Barcelona, Spain This traditional Spanish toast might be like nothing you’ve heard of — just be sure to have 12 grapes with you at the stroke of midnight. As a sign of good luck for the impending year, it’s custom in Barcelona to eat 12 grapes, one for every clock chime, when ringing in the New Year. You’ll have little trouble finding the perfect spot for your toast, but we suggest checking out the light show at the architecturally unique Torre Agbar Skyscraper.
Disney World, Orlando, Florida Disney is well established as a family favorite. But as a New Year’s Eve destination, it also reigns superior to many. With an abundance of celebrations for visitors of all ages, there are plenty of options when choosing the backdrop for your New Year’s Eve toast. Check out the festivities taking place at Epcot, like fireworks and DJ dance parties, and don’t miss the seasonal Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
Tokyo, Japan For a New Year’s Eve that’s a bit more introspective, toast 2014 in Tokyo with the celebration of Hatsumode, the first shrine visit of the New Year. More than 3 million visitors head to the Meiji-jingu Shrine, where they literally ring in the New Year with 108 chimes. You can burn old charms, buy written oracles and make any wishes you might have for the New Year. And the celebration isn’t complete without a toast of traditional toso sake before heading to the shrine.
Niagara Falls If the milieu of Niagara Falls isn’t already the perfect place to toast 2014, a free concert and two massive firework spectacles guarantee it as the ultimate New Year’s celebration in Canada. This free event is expected to draw more than 40,000 visitors and takes place at Queen Victoria Park in downtown Niagara, which overlooks the falls. There’s plenty to do in the area leading up to the show, like ice skating at the Rink at the Brink or taking a spin in the heated Niagara SkyWheel to see the sights from above.
Edinburgh, Scotland No one rings in the New Year quite like the Scottish. Known as Hogmanay, the annual New Year celebration in Edinburgh typically lasts several days and features street dancing, fireworks and a torchlight procession, where thousands walk through the city holding torches. And if you’re looking for the perfect place to toast 2014, the midnight fireworks shot from the historical Edinburgh Castle are sure to be an impressive backdrop.
Las Vegas Just when you thought Vegas couldn’t get any crazier, Sin City pulls out all the stops for New Year’s Eve. The Strip shuts down to vehicles, and pedestrians take over to watch a massive fireworks celebration, shot from the rooftops of renowned casino resorts like MGM Grand, the Stratosphere, Treasure Island, Planet Hollywood, The Venetian, Aria and Caesar’s Palace. With even more action in the country’s wildest city, we promise there won’t be a lack of opportunities to toast 2014.
Sydney, Australia With so many iconic landmarks, why not make this city the backdrop for your 2014 New Year’s toast? There are tons of events taking place in and around Sydney, but for optimal viewing, we suggest heading to Lawn with a View or checking out Sydney Harbourlights to get the best views of the fireworks show. Be sure to dress light for the warm summer weather.
Cuenca, Ecuador For many, Champagne might be traditional when welcoming the upcoming year but, in Ecuador, ringing in the New Year means the burning of año viejos, or paper maché dummies. These dummies, dressed in old clothes and filled with sawdust, straw, or dirt and manure, are said to represent the past year, and the act of burning año viejos gives individuals the chance to start over in the New Year. If a nontraditional toast to 2014 is what you’re looking for, head to Cuenca, where this custom is said to have started.
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil This New Year’s Eve, ditch the winter coat and head south of the equator to Brazil’s bustling capital city. Rio de Janeiro is a top South American destination, so why not toast to the New Year with a caipirihna in hand on the sandy beach of Copacabana? A record 2.3 million people celebrated the arrival of 2013 in Rio’s beach-party style, and 2014 is expected to be even bigger. Just off the beach, several barges light off hundreds of fireworks, providing the perfect backdrop for your New Year’s Eve toast.
New York City If you’re the type who prefers to be in the midst of the madness instead of watching it on TV, then witnessing the ball drop in Times Square is something you should do at least once. Sure, it’s crowded, and, yes, it’s crazy, but there’s a reason it’s one of the biggest New Year’s celebrations in the world, dating as far back as 1907. There’s plenty of Big Apple partying to be had. Just make sure you plan ahead and expect to battle the masses getting from place to place.