The Best New Year's Eve Shows Around The Globe

Ringing in the New Year is a big affair. People strive to find activities and events that are festive and memorable, with just the right notes to help welcome the year ahead. From an entertainment design perspective, New Year’s Eve events tend to be about scale: big names, big bands, big live shows, and big city-wide affairs. The coordination, attention to detail, and sheer logistical focus that it takes to bring these together is impressive. While there are more events that deserve mention than we can chronicle, here’s a closer look at four of our favorite ways to celebrate the beginning of 2015.

New Year’s Eve in Rio – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
It’s not surprising that Rio de Janeiro is home to one of the world’s best New Year’s Eve celebrations. The city hosts the annual Carnival festival, drawing nearly five million guests with its colorful parades, music, and non-stop party atmosphere. Much like Carnival, New Year’s Eve in Rio doesn’t disappoint. The celebration, which attracts approximately two million guests, incorporates traditional elements of Brazilian culture with epic displays of music and dance, culminating with a world class fireworks show on the beautiful Copacabana Beach. The New Year’s Eve events in Rio stand out for integrating local cultural elements with the more traditional trappings of a New Year’s Eve celebration.

Hofburg Silvester Ball – Vienna, Austria
Each year, Vienna’s Hofburg Palace hosts a special celebration in honor of New Year’s Eve. The event itself has all the magic of a fairytale. It’s held in an extravagant palace in the heart of Vienna and guests step out in their best formal attire for the evening. The program features classical dance performances, including a traditional Viennese waltz, live music shows, operettas, and a stunning fireworks display that can be viewed at midnight on the roof of the palace. It’s the kind of event that captures your imagination, by leveraging the power of both setting and history to create a captivating world that draws participants into a luxurious fantasy.

Hogmanay – Edinburgh, Scotland
Hogmanay, which is the Scottish term meaning ‘last day of the year,’ has been recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as one of the largest outdoor New Year’s Eve parties in the world. This unique celebration is a Street Party that’s like Edinburgh’s own version of the Times Square First Night celebration. Hogmanay is an evening of live music, dancing, and fireworks set against the backdrop of the iconic Edinburgh Castle. The party continues on New Year’s Day with tours of the historic city, special events, and for those who are brave enough, a refreshing plunge into the icy waters of the River Forth.

Magic Kingdom’s New Year’s Eve Celebration – Orlando, Florida
Disney’s New Year’s Eve celebration is one of the most magical in the world (of course, we’re partial to the theme park setting). The special First Night celebration always features exclusive events, live music, unique dining experiences, and guest appearances from some of Disney’s most beloved characters. But this year, Imagineers have upped the ante by live streaming the ‘Fantasy in the Sky’ fireworks display on the Disney blog. Those who wish they were there for all of the First Night action at Magic Kingdom can experience it from their home computer screens starting at 11:40PM on New Year’s Eve. It’s a not-to-be-missed festival of lights featuring all the magic of Disney.

It doesn’t matter where you’re located in the world; First Night is a perfect time to celebrate. Whether you’re planning to attend Edinburgh Hogmanay or you’ll simply be enjoying the fireworks display at Magic Kingdom from the comfort of your own home, put your party hats on and have a Happy New Year!

Posted by Elizabeth Alton on

Image sources:;  New Year’s Brazil; Hogmanay; Flickr