There are plenty of obvious destinations that any joker could tell you will be “fun” on New Year’s Eve, like New York, Las Vegas, etc..
Forget that! As Auntie Mame said in the classic 1958 movie of the same name, “Life’s a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death!” Make 2013 your year of adventure, and start it off by spending New Years Eve in an incredible destination outside the US.
With a half-month left to plan, we turned to our peeps at Hopper.com for help. They compiled a list of the 5 common NYE sites and offer amazing alternatives that will set your spirit soaring and leave your wallet pleasantly pleased. Check them out!
Instead of New York, try Toronto
Sure, you could go smash yourself up against a million other people in Times Square or pay $200 to go to a nightclub, but why not ring in 2013 in another cosmopolitan city without the headaches that come with trying to hail a cab in Manhattan on Dec. 31 (trust us, it’s impossible). Toronto offers the urban nightlife of Manhattan, with a little more breathing room and a more reasonable Canadian price tag (comparison: a deluxe room at the Four Seasons in New York for New Year’s Eve is $1,195 USD, a deluxe room at Toronto’s Four Seasons is $518). Toronto’s equivalent to the Times Square Ball drop happens at CityTv’s celebration in Nathan Square, where celebrities gather for the countdown to midnight and fireworks. Make sure to check out Toronto’s Distillery District, a lively area full of restored Victorian Industrial buildings and chock full of cafes, galleries and bars.
Instead of Las Vegas, try Punta del Este
New Year’s Eve in Sin City is a hotbed for mega-parties with celebrity hosts and gambling into the early hours of 2013. Instead of trying to weasel your way into that epic party at Tao or MGM Grand, why not revel with South America’s elite in the sunshine of Punta del Este, Uruguay? The “St. Tropez of South America” holds its own with glittering fiestas, bikini clad women, and Las Vegas style gaming at the Conrad Resort & Casino. With 19.35 Uruguayan pesos to one US dollar, you’ll have a little more money to spend at the black jack table. Better yet, New Year’s Eve in Uruguay is a summer holiday, which means perfect beach going temperature and lively, tan, crowds of partiers. Consider La Barra, where young people congregate for clubbing and nightlife, and Jose Ignacio for a quieter, more upscale and celebrity-friendly vibe. Book a table at La Huella for a chance to party by the sea, and enjoy a pitcher of clericó (a local variant on white wine sangria).
Instead of Amsterdam, try Reykjavik
Every year hundreds of thousands of partiers flock to Amsterdam for New Year’s to enjoy its lively club scene, the notorious cafes, and the incredible free-for-all that is Amsterdam’s fireworks display at midnight. If fireworks are your New Year’s raison d’etre, consider Iceland’s Reykjavik instead. Not only will you save on flight time and hotel cost (the average cost of a 4 star hotel in Reykjavik for New Year’s is $130 while Amsterdam’s four star hotels average at $300), but you’ll enjoy a similarly lively fireworks scene along with Reykjavik’s signature bonfires. Neighbors gather to light bonfires, toast the New Year and watch the sky light up with fireworks. Like the Netherlands, Iceland has an open policy regarding fireworks during New Year’s, which means they are liable to erupt from any and all corners of the city! Later, everyone heads to the bars and clubs in Reykjavik’s downtown center to ring in the New Year with live music lasting to 6 am on January 1st.
Instead of Aspen, try Kitzbühel, Austria
Aspen is a haven for the United State’s snow-loving elite. Similarly, Kitzbühel, Austria is a snow-bunny-party-loving European’s dream destination. There’s no comparison between skiing in the West and swishing down Alpine pistes, and coupled with an unbeatable apres-ski scene, Kitzbühel is primed to be a once in a lifetime New Year’s. Fittingly, the celebrations begin on the slopes, as crowds gather at the famous Hahnenkamm downhill run for a torch light show put on by 2 local ski schools, followed by an unparalleled pyrotechnic fireworks display. The crowds then head to the town for evening festivities in Kitzbühel’s riotous bars with live music, like The Londoner, or nightclubs, like The Python. A multi-course dinnner at Aspen’s iconic Little Nell will run you $395 per person, while a similar meal at the Petit Tirolia costs $274. It’s worth noting that Kitz is not a destination for the cash conscious, but rather a snow-lover’s bucket-list New Year’s.
Instead of Miami, try San Juan, Puerto Rico
If December 31st needs to be spent pool/beach side, and New Year’s Evening needs to be spent in a hopping club, Miami is the obvious choice. But consider heading South to San Juan, Puerto Rico, instead. Much like Miami, the party scene in San Juan is centered around its most stylish hotels. In the beachfront Condado district, hotels like the Conrad San Juan Condado Plaza and La Concha host parties with some of Puerto Rico’s musical elite. Think salsa and merengue until the wee hours of the morning. Plus, compare a ticket to the party at Conrad San Juan at $70 versus $150 to party at the Mondrian South Beach. Both Condado Beach and the Puerto Rico Convention Center have grand firework displays at midnight. Be sure to partake in the island’s unique tradition for the año nuevo: those who eat 12 grapes starting 12 seconds before midnight are guaranteed a year of good luck!