Top 10 New Year’s Eve Alternatives to New York City

It’s tempting to muster up the courage (and money) to spend New Year’s Eve in New York City like a million other merrymakers, but you’ve already seen the legendary ball drop in Times Square – maybe not in person, but on a television screen. Plus, you’ll sing Auld Lang Syne better if you’re not trembling in the cold or being pushed around by a big crowd. New Year’s Eve is the cause of countless soirees, galas, blowouts, and firework shows around the world. But where are the best ones? Get the year off to a festive start with these top 10 New Year's Eve destinations.

1. Rio de Janeiro

Brazil’s bash tops them all. Don’t shiver in Times Square or watch other folks shiver in Times Square on TV. Instead, dance to samba music on the shores of Copacabana Beach with two million fellow revelers. The impressive midnight fireworks show doesn’t just signal a New Year, but a new reason to celebrate. If you’re in bed before 3 am on New Year’s, you’re probably not in Rio de Janeiro. Few rules govern the festivities here, but to blend in with the vast crowd, wear white.

2. Paris

Gather for an epic champagne toast on Champs-Elysees and stake out a good vantage point of the Eiffel Tower! As you wait for the much-anticipated fireworks show to shed even more light on the City of Light, watch out for random firecrackers (they’re legal). Also, prep yourself for kisses – it’s traditional to exchange pecks on the cheek at the stroke of midnight. Once the New Year rolls around, Parisians scatter about the city to continue the festivity in homes and bars.

3. Las Vegas

The Strip is closed off to cars starting at 5 pm on New Year’s Eve, so it’s teeming with partying pedestrians, celebs included, eagerly awaiting live performances by their favorite bands and a massive fireworks show overhead. Other celebrators head to the Freemont Street Experience for casinos and an electronic light show. Big spenders make use of their New Year’s Resolution with promises to never gamble again. Budget vacationers are advised to stay in a Las Vegas rental condo.

4. Tokyo

Whether you join the countdown at the Zojoji Temple or Disneyland, you'll experience a fantastically unique New Year’s Eve in Tokyo. The shrines are as popular as the nightclubs here, so perhaps that's what distinguishes a Japanese New Year’s Eve from all the rest.

New Year's Eve Champagne Toast

5.  London

Because there’s not just “one thing to do” on New Year’s Eve, you’re better off crawling the pubs. Walk down the street and you’re sure to find a great event or party already underway. If New Year’s Eve seems empty without some good old-fashioned fireworks, watch the sky explode with illumination at the London Eye, Europe’s largest Ferris wheel. Bring in the New Year with Big Ben, the famed clock tower, by staying in a London vacation apartment, where you can recover overnight for the beloved London Parade the next day.

6. Sydney

The so-called Times Square of Australia, Sydney is the place to be on New Year’s Eve (and so are Sydney vacation rentals). The view of the 12-minute fireworks show from the Sydney Harbour or the iconic Sydney Opera House is simply spectacular.

7. Boston

First Night Boston is a family-friendly affair that encourages people to appreciate the arts, whether that’s the symphony, opera, or Shakespearean poetry. After a day of good, clean fun, hire a babysitter and hit the town for a night of dining, dancing, and other high jinks.

8. Seattle

On New Year’s Eve, make sure the Space Needle’s in good view as you watch Seattle’s skyline light up with fireworks and pyrotechnics! If you think the west coast’s alternative to the ball drop is overrated, Washington’s hippest city has plenty of restaurants, bars, and music venues that plan to throw their own parties, too.

9. Goa

For a magically exotic New Year’s Eve, grab your glow stick and head to India’s warm west coast. Raves, luxury, the beach… Goa offers up lucky guests a desirable mix of relaxation and high-octane partying.

10. Niagara Falls

What could make the towering Niagara Falls even more beautiful? Fireworks! The free “Niagara Falls New Year’s Eve Party” is held in Queen Victoria Park every year, and features an outdoor concert, fireworks (of course), and 30,000 party-goers. If you're not a resident Canadian, don't worry – you'll feel like a local in an Ontario vacation rental.


Interested in where the best nightlife is? With our Top 10 Ski Resorts with a Nightlife guide, discover the best apres-ski towns!

Book your New Year's Eve vacation now!