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The World’s 10 Most Obscure Places to Celebrate New Years

The World’s 10 Most Obscure Places to Celebrate New Years: Family Art Photograph & Printing / DRIP

Family Art Photograph & Printing / DRIP

Vegas? Check…like too many times to count. Times Square? Froze to death, but been there. Miami? Yeah, yeah. So, you’ve done the standard NYE thing. Good for you, but it’s time to upgrade your New Year’s Eve game. Because, let’s face it—New Year’s Eve can be underwhelming. Dinner is super expensive, club lines are annoyingly long and wherever you end up, you’re usually forced to sport one of those cheesy hats.

This year, switch it up and go for the off-the-beaten party path. How about being the first in the world to see a 2017 sunrise in New Zealand, dancing like a banshee by the light of a huge bonfire in Iceland or skulking in a Savannah cemetery?

Skip the obvious destinations this year and try something new at one of these hidden hotspots around the world.

Instead of Aspen, try…
Although Aspen is chic, Crested Butte is funky cool. And the party is huge here. On mountain, skiers swish by holding torches as fireworks light up the night sky. Grab a seat at Butte 66 for the best views. In town, check out Montanya Distillery for craft cocktails and live local music. For some serious late night dancing, check out the The Dogwood Cocktail Cabin for a masquerade party and Talk of the Town.

Instead of Amsterdam, try…
Unbeknownst to many, The Hague is more than just the home of the International Criminal Court. Come New Year’s Eve, the party heads to Scheveningen, a seaside district within The Hague. The nation’s largest bonfire is lit on the beach right at midnight with clear views from all the bars and restaurants along the seafront path known as the Boulevard. If you’re more of a hands-on kind of pyro, The Netherlands lifts the ban on fireworks sales for the night. You’re allowed to light ‘em up from 6 pm on December 31 until 2 am the next day. The party continues on New Year’s Day, when Scheveningen hosts one of the world’s largest polar bear plunges. Join 10,000 plus scantily clad Dutchmen in freezing waters—sure to shock that hangover right out of your system.

Instead of Miami try…
Though the most iconic Orlando NYE experience is undoubtedly the Disney World fireworks display over Cinderella’s castle, the scene extends far beyond Mickey’s lair. There are two major block parties in downtown Orlando—on Wall Street and Church Street—with the latter featuring a midnight orange (as in the fruit) ball drop from 60 feet in the air. For the most exotic experience in town, head to Drip, where the party features a body painting station, adult coloring area, and glamour treatments (i.e. think glitter temporary tattoos) while gyrating dancers fling paint and water about.

Instead of Dubai, try…
If you want a little history to complement that glass of champagne and party hat, spend New Year’s Eve in Beirut. Nejmeh Square has been a commercial hub for literally thousands of years. Now, it’s the heart of the action in Lebanon’s capital city. This pedestrian only area—anchored by a 1930s art deco clock tower— turns into an all night long, open air street party, complete with midnight fireworks. The club and bar scenes are thriving and intense—especially the neighborhoods of Gemmayze and Monot. The ‘see and be seen’ club to be at on NYE (and most nights) is B-018. A landmark in Beirut, it’s built on a former refugee camp. And with bar tables made of coffins and a retractable roof, it’s one of the most unique bars on the planet.

Instead of New York City…
Instead of standing around freezing in Times Square, hop on a flight to Iceland’s capital city. It may be small compared to NYC, but the wild nightlife makes up for it. Parties start out with mega, public bonfires to ‘burn up’ last year’s woes. Then, fireworks light up the sky from all corners. For the best views, go to Pearl restaurant. Or, buy your own—it’s legal here. Then it’s time to hit the bars and clubs until 6 am. If you make it until sunrise, join the locals for the ultimate hangover cure: Icelandic hot dogs at the Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur stand. While you’re in Reykjavik, knock down a White Russian at the Big Lebowski-themed bar and sample local (freaky) delicacies like rotted shark meat or puffin.

Instead of Buenos Aires, try…
Named a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its labyrinthine cobblestone streets, high-rise cable cars called ascensores, and distinctive Creole architecture, Valparaíso is world famous for its Pyrotechnic Festival (catch a time-lapse preview here). The firework display caps off a three-day festival called “New Year’s Eve by the Sea”, and is South America’s largest end-of-year party. For a truly unforgettable experience, charter a boat to watch the show from the city’s harbor, or trek to the top of one of the city’s many hills, like Cerro Concepción. FYI: Diehard pyrotechnics fans stake their claim on these hills as early as the morning of December 31st, so make sure to plan accordingly.

Instead of Sydney, try…
If you’re an outdoor music fest lover, New Zealand is where you need to be when 2017 rolls around. Throughout the country, there are four fests happening during holiday. But if being at the first place in the world to see the year’s debut sunrise sounds cool, head to the Rhythm and Vines festival on the North Island. Set among a sprawling vineyard estate, there’s roughly 120 artists performing on five stages over three days.

Instead of Vegas, try…
Off-the-charts club parties. Check. Insane fireworks shows. Hell yes—from three different rooftops. Gambling 24/7. Of course. The only thing missing are Sin City’s crowds and traffic. After all, Reno is mini-Vegas, with skiing and snowboarding to boot at nearby Lake Tahoe. Some of the best parties to check out include: Lex Nightclub for a glam Old Hollywood-themed fete; inside the Peppermill at EDGE Nightclub with DJ Four Color Zack spinning; and Heavenly Village in Lake Tahoe with an ice sculpting show, fireworks, live music, and the world’s only Gondola Ball Drop.

Instead of New Orleans, try…
One of the oldest cities in the South, Savannah pre-dates the Declaration of Independence by some 40 years and turns on the charm for New Year’s Eve. If macabe is your mojo, start the night off with an after hours tour of Bonaventure—one of America’s coolest (and oldest) cemeteries. Afterwards, spend NYE along the Savannah River aboard the Georgia Queen, an old-school riverboat with killer views of the largest NYE fireworks show in the Southeast. Or head to the waterfront where 60,000 people gather for the fourth annual “Up The Cup” Countdown. Think Times Square…but swap the ball drop with a giant to-go cup in celebration of their open container policy.

Instead of being on Earth, try…
For the true seeker of obscurity, there’s a single-chartered Qantas flight, complete with full jazz band that will ring 2017 at 10,000 feet over Antarctica. It’s the middle of summer down at the South Pole. That equates to 24/7 daylight—i.e. a sunny champagne toast when midnight strikes. Though the flight doesn’t actually touch down in the minus 16 degree temps, it does hover over Antarctica for three hours at low altitudes for optimal penguin, polar bear, and ice cap sightings. Takeoff is from Melbourne with seven classes of service, ranging from ‘budget’ seats ($1.2K) to luxury sleeper seats ($8K). FYI: Flight is sold out, but accepting waitlist passengers.

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