At the end of each year, we gather with friends and family and countdown to midnight as we hope for continued success in the new year. It’s always fun, but what if you could make your next New Year’s celebration unforgettable? Mix it up this year and get 2020 off to the right start in one of these six renowned cities, each with its own unique culture and events that you won’t find anywhere else.
In Scotland, the most important celebration of the year is reserved for Hogmanay, the country’s observance of New Year’s. As one of the largest New Year’s destinations in the world, the Scottish city of Edinburgh hosts festivities that span three days. You can warm up next to one of the many bonfires, attend the world-famous Torchlight Procession, catch a live concert, take part in a costume parade that ends in the river, and watch the spectacular fireworks show over the skyline. While almost every city in the world offers a place to celebrate the end of the year, Hogmanay’s rich history and Scottish traditions make it an event unlike any other.
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Known as a burgeoning food destination, Dubai is also home to the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa. For New Year’s, the city makes this sight even more magnificent by using it as the backdrop for their holiday fireworks spectacular.
If you’re searching for a unique experience to welcome the new year, check out the desert safaris with delicious meals, live cultural entertainment, and fireworks. Alternatively, the city is also known for its extravagant yacht parties. Whether you want a romantic night out or a fun-filled gathering, there’s a cruise for everyone. Fireworks purists know there’s no better place to witness the show than from the rooftops above the city. Luckily, Dubai is home to several rooftop lounges, including WHITE Dubai, where you can celebrate the beginning of a new year.
Be one of the first people in the world to welcome 2020 by taking a vacation to Sydney, the first major international city to reach the new year. The city hosts a fire tug display, where large boats blast giant streams of water into the air to celebrate the night’s festivities. There’s also an air show and Harbour of Light Parade, capped off by a stunning, globally renowned fireworks show over the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge.
Additionally, you can purchase tickets for Luna Park Harbour Party NYE, a New Year’s carnival overlooking the harbour, or NYE in the Park, a popular festival with food trucks and two concert stages featuring live performances from some of Australia’s biggest artists. Perhaps best of all, December is summer in Australia, meaning you can spend the first day of 2020 on the beaches of Manly, Bondi, and Bronte.
New York, New York
Start your New Year’s resolutions off right with a four-mile Midnight Run through Central Park. Countdown to midnight with the crowd and wait for the fireworks to signal the start of the race before beginning your journey to the finish line. It’s a one-of-a-kind celebration you won’t find anywhere else.
If running four miles doesn’t sound like your idea of a fun evening, there’s always the one-and-only Times Square. Tourists travel from across the globe to watch some of the world’s most famous musicians perform before counting down to the famous ball drop. As arguably the most popular New Year’s celebration in the U.S., a New Year’s Eve spent in Times Square is sure to be the envy of all of your friends back home.
Gaze out upon the snowy landscapes and gorgeous northern lights while staying cozy in the warm train car of the Aurora Winter Train. Take a 12-hour train ride from Fairbanks to reach downtown Anchorage just in time to ring in the new year with the rest of the city. Share champagne toasts with your loved ones along the way, while enjoying full food and beverage services.
Once you’ve arrived in Anchorage, you’ll find the city’s largest event at Town Square Park. Performers and musicians line the streets as 3D projections dance across the buildings. The finale of the event is a beautiful fireworks spectacular above the city. Alternatively, skiers and snowboarders carry torches down Aleyska Mountain during the Girdwood Torchlight Parade, offering a sight you won’t see at a traditional New Year’s party. Afterward, celebrate with fireworks from the top of the mountain.
Berlin is internationally recognized for its nightlife scene, and for New Year’s, they turn it up another notch. In the days leading up to New Year’s Eve, many of Berlin’s clubs extend their hours to be open non-stop for days on end. Additionally, in recognition of the holiday, the city lifts its usual ban on fireworks, allowing locals and tourists alike to create a show of their own.
The Countdown at Brandenburger Tor transforms one of the city’s biggest tourist attractions into a bustling celebration, complete with a concert stage and an impressive fireworks display over Brandenburg Gate. With over one million attendees in each of the last few years, this is the largest party in the city, and one of the most popular in the world, so remember to arrive early if you want a prime spot.
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