Where will the best parties be this New Year's Eve? Sure, you can visit Times Square in New York City, but that is just one of GAYOT.com's Top 10 New Year's Eve Destinations Around the World. You can be among the first people to welcome 2014 in Sydney, Australia, or party on the Las Vegas Strip --- we mean ON the Strip, as cars will be banned that night. Enjoy GAYOT.com's Top 10 New Year's Eve Destinations Around the World. If you're not planning on traveling, see below as to where to dine out near you for your last dinner of 2013.
Las Vegas, NV
Reinforcing its status as a perennial party town, Las Vegas welcomes 300,000 revelers to ring in the New Year. Hotels, clubs and bars take it to the limit with special shows, but many lock their doors around the midnight hours, so you'll need to decide whether you want to be in or out. We recommend out, since the four-mile-long Strip becomes a vehicle-free promenade (starting at 6 p.m.) where you can drink, mingle and watch fireworks shot off from surrounding rooftops. For a rockin' good time, hit up The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel where the theme this year is Empire Records — spinning iconic 90s bands like Nirvana and No Doubt, as well as pop and R&B hits from Mariah, Britney and more. For something a tad mellower, enjoy the music of The Beatles with Cirque du Soleil's New Year's Eve performance of LOVE at The Mirage — what better way to celebrate the hard day's night that is New Year's Eve in Las Vegas?
Berliners know how to put on a good party, as evidenced way back by the decadence of the Golden Twenties to the now defunct Love Parade techno festival to today's hipster clubs, bars and lounges attracting international hedonists. New Year's Eve is no exception. Silvester, as it is called in German, offers endless possibilities in this creative metropolis. Celebrate with a crowd of roughly two million revelers at Germany's largest open-air New Year's Eve event in front of iconic Brandenburg Gate. Count on loads of champers, rowdy fun, music acts, light shows and, of course, fireworks at midnight. If you don't want to mingle with the masses in the cold, Berlin hosts plenty of indoor parties, from cruises to restaurants serving special dinner menus. If you feel like exerting yourself in a different way, take part in the 38th Berlin New Year's Eve Run 2013, a race through Berlin's idyllic Grünewald forest.
Los Angeles, CA
L.A. has the balmy weather and the beautiful people but it lacks a cohesive city center for a fab, outdoor, Euro-style party for people to congregate and toast the New Year. But this doesn't mean Angelenos don't know how to celebrate the arrival of 2014 in glitterati style. Many locals dance the night away at glam house parties or fête at stylish restaurants, bars, clubs and celeb-heavy hotels like the W Hollywood and The Hollywood Roosevelt. In the heart of Hollywood, revelers can ring in 2014 at the Las Palmas Block Party, while the gorgeous Egyptian Theater on the Walk of Fame is hosting the Cleopatra's NYE 2014 Ball. A more sedate affair is the annual Rose Parade in posh Pasadena. Officially the Tournament of Roses Parade, the 125th edition of the 5-1/2-mile, two-hour spectacle, titled "Dreams Come True," will feature equestrian units, colorful floral floats and marching bands. It draws a crowd and folks set up camp the night before to snag a prime viewing spot, so make sure to get there early.
Québec City, one of the oldest cities in North America, is magical during the winter holidays, from its authentic Christmas markets to its luminous Québec City Lights Festival which ends New Year's Eve. Install yourself in the grand Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac hotel, situated atop Cap-Diamant and overlooking the Saint Lawrence River. Spend the day exploring Old Québec and be sure to take in the city's famous fortifications. For New Year's Eve, the festive Grande Allée (the "Champs Élysées" of Québec City) is the place to be with charming restaurants and bars, music entertainment (singers, DJs) and fireworks at midnight. Or head a couple of minutes outside the city to Parc de la Chute-Montmorency, featuring the spectacular Montmorency Falls. Here, at Manoir Montmorency, you can reserve either a seven-course meal or a buffet with music and sparkling wine at 12 a.m.
Join Sydneysiders and more than 1.5 million visitors and be one of the first in the world to bid farewell to 2013 and usher in 2014. Sydney always puts on a fabulous show with street entertainment and spectacular fireworks that light up the Harbour. Find a good vantage point on the water's edge and join the crowds in the celebrations. The Royal Botanic Gardens offers three options that sell out quickly. For instance, their Garden Oasis offers dancing, Champagne and views of the fireworks over both the Opera House and Harbour Bridge. Or ride the Wild Mouse Rollercoaster and Ferris Wheel at The Harbour Party at Luna Park, which includes the latest Electronic Dance Music acts. The famous Shore Thing at Bondi Beach will include electronic superstar Skrillex. Cruises are also popular but expensive; they usually include fare, entertainment and libations, so be sure to find one that suits your musical tastes. Catch The Harbour of Light Parade, a procession of boats of various shapes and sizes lit up on a convoy across the harbor. At the end of the night, look out for the unique symbol that will light up the bridge — last year's was a butterfly and lips.
Vancouver doesn't have large, city-wide NYE gatherings, so New Year's celebrations are often found at the city's upscale hotels and nightclubs, where many enforce age minimums and formal dress codes. Opulent Shangri-La Hotel, in Vancouver's tallest building, hosts an annual formal gathering with VIP rooms and six DJs. The Fairmont Waterfront hotel throws its yearly fête complete with canapés and complimentary Champagne. Pride of Vancouver Charters offers two boats where guests can enjoy drinks, dinner and dancing while watching fireworks and taking in the Vancouver skyline. L.A.-based glam metal parody band Steel Panther plays its now-annual New Year's show at the Commodore Ballroom — tickets go for $30. If you're not too weary from the night before, take part in the Vancouver Polar Bear Swim (held since 1920) in the icy English Bay on Jan. 1 — over 2,000 attend, often wearing ridiculous costumes, and prizes are awarded for fastest swimmers.
British reserve is in short supply on New Year's Eve, when 250,000 revelers descend upon central London for a riotous open-air party. Countdown the twelve final chimes alongside Big Ben, and watch the city explode in light and color as fireworks go off over the London Eye and the Thames River. For prime viewing, head to the Victoria Embankment and the Waterloo and Westminster Bridges (the area around the London Eye is cordoned off). Once you've taken in the fireworks, hit the pubs along with scores of other hardy souls, link arms and sing Auld Lang Syne in your best, rowdy, off-key falsetto. If you've decided to spend the evening at one of the West End's fantastic stage shows, you may find yourself cozying up to the stranger next to you to ring in the New Year. It's a tradition on New Year's that come curtain-call, the entire cast and crew come together and get the audience to join in with a rendition of Auld Lang Syne. Festivities don't end on New Year's Eve — so squeeze in a power nap and a traditional breakfast fry-up. Once you've regained your faculties, head to the annual New Year's Day Parade, a three-hour extravaganza featuring up to 10,000 performers from around the globe.
New York City
Cramming into NYC's Times Square for concerts and to watch the ball drop with fellow tourists from all over the world is something everyone should do once. But for a more local end-of-the-year experience, party in the always-happening Meatpacking District by buying a Meatpacking District All-Access Pass. The pass allows for access to normally exclusive clubs as well as buffet dinners and DJ'ed performances. Or consider spending the last hours of 2013 in Brooklyn, specifically Prospect Park's Grand Army Plaza. Not only does it feature a midnight fireworks show (over a beautiful arch, no less), but a fleet of food trucks serve until 12:30 a.m. — at which point you're free to head to nearby bars for more festivities. And before that, for those who are serious about their New Year's resolutions, a nighttime 5K race begins at 11:15 p.m. For something more sedate, make a reservation at one of the many great restaurants in New York that serve up memorable meals on the final evening of the year.
With average daily December temperatures in the 70s, Miami is a great destination for those dreaming of a balmy ball drop. It's also a mecca for serious party-goers. Beautiful people, club kids and frat boys from around the world flock to South Beach for all-night dance-a-thons like the one held at Mansion, an Ibiza-esque dance palace housed in an old French casino. If your techno days are behind you, seek out Miami's old-world glamour at The Biltmore hotel in Coral Gables, a 1920s Spanish Revivalist resort known for its opulent New Year's Eve gala. Revelers looking for something a bit more family-friendly should head to the Big Orange. Some 250,000 local folks and international visitors watch Miami's tropical rendition of New York's famous ball drop — the 35-foot neon "Big Orange" descends from the InterContinental Miami, with a grand finale of the largest fireworks show south of Times Square at Bayfront Park. There'll also be musical entertainment, family activities and many ethnic foods to savor.
It's no wonder that a city in one of the most technologically advanced countries in the world would have one of the best light shows. Hong Kong likes to show it off on New Year's Eve, along with a giant fireworks display, a countdown celebration and several ways to party. The most popular place to ring in the New Year is at Victoria Harbour, the largest harbor in China. The eight-minute show starts over the water and moves towards the land, giving spectators a variety of vantage points. Public viewing spots are free, including the area along the Tsim Sha Tsui East Promenade and Avenue of Stars from the State Ferry Terminal to New World Center, as well as the Hung Hom Bypass. If you opt for a public viewing area, be sure to claim a spot early. The best views, though, are from the harbor cruises, which put revelers right under the action. If you're missing NYE in the States, there's a replica ball drop at the Times Square shopping mall in Hong Kong in homage to The Big Apple's celebration. And for celebrants with kids in tow, Hong Kong Disneyland extends its hours and hosts a countdown party.
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