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10 Best Spots to Ring in the New Year

2014 is on its way, and people the world over will be saying goodbye to 2013 in their own fashion. Where are some of the most popular celebrations taking place across the globe? Read on to find out!

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The Land Down Under will be one of the first countries to ring in the New Year, so it only makes sense that it welcomes 2014 in spectacular fashion. Fireworks over the Sydney Harbour draw over a million people annually, and the pyrotechnics show is all the more visually stunning alongside landmarks like the Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House. 

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Photo: Linh_rOm / Flickr Creative Commons

New York City

New Year’s Eve in Times Square may sound a bit cliché, but every cliché is based on some truth. After all, watching the ball drop on the 31st is an exciting and awesome experience. Standing out in the cold, shoulder-to-shoulder with other revelers in the heart of the theatre district may not sound all that appealing to some, but when the countdown begins and the confetti starts coming down, there won’t be anywhere else in the world you’d rather be!

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If you’re spending December 31st in Germany’s capital, Brandenberg Gate is where you’ll find Berlin‘s largest and most popular celebration. The open-air party takes place in and around the historic city gate, with the Party Mile stretching 1.2 miles behind it, housing various food and alcohol stands, DJ booths and dance floors along its path. The main stage will sit on Pariser Platz, for an all-around gorgeous setting that is enhanced by the midnight fireworks show.

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Rio de Janeiro

Want to inject a dose of Latin flavah to your New Year’s Eve? The main event in Rio takes place at Copacabana Beach, drawing in revelers from across the globe. The New Year is synonymous with renewal, and many attendees honour the tradition of wearing white, and once midnight arrives, they flock to the shoreline and throw flowers into the water, in hope that their wishes may be granted. What is more enticing than sand between your toes, a night sky brightly lit by fireworks, and the prospect of a fresh start?

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With a vantage spot along the River Thames, you can watch London’s impressive fireworks display at the London Eye as the imposing bongs of Big Ben ring in the New Year. It’s one of the world’s most iconic and stunning backgrounds, and wherever you’ll find yourself in the city on the 31st-be it within the crowds of the Victoria Embankment and Westminster Bridge, or more quiet areas like Hampstead Heath and Primrose Hill-you’re in for quite an experience!

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Hong Kong

For a spectacular fireworks show in the Chinese city, look no further than the gorgeous display above Victoria Harbour. Take a walk along the (albeit crowded) Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront promenade, where views will be incomparable. Another alternative: the countdown in Times Square, a shopping complex that plays host to the annual event, clearly inspired by the New York City version.

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The New Year’s Eve celebration in this Spanish metropolis marries an off-the-chain outdoor party with a time honoured tradition. Taking place in the city’s Puerta del Sol square, once its famous clock chimes at the stroke of midnight, revelers start eating 12 grapes-one for each of the 12 bongs the clock rings out. The 12 grapes is a Spanish-Catholic ritual, with each grape said to give you good luck for each month of the New Year. 

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While the City of Love’s New Year’s Eve festivities have been without official fireworks in recent years, a great party is still to be had! Open-air festivities take place all along the Champs-Elysées, but beware people launching small fireworks within the crowd. A more fun (and safer) tradition is the popping of papillottes, which hide sweet treats within, and enjoying a flute of champagne along the brightly lit street. For a more relaxed celebration, ring in the New Year at the base of the Eiffel Tower, or on the front steps of the Sacré-Coeur Basilica. 

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Scotland’s capital city is host to a New Year’s Eve celebration known as Hogmanay. It is one huge party that begins on the eve of the 31st with a breathtaking torchlight procession, starting in Edinburgh’s Old Town, and lighting up the city to the sounds of pipes and drums. The next day, partygoers gather in the city’s downtown centre for a night of drinking, music, and fireworks, ready to ring in the New Year. And if you’re up and about the next morning, many take part in Loony Dook, which involves taking a dip into the frigid River Forth. You game?

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Quebec City

There is nothing more spectacular than ringing in the New Year in Quebec’s capital city. We suggest skipping the traditional réveillon, and head over to Grande-Allée, a restaurant- and pub-lined street where most of the action will take place. Patios will be open (worry not: heaters will be in abundance!) and the music will be blaring. And come midnight, revelers will pour out into the streets for a spectacular fireworks show.  Bonne année!