10 Cool Alternatives To The World's Most Popular New Year's Eve Destinations

kitzbuhel austria snow mountains town

Photo: Instagram/semih900

It’s often said that New Year’s Eve is for amateurs.To that end, there are some obvious destinations that any joker could tell you will be “fun” on New Year’s Eve.

Steer clear of the obvious and increase your chances of getting to the front of the line without having to use your elbows, and of course, your wallet.

A little research can unlock some equally exciting New Year’s Eve celebrations at slightly less traditional destinations.

Here’s our rundown of the most obvious New Year’s Eve hot spots and their off-the-beaten-track alternatives:

For the city that just missed making the list, check out the Hopper Blog!

1. Instead of Edinburgh, Try: Prague

2. 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.

2. 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.

neighbours 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 centre to ring in the New Year with live music lasting to 6 am on January 1st.

4. Instead of Rio de Janeiro, Try: Valparaíso

5. 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 dinner 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.

6. Instead of Sydney, Try: Honolulu

If you have to be one of the first people to ring in the New Year, Sydney is your obvious destination. But instead of rushing away from 2012, why not make it last as long as possible?

To be among the last in the world to enter 2013, celebrate in Honolulu, Hawaii. Sydney's known for its epic fireworks display, but Honolulu holds it's own with quirky traditions like the Kahala Hotel's Pineapple Drop.

While resort hotels like the Hilton offer New Year' Eve luau's, the beach is always free, and fireworks light up Honolulu Harbor at midnight.

Although New Year's is in the midst of Hawaii's high season, you'll save at least $400 (and more than a few hours) on a flight to Hawaii versus Sydney, which you can put toward a hotel room (note: a room at a Holiday Inn in Sydney around NYE starts at $300!).

7. 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 centre 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!

8. Instead of San Francisco, Try: Portland

San Francisco is a foodie haven, and you'll be hard pressed to find a table at Manresa for New Year's End. An equally delicious New Year's meal can be found to the north, in Portland, Oregon.

For a truly foodie extravaganza, check out Naomi Pomeroy's Beast for a decadent $200 8 course meal with wine pairings.

This small French restaurant is known for its inventive prix fixe meals, and all the stops come out for New Year's Eve.

On New Year's Day, walk off all that decadence, with a hike in Portland's Leif Erickson Drive, an 11 mile trail through Forest Park with views of Columbia River, Mt. Hood, and Mt. St. Helens.

Prices are in your favour in Portland where a hotel room at River Place, a Kimpton Hotel, will run you $239, while a similar room in San Francisco, at Kimpton's Sir Frances Drake, is $331.

You're welcome for the 30% savings! Spend it on bubbly.

9. Instead of Las Vegas, Try: Punta del Este

10. Instead of New Orleans, Try: Nashville

New Orleans is one of America's best party cities, and there's no shortage of fun to be had on Bourbon Street at the stroke of midnight.

But, if you're dying for some Southern charm on New Year's Eve consider checking out Nashville instead. Where New Orleans has its jazz, Nashville is the epicentre of country music, which means New Year's should be spent taking in a great performance.

This year The Fray will headline Nashville's free street party on Lower Broadway, along with country duo Love and Theft, Sixpence None the Richer, and Striking Matches.

The world famous Bluebird Cafe will showcase some of its favourite artists in what is sure to be a sold-out show.

At $40 a ticket, it's budget friendly too, compared to a $120 ticket for the Palm Court Jazz Cafe's New Year's celebration in the Big Easy.

Heading to one of these places?

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