The new year might be the time when we celebrate a fresh, new start by resolving to do something better, but that can wait for 2014. There's one evening left in 2013 and that should be the time for fun and celebration! Many communities around the world through great parties that help to celebrate the new year, but some events are just special. Here are the best places you can ring in 2014!
Times Square, New York City, USA
New Year's Eve in Times Square Photo: Stuart Moreton
You could watch it live on the television... or you could go experience it for yourself. Over a million people cram into Times Square to listen to concerts, watch the ball drop, and maybe be interviewed by the national news. The party begins early, at 3pm, and you'll need to get there early to get into the best viewing sections. At 6pm, the New Year's Eve ball will be lifted into position, with the opening ceremonies of the party starting right after.
For the next 5 hours or so, there will be concerts, performances, and plenty of partying to be had throughout Times Square. Miley Cyrus is scheduled to perform, as well as Capital Cities, Daughtry, Ariana Grande, and The Fray to just name a few. A 60 second countdown will put the last seconds of 2013 into the history books and 2014 will be brightly emblazoned across the New York City skyline.
Victoria Embankment, London, UK
Victoria Embankment, London Photo: .Martin.
The city of London explodes into light and color as 2014 begins, but that doesn't mean there isn't a lot to do before and after 2013 fades into history. Big Ben will countdown the final 12 chimes of 2013 with St. Paul's, fireworks will explode over the Thames, and then you've got an all-night pub crawl ahead of you! Make sure you know the words to Auld Lang Syne, but even if you don't, you'll have plenty of opportunities to learn it!
If you can't make the Embankment, there are good viewing spots on the Waterloo and Westminster Bridges as well. Viewing areas will close as they fill up and you must be on site by 10:30pm to be able to view the fireworks. If braving the crowds isn't for you, a Thames cruise can put you near the show or maybe you'd like to experience it all from The Shard, which is the tallest building in Western Europe. You can also catch a show at the London Circus, enjoy the London Carnival Party, or get a taste of New York with NYC-style pizzas at the Empire State of Mind.
The Harbour, Sydney, Australia
Sydney Harbour Fireworks Photo: miquitos
Sydney puts their own spin on New Year's Eve with a unique symbol that lights up their iconic bridge. Very few people know what it'll be this year, so be sure to check it out for yourself! Before 2014 arrives, however, there are plenty of fun things to see and do. Boat owners will string up their rides with plenty of lights for the Harbour of Lights Parade, so get there early to take in the amazing sights!
The Royal Botanic Gardens offers three very popular ways to experience the holiday in Sydney: the Garden Oasis, which provides dancing, cocktails, and a great view of the fireworks over the Opera House and Harbour Bridge; the Harbour Party at Luna Park includes roller coaster riding, a Ferris wheel, and dancing to modern music; and the Shore Thing at Bondi Beach, which will include a live performance from Skrillex.
Victoria Harbor, Hong Kong, China
Hong Kong's Symphony of Lights fireworks Photo: Kroot
Hong Kong loves to show off the fact that it is a technically advanced city and that is predominantly on display when 2014 arrives. Often called one of the best light shows you could ever see, Hong Kong also pays homage to other NYE celebrations around the world, including a replica ball drop at the Times Square Shopping Mall.
There are plenty of free public viewing spots available for the 8 minute light show that Hong Kong puts on display every year, but get there early because they fill up fast. The show starts at the Harbor and moves in-land, so even if you don't get to one of the first viewing spots, you'll still have a good time ringing in 2014 wherever you happen to be. The best way to see the entire show, however, is with an all-inclusive cruise out in the Harbor itself.
If hitting the Harbor isn't for you, there are other ways to celebrate 2014 too: Disneyland in Hong Kong runs extended hours on New Year's Eve.
Brandenburg Gate, Berlin, Germany
Fireworks at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin Photo: Julian
If you don't mind braving the cold of Germany and a rowdy crowd, then the party at the Brandenburg Gate is going to be just for you. Nearly 2 million people gather to experience the fireworks at midnight, but there are plenty of performances, light shows, and other forms of fun that you won't want to miss. This year's celebrations will include performances by Follow Your Instinct, VoxxClub, Peter Schilling, Santiano, Mathias Reim, Marie Marie, and many, many others.
Fireworks, bottles, and other items are restricted from the event, but that's ok – there are plenty of party tents available that will have all the food and drink you'd ever want! Admission to the open-air party is free, though merchants and tent operators may have charges for specific items. Expect the party to last all the way until sunrise!
Don't feel like mingling with the crowds, but you still want to get outdoors? Then Berlin's unique Grünewald Forest Run might be for you, but beware – some racers take this event quite seriously!
Eiffel Tower, Paris, France
If a quiet, reserved, and impeccably dressed NYE event is what you're looking to enjoy, then the party by the Eiffel Tower is the perfect one for you. You won't see any official fireworks being lit to celebrate the first seconds of 2014, but fireworks are legal to purchase in the city and you'll most certainly hear and maybe see some going off. Grab some Champagne, enjoy the light show that happens, and remember that the consumption of alcohol outdoors in Paris is a fineable offense... though most people don't care.
Leading up to the light show at the Eiffel Tower, the time is perfect to have an incredible dining experience at one of the top restaurants in Paris. Many offer unique NYE menus and you can find something in every price range. A cabaret show makes for the perfect dessert before heading out onto the Champs-Elysées.
Fremont Street, Las Vegas, USA
New Year's Eve in Las Vegas Photo: InSapphoWeTrust
Boasting a gathering the rivals that of cities that are triple its size, nearly 300,000 people cram themselves onto Fremont street to enjoy the party atmosphere that Las Vegas has to offer. Fremont Street offers something unique for the NYE party – a multi-block light show overhead that can be constantly running.
The casinos down on Fremont Street all offer something special for the evening as well, from special shows to drink specials at their bars. The clubs also offer unique deals and specials to help ring in the new year, while the Strip becomes traffic free, letting you explore everything from the Bellagio fountains to the jam party at the Hard Rock Hotel.
Unlike other locations where people disobey the local laws to have open containers of alcohol with them, Las Vegas allows it, so make sure you get a nice drink, take a stroll down the Strip with someone you love, and don't forget about the light show at Fremont Street.
Shibuya and Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan
Tokyo New Years Photo: Derek Springer
Truth be told, the New Year's holiday in Tokyo is actually quite quiet when compared to other cities, and considering the population density of this city, that is quite the claim. It comes from the tradition of hatsumode, where the family goes to their local shrine or temple to make their first visit of the new year. The bells are run 108 times to celebrate the new year, but then it is off for a party that can last well into the morning.
The best places to find a good party in Tokyo are in the Shibuya and Shinjuku areas. The planning for these parties is pretty meticulous, however, so jumping on a plane to take part in a celebration here isn't likely going to return a good result. Many visitors plan out their Tokyo NYE plans 6 months or more in advance!
One of the newest additions to the Tokyo NYE experience is the Skytree, which is the world's largest tower. There is an observation tower, a restaurant, and a skywalk that has a 360 degree view of the city, letting visitors take in the fireworks displays that go off once 2014 hits. The big event in Tokyo actually happens the next day as the inner grounds of the Imperial Palace are opened to the public. It's only one of two days during the year that this happens, so if you join in on this, expect large crowds!
Red Square, Moscow, Russia
Red Square, Moscow Photo: Uroš
The combination of cold nights, little sunshine, and lots of vodka create the perfect atmosphere for a very long party. With as little as 4 hours of sunshine available because of the city's northern location, the celebration at Red Square is often chilly, below zero, but still lots of fun. Fireworks light up the sky over Moscow's iconic buildings to ring in 2014, the buildings are lit up beautifully, and a countdown party helps to count down the final few seconds of 2013.
If the crowd scene at Red Square isn't for you, there are plenty of other vantage points that are out of the way of the crowds, but will still let you see the fireworks. One of the more popular things to do is to take a stroll down the banks of the Moskva River.
Where Will You Celebrate the New Year?
Whether you watch the fireworks on the television, through live streams online, or you are there for a party in one of these cities, the first seconds of 2014 are going to be a wonderful time of celebration. Set aside those resolutions for a little while, go have a good time, and experience the world's greatest day to party in your own favorite way!