New Year’s Eve is one of those holidays that never ceases to both equally excite and frustrate us. More often than not, the reality never quite meets the expectation. Between traffic, crowds, sky-high ticket prices, it’s easy for one’s elation to wear off before the party even gets started.
Whether you’re dreading the planning process, or simply just stumped for ideas on how to ring in 2020, we’ve culled a list of last-minute trips that are sure to make this New Year’s Eve one to remember forever.
New York City
This goes without saying, but The City That Never Sleeps definitely tops the list when it comes to epic New Year’s Eve celebrations. While I personally wouldn’t recommend fighting the crowds to get to Times Square, the ball drop is, in fact, one of the most televised NYE’s events in the country. If you don’t have the gall to partake in the renown ceremony (I don’t blame you), then just head to one of the thousands of parties across Downtown Manhattan and Brooklyn, or catch the fireworks from Brooklyn Bridge Park. There’s so much to do, see, and eat in NYC.
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
If ringing in the new year with about 2 million other peeps on a beachside resort is more your vibe, Rio is where it’s at. Most people head to Copacabana Beach to watch the epic fireworks extravaganza or sneak a peek at one of the many musical acts. To stake out your spot, it’s recommended to hit the sand before 10 pm, it tends to get packed pretty early. It’s also customary to wear all white, and expect to see a slew of people take a dip in the sea post-midnight (for good luck).
Koh Phangan, Thailand
Home to world-famous full-moon party, Koh Phangan is the locale you need to be if you want to dance on the beach until dawn. Arrive early for cocktails and fresh-caught seafood before heading to the water. The fiesta starts as soon as it gets dark, but pace yourself, it won’t end until the next afternoon. And if you’re in need of a little refreshment, head to Sunset Beach for a little swim at dawn.
Over in Scotland, the “Hogmanay” festivities last 3 whole days, starting on December 30th with a Viking torchlight parade. More than 8,000 torchbearers take the streets, while fireworks ignite the dark sky. One New Year’s Eve, head over to Edinburgh Castle for live music, dancing, cocktails, and yet another magnificent fireworks display at midnight. The following day, revelers adorn themselves in their silliest costumes for the High Street parade before jumping into the River Forth for “Loony Dook.”
Another frontrunner for the most extravagant NYE celebration goes to the Down Under. If bragging rights are your thing, Sydney marks the first major international city to ring in the new year (because…time difference). With one of the best fireworks displays in the world, the celebration takes place at Sydney Harbor. Set amidst the backdrop of the Opera House and Harbor Bridge, many revelers watch the show aboard one of the many boats, but be sure to bring your own bubbles and arrive early for a good seat. According to Fodors.com, the 12-minute display also includes “the waterfall, a shower of 1,100 candle-fireworks streaming from the bridge to the water below; and the ‘bridge effect,’ a pyrotechnic element with a different design each year, relating to the theme of the celebration.”
No matter where you are in the world, make sure you bring your loved ones along for the ride. As we head into the next decade, the only thing that matters more than where you celebrate is who you celebrate with. Happy New Year!