uninterrupted views of the famous opera house. Or, get out on the water with an end-of-the-year cruise.
2. New York City: The One and Only
The Times Square ball. (Photo: Susan Serra/Wikimedia Commons)
Times Square is synonymous with New Year’s Eve. When people watch the ball drop on TV, often what they’re seeing is New York. If you want to partake, plan on getting there early and standing around for hours. There are performances on the two stages, starting at 6 p.m., and fireworks later in the night. If that sounds like a lot of work, virtually every club in the city will be doing something special for the night. Webster Hall will host “the largest balloon drop in the free world.” The next morning, head to the famous Coney Island Polar Dip to jump in the freezing water and get your 2015 started off right.
1. New Orleans, Louisiana: Parties Roll in the Big Easy
“The Biggest Balcony on Bourbon.” (Courtesy: Bourbon Vieux)
Mardi Gras season starts Jan. 6, but first the Big Easy has something else to celebrate. Fireworks will launch over the river at midnight and you can join the Crescent City Countdown in Jackson Square. In the French Quarter, Bourbon Vieux has a party on “the biggest balcony on Bourbon.” The Hyatt will host Big Night New Orleans. Or, for something different, check out the Great Gatsby party at The Country Club. On Jan. 1, the Superdome will be home to the first-ever college football playoff semi-final at the Sugar Bowl — and there are plenty of events before, during, and after for the football fan to enjoy.