Top Cities to Ring in the New Year

Whether you ring a bell in a Tokyo temple, or throw flowers into the Rio sea, be sure to welcome 2018 with a bang. Here are the world’s top New Year’s spots.

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Out of all the holidays in the year, New Year’s Eve is the loudest and most celebrated of all. Spanning countries and cultures, each city has its own way of ushering in the new year. Here are our top picks for the best cities to celebrate.

Sydney, Australia

World's Best New Year's Celebrations: Sydney, Australia
New Year’s Eve: Sydney, Australia

As one of the first cities in the world to enter the new year, Sydney constantly sets the bar high for celebrations across the world. As the whole city gears up to celebrate, you’ll find indigenous smoking ceremonies, mini-light shows, and boat parades. Cruise along Sydney Harbour, and see the city come to life with a brilliant light show before Sydney sets its sky ablaze with an incredible fireworks display.

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Paris, France

World's Best New Year's Celebrations: Paris, France
New Year’s Eve: Paris, France (Flickr/Yann Caradec)

At the City of Lights, thousands gather to witness the Eiffel Tower explore into light as fireworks burst from the Parisian symbol to usher in the new year. The night is full of music and dancing, as Parisians and travelers celebrate all over the city with Champagne bottles in hand. But if you’re looking for a quieter place to share that New Year’s kiss, take a romantic boat ride and cruise along the Seine, where you’ll see the fireworks reflect magnificently on the river.

London, England

World's Best New Year's Celebrations: London, England
New Year’s Eve: London, England (Flickr/Giggling Gigi)

Milk the New Year’s celebration down to the last second when you head to London. Three hours before midnight, the city comes alive as residents and some 10,000 performers sing along to “Auld Lang Syne,” before gathering at the banks of the River Thames. There, you’ll witness a spectacular light show as Big Ben chimes in the New Year. Of course, for a truly unique view, take a ride on the famous London Eye. When you wake up the next morning, head out into the streets to witness the London’s New Year’s Day Parade.

Tokyo, Japan

World's Best New Year's Eve Celebrations: Tokyo, Japan
New Year’s Eve: Tokyo, Japan (image via Kikidai)

For health and happiness, feast on a piping bowl of buckwheat noodles and listen to the temple bells ringing. Known as Joya No Kane, the Japanese-Buddhist tradition of ringing temple bells 108 times is said to banish evil passions and desires so we can begin the new year cleansed and renewed. Visit a temple to ring a bell and make a wish. And if you can, linger on until January 2 and visit the Imperial Palace—only one of the two days a year the Emperor opens the grounds to the public.

Rio, Brazil

World's Best New Year's Celebrations: Rio, Brazil
New Year’s Eve: Rio, Brazil (Flickr/Alex de Carvalho)

For the best New Year’s Party, head to Rio. On December 31, its famous Copacabana Beach is filled with loud music, colorful costumes, live performances and attractions, and wild events that make for the world’s biggest beach party. For good fortune, come dressed in white and toss flowers into ocean as an offering to Yemanja, the Goddess of the Sea. Afterwards, drink and dance the night away, but pause to see the small fleet of boats set off incredible fireworks over the ocean.

New York City, New York

Best New Year's Celebrations in the World: New York City
New Year’s Eve: New York City (Flickr/Peter Stevens)

Last, but definitely not the least: New York City. The city that never sleeps is an exciting place year-round with over 80 attractions to see, but it pulls all the stops on December 31 with its blazing neon lights, fireworks, and of course: the crystal ball drop. For over 100 years, millions have elbowed their way past the crowds of Broadway and Seventh Avenue to see the Waterford crystal LED ball drop to usher in the new year. Don’t settle for the live stream this year, and experience this incredible tradition in person.

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