The elevator in my building started playing Christmas songs this weekend (which should be outlawed before Thanksgiving!), and what we in the travel industry call “festive season” is definitely in full swing. It’s hard to believe the 20’s are almost here! It's not too late to start the decade with a new adventure to greet the New Year at one of these top-rated spots according to the experts – Virtuoso travel advisors!
The best U.S. destinations to greet the New Year.
1. New York City This year the granddaddy of all New Year’s celebrations is marking the 112th anniversary of the ball drop in Times Square. To escape the crowds, advisors suggest a hotel room with a view of the ball.
2. Chicago, IL The iconic Centennial Wheel is the perfect spot for New Year’s Eve. High above the ground in a heated vestibule, revelers will savor the best view of Navy Pier’s 15-minute firework spectacular over Lake Michigan, one of the longest in the country.
3. Savannah, GA Its unique “Up the Cup” New Year’s countdown isn’t a ball drop but a cup raise. As midnight approaches, a six-foot-tall to-go cup is hoisted over historic River Street. When 2020 arrives, people raise their own cups as well and enjoy fireworks and music.
4. Los Angeles, CA The city’s largest public celebration at Grand Park features two stages with musicians and dancers. The festivities include motion-graphic activations that partygoers bring alive with their own moves, and a New Year’s countdown with 3-D digital video mapping on the 22-story City Hall.
5. Miami, FL The Magic City has its own version of New York’s ball drop: Big Orange. Revelers enjoy live music and dancing at a free party in Bayfront Park in downtown Miami, while beside the park a 35-foot neon sphere slowly rises instead of falls. Big Orange reaches its peak at midnight, as fireworks erupt.
Top recommended international destinations.
1. Sydney, Australia As the first major city to ring in 2020, people travel from all over the globe for the famed 12-minute firework show launched from the Sydney Harbour Bridge, landmark Opera House and barges in the harbor.
2. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil The city’s renowned Copacabana Beach hosts a massive fireworks display at midnight. To avoid the crowd of millions of people, make plans at an oceanfront hotel. Do as the locals do and wear white for good luck in the year ahead.
3. St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada Partygoers here will be among the first in North America to usher in 2020 from the continent’s easternmost point. Frolic on George Street, home to 24 bars in just two blocks. Become an honorary Newfoundlander after drinking the beloved local (and potent) alcohol in a “screech-in.” At midnight residents set off their own fireworks, resulting in an amazing show in the hills of the city.
4. London, England Big Ben rings out at midnight, prompting the U.K.’s largest fireworks display over the London Eye. Virtuoso advisors suggest taking in the dazzling spectacle from the Thames. Choose from an array of cruises: perhaps a three-course dinner; Champagne and dancing; live music; or a speedboat ride.
5. Reykjavik, Iceland New Year’s bonfires are a time-honored custom. Ten are lit around Reykjavik, following the tradition started by medieval fishermen, who would clean the house for the new year by burning old items. Today Icelanders gather around their local bonfire to visit with neighbors, sing, and dance. After they set off their own fireworks at 11:30 pm, they hit the bars, which stay open until 5 am.
Contact me to party like it's 2019!