There seems to be a lull at the end of every December. After Christmas passes, there’s a strange week before January that feels like a bit of a no-man’s-land in time. But as odd as the week can feel, it allows time to make last-minute plans for New Year’s Eve. And if you’re still looking for somewhere to spend it (or inspiration for next year!), here are A Lady in London’s five best places to spend New Year’s Eve.

Best Places to Spend New Year's Eve

New Year’s Eve in Edinburgh is such a big deal that it has its own name: Hogmanay. The celebration lasts for three days, with everything from a torchlight parade through the city to a big fireworks display over the castle and a New Year’s Day tradition of swimming in the Firth of Forth in crazy costumes. The Hogmanay festivities are so famous they’re known throughout the world.

New Year's Eve in Edinburgh

I went up to Edinburgh a few years ago to spend Hogmanay with a big group of travel bloggers, and had an amazing time. I loved the fireworks on the 31st, but the torchlight parade was one of the most awe-inspiring things I’ve ever taken part in. It was lovely to see all the flames lighting up the night sky!

San Francisco
If you want to spend New Year’s Eve in the most bizarre place on Earth, head to San Francisco. No, it’s not because the city itself is strange. It’s because due to the time zone, it’s one of the last places in the world to ring in the new year.

New Year's Eve Fireworks

I spent New Year’s Eve in San Francisco a few years ago, and was struck by the fact that from the time I woke up in the morning until the time I counted down to midnight, everyone else on the planet was ringing in the new year ahead of me. It’s a bit surreal to feel like time has slowed down, but it’s worth it for the great street party and fireworks along the Embarcadero waterfront.

Naturally, London has to feature in my list of the best places for New Year’s Eve. But it’s not just because I’m biased. The fireworks over the Thames are up there with any big city’s display, and have the added bonus of having the London Eye and Big Ben as a backdrop.

New Year's Eve in London

I’ve been in London for New Year’s Eve a few times over the years, and experiencing the fireworks show is amazing. It’s something everyone should do at least once, even jaded Londoners that feel like they’re above rubbing elbows with tourists.

Another of the best places to spend New Year’s Eve is in Unawatuna, Sri Lanka. I know, it sounds random. But one of the best New Year’s Eve parties I’ve ever been to was at a bar called the Happy Banana on a big beach on the coast.

New Year's Eve in Unawatuna

From a DJ on the sand to fireworks at midnight, it’s a great place to ring in the new year with a distinctly island vibe. And who wouldn’t want that?

New York City
New York City is the only place on my list of the best places to spend New Year’s Eve that I haven’t actually experienced myself. But after years of watching the ball drop in Times Square on TV as a child and hearing stories from friends that have spent New Year’s Eve in New York, I’ve always wanted to go. Hopefully one of these years I will get there. In the meantime, I will be enjoying New Year’s Eve in Scotland this year. Not bad!

How about you? Where’s the best place you’ve ever spent New Year’s Eve?

20 Comments on Lady’s 5 Best Places to Spend New Year’s Eve

  1. Anne
    December 28, 2015 at 8:46 am (1 year ago)

    Sydney is my best for amazing fireworks but Siem Reap comes a close second for the weirdest new year party involving lots of talcum powder!

    • A Lady in London
      December 28, 2015 at 6:47 pm (1 year ago)

      I’ve heard great things about New Year’s Eve in Sydney. Siem Reap sounds very unique!

  2. Aisha Smith
    December 28, 2015 at 9:42 am (1 year ago)

    Hogmanay sounds super awesome. I had not heard of it before I read this post. The torchlight parade must be such an amazing experience.
    I share your desire to spend a New Year’s Eve in New York. I’ve heard so much about it. One day I’m going to be there for the ball drop.
    I enjoyed this post. It really got me excited about New Year’s Eve.

    • A Lady in London
      December 28, 2015 at 6:48 pm (1 year ago)

      Thanks! Glad it got you excited. Definitely go to Edinburgh for Hogmanay some year. The torchlight parade is magical! Hopefully we will both get to NYC one year, too!

  3. Angie Silver
    December 28, 2015 at 10:39 am (1 year ago)

    Ha! I agree with the No Man’s Land days, things are closed and nothing is really happening, you’re just waiting for New Year’s Eve πŸ™‚ We’re staying in London this year and watching the fireworks.
    Love Angie

    • A Lady in London
      December 28, 2015 at 6:49 pm (1 year ago)

      Glad you agree! Have a great New Year’s Eve in London!

  4. Linzi Clark
    December 29, 2015 at 3:17 pm (1 year ago)

    Wrap up warm in Edinburgh – you will have a blast! San Francisco and New York also sound amazing.

    • A Lady in London
      December 29, 2015 at 5:12 pm (1 year ago)

      I was in Edinburgh a few years ago for Hogmanay, but won’t be there this year. I hope you have a good New Year’s Eve wherever you spend it!

  5. Maggie
    December 29, 2015 at 11:16 pm (1 year ago)

    I love your Sri Lanka recommendation! I wasn’t expecting that. I would love to go there someday πŸ™‚


    • A Lady in London
      December 30, 2015 at 9:37 am (1 year ago)

      Thanks! It’s an amazing place to spend New Year’s Eve. I hope you can get there someday!

  6. Heather @ Ferreting Out the Fun
    December 30, 2015 at 12:46 pm (1 year ago)

    Riga, Latvia puts on a spectacular New Year’s show! There are lively concerts by the river followed by fireworks which are accompanied by music. Bonfires and BYO champagne keep everyone warm πŸ™‚

  7. Sam
    December 30, 2015 at 4:40 pm (1 year ago)

    Sri Lanka sounds like a cool place for New Year’s eve. I’m not much of a city person so a paradisiac beach seems like a great place to be celebrate. Although Heather’s recommendation of Riga in Latvia has a certain appeal too! Maybe for 2017!
    Happy new year everyone and may all your dreams come true in 2016!

    • A Lady in London
      December 30, 2015 at 4:57 pm (1 year ago)

      Yeah, both would be great! Happy new year!

  8. Mette
    January 6, 2016 at 7:10 pm (1 year ago)

    Interesting choices. Of these 5 I’ve only tried London, and we didn’t even make it to Trafalgar Square. I have celebrated New Year’s Eve in Delhi, though, and I don’t think I’ll do it again;)

    • A Lady in London
      January 7, 2016 at 12:36 pm (1 year ago)

      That’s too bad you didn’t have a good time in Delhi. I hope you make it to Trafalgar Square if you spend New Year’s Eve in London again someday!

  9. Philippa
    January 9, 2016 at 9:12 am (1 year ago)

    Amsterdam is a pretty amazing place to spend New Years even. Specsilly if you can get out on a boat and view it from the water or even one of the roof terraces. I’ve never know a city to go quite so crazy with fireworks!


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