Stripes. If we had to pick any pattern that makes us go proper potty, it would be stripes. Glorious stripes. They’re like the New Year’s Eve of the pattern-world, which has got to be the highest praise we could ever give an occasion. Yup. That’s right. Of all the days on our cat calendar, it’s January 31st that always gets us throwing shapes and busting grapes like the camera phone hasn’t been invented yet - and that’s because we made a pact never to close out a year by saying New Year’s Eve is overrated. New Year’s Eve is not overrated. New Year’s is the best. It’s fun, it’s festive, it’s full of fireworks, and there’s so much midnight snogging you can’t help but smile as you take a selfie. It’s just the best thing ever. You just need to know which pockets of the planet are the most awesome at ringing in the next twelve months.
So move over New York, London, Paris, Sydney, Hong Kong, and all those other uber-famous New Year’s Eve knees-ups that always get shown on those around-the-world montages because there are a bunch of new kids on the block where you can celebrate the new year with a bit of travel, a great party, and a whole lotta love.
Ladies and gentleman, sunbathers and wanderlusters, it doesn’t matter if you’re soloscaping or buddymooning, here are 8 places that promise to make your New Year even be better than the last one. Woohoo.
South Lake Tahoe, California
OMG! This place is epic. Like super-duper epic. Like melt-your-mind epic. And that’s just on a normal weekend in January, so imagine what it’s like on New Year’s Eve. It’s the best kind of insane. Ever. It’s basically a bunch of Californians living their best lives, skiing and après-skiing their way through the holidays. And if that’s not enough to make you pack your bags in a hurry, it’s also hosting this year’s SnowGlobe Music Festival, which is pretty much the hottest cold-weather bash in the US of A.
If you can remember back to when you were a kid, sat with your legs crossed in front of the TV watching all those world-famous New Year’s Eve parties as you ate 9 scoops of ice-cream, you will have seen Berlin’s famous Silvester celebration because the Party Mile is where a million people fist-pump and dance-jump as a gaggle of awesome rockstars do their thang. And yet that’s just a sneak peek into how one of the world’s best party cities does NYE. It’s not all about the big night, it’s about the events either side. There’s the annual Berlin Silvesterlauf in the afternoon before, which is a race where runners have to flip pancakes as they go, and the day after there’s a quick 4km New Year’s Day race for those that managed to call it a night before 10am and fancy starting the new year feeling guilt-free and accomplished. It’s epic.
Cape Town, South Africa
It doesn’t matter which major city you go to, you’ll always end up watching a fireworks display over some body of water oblivious to the fact you’re 780 rows back and can’t even see the sky-filling sparkles reflection. But not Cape Town. Oh-no. This place does it totally different. There’s still an epic fireworks display, you just get the chance to watch the show on a warm summer’s day camped out at the summit of Table Mountain. Fireworks, oceanviews, vineyards and the most stunning metropolis on earth all doing their thing below you. And then, the next day, there’s the Cape Town Minstrel Carnival Parade, where thousands of people paint their faces and dance through the city. It’s the best kind of crazy.
For some people, waiting until 9pm for the celebrations to kick off is absolutely no sweat. For everyone else, there is the capital of Iceland, which knows how to make the most of its twenty-hours of darkness. They might not have much sun, but they still manage to light this place up, and it all kicks off mid-afternoon, with bonfire parties bursting to life all over the city. That means the sky is lit up with little-ish fireworks shows before the national display team comes in with a mind-fizzing crescendo. What’s really epic, though, is when the Northern Lights join in the fun. Not that you need them because this otherworldly-lookin’ island has fast climbed the rungs of the party-ladder ensuring any NYE spent here will be the glazed cherry on your year. Oh and, then there’s your first morning of 2019, which will consist of you opening the curtains and having your mind-blown by the scenery.
There are New Year’s Eve parties, and then there are New Year’s Eve parties, one’s where you spend three days outside in cold and drizzly weather, wearing a towel poncho beneath your parker, and having the time of your life celebrating Hogmanay. And here’s how it all goes down:
Day 1: You’ll join a procession of torch-carrying partygoers dancing their way to Calton Hill for a bit of mega-fireworks fun.
Day 2: The streets are packed with pop-up parties, life-lovers, mini-music festivals, and more fireworks, this time lighting up the sky above Edinburgh castle.
And Day 3: You’ll get to sing "Auld Lang Syne" on the cobbled streets with literally everyone in the city, before pouring back into the nearest bar. And then, to top it all off, there’s a run-slash-jog down the Royal Mile, a dip in the brrrr-inducing River Forth, and dog sled racing because, well, why not?
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Everyone should party in Rio at least three times in their life, and one of those times needs to be New Year’s Eve because they’re like the world champions of party-starting, and it all goes up and down on Copacabana Beach. Long before the sun goes down, merrymakers dress head to toe in white, pack the shores, and dance beneath the spray of thousand Champagne fountains with their eyes closed and hands in the air. And then, at midnight, when the countdown is over and euphoria takes over, revelers ceremonially throw flowers into the ocean as a tribute to the sea goddess. Basically, the night goes from uber-raucous to mega-magical and then straight back to uber-raucous. It’s like nowhere else because, on a night where every city, town and village throws a party, Rio makes sure it blows everyone else out of the water.
Times Square is cool and all, but seeing millions of bucks worth of fireworks burst out of the Space Needle on New Year’s Eve is totally crazy - and you can enjoy that jaw-hits-floor sensation from a ton of different places. All you need to do is find somewhere (read: a park) with epic views of the Needle because that’s where you’ll see America’s most awesome skyline come to life like never before. Gas Works, Alki Beach, Kerry Park - they’re all golden tickets come NYE. Oh and, if you’re not a fan of Champagne or prosecco or anything like that, Seattle’s famous for having a deliciously varied beer collection, so you’ll be able to celebrate with a cold can of the good stuff.
Fireworks are groovy. Super-groovy. And nowhere makes them look more super-groovy than the snazzy Chilean City of Valparaîso, which hosts a three-day beach bonanza that fills the sky from start to finish. During the day, this old port city is breath-stealing. But seeing it under the flashes of firecrackers and rockets, Catherine wheels and crosettes, Roman candles and horsetail shells is like nothing else. So if you’re thinking of heading somewhere in South America, hop on your good foot, join the millions of party-loving beachgoers and dance beneath the pantheon of pyrotechnics blasting off from the barges that stretch as far as the eye can see - and then keep the merrymaking going until sunrise.
Thanks for reading. For more travelspiration and far-flung adventure ideas, follow us on Instagram and Facebook and, you know, don’t forget to grab yourself the most awesome towel ever made… and some shorts… and a hair wrap... and probably a poncho too. After all, everyone looks good in stripes.