Whether it’s five, four, three, two, one or funf, vier, drei, zwei eins null or even go, shi, san, ni, ichi, when you hear the last half of that countdown, the message is universal. It’s New Year’s Day around the world, but one thing that’s not universal is the way cities across the world celebrate it.
Every city has its own own unique energy and it usually comes through in the way it celebrates. In Paris, its gay Paris, in Cape Town, it’s earthy and groovy, and in Bangkok, well let’s just say that some cities are a little more openminded then others. Here are some of the cities around the world that go that extra mile when it comes to celebrating New Year’s Eve that you might want to find yourself counting down to 2019 in.
If you want to celebrate New Year’s with a little je ne sais quoi, do it in Paris France. Ask the locals to point you to a New Year’s party and you’ll find yourself at Champs-Elysees. Plan on getting there around nine to indulge a meal “piece de resistance” and then soiree over to the area to get a prime spot for the midnight light show. Consider Laduree Champs -Elysse for a Prix fix dinner complete with a gourmet meal, dessert, and champagne. FYI: their macaroons are world renowned. Make reservations in advance!
Bring on the feathers, sequins, and rhinestones, life is always a cabaret at Moulin Rouge, especially on New Year’s Eve. Since the late 19th century, no other show has been capable of replicating its unique performance style. With over 1,000 costumes, sets from Italy and a giant aquarium, the Moulin Rouge Feerie show has all of the ingredients you’ll need to put New Year’s over the top.
However, if you’d rather take in the lights of Paris in strobe style, the Rex Club Is one of the biggest clubs on Grands Boulevard with floors of bass-heavy techno, house, and electronica. The entrance is free and the dancing is hard. Check out their program to see whose spinning when you’re in town.
Hong Kong, China
In Hong Kong, New Year’s comes twice a year, so the locals have a lot of practice when it comes to throwing New Year’s Eve celebrations. If you’re headed to Hong Kong this year, prepared to be overwhelmed accordingly; they’ve surely proved that practice makes perfect.
When the fireworks of New Year explode over Victoria Harbor, the scene over the Hong Kong Skyline is breathtaking. You can mingle with the locals taking in the Symphony of Lights show from the shore or take it in high style from one of the cruise ships complete with dinner and a live onboard DJ.
For those who prefer to take their view of the fireworks from above ground, Dear Lily is offering an NYE gala on the IFC rooftop where you can sit in a gilded canopied booth eating foie gras and Japanese wagyu. At HK $688 per person, New Year’s at Dear Lily is living the high life in more ways than one.
As the Murray Head song says, “One night in Bangkok makes a hard man humble,” and if that night is New Year’s Eve, prepare to be humbled exponentially. With Bangkok’s reputation for naughty nightlife, culture, and chaos, the New Year’s celebration in Bangkok is not for the faint of heart.
The countdown at Central World is Bangkok’s most high key celebration where the streets of Siam turn into a large-scale party. Live performances by popular Thai and international celebrities open the night leading up to the main attraction where fireworks explode from the center of Bangkok.
If shopping is more your scene, the Asiatique is the large open-air mall rivaling Central World for a top ticket New Year’s option. The high fashion crowd can shop until they drop, or at least until the fireworks begin. Then, they can hop on a shuttle boat and hightail it over to Central World in time for the countdown. Restaurants at the Asiatique will be offering special New Year’s dinner packages, and there will be a wide choice of food trucks and vendors to choose from.
The nightlife in Bangkok is legendary and you won’t want to leave without getting a taste of it at the Royal City Avenue. Known by the cool crowd as RCA, Royal City Avenue is a short street that goes long on partying. RCA runs from Rama 9 to Petchaburi, and there are over a dozen venues to be explored. Make sure to bring your ID, not only do the clubs have strict carding policies, there have been many reported incidents of waking up on RCA without remembering one’s name.
Cape Town, South Africa
Only the Mother City could throw a mother of a New Year’s party like Cape Town, South Africa, and with this year’s theme being Mother Earth, the spirit of love and peace will run just as high as the enthusiasm.
Begin the day at the V and A waterfront where kids will find plenty to keep them occupied. Expect delicious food, fun characters, pop up performances and a V and A crew handing location assist bracelets to help keep things running smoothly.
The floats will be an earthly delight as will the beautiful Tree Opera singer, the Mother Earth singing divas, the Fab 4 Acapella Group, the magical Earth Nymphs and Sea Spirits, and the Nomadic Orchestra. Find yourself at the Flagpole courtyard at 6 pm for down to earth entertainment going on until midnight.
If a meal of ribeye, seabass, and asparagus risotto followed by gelato and marmalade cheesecake sounds like a good idea for your last meal of 2018, head down to the Blanko in the Alphen Boutique Hotel in Constantina to fuel your New Year’s celebration. You’re going to a hardy meal before dancing the night away at the Alcazar. At the foot of Table Mountain, the Alcazar features 12 nonstop hours of music and performance art. If the outdoor stage printed with a 3D image of an Arabian fortress doesn’t grab you, the fire dancers and deep tech house will. Also, the theme for the night is Arabian nights, so get your headdresses ready.
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
In Rio de Janeiro, New Year’s comes in the heart of summer, and forget the rule about not wearing white after Labor Day. In Rio, white on New Year’s is de rigeur. Brazilians associate New Year’s with renewal and wear white to symbolize putting the past behind and looking toward the future.
The big event is on the Copacabana beach, where Cariocas (the locals) and visitors alike are welcome to the Reveillon (New Year’s Copacabana style, for those in the know). Guests gather early in the day to mark out a spot along the busy beach and by the time the countdown begins and the live music starts to play, the atmosphere is electric.
At midnight, guests are treated to a 20-minute fireworks spectacular exploding over the Copacabana Harbor and champagne bottles explode as well. It’s is a New Year’s tradition to spray the crowd with bubbly at midnight, and when everyone is wearing white; you may want to have some backup clothing picked out ahead of time. Make sure it’s fabulous, you’re going to be clubbing all night on the Avenida Atlantica, where glitter and glitz are obligatory.
Another local New Year’s Eve tradition is to throw flowers into the water and make a wish. The belief is that if the flowers don’t come back, that wish will come true. If you’re spending New Year’s Eve in Rio, your wish has probably already been granted.
Meanwhile, on the other end of the thermometer from Rio de Janiero is Moscow, Russia. Its quite cold in Moscow on New Year’s, but in Moscow, the cold temperatures only serve to fuel the festivities.
Red Square is off the hook on New Year’s. Not only do the Russians celebrate the New Year on December 31st, but it is also the Orthodox Christmas, and Red Square is an ideal scene for a winter wonderland, but with the way Moscow parties, don’t prepare for a silent night. The Red Square fireworks display is the most popular New Year’s destination.
Also, with the added bonus of Christmas in Moscow, you get two holidays in one. There’s an ice festival and many art galleries and museums will offer free admission. You can take the kids to see the yolkas (traditional New Year’s kids shows in Moscow) or go to the Bolshoi to experience “The Nutcracker the way it was meant to be performed. Moscow’s stadiums will be full of ice-skating extravaganzas that are worth watching for the costumes alone.
In the evening, the nightclubs and bars will be battling out for your patronage. The most popular include the Bar Belka, Electosvet, Kino, Propaganda and the GQ Bar. And if you’re looking for the party with the highest view, make arrangements to spend the evening at Sky lounge to see the fireworks from a whole new perspective.
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
If its quantity you want as well as quality, Dubai has no shortage of elaborate New Year’s Eve activities. In fact, we found 226 of them on our Google search, but we’ve narrowed it down to what we thought were the select few.
The Atlantis at the Palm is one of the more grandiose New Year’s Eve destinations in Dubai. The Royal Gala at the Atlantis is one of the most sought-after tickets in town. Dress to the nines and count down the New Year’s with a meal of lobster and caviar while getting down to the beats of a live thirty-piece band. When the clock strikes twelve, the fireworks go off and so will the DJs. Then, you’re in for dancing the night away until the Dubai dawn.
When spending New Year’s on the beach is an option, you don’t want to pass it up. The beachside venue Barasti is ringing in the New Year with live celebrity appearances and dance performances. Stick around until 10 am and dive into the New Year at the Last Barasti Pool Splash of 2018. You’ll welcome in the New Year as you lie on your float sipping a margarita under the Dubai skyline.
The first city to say, “Good day, mate” to the New Year is Sydney, Australia, so if you celebrate there, you’ll get a leg up on 2019 and an early start to the party.
Sydney New Year’s Eve is the multitiered event held annually every December 31 at the Sydney Harbour Bridge where there’s always “chockers” of people.
In the arvo, (afternoon), take in some pre-show entertainment when a tugboat takes the stage in Sydney Harbor followed by a “bonzer” encore aerial performance.
At 9 pm the Family Fireworks show features illuminated ships gliding across the harbor with unique choreography that dazzles and enchants. Watch it from the shore with the locals or book a cruise on one of the vessels for a more exclusive experience.
At midnight, you’ll have front row seating for a” ripper” fireworks display with pyrotechnics launched from the Sydney Harbour Bridge and exploding on to the Harbour. Synched to popular music from the past and present, it’s sure to be “ripper.”
Las Vegas, United States
New Year’s in Las Vegas brings a new meaning to “shutting it down.” On New Year’s the whole Las Vegas strip shuts down for an epic block party.
The fireworks display comes courtesy of Gucci; so expect it to be fab-u-lous, but the chaos on the strip when its closed to traffic may not be. The best bet is to seek a high perch at one of the several rooftop venues to watch the festivities in the comfort of a laid-back party atmosphere. (The Stratosphere comes highly recommended.)
Party ‘til dawn doing all those unmentionable things that “stay in Vegas.” We won’t mention them here.
So, Happy New Year and make sure to tell us how, and where, you’re celebrating it this year. Until then, “Bon annee,” “s no-vym go-dam,” and “Feliz ano novo.” We’ll see you in 2019!