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7 Underrated Places to Spend NYE This Year

There’s a lot of pressure to have a perfect New Year’s Eve celebration — we have all heard that how you spend your NYE is indicative of how the rest of your year will go. So maybe it’s time to buck convention and do something with your holiday you’re actually excited for. Skip the city traffic and that annual party you don’t really like going to in favor of a unique experience. Here are some of the things we’d love to do this New Year’s Eve.

1. The beach

For some reason, New Year’s celebrations call to mind chilly urban locales, but a more relaxing way to ring in the new year is a beach vacation. Travel to the Gulf of Mexico or the Caribbean, spend the day on the beach, and then sip cocktails while looking at the ocean as the warm sea breeze caresses your skin. Totally beats getting blasted in the face by confetti in a subzero Times Square.

2. Scheveningen, Netherlands

A different way to celebrate at the beach? Head to the Netherlands. In Scheveningen, you can welcome the new year with the world’s biggest bonfire (30 meters high, and Guinness Book of Records verified!). The next day, shake off the heat of the fire by taking a dip in the icy North Sea with 10,000 other revelers who travel from all around to usher in the new year in their bathing suits.

3. Niagara Falls, Ontario

Yes, it will be cold, but as long as you’re properly bundled up, the Canadian side of Niagara Falls has lots to offer on New Year’s Eve. Two loud and bright fireworks shows compete with the thunderous falls at night, followed by a spectacular light show on the falls themselves. Stay the night in Canada or drive back to New York to catch a better hotel deal (the views aren’t as good on the U.S. side, so you can find some good rates).

4. Quito, Ecuador

Quito offers a lot for the adventurous New Year’s traveler. Wear red and yellow underwear as you roam the streets, your way barred by men in drag and young children asking for small donations in return for your passage. Buy a monigote, a type of dummy that represents everything that went wrong in your year, stuff it with a list of all the bad things that happened, and burn it in the street along with all the other revelers. There are also the requisite huge fireworks displays, and you can dress in white and go for a swim at midnight if you so desire.

5. Tongatapu, Tonga

It’s a journey, but for a memorable New Year’s Eve, consider traveling to the capital of Tonga. This nation is made up of more than 170 islands in the South Pacific, and excitingly, it’s the first place in the world to ring in the new year every year thanks to its time zone. Alternatively, head to American Samoa and be one of the last people on Earth to watch the proverbial ball drop.

6. Edinburgh, Scotland

Every heard of Hogmanay? It’s a three-day street party in Edinburgh, Scotland. There are firelit torches, plenty of traditional folk music, beer (lots of beer!), a huge fireworks show, the world’s largest group singing of “Auld Lang Syne” at midnight as well as the chance to swim in the River Forth on Jan. 1.

7. Home!

Traveling and going out on the town are obviously exciting ways to spend NYE, but a staycation can be just as nice. Stock up on wine and make an epic selection of finger foods, throw on a face mask with your BFF or partner, and watch movies or Chrissy Teigen’s New Year’s special from the cozy comfort of your couch.

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