4 Wild Cities to Ring in the New Year

General — By cmcculloch on December 15, 2010 at 10:59 am

This post was written by our friends at Simonseeks.com.

It’s nearly that time again: when we arrange elaborate party plans to welcome in the New Year and attempt to have the most exciting and fun start to 2011 as possible. Unfortunately, celebrating the New Year doesn’t always turn out that way and people often find themselves confused as to how they managed to be in some terrible night club in their hometown or sat in front of the TV watching others enjoying themselves. Fear not, this guide brings you some of the best New Year Celebrations around the world; so jump on a plane, hop on a train or start walking because these are ways of welcoming in the New Year that you do not want to miss!

1. London

Image: Kevin Steinhardt/Flickr

Almost certainly the place to be if in the UK’s capital on 31st December 2010 is the London Eye, last year one million people congregated in the area to watch the magnificent fireworks display launched off the impressive 135 meter high landmark. As the fireworks ignite London’s skyline the sound of the world’s most famous clock, Big Ben striking midnight can be heard across Westminster. If braving the crowds isn’t your idea of fun, there are some fantastically placed bars and restaurants to enjoy the view whilst staying cozy and warm. For something truly memorable, Le Pont de la Tour, a French restaurant on the banks of the Thames is offering a 4 course meal and as midnight approaches a cruise down the river in a glass topped boat, the perfect vantage point to have a completely unspoiled view of the display.

2. New York

Image: Lin Hsin Yao/Lin Hsin Yao/Flickr

Possibly the most famous New Year’s celebration in the world, watching the ball drop in Times Square is an iconic way to ring in 2011. Over a billion watch on their TV sets across the globe but the 1 million who brave New York’s freezing temperatures are the ones who experience an event like no other. Arrive early and wrap up warm, the streets around Times Square begin to fill up and organizers and the NYPD stop access to the square starting around 6pm. From 6:58pm onwards giant screens show a 2 minute count down as each hour draws revelers closer to midnight, at 9:30pm the event organizers hand out American flags, glittering pom-poms, balloons and ‘Official Times Square Confetti Bags’ to the crowd to enjoy as the clock strikes 12. For the billions watching at home the live streaming of footage begins at 10pm so if you are there make sure you are looking your best, your face might just be shown on TV sets all around the globe. At 11:59pm the Waterford crystal ball begins its descent, covering 77 feet in just 60 seconds projecting light displays from its 696 multi-colored might bulbs and 96 strobe lights. At the stroke of midnight, pyrotechnics light the sky and the famous confetti is released from the rooftops of the buildings around Times Square creating a blanket of color.

3. Sydney

Image: Rob and Jules/Flickr

Sydney is one of the first cities in the world to see in the New Year and they know how to do it in style. The balmy summer temperatures promote a relaxed beach and BBQ atmosphere and when the sun does finally set, Sydney Harbour is host to a world famous fireworks display. After the first fireworks display finishes at 9pm, the famous Harbour of Lights Parade begins with more than 50 ships all decked with lights sailing through the waters of Sydney Harbour. Many of the ships in the parade offer a cruise package to include dinner, dancing, entertainment and of course an unrivaled view of Sydney Harbour Bridge and the fireworks. A trip on one of these cruises provides guests with luxurious surroundings whilst the crowds along the shoreline battle for prime positions.

4. Rio de Janeiro

Image: Ana Paula Hirama/Flickr

New Year’s in Rio encompasses all that is carnival, beautiful people, dancing, music and fireworks all on one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Known to the locals as “Reveillon” the celebration involves an all-day party at Copacabana Beach with live music and plenty of cocktails, which then culminates in a fantastic fireworks display. A must if attending this New Year’s party is to wear white, this is considered a lucky color for locals and you will certainly stand out if you don’t adhere to the Brazilian traditions, many locals also bring flowers with them and throw them into the sea as an offering to the deity of the seas, Yemanja. Take a bottle of champagne with you to pop at midnight and don’t be surprised if you get some poured or sprayed over you, Brazilians too regard this as lucky. Rio is the perfect destination for party lovers who enjoy a carnival atmosphere and don’t mind mixing in with the crowd, not so good for those who enjoy quieter celebrations.

Charlotte writes for new travel site Simonseeks.com where you can find inspirational travel guides and expert advice from New York hotels to hotels in London.

[Featured Image: hotel.preston/Flickr]

Tags: London, New Year's Eve, New York, Rio de Janeiro, sponsored post, Sydney

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