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10 bang-up places for New Year’s Eve fireworks and more

<i>Hsu Tsun-hsu/AFP/Getty Images</i><br/>The Taipei 101 building makes for an incredible fireworks launching pad.
Hsu Tsun-hsu/AFP/Getty Images
The Taipei 101 building makes for an incredible fireworks launching pad.

Forrest Brown, CNN

These destinations around the world have a well-deserved reputation for traditionally throwing a great New Year’s Eve fireworks show and shindig, and they’re bouncing back from the subdued celebrations of the past two years during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Be sure to plan for prime parties and the best viewing areas for fireworks. Some venues charge admission, and tickets sometimes sell out months ahead.

So let the countdown begin. Here are 10 great places where you can travel for a New Year’s Eve you’ll never forget:

Sydney

Sydney, Australia, is the first major international city to greet the new year at midnight. The major fireworks display takes place at Sydney Harbour with the Opera House and Harbour Bridge providing a spectacular backdrop.

Islands in the harbor or family-friendly parks on either side offer great views.

A bonus for Sydney: Summer’s just started there, and you can also take advantage of the city’s beaches, including Manly, Bondi and Bronte.

Taipei, Taiwan

New Year’s Eve in Taipei, the capital city of the island of Taiwan, is a visual spectacle.

The city’s tallest building, Taipei 101, is the launching pad for an unforgettable fireworks show. Prime spots to take in the event include Tiger Mountain (for distance viewing), National Dr. Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall and the Xinyi Commercial District, which gets quite crowded.

The city also sponsors musical performances leading up to the big event.

And you might want to take the party to one of Taipei’s great nightlife options such as Barcode (very close to Taipei 101) or OMNI (which has spectacular lights and a large dance floor).

Bangkok

Bangkok often tops roundup lists of Asia’s best nightlife cities. So of course, it’s a natural place to ring in the new year if you like crowds, bright lights, noise and revelry.

Catch an amazing fireworks show at ICONSIAM, a major shopping and entertainment destination along the Chao Phraya River.

You may want to continue the celebration at one of Bangkok’s stunning bars such as Sky Beach Bangkok, the city’s highest bar, or Sirocco, also set high above the bustling streets.

If the revelry becomes too much, get some calming down time on January 1 at a temple such as Wat Pho, with its reclining Buddha.

Dubai

The Burj Khalifa in Dubai is one of the most attention-grabbing skyscrapers in the world, and it’s only more so at New Year’s Eve.

As 2022 comes to a close, the Burj Khalifa holds the record for world’s tallest building (823 meters or 2,716.5 feet), and throngs gather at the footsteps to welcome a new year with an amazing fireworks show. Not too far away, Burj Plaza is a little quieter and popular with families.

Dubai is building a reputation as a major food destination, so you may wish to indulge in restaurants such as Orfali Bros, founded by three brothers from Syria, or Baku Cafe for Azerbaijani fare.

And if you have shopping in mind, check out Dubai Mall, one of the world’s largest.

Cape Town

Cape Town is one of the most beautifully situated cities in Africa — and the world. New Year’s Eve fireworks make it all the more spectacular.

If you’re in the mood for a party, Aztec-themed Alcazar will feature 10 hours of performances on three stages, all set at the foot of Table Mountain.

If you’re looking for a place to dine, consider Pier, featuring a vegetarian menu. It’s on the Victoria & Albert waterfront, which is great spot to catch the fireworks.

Make the most of your trip by visiting South Africa’s renowned vineyards around Cape Town such as Leeu Estates. (Like Sydney, Cape Town is just entering summer).

Rome, Italy

The citizens of Rome know how throw a good shindig — they’ve been at it off and on for more than 2,000 years.

For fireworks, head to Circus Maximus, the chariot-racing and entertainment venue from antiquity, for a visual show that would impress the ancient party-givers from the glory years of the Roman Empire.

New Year’s Eve is for the ears, too. Among the events: The Three Tenors Concert on New Year’s Eve and again on New Year’s Night at Caravita, an international, English-speaking Catholic church.

If you don’t party too hard, you can enjoy the musically inclined Rome Parade, which features US marching bands among many other acts on New Year’s Day.

And don’t forget your red underwear!

London

Stately London always provides a remarkable backdrop for New Year’s Eve fireworks, which are staged by the London Eye on the South Bank of the Thames.

Tickets for 2022 in the official staging area have already sold out, but you may be able to see the fireworks for free from hilltops such as Primrose Hill, Parliament Hill on Hampstead Heath, Greenwich Park and Alexandra Palace. You can also try to find a spot on bridges such as Millennium Bridge and Southwark Bridge.

Another great vantage point is a river cruise, where you can enjoy the spectacle from the Thames.

A traditional way to greet the prospect of a new year is to settle down in one of London’s oldest pubs, such as the Old Bell Tavern, serving up adult beverages since 1670.

Rio de Janeiro

If you want to greet a new year with about 3 million other souls in a warm beach resort, head to Rio de Janeiro.

The main gathering at Copacabana Beach, which starts even before dark, traditionally features a variety of musical acts and fireworks.

If you want to party in classic Rio style, pay a visit to Jobi Bar. It’s a social institution in the city, having been open since the 1950s.

Looking for a great view? Swing over to the Vista Chinesa, a small Chinese pagoda perched to provide a fantastic panorama.

New York

Times Square in Manhattan. It’s synonymous with New Year’s Eve across the United States. Even if you aren’t there in person, there’s a good chance you’ve watched the famous ball drop on television. (The ball made its debut in 1907 and has been dropped each year since then, except for two years during World War II).

If you don’t feel like jamming into Times Square with around 1 million other folks, here are some other options:

• After a two-year hiatus because of Covid, fireworks and fun will be back at Grand Army Plaza, which is just off Prospect Park in Brooklyn. You may need to arrive early for the best views.

• If you’re 21 or older, try your luck at Resorts World Casino, the only casino in the city limits. Near JFK Airport, it traditionally throws a blow-out NYE party.

• If you’re in the Bronx, you can celebrate at The Bronx Public bar and kitchen, less than a mile from the southern end of Van Cortlandt Park.

Las Vegas

Vegas is bright lights year-round, but it goes all out for New Year’s Eve.

The Strip is closed off to vehicles, and pedestrians take over for a festival worthy of Vegas. At midnight, various casinos launch an impressive barrage of fireworks off the roofs of their buildings. You can watch the show from atop the Stratosphere Tower.

Sugar Ray and the Sugar Hill Gang will sweeten the pot at the close of 2022 at the Fremont Street Time of Your Life Festival.

Just like lucky streaks, Vegas ain’t always hot. Remember to check the weather forecast and dress warmly — the desert cools off a lot at night, especially in winter.

The-CNN-Wire
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This article was last updated in December 2022. CNN’s Karla Cripps and Maureen O’Hare contributed to this report.

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