Last year we looked at the Burmese New Year, the Carnaval de Blancos y Negros, the Harbin International Ice & Snow Festival, and the Venice Festival. This year our things to do in January 2014 includes massive New Year’s parties and a barnstorming Viking festival in Scotland’s far north.

Best cities to spend New Year’s

If I could be in one European city for New Year’s, you’d find me in Edinburgh, Scotland once more. We were there for a massive storm in 2006 and although the rain dampened our spirits and the high winds closed down the outdoor party and fireworks displays, I’d still go another round with this friendly, stone-worked city.

In South America, you’d find me at Copacabana beach, Rio de Janeiro. An energetic city, saying it knows how to party is just a sad cliché: but it’s so true. Big ocean, big bands, and a big New Year’s celebration that runs all night.

I don’t know if I’ll ever be in North America for NYE, but there’s two cities I hear about time and time again: New York and Las Vegas. New York has the iconic ball dropping in Times Square — although I’ve heard the crowds are so big you should arrive after lunch, and maybe that’s not the best use of time for any visitor.

Las Vegas’s nightlife doesn’t need to be discussed, but you can be sure the casinos don’t hold back with A-list bands and celebrities each year. Outdoors, the Strip is closed to cars and a huge fireworks display is launched from almost every resort. Fireworks fan? Get here.

And fireworks brings me to the end of my New Year’s city wish list: Sydney, Australia. It’s summer down here, so you’d find me near a harbourside bar in shorts and a t-shirt waiting for the fireworks — including the spectacular denouement as the Harbour Bridge explodes with colour.

And afterwards, it’s Up Helly Aa!

January will continue to roll on, and by the end of it, you might miss playing with fire. Fear not, just pack your warmest kilt and head up to Lerwick, capital city of the Shetland Islands. It’s time for the Viking festival, Up Helly Aa with bonfires enough for everyone.

Those are our picks for the best things to do in January 2014… What are you up to?

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