Top 10 spots to ring in the New Year
From Brazil's famous Copacabana beach to olde-worlde Europe, this is where the parties are!
Break out the party favours and the bubbly it's almost time to ring in the New Year. To avoid another night in with the television, the website AskMen.com offers its top 10 list of New Year's destinations for travellers keen to find fun out of town.
1. Copacabana Beach, Rio de Janeiro
As something memorable, a New Year's Eve beach party in Brazil is hard to beat. Beautiful people, fireworks, a carnival atmosphere, an incredible setting on the most famous beach in the world, and you have all the ingredients you need to have the most incredible New Year's experience of your life. Known locally as "Reveillon," the entire beach turns into an all-day party, with several musical stages, dancing, and everyone dressed in white (it's tradition). Over two million people turn up along the four km of sand, making this the ultimate New Year's party, which you simply mustn't miss.
2. Times Square, New York City
Of course, this is the most famous New Year's Eve event in the world. The big ball descending in Times Square is watched by a million people in the flesh, and a billion more around the world. Star-studded musical performances, pyrotechnics and myriad bars and clubs in close proximity make this as big a party as they come. It is so firmly etched into popular culture that many people feel it is something which has to be experienced at least once in your life. Times Square is always throbbing with energy, and on New Year's Eve it could power the entire Eastern seaboard.
3. Sydney Harbour, Sydney, Australia
As one of the first major cities to celebrate New Year's Eve, Sydney ensures that the rest of the world has a tough act to follow. With a midnight fireworks display witnessed all around the world, the "Harbour of Light" parade and plenty of drinking establishments combine to make this a world famous event. It starts at 1 pm, with the first firing of the harbour cannon, and goes on into the early hours of January 1. Over a million people are expected to attend this year, and given it is summer in Sydney, you won't have to wrap up to stay warm.
4. Frenchmen Street, New Orleans
Forget Bourbon Street -- New Orleans locals head to Frenchmen Street when they want to party. Frenchmen Street has a much more bohemian quality than what we've seen so far, and is famed for its bars and cafes filled with great musicians and bands. Expect dancing in the street, impromptu brass bands parading through, lots of drinking, and it being New Orleans, you'll probably see a few eccentric costumes, too.
5. The Brandenburg Gate, Berlin
If Paris and London are the refined parents at New Year's Eve, then Berlin is the drunken uncle. Over a million people gather for this overwhelming celebration, with a massive fireworks display, music, dancing, light shows, international food stands, and beer tents. Behind the Brandenburg Gate is the "Party Mile." The name says it all. Strasse des 17th Juni (17th June Street) turns into one huge open-air disco, replete with international DJs, laser and light shows and performing artists. It's also open-ended, so no matter how big a party animal you are, there will be someone there to party with.
6. Shibuya, Tokyo
As the heart of the entertainment district, Shibuya is unquestionably the party heartland of Tokyo. With a traditional countdown outside the train station (so you know it will be on time) you are within walking distance of a myriad of bars and clubs in the area -- in particular, check out Center Gai, which is the birthplace of many of the fashion trends of Japan's young people. For a more traditional Japanese New Year, check out the shrine of Meiji Jingu, where thousands of Tokyo residents gather at New Year's Eve. It's within walking distance, or a short train ride, of Shibuya.
7. London Eye fireworks display, London
Almost one million people attended last year's fireworks display, which was watched by millions more via television globally. And where better to spend New Year than London, home of Greenwich Mean Time, and therefore the epicenter of international timekeeping. As the main event in a city which has hundreds of New Year's celebrations to choose from, we felt the London Eye was the place to be. With so many people gathering in one place after a few hours of drinking, you can guarantee an electric atmosphere and the sort of amicability which means you can start chatting to a beautiful stranger and see where the night takes you.
8. Central World or Sanam Luang, Bangkok
If you want to discover how a New Year's party is thrown in Asia, this is a pretty good place to be with friends. Bangkok is unique, as it celebrates New Year three times every year between January and April -- Western, Chinese and Thai. Central World explodes with concerts, food stalls and beer gardens, while Sanam Luang, located opposite the Grand Palace, has an authentically Thai experience with traditional food, music and dancers. Whichever location you choose, you are guaranteed a memorable experience.
9. Champs-Elysees, Paris
From around 9 pm, this is the place to be in Paris. People flock from across France bringing drinks with them. From here, you can get a great view of the Eiffel Tower being turned into a giant pyrotechnic display, as well as the inevitable fireworks show. With an atmosphere described as "bon enfant" (harmless) it's going to be a typically refined celebration by the French. It may lack the unadulterated hedonism of Las Vegas, but if there is a more romantic and refined way to celebrate the new year with thousands of other people, we couldn't find it.
10. Las Vegas Strip, Las Vegas
Sin City gets just a little bit more debauched (if that were possible) as the strip is pedestrianized for a massive party, complete with fireworks, sound and light shows, and more clubs than you could visit in a dozen trips. Hundreds of thousands of revellers turn up in the evening, and you can be sure the party is going to get a little crazy -- it isn't called Sin City for nothing. At midnight, a massive fireworks display will grab your attention.