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8 Best Places to Spend New Year’s Eve 2019

They say you should start a new year in the manner in which you’d like it to continue, so (no pressure) making great New Year’s Eve plans should be high on your priority list, alongside those resolutions. Luckily this year the holiday falls mid-week, which means many businesses will cut their losses and close for the entire week, allowing for extra travel time—and make it worth your while to go somewhere fabulous. Here are eight cities that ring in New Year’s with style, and the special access that Indagare can arrange for you while there.

Contact Indagare to book a trip for New Year’s, including your hotel, meals, activities and special, behind-the-scenes access arranged by our expert team.

Bangkok

Renowned as a wild nightlife city year-round, Bangkok knows how to throw a party. The night market Asiatique is a popular convening spot, starting from around 5 p.m. and hosts live music, fireworks and a giant countdown at midnight.

  • Dinner: On the river at Sala Rim Naam at the Mandarin Oriental
  • After dinner: Drinks and fireworks viewing at Sirocco, Octave or Vertigo
  • Indagare access: Book a private river boat cruise to watch the fireworks in a more secluded nature

“Bangkok is the most vibrant city and the food, sights, energy, and hospitality to be found there are unparalleled… especially on New Year’s Eve.” -Indagare’s Sarah Levine

Reykjavik

Two thirds of Iceland’s population lives in Reykjavik, and on New Year’s Eve it seems that every man, woman and child sets off their own fireworks. In fact, residents buy fireworks from the country’s search and rescue service as part of a major fundraising campaign, ensuring a breathtaking spectacle.

  • Dinner: At one of Reykjavik’s high-dining institutions, Fish Company, Fish Market or Grill Market
  • After dinner: Don coats, hats, mittens and boots and huddle up to some of the countless bonfires set around the city, then watch the reported 500 tonnes of fireworks in the night sky.
  • Indagare access: There have been reports of the Northern Lights joining the party in Reykjavik on New Year’s Eve, but for better chances of seeing them, have your Travel Specialist arrange for additional travel to the north of Iceland.

“As beautiful as I was told Iceland would be and as much as I thought could imagine it, the real place was spectacular in a way I could not have prepared for.” –Jack Freedman, Indagare member since 2016 (read his member postcard)

Sydney

Spend New Year’s Eve in Sydney and you’ll be among the first people on earth to see the new year. For this reason and the warm weather (New Year’s is during summer in Oz), Sydney draws more celebrators than Times Square at midnight on December 31. Plus, the fireworks are spectacular. At 12 minutes’ long, the show honors each month of the year and includes a “waterfall” from Harbour Bridge down into the water.

  • Dinner: make a reservation with a view at Café Sydney
  • After dinner: Guests of the Park Hyatt or Four Seasons don’t need to go far—the city’s best views of Harbour Bridge, the Opera House and the city skyline are from the hotel terraces.
  • Indagare access: Book the Supper Club at the InterContinental, a full take-over only spot for your own cocktail soiree. The unrivaled setting makes guests feel like they are leaning out and over the Opera House

“There’s no place quite like Sydney, a major metropolis with miles of coastline, a spectacular culinary scene, numerous charming neighborhoods, suspiciously friendly locals and a laid-back, lighthearted culture.” -Indagare’s Emma Pierce

Rio de Janeiro

Wear all white in Rio on New Year’s Eve and you’re guaranteed luck and prosperity in the new year, or so the tradition goes. Warm weather (December and January are the height of summer in Brazil) mean that most New Year’s celebrations happen outside, specifically on the Copacabana Beach and around the Belmond Copacabana Palace. Get swept up in the revelry and you might find yourself dancing to samba music in the sand and watching fireworks at midnight from the Vista Chinese pagoda.

  • Dinner: Make a reservation well in advance at one of Rio’s restaurants with great views, such as Aprazível or Maua
  • After dinner: Enjoy the buzz of the crowds without the jostling and head to the Belmond Copacabana Palace or Fasano Rio rooftop bars

Indagare access: For those who’d like to explore the nightlife options of Rio, Indagare can arrange for a private guide to take you around the city after hours.

Tokyo

A four-day party marks the new year in Tokyo, starting on December 29 and including plenty of karaoke. The neon-lit city, unsurprisingly, beautifully melds together the modern with traditional, and some of the most beautiful holiday experiences can be found in local temples.

  • Dinner: soba noodles and mochi (rice cakes) are traditional dishes served on New Year’s Eve throughout Japan, but this should be your big night out in Tokyo. Top contenders for best restaurants include Den, Florilège, Kojyu and Kyubey
  • After dinner: Grab a double espresso and join locals in a favorite New Year’s Eve tradition: staying up until the first sunrise of the new year… set to be at 6:50 a.m.
  • Indagare access: Indagare can arrange for members to visit a Buddhist temple at midnight, when monks ring temple bells 108 times to cleanse visitors of humans’ 108 sins and allow them to enter the new year in a more pure state.

“Japan is an ideal home for me because I’ll never get to the bottom of it, and I can’t begin to bring my linear ideas and preconceptions to its merry, promiscuous sprawl.” -Indagare Insider, Pico Iyer

London

The London Eye acts as the centerpiece of the city’s New Year’s Eve fireworks show, making spots along—or on—the Thames prime viewing venues. And while official tickets for the fireworks show sell out well in advance, visitors can still get glimpses of the show from a number of restaurants and bars.

  • Dinner: Book a glass-roofed igloo through pop-up Jimmy’s Lodge to feast on raclette, fondue and charcuterie under blankets and starlight
  • After dinner: There is no shortage of late-night options in London on December 31. Some fun options include a silent disco; a flapper- and jazz-themed evening in an undisclosed location; and a party in a decommissioned 1940’s subway car. Contact Indagare for more details and to book tickets.
  • Indagare access: Indagare can arrange for tickets to the Studio 54–themed party on the 52nd floor of the Renzo Piano–designed Shard

“Restaurant-wise, London is intoxicatingly varied. There is so much going on: the passion behind the pop-ups, the artisan producers, the restaurants, bakeries and market stalls is incredible–urban beekeepers, the perfectionism and dedication of baristas and bakers, seaweed foragers. I love it!” -Indagare Insider Yotam Ottolenghi

Hong Kong

The fact that Hong Kong celebrates Western New Year’s with equal gusto as it does Chinese New Year is a metaphor for how the city’s population beautifully balances east and west. On December 31, fireworks start at 11pm with “shooting stars” going off every 15 minutes, culminating in the big show set to music at midnight. And in a metropolis with such vertigo-inducing towers, there is no shortage of vantage points for prime viewing.

  • Dinner: You can’t beat the views or the service at the city’s classic luxury hotel restaurants, like Felix at The Peninsula or the more modern Café Gray Deluxe at Upper House
  • After dinner: Ozone Bar, the highest bar in the world (it’s on the 118th floor), puts on one of the city’s best New Year’s parties
  • Indagare access: Forgo the white-tablecloth dinner on New Year’s Eve and let Indagare arrange for a foodie walking tour starting in mid-afternoon. Stops might include the best pork bun stand in the city, hidden bakeries, hole-the-the-wall dim sum spots and a speakeasy specializing in artisanal cocktails.

“At first glance, Hong Kong is a Western territory, all shiny skyscrapers and multilingual business people. But scratch the surface, and it reveals deep Chinese roots, where superstitions and traditions are solidly embedded, but a distinctive, freewheeling spirit remains.” -Indagare’s Simone Girner

Edinburgh

Hogmanay, or the Scottish version of New Year’s Eve and Day, is believed to have origins in Norse and Gaelic traditions, and includes fun customs like “first-footing,” a celebration of being the first visitor (or “foot”) to cross friends’ thresholds. Unsurprisingly for such a vibrant city, Edinburgh celebrates in style, with a Viking parade, fireworks over the castle, bonfires, concerts and riotous rounds of Auld Lang Syne (written by Scottish poet, Robert Burns).

  • Dinner: in the heart of the Old Town (the center of the New Year’s action) at Tower Restaurant or The Witchery
  • After dinner: Get a few hours of sleep before waking up early on New Year’s Day to watch (or participate!) in Loony Dook, the freezing plunge into the Firth of Forth, or for the run along the city’s Royal Mile
  • Indagare access: Your Travel Specialist can arrange for you to spend the evening at Mary, Queen of Scot’s former home, Borthwick Castle

“Unlike bigger cities like London and Glasgow, Edinburgh has maintained a classic aesthetic that makes wandering its tree-lined, cobblestone streets feel like stepping back in time.” -Indagare’s Ried Stelly

Contact Indagare to book a trip for New Year’s, including your hotel, meals, activities and special, behind-the-scenes access arranged by our expert team.

– Amelia Osborne Scott on November 8, 2019

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