Top 10 Most Iconic New Year’s Eve Celebrations from All Over the World

Won’t be home to ring in 2018? From the ringing of traditional bells to extravagant parties, here are the most show-stopping New Year’s Eve celebrations and meaningful traditions from all over the world. If you’ll be in any of these towns, make sure you bring your loved one to witness these special countdowns (and maybe even share a 2018 kiss)!

Top New Year’s Eve Celebrations from All Over the World

new year's eve

Did you know? Australia and New Zealand are one of the first few countries to cross over into the New Year! Pictured: Fireworks at Sydney Harbour

#1 Times Square, New York, U.S.

Of course we’re starting this list with the Big Apple’s famous ball-drop! Each year, millions of people squeeze into Times Square (between Broadway and Seventh Avenue) to see the Waterford ball drop 141 feet from the top of the One Times Square building. A 100-year-old tradition, the crystal LED ball begins its descent at 11:59pm, and reaches the ground at exactly midnight!

(Video credit to SyedGamer via YouTube.)

#2 Eiffel Tower, Paris, France

Next in line is the City of Love’s epic Eiffel light show. On La Réveillon de Saint Sylvestre (New Year’s Eve, as it is in known in French), a spectacular firework display will erupt from the city’s most iconic iron building, illuminating and adding colour to the city skyline. You can catch the fireworks from Champs-Élysées, the Sacré-Couer church, or the Trocadéro. 

(Video credit to TheTfk512 via YouTube.)

#3 Sydney Harbour, Sydney, Australia

One of the first few countries to pass into each new year, Australia holds a stunning firework show at Sydney Harbour every New Year’s Eve. The locals gather not just on the streets, but on boats too! The colourful fireworks go off above the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House, so don’t miss it.

(Video credit to ABC TV via YouTube.)

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#4 Trafalgar Square, London, England

Join the Londoners as they wait for the Big Ben to not just strike 12, but for the tower to burst into fireworks that continue at each of the 12 strokes of the hour. Not far away, the equally famous London Eye too lights up with festive fireworks! Catch it at the Thames waterfront and Trafalgar Square.

(Video credit to BBC via YouTube.)

#5 Seoul, South Korea

Everyone knows that when it comes to partying, the new generation of young and hip Seoulites go the hardest! So naturally, if you’re a party animal, you’d want to be at their New Year’s Eve party. This 2017/18, the final countdown party will be held at the Big Top Arena in Seoul Sports Complex, and will see world famous DJs like Martin Jensen, VINI VICI, and more.

(Video credit to 브이유이엔티 – VU ENT via YouTube.)

Not so much into partying? Well, head to Olympic Park and have a picnic like the locals and wait for the colourful fireworks to go off at midnight. For something more traditional and symbolic, visit the Bosingak Pavilion where the Korean dignitaries will ring the Bosingak Bell 33 times to (quite literally) ring in the new year.

(Video credit to ARIRANG NEWS via YouTube.)

#5 Bangkok, Thailand

Head to any bar or club, and you’ll most definitely be crashing a countdown party of some sort! You can pop your bubbly there, if not, go over to Central World mall for the street countdown party and fireworks. Similar festivities will be going on at Asiatique as well, which will be broadcasted on the telly from 5pm onwards. You can expect live music and performances, and of course, a firework display!

(Video credit to Fawad Najam via YouTube.)

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#6 The Strip in Las Vegas, U.S.

If you thought The Strip was hip and happening, wait till you see it on New Year’s Eve! On 31 Dec, the entire street will be closed to traffic, and turned into a massive block party for celebrities and party animals. But they don’t call it the Sin City for nothing: With that many people and alcohol, it’s wise to plan your trip beforehand in anticipation for the rowdy crowd. If you’re planning to get smashed, we recommend you either book a hotel room within walking distance to the party, or take the free RTC buses to get around. (They’re free on New Year’s Eve to discourage drink driving!)

(Video credit to KTNV Channel 13 Las Vegas via YouTube.)

#7 Tokyo, Japan

The Japanese have a slightly different way of ushering the new year: Instead of crazy parties and champagne, the locals visit temples and shrines to hear the ringing of bells as the city counts down to 2018. If you’re in the hotel room, you can tune in to the  Kohaku Uta Gassen (EN: Year-end Song Festival) TV show! It’s an annual musical programme that features popular celebrities in a friendly musical battle challenge.

(Video credit to Japanagos(ジャパナゴス) via YouTube.)

If you’re roaming the city, there will be a mass countdown at Tokyo Tower as well, which will light up at midnight. Adding to the atmosphere, the nearby temples (like the Zojo-ji Temple in the video above) will ring their bells.

With that, here’s wishing you and your loved ones a Happy New Year!

The Happenings Team

Check out The Travel Junkie’s 2018 Long Weekend Cheat Sheet, 10 Ways to Stop Tourist Crowds from Ruining your December Holiday, and Travel #Adulting: Must I Really Buy Travel Insurance?

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