Top 15 Cities to spend New Years Eve
New Years Eve (or Hogmanay as the Scots call it) is a great time to be surrounded by friends, family, and have a good old sing-a-long to Auld Lang Syne. For many of our #Wonderers, it’s a a perfect opportunity to experience the rich cultural New Years Eve traditions of another country and go somewhere completely new!
So, are you looking to spend New Years Eve somewhere that you have never been before? Well, the girls here at GoWonder have you covered. We’ve asked a bunch of amazing GoWonderers their best recommendations to spend NYE, and you’ll be surprised at the diversity of the locations! So in no particular order, here we present the 15 best places you could spend New Years Eve this year…
“Tokyo is the coolest place to spend your New Year’s holiday because it’s packed with fun traditions. Dec 31st during the day is usually reserved for cleaning and taking care of things so that you can bring in the New Years on a clean slate. Lots of people eat soba at home, but restaurants are also packed and lively. After the soba, people go to temples where there are pop-up food vendors, games and the temples have sake to drink at midnight! There are specific New Year decorations all over the place, and New Year’s day is spent playing games and eating. It’s a perfect place to have a good time whether you are a solo traveller, travelling with friends, or family with small kids!” – Emily Jenks @handaguide
Edinburgh, holds a special place in my heart as I too have spent many a Hogmanay there. We spoke to Viccy Ward, who told us that one of her favourite parts of NYE in Edinburgh was the concert in Princes Street Gardens, where artists perform and the crowds get merry in the streets with BOB alcohol. There are various stages with DJs and food stalls, which all make for a brilliant party. At midnight, the canon at Edinburgh Castle goes off and the city centre is filled with fireworks. Viccy said that there were also lots of different firework displays that took place throughout the week and that “the whole experience was brilliant… the town was buzzing all week!”. And Viccy is absolutely right – the whole city becomes like a party. You see men running down the streets wearing kilts (Scotand’s traditional dress), bagpipers playing and thousands of people generally just having a brilliant time. On New Year’s Day, revellers don their best fancy dress and head down to Queensferry Lifeboat Station for Stoats Loony Dook, which where a bunch of crazy Scots run into the sea… in the middle of Winter.
Recommendation credit: Viccy Ward | @viccyyward
New Years Eve in Taipei was recommended by Jasmine Chen who said that it was an “unreal experience, and the night club scene is great too. If you get hungry after, you could always hit up some street food vendors as well… and did I mention we have some of the cheapest and best tasting beers? Also, before you go dancing the night away you should definitely check out the party at the 101 building, which features the whole building lighting up during the countdown followed by an impressive firework display.”
– Jasmine Chen | @mysuitcasejourneys
Gisborne City, New Zealand
Fiona Paul spent New Years Eve in the less well-known Gisborne City, but this hidden gem sounds like an absolute blast! In the city, “they hold a 3 day New Years festival called Rhythm & Vines [which parties on right until] the early hours of the morning. [There are a] range of stages with different genres and [which] feature international and national acts, with fireworks to see in the New Year. Held in amongst the grapevines away from the city, there is lots of food, music, drinks and dancing! [Also], it’s the first city in the world to see the sun!”- Fiona Paul | @fees_adventures
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Taisia Vlasie loved the New Years Eve that she spent in Dubai, and from her description, we can understand why! She told us that, “the firework display is one of the best [displays] in the world! The city is amazing – luxury at its finest. I chose [to spend NYE] in a rooftop club, I guess the biggest in Dubai. [It is called] the White club, which offers a great panorama of the city and also the perfect view for fireworks. You can try lots of activities such as skydiving, swimming with dolphins, helicopter rides, yacht parties, and the list could go on and on. As a plus, the weather is great for tanning!” –
Chicago is an amazing place to spend New Years Eve. There is a free firework display at Navy Pier, which overlooks the water, providing onlookers with a beautiful view of the city. There is now a “rising star” similar to the ball drop in NYC and there is a riverfront New Years celebration. There are numerous concerts and hotel parties, and many restaurants, bars and lounges have prixefixe menus. You can opt for a dinner cruise, and there are some that also provide a view of the midnight fireworks! Chicago Children’s Museum usually has an event on with projects that are focused towards children and families. Also, there is always a zoo event called Zoo Years Eve, which is beautiful because the whole zoo is decorated and everyone shares in the festivities. An as an added bonus – all trains and busses are free for NYE! “There is so much to do whether it’s free or cheap or luxurious and expensive – there’s honestly something for everyone”. – Alexandra Dakessian | @world.cheers.tour
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Misty Dowling recommends Kuala Lumpur for New Years Eve, and told us that ladies there can drink alcohol for free every night of the year, “so for the ladies who like to party”, Kuala Lumpur seems to be a strong choice. As with many of the destinations on our list, there are fireworks displays that you can go watch, such as at KLCC Park which allows for a complete view of the fireworks. You could also head to the street party which takes place on Jalan Bukit Bintag – it’s one not to be missed. – Misty Dowling | @bikiniandcoconuts
Mirissa, Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka is such a great New Years Eve hot-spot that two of our amazing #Wonderers recommended it! Tracey Maddocks told us that last year, she celebrated New Year’s Eve in Mirissa. “Although there are more beautiful places in Sri Lanka, Mirissa has the perfect beach party attitude for New Years! Dancing on the beach til the early hours with locals and other tourists was so much fun!” Hanna Thomas then went on to give us a little more of an insight into New Years Eve in Sri Lanka. She said that the street she was in was filled with people eating at tables and there was a dance floor inside which played great music. Hanna (@hannalouiseleila) gushed about how welcoming the people from Sri Lanka were to her, and she liked spending NYE in a place where there was warm and delicious food.
Heidleberg in Germany may not be a well-known destination to spend New Years Eve, but Jennifer Douglas absolutely recommends it, “I used to live there, and the NYE is amazing…at the ancient castle, you have a view of the river and city and the hundreds of fireworks displays that are going on all at once. The castle releases floating candles as well and the crowd also releases their own mini fireworks/flares. It is one of the most amazing things I’ve seen in my life! Additionally, the Christmas market is still going on in town, with hundreds of outdoor kiosks selling goods, food, gluwein, and their is an ice skating rink set up in the square. Magical!!” – Jennifer Douglas
Cape Town, South Africa
In terms of Cape Town, both Nadia and Jessika told us that it was a great place to spend New Years Eve! Nadia told us that you can view the fireworks from a yacht, mountain or a beach party, “as well as many other private functions in hotels and other fascinating venues such as a wine farm, or a game farm… with gorgeous wine of course, that’s dirt cheap!” Jessika (@safarisource) then told us that her reasons for choosing to spend New Years Eve in Cape Town was due to the “the weather, fine dining, wines and beaches. Also they light up table mountain on New Years.” She also told us that she booked a vineyard tour, a banquet and high tea at the iconic Mount Nelson Hotel.
Recommendation credit: Nadia Vincent
Melissa DeParis loved spending New Years Eve in Reykjavik and told us that, “Their fireworks are out of this world and can be seen from 360° around you! The locals also gather around huge bonfires making it a very unique experience and culturally unique.” These bonfires tend to start at 8.30pm, and you don’t have to worry about missing a bonfire display, as there are 10 displays in Reykjavik. After midnight, bars and clubs stay open until 5am, so you will be guaranteed a night of dancing until you drop!
Recommendation credit: Melissa DeParis | @bonjour.melissa
New Years Eve in Sydney was recommended by Lianne Bronzo who told us that, “Definitely Sydney for the amazing fireworks over the Harbour Bridge!” There are tons of lovely spots to settle down and watch the fireworks, ranging from public parks to high vantage points. Many view points are free entry, and there are outside bars you can buy alcohol from. After the incredible firework display, you can set sail on Sydney Harbour by buying a ticket to one of the many boat parties that are organised. Bear in mind – entry prices can be expensive, but for a New Years Eve unlike no other, it is definitely worth it. If you don’t fancy hopping on a boat, there are hundreds of bars and clubs that you can party at until the early hours of the morning. On New Years Day, thousands flock to the beach, whether it be Manly Beach or the famous Bondi; you are guaranteed an amazing experience.
Recommendation credit: Lianne Bronzo
Berlin is a great place to spend New Years Eve, and Polyana Rech told us that it was amazing. She loved that everyone was smiling, and that she was ale to enjoy the last few days of the Christmas Markets. Also in Berlin, there is a huge street festival which features live performances, light and laser shows and DJ sets. Entry is free, and there are food stands offering a variety of world cuisines. Then at midnight, the fireworks are set off and the partying lasts as long as you want it to! You can visit the many clubs that Berlin has to offer, whether it be a mad techno rave or a funky disco; Berlin really has something for everyone.
Recommendation credit: Polyana Rech
Hong Kong, China
Nadia Vincent: “I had a great time spending New Years Eve in Hong Kong, hop on a harbour cruise or junk party to bring in the New Years, which would be amazing for those who love to set sail on the seven seas! You can also go to a secret island party, which is absolutely magical! If you want to see the fireworks, you can go to the Peak or watch them from a boat. For those who like to dress up, there are various black tie function events, and for those free-spirited travellers, there are lots of beach parties to hit up and party down at!”
Recommendation credit: Nadia Vincent
London, United Kingdom
Taru Aalto recommends spending NYE in London, and even wrote a blog post about it! She told us that, “Our New Year’s celebrations started around 6pm in Soho where we headed for some drinks in the cellar cocktail bar HIX to enjoy some liquid happiness to fight the cold weather. Next we headed out for some great food at Bob Bob Ricard, a Russian style restaurant in Soho with incredible interior design. The service here was very good and I especially enjoyed the appetisers. Also, each table in the restaurant has a “champagne button” which you can press any time and they will bring you some bubbly! After that it was time for the main program of the evening, i.e. the cabaret at the Soho Theatre where we had booked a premium table right in front of the stage. The performances were amazing and varied, and while it lasted way over 3h we were never bored – especially given we got to participate in one of the shows. I would definitely go there again. I wish Helsinki had equally good stand-up and cabaret performances as London and New York!” – Taru Aalto
So there we have it #Wonderers; the 15 top places to spend New Years Eve this year! Where will you be spending this NYE? Let us know in the comments below.
Can’t get enough of us? Follow for daily updates!
Read more from our blog:
Top 15 Cities To Spend New Years
GOWONDER – WOMEN TRAVEL!