Since 1969, restaurant, hotel, travel & other witty reviews by a handpicked, worldwide team of discerning professionals—and your views, too.

Top 10 Spots for New Year's Eve

The Netherlands
: Citywide Free For All

Organized Fireworks in Dam Square, Nieuwmarkt
If you like your New Years big, bold, brassy and loud, then look no further than Nieuwmarkt Square in the center of Amsterdam. You’ll be overwhelmed by the fireworks because it’s a total free for all with people letting off their own fireworks left, right and center. Join the revelers and bring your own bottle of Champagne along and celebrate Oudjaarsdag (Old Years Day) in style. Don’t bother looking for a hip party to attend, because the hippest of them all takes place in the streets. Don’t panic, if you’re not into the free-for-all fireworks you can check out the organized exhibitions in Dam Square in Nieuwmarkt.

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The Netherlands Travel Guide


England: Kiss A Bobby

New Year's Eve Celebrations on the River Thames
Countdown the twelve final chimes alongside Big Ben, and watch the city of London explode in light and color as fireworks go off over the London Eye and the Thames River. Then hit the pubs along with scores of other hardy souls, link arms and sing Auld Lang Syne in your best, rowdy, off-key falsetto. If you’ve decided to spend the evening at one of the West End’s fantastic stage shows, you may find yourself cozying up to the stranger next to you to ring in the New Year. It’s a tradition on New Year’s that come curtain-call, the entire cast and crew come together and get the audience to join in with a rendition of Auld Lang Syne. And if you’re really daring, go kiss a bobby (a local policeman). There will be scores of them about taming the crowds especially near Trafalgar Square.

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Spain: Wear Your Red Underwear

New Year's Eve in Puerta del Sol Square
If you wish your friends a Happy Nochevieja or Fin de Ano, then Spaniards everywhere will embrace you with open arms on the eve of Dec. 31. In Madrid, join the locals on New Years in Puerta del Sol square in the heart of the city. The ultimate night life destination throughout the year becomes the place to party on New Years Eve for any self-respecting Madrelene (as the Madrid locals call themselves). Join them as you count down the seconds to New Years by eating twelve grapes washed down with Champagne alongside the twelve chimes of the Casa de Correos clock. Don’t forget to wear red underwear to the festivities: Spaniards believe doing so will bring you good luck in the coming year. Following your twelve grapes, head to one of the local restaurants for a good meal accompanied by lots of dancing to live music. You can party all night too, with scores of local discos or bars to choose from.

Madrid for the Business Traveler
Spain Travel Guide


: Fun In The French Quarter

New Year, New Orleans
It’s taken a couple of years to get back on its feet after Hurricane Katrina, but New Orleans is planning on getting its game on big time come this New Year’s Eve. Be sure to be at the ball drop in Jackson Square at midnight and keep track of the cocktails on offer. This annual event features fireworks and plenty of unique local flavor. You’ll have plenty of booze choices, not to mention Southern fare. Party the night away in Jackson Square along with the usual suspects: fire-eaters, mimes and local street performers.


: Keep Your Eye On The Ball

Times Square Comes Alive on New Year's Eve
Yes, we know it’s freezing and Times Square is packed to capacity, but honestly, can you really say you’ve experienced New Year’s Eve if you haven’t joined the locals in coming together to watch the ball drop? And Dick Clark is still going to be there to do the countdown.  Plus, this year marks the introduction of the fifth and newest Times Square New Year’s Eve ball, complete with Waterford crystal triangles, which apparently make the ball more than twice as bright as the old one. And let’s face it; New Yorkers know how to party. Whether you opt for a ritzy five-course meal at a swank hotel or a drink or two in a local pub, New Yorkers will welcome you with open arms.

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Brazil: Copacabana Beach Party

All Night New Year's Eve Party on Copacabana Beach
Escape the winter blues and shake your tail feather in fabulous Rio de Janeiro on Copacabana Beach with two million other revelers. We promise Barry Manilow will be nowhere in sight, although there will be some great bands playing. You’ll hang out with the locals and dance the night (and the morning) away. Not only will you get to watch a stunning firework display, you’ll join in the local tradition of throwing champagne and roses into the ocean as good luck offerings to the Afro-Brazilian goddess of the sea, Yemanja. Don’t forget to choose your clothing color palette wisely. Tradition holds that revelers wear all white with touches of blue if you wish for peace in the coming year; red if you’re looking for passion and yellow for prosperity.

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Australia: Start At The Beginning

Fireworks Over The Sydney Harbour Bridge
Given that Australia is one of the first countries on the globe to ring in the New Year, it makes sense to have it as one of the top places on the New Year’s Eve party circuit. Nobody parties quite like Sydney, with absolutely stunning fireworks exploding over one of the world’s most spectacular landmarks—the Sydney Harbour Bridge. But don’t just watch the festivities; be sure to listen to the brilliantly coordinated music that accompanies the spectacular. And don’t forget, it’s summer down under, so whether you watch the fireworks from a boat in the harbour, or from one of the myriad of Sydney’s vantage points, you can do it all in flip-flops and shorts, and take a dip in the ocean. Party on!

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Japan: Three Day Party

The Streets Come Alive in Tokyo on New Year's Eve
In Tokyo, people celebrate New Years from Dec. 31 to Jan. 3, so be sure to get your beauty rest before the festivities begin. The city comes alive with loads of fireworks, non-stop dancing, singing and of course, eating. You’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to clubbing. Check out Bullets or KISSA GINZA if you want to put on your dancing shoes. But New Years in Tokyo isn’t just for carousing. It’s a serious holiday in Japan, with families cleaning house and preparing fabulous meals in the hopes that the coming year will be more successful. Join the locals in visiting Shinto shrines and listen to the peal of 108 bells as they ring out in temples throughout the country. The Japanese believe that every person has 108 worldly desires and striking the bell 108 times on New Years will rid you of them.

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Canada: A Cavalcade Of Festivities

Nathan Phillips Square, New Year's Eve
Rug up warmly and dance on down into the heart of Toronto, Ontario for a great New Years bash. Warm up for the big festivities by taking in the Cavalcade of Lights Festival. You can’t miss it with over 100,000 lights illuminating Nathan Phillips Square in the center of the tourist district. On New Year’s Eve, locals head to Nathan Phillips Square for a rocking good time where some of Canada’s top performers take to the stage and perform in honor of the New Year and thousands of revelers sing, dance and cheer as the fireworks illuminate the sky over stunning Lake Ontario.

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Austria: Listen To The Champagne Corks Popping

Viennese New Year's Eve as Seen From the River Danube
There’s so much going on in Vienna on New Years Eve, it’s hard to know what to do first. With a plethora of open air events and parties going on throughout the city, the pop of Champagne corks is the signature sound that a new year is upon us. Scores of tents line the city’s streets with live music and DJs at every corner. While you may think classical music and opera when you think of Vienna, this is the one time of the year the city lets its hair down in style. You can disco, you can waltz or you can dance a jig right up until midnight when the Pummerin Bell in St. Stephen’s Cathedral rings out the midnight hour to the accompaniment of Strauss’s Blue Danube Waltz. At that moment, everything comes to a grinding halt … briefly, before the parties start up again complete with fireworks, and continues on into the wee hours.

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