Baby, if you love fireworks, let these cities show you what they’re worth.
A spectacular fireworks display evokes audible “oohs and ahhs” from the crowd and a twinge of childhood nostalgia as each new rocket explodes in the hazy night sky. A colorful pyrotechnics show is one of the most exciting ways to celebrate a new year. From Europe to Asia to Down Under, these are the best places to watch the sky light up.
Sydney is the first city in the world to welcome the new year, so expectations are high. In past years over 1.6 million people have traveled to the iconic Sydney Harbor Bridge and Opera House to watch the $7.2 million extravaganza. The fireworks start for kids at 9 p.m. with the winner of the Design Your Own Firework competition displayed. And at midnight a giant explosion of color, light, and music transforms up the entire harbor into one big party. People around the world can watch here.
INSIDER TIPRent a boat for the night and watch from the water.
In the weeks leading up the New Years Eve, the Marina Bay Sands area becomes a giant carnival with rides, street food, music, and more. Those looking to get a prime spot for the giant fireworks display should book a ticket for the NS Square, the Marina Bay floating platform. Even better, avoid the crowds and book a room at the world-famous Marina Bay Sands hotel and watch from there. Fireworks go off every hour starting at 8 p.m. but the midnight barrage of pyrotechnics and lasers are worth staying up for.
New York, New York
Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve is a time-honored tradition. Now hosted by Ryan Seacrest, the festivities are no less insane. Millions of people line up in Times Square hours before the event to get a view of the ball drop and the fireworks. For those more interested in fireworks than freezing in a puddle of pee, head to the Empire State Building or the Rainbow Room to watch half a dozen fireworks displays go off in all the different boroughs.
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Copacabana Beach is basically one big party year round. But on New Year’s Eve, nearly three million people crowd the beach for Brazil’s second largest party. Music starts at 8 p.m. and the fireworks shoot out from the barges anchored in the water right at midnight. The display lasts for about 20 minutes with a breathtaking grand finale to finish it off. Reserve a stay at Hotel Emiliano for one of the best views of the celebration, without all the craziness from below.
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Dubai does everything on a grand scale, from the tallest building in the world to one of the world’s biggest malls. Last year, they rung in the new year with a record-breaking light and water show called “Light Up 2018” illuminated on the Burj Khalifa and surrounding downtown buildings. But there are also major fireworks shows in other areas of the city including Dubai Festival City Mall, Atlantis the Palm, and the Burj Al Arab, which is sometimes referred to as the world’s first seven-star hotel.
The UK’s largest annual fireworks spectacular goes off over the Coca-Cola London Eye at midnight. Book a cruise on the River Thames for a more laid back viewing experience. But either way, London’s New Year’s Eve fireworks are a ticketed event, so be sure to buy one for $13 here.
INSIDER TIPIf they happen to be sold out, the entire show will be streaming live on BBC One.
Niagara Falls, Canada
One of the country’s longest-running New Year’s celebrations starts with an outdoor concert in Queen Victoria Park. There will be two fireworks shows: one at 9 p.m. and the main event at midnight with rainbow-colored effects lighting up the cascading water on Niagara Falls. Prepare for a potentially subzero-temperature night and view the fireworks spectacular from any number of hotels like Sheraton on the Falls or Embassy Suites by Hilton Niagara Falls Fallsview.
Known as Hogmanay in Scotland, it literally means New Year’s Eve. One of the world’s largest celebrations, the revelry lasts for three days with live music, parties in the street, family-friendly activities, and of course, fireworks. Fireworks start at 9 p.m. every hour on the hour with the grand finale appearing over Edinburgh Castle. People can see the fireworks for free, but many other activities require tickets.
Hong Kong, China
Hong Kong welcomes the New Year with a free stunning fireworks show over Victoria Harbour. The sky is illuminated for 10 minutes as barges fire-off their rockets with a 60-second countdown before midnight. There are also LED and laser shows choreographed to music. Firecrackers can be heard long after midnight as the Chinese believe they ward off evil and will bring good luck in the new year. Stake out a spot early because Hong Kong will fill up fast.
New Year’s Eve is one giant street party that takes place between Brandenburg Gate and the Victory Column. In true Berlin fashion, DJs, bands, and a next-level firework display will kick off the new year starting at 7 p.m. and lasting until 3 a.m. Get there on time as only a few hundred thousand people are let in to view the free fireworks display and dance until the wee hours.