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Top 10 Spots for New Year's Eve 2006

: Party into the Wee Hours

Berlin Open End is the oddly named New Year’s Party that stretches nearly two miles long, past the Brandenburg Gate. More than a million people turn out for a night of celebration featuring international music stars and a roster of DJs. Choose among the eight party tents and three stages for live bands, and take in the action on eight super-sized video screens. Look for the light and laser shows and, of course, midnight fireworks. And don’t worry about this evening ending too early: Berlin has a well-earned reputation as a party city, so the music and dancing will go on until the wee hours.

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California, USA: Movie Studio Madness

Gridlock is a fact of daily life for Angelenos, but it will mean something to celebrate on December 31, with Gridlock, a party at Paramount Pictures Studio. Pamela Anderson and Carmen Electra host, and this event will have its own unique firecrackers—a midnight performance by the sultry Pussycat Dolls and the explosive Kid Rock. Nearly 5,000 people will fill the faux streets of this studio backlot, where countless movies and television shows have been shot. Three stages will host a mix of live bands and DJs, with food and drink stations all around. You can leave the umbrella at home as a massive tent will cover the entire event in the unlikely case of rain.

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Australia: Fireworks Spectacular Down Under

Multiple sites around the city offer perfect views of a pair of fireworks spectaculars, one at 9:15 p.m., and the other at midnight, both with booming soundtracks of contemporary music. Take in the shows at any of half a dozen or more sites, but look to Birrarung Marr park for al fresco movies (from "Ghostbusters" to "Men in Black") and bands for the younger crowd, and Federation Square for world music performances by Latin and African bands.

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Hawaii, USA
: Aloha Spirit Meets New Year’s Eve

The Aloha Tower Marketplace offers waterfront dining and live entertainment as well as front row views of the city’s midnight fireworks spectacular over Honolulu Harbor. It’s the perfect night to sample traditional Japanese New Year’s foods, including ozoni (mochi soup) and kuromame (black beans with chestnuts), whether at a restaurant in the Marketplace, or from a street vendor nearby. Afterwards, observe the Japanese tradition of visiting a Shinto shrine after midnight on New Year’s Eve to express gratitude for blessings of the past and to pray for guidance and protection for the New Year.

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Bahia, Brazil
: Get Down With Your Inner Goddess

Head to the beaches with tens of thousands of locals and tourists, and remember to dress in white and bring flowers. Reveillon (New Year’s Eve) also serves as a time to honor Iemanjá, the Goddess of the Sea and Mother of the Waters, so heave your flowers into the water and make a wish. If they are pulled out to sea, Iemanjá will grant your wish. Move to the Farol da Barra, a picturesque old lighthouse, for performances by some of Brazil’s top musicians in a party that goes on for hours. Or join the festivities in Boa Viagem, near the beach at Itapagipe, for the Festa do Senhor Bom Jesus dos Navegantes, where the ship Gratidao do Povo (Gratitude of the People) carries an image of the saint into the ocean, followed by dozens of other boats.

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Puerto Rico: Sea-labrate Aboard a Cruise Ship

Cruise on the Regent Seven Seas Navigator, and you’ll spend New Year’s Eve at sea as the ship departs San Juan, Puerto Rico, at 11 p.m., heading for the capital of the Virgin Islands, Charlotte Amalie on St. Thomas. The luxurious Navigator, which has a maximum capacity of less than 500 guests, hosts its own party, a “Black and White” New Year’s Eve, with black and white formal attire, live music, dancing and a midnight Champagne toast.

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Washington, USA: Fireworks And Fun at the Space Needle

Locations up and down the 605-foot-tall Space Needle will serve as a launch site for hundreds of fireworks. The midnight extravaganza, choreographed to music, is free to the public and can be seen for miles around this Seattle landmark. But for a close-up experience, watch from inside at a pair of parties, one on the Observation Deck ($125 per person) with a funk band, the other at SkyCity at the Needle ($250 per person) with a six-course gourmet meal.

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Canada: A "Whale" of a Year

Sleepovers may seem like a relic of childhood, but not at the Vancouver Aquarium, where you'll ring in the New Year with 70,000 of your closest animal friends. Activities include an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour and a special late-night aquatic show featuring a shark dive and beluga whales. A gourmet dinner buffet kicks off the evening, and don't even think about leaving before the lavish breakfast the next morning.

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Austria: The Most Romantic New Year’s in Europe

Dance a midnight waltz high above the Danube this New Year’s Eve on board the restored Majestic Imperator luxury train in Vienna. Enjoy the city by night—and by rail—as you’re treated to a formal black tie dinner followed by a New Year’s Ball. During the last moments of 2006, the train will come to a stop on a bridge over the famed river to allow guests to view the city’s magnificent fireworks display.

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USA: See The Nation’s Capital in a New Light

Watch from your perch aboard the Spirit of Washington as fireworks explode over the Potomac River in a scene that calls to mind "the bombs bursting in air" from the country's National Anthem. Guests of this historic waterfront cruise will enjoy dining, dancing, live entertainment and splendid views of the nation's capital in a patriotic setting.

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