New Year’s Eve is one of the most overrated holidays. Your favorite bars are too crowded and too expensive. There’s too much pressure to make great plans and have the night of your life.
You could call it a night and stay home in your pajamas. Or you could use it as an opportunity to travel, explore, and have the night of your life!
Some of my favorite New Year’s Eves are ones I spend surrounded by strangers on the other side of the world.
These are the top 6 destinations to spend New Year’s Eve this year:
1. New York, New York
Watching the ball drop in Times Square, New York, is so iconic that people from all over the U.S. and even around the world tune in to watch it happen. Why not enjoy the experience in person?
Spending New Year in New York is an experience that’s on many people’s bucket lists as long as you don’t mind braving the cold. Up to 100,000 people attend the New Year’s Ball Drop event each year and as an added bonus access is free.
Outside of this focal point event the bars and clubs of New York City are a great place to spend the New Year if you want to party.
Other fun informal traditions to celebrate the city include seeing in the New Year on the Brooklyn Bridge, watching the fireworks that are launched in Central Park, or joining the New York Road Runners Club to start the New Year with a 4 mile run!
2. Cancun, Mexico
Cancun is a fun and exciting place to spend New Year’s Eve, especially if you want to celebrate in the sunshine.
All of the bars are decorated with bright and colorful decorations to get you into the party spirit and there are glitzy and glamorous parties hosted all over the region particularly in the hotels and all-inclusive resorts. Cancun might not be the cheapest place to celebrate New Year’s Eve but you are guaranteed a wild celebration.
If you want to put on your glad rags and dance all night long then Cancun is one of the best places to see in the new year.
Stop at midnight to eat 12 grapes as quickly as possible – this is a longstanding tradition where each grape represents an upcoming month and will bring you luck. Most bars and clubs will offer grapes to their guests on New Year’s Eve.
3. Edinburgh, Scotland
Perhaps the world’s most famous New Year’s celebration is in Edinburgh where Hogmanay is celebrated with gusto. The whole city pours into the streets to celebrate, to join hands to sing ‘Auld Lang Syne’, and to enjoy the fireworks.
Edinburgh has been awarded the best outdoor celebration of New Year’s Eve in the world and the party lasts for around 3 days. Start by joining the torchlight procession through the city on December 30 to warm up for the epic street party on the 31st.
If you’re not feeling delicate after a few too many malt whiskeys the night before then on January 1 you can enjoy other public entertainment options such as a traditional ceildh.
The Discovery Channel listed spending the new year in Edinburgh as one of its ‘Top 25 World Travel Experiences’, and it is one of the best and most exciting New Year’s Eves I have ever experienced.
4. Rio De Janeiro, Brazil
The 2 million people that head to Rio De Janeiro for New Year’s Eve every year can’t be wrong! It’s summertime in Brazil so if you want to see in the New Year with sunshine this is a great place to be.
Live music is set up on Copacabana beach with performances starting from 8pm. Because the Copacabana beach is so big there are several stages set up along the shore meaning there’s plenty of room for everyone and you can see the hottest Brazillian singers and bands.
It is traditional to wear white for New Year’s Eve in Brazil. This is a tradition that originated in rituals to seek peace and spiritual purification. And it’s a great way to show off your tan.
Many people also wear brightly colored underwear because it’s thought to be lucky. Red to bring you love or yellow to bring you money.
5. Reykjavik, Iceland
Iceland is known as the land of fire and ice thanks to its dramatic contrasts. No time of year shows this more clearly than New Year’s Eve.
Set against a freezing cold background of snow and ice, New Year’s Eve is celebrated in Iceland with fireworks and huge community bonfires.
In Reykjavik you will find a Nordic bonfire in the heart of the city and fireworks displays like no other. In the greater Reykjavik area, there are usually around fifteen bonfires and these really stand out against the cold night sky.
Watch the bonfires as the fireworks explode in the sky then find a cozy bar to retreat to. And because bars in Reykjavik don’t have entry fees it’s a great place for bar hopping too!
New Year’s Eve is considered a night of magic and mystery in Icelandic folklore – a night when the elves come out to play. This makes it a fun place for a lighthearted night of celebration.
6. Sydney, Australia
Ring in the new year early by heading to Sydney where you can enjoy the largest and most technologically advanced New Year’s Eve fireworks display in the world.
Sydney celebrates twice with spectacular 9pm and midnight fireworks displays, ideal for Cinderellas that can’t stay up past midnight!
Sydney’s New Year’s Eve fireworks are watched by more than one million people around the harbor, plus another one billion people on television around the globe. It is a bucket list experience to see this incredible display in person.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com