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Destinations of the week

10 great places to spend New Year’s Eve

By Forrest Brown, From CNN

(CNN) — Some of the details may change, but year in and year out, these destinationsaround the world have a well-deserved reputation for traditionally throwing a great New Year’s Eve shindig.
Be sure to plan early 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:

1. 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.

2. Hong Kong

The dramatic skyline in Hong Kong provides a sight visitors never forget, and New Year’s Eve fireworks just up the ante. The fireworks that illuminate stunning Victoria Harbour are set to music.
You might catch the dazzling display from one of Hong Kong’s many hotels with great views, including Hotel Icon and Park Lane. Crowds gather a couple of hours early at Star Ferry Pier (Tsim Sha Tsui) for some theater, dance and circus performances.
While you’re in Hong Kong, you may also want to take in Ocean Park, a favorite amusement area.

3. 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, noise and revelry.
Bangkok’s answer to Times Square, CentralWorld Plaza is one of the main gathering spots for celebrations. Another popular gathering spot is the Asiatique shopping and entertainment area along the Chao Phraya River.
You may want to continue the celebration at one of Bangkok’s stunning bars such as Red Sky or a sky-high restaurant such as Sirocco.

4. Dubai

Fireworks explode from the Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest tower, in Dubai.

Fireworks explode from the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest tower, in Dubai.
STRinger/AFP/Getty Images
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 it brings in 2019, the Burj Khalifa holds the record for world’s tallest building (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 top-tier restaurants such as Cavalli Club Dubai while you’re there.
And if you have shopping in mind, check out Dubai Mall, one of the world’s largest.

5. Moscow

Historic Red Square in Moscow provides one of the coldest but also one of the most visually appealing settings for a New Year’s Eve fireworks display.
While you’re there, you may want to see one of the world’s most visited tombs, that ofcommunist leader Vladimir Lenin, or take a tour of Cold War relics from the Soviet era.
If you want to celebrate in truly grand style with Russian flair, the Ritz-Carlton in Moscow may be for you. It’s centrally located and has a rooftop bar.
From $396 per night
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6. 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 looking for a place with delicious food and a view of the festivities, check outMAReSOL, which specializes in Portuguese cuisine. If you’re in the mood for a party,Cape Point Vineyards is one of many places to consider.
Make the most of your trip by visiting South Africa’s renowned vineyards around Cape Town. (Like Sydney, Cape Town is just entering summer).

7. London

Boats line up in the Thames after watching New Years Eve fireworks in London, England.

Boats line up in the Thames after watching New Years Eve fireworks in London, England.
Dan Kitwood/Getty Images
Stately London along the Thames always provides a remarkable backdrop for New Year’s Eve fireworks. Tickets sell out fast for the official staging area, 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.
One great vantage point is a river cruise on the Monsoon Clipper or other boats.
A perfect 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.
While there, fans of British royalty may want to visit sites such as Kensington Palace, where Queen Victoria was born.

8. Rio de Janeiro

If you want to greet a new year with about 2 million other souls in a warm beach resort, head to Rio de Janeiro.
The main gathering at Copacabana Beach 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. For samba and choro music, head toCarioca da Gema.
Looking for a great view? Swing over to the Vista Chinesa, a small Chinese pagoda perched to provide a fantastic panorama.

9. 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:
— Head to Grand Army Plaza, which is just off Prospect Park in Brooklyn, for fireworks and fun. You 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. Near JFK Airport, it traditionally throws a blow-out NYE party.

10. 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 an unforgettable festival. 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.
Visitors are advised to book hotel rooms early, as prices in Vegas shoot up for the holiday. They’re also cautioned to dress warmly — the desert cools off a lot at night, especially in winter.


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