Almost every city rings in the new year in some way: New York City drops the ball, Las Vegas shuts down The Strip and has a giant block party and London celebrates with a fireworks display along the Victoria Embankment to the chimes of Big Ben.
No matter where you spend your New Year’s Eve, it’s bound to be exciting—especially if you could celebrate anywhere in the world. Here at Smart Meetings, we’ve compiled a list of cities with New Year’s celebrations where you can “party like its 1999.”
1. New Orleans
As one of the best party destinations all year-round, New Orleans has a bunch of activities for guests to celebrate the new year. Start the day off by watching the New Year’s Eve Parade and then head on over to the historic French Quarter for some music and entertainment ahead of the famous fleur de lis drop and fireworks above the Mississippi River. To get a front-row seat to the fireworks display, take a ride aboard the Creole Queen and enjoy the tasty buffet and open bar on the ship.
Celebrate the new year like a true barceloni or barcelonina by attending the “official” celebration next to the Magic Fountain of Montjuïc and eat 12 grapes, one for each strike of the clock at midnight! The preshow begins at 9:30 p.m., with the actual New Year’s Eve extravaganza starting at 11:45 p.m. and going until about 12:20 a.m. Preforming arts, fireworks and a pyrotechnics shows are all on display at the celebration. Afterward, find a club or night venue to continue the party into the early hours of the new year (just remember to buy your tickets ahead of time).
From parties and fireworks to dinners and cruises, the most romantic city in the world has tons to offer on New Year’s Eve! A video morphing show is put on at Arc de Triomphe before the countdown to midnight and fireworks show. If standing outside in a large crowd isn’t your style, take a river cruise—there are many options from which to choose. Hit up a nightclub or even the Paris Opera; the city offers a variety of options for you to ring in the new year.
Home to the world’s tallest building, Burj Khalifa, Dubai is an attention-grabbing destination to spend the new year. Burj Khalifa holds an amazing fireworks show and masses gather at the footsteps to watch in awe. There are many ways to celebrate the new year in Dubai, including beachside celebrations at Barasti Beach and unforgettable entertainment at Dubai Opera. If you want an incredible dining experience, hit up Urban Jungle Flair No. 5 at The Ritz-Carlton, Dubai for a gourmet meal and soiree.
If you’re looking for a party, Amsterdam is your place; from parties at nightclubs to champagne and deep-fried dough balls, there are ways to celebrate for all ages. One of the most widespread New Year’s Eve traditions in the Netherlands is to eat oliebollen (Dutch doughnuts) and wash them down with a good amount of champagne. The myth around oliebollen is that they are eaten to ward off evil spirits. The Amsterdam Light Festival is in full swing until the end of January, with Dutch and international artists creating awe-inspired light sculptures around historic Canal Ring, the River Amstel and other special locations. Take a stroll, bike or enjoy a boat through the city to view these spectacular lights.
Is there a better place to celebrate the new year than the beach? Honolulu’s Waikiki Beach hosts a fireworks display with one announced firework going off every minute before midnight, starting at 11:55 p.m. Also, Hilton Hawaiian Village hosts a special fireworks show at 11 p.m. over its lagoon and Great Lawn. If you’re looking to go to a party, there’s plenty to choose from: Tiki’s Grill and Bar hosts its Starlight Dinner and Party at the Aston Waikiki Beach Hotel, there is a New Year’s Eve Party at Sheraton Waikiki’s oceanfront poolside nightclub RumFire and a 53 by the Sea offers a Casino Night, just to mention a few.