After Christmas has passed and the final Hannukah candle has been lit, there is one last hurrah of the winter holiday season: the eve of the New Year is one last excuse to whoop it up and have a good time. This means there are lots of gay New Year’s Eve parties to bring everyone together one more time, and there are some good parties out there that really are worth fighting the crowds. Although staying home on New Year’s Eve and watching TV can be fun—throw a friend or two into the mix, add a bottle of cheap bubbly, and that’s a solid night of entertainment. We’re not hating on anyone who chooses a New Year’s Eve party with Anderson Cooper.
We’ve gathered some photos and videos of our favorite events around the world to welcome the New Year. Beyond these, be sure to check our New Year’s Eve party listings to find an event near you.
Key West, Fla.
The entire Old Town section of Key West becomes one big party on New Year’s Eve, but the highlight each year is the “shoe drop” outside 801 Bourbon Bar. A drag queen named Sushi sits in a giant red shoe and waves to the crowd as she is lowered to the stage.
Key West has a lot more to offer than just the bars on Duval St., and some of the best Key West restaurants have made the island a foodie destination.
White Party Bangkok has developed a tradition of creating an LED mutimedia display throughout the party space, which is a show of its own merit. Strobes and lasers are beamed onto a system of netting hanging from the ceiling, which creates a 3-D effect with the lighting effects, all choreographed to the music. It’s like the Bellagio fountains, but with strobes, and gogo dancers wiggling around.
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The promoters that run the WE PARTY empire host events around the world, but the biggest is WE PARTY Madrid, which includes multiple parties that run for several days around New Year’s Eve. Madrid is one of the gay capitals of Europe, and people in this lovely Spanish city know how to party, although most of the attendees at this party will be foreigners from Europe and North America.
We picked this party because we felt compelled to show everyone the photo above, of those dancers dressed in their “park ranger” costumes. You’re welcome. Back to the videos:
Rio de Janeiro
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Brazil has had a sharp increase in anti-gay and anti-trans violence in recent years, which has been blamed on the influence of their obnoxious ultra-conservative government, but those famous Brazilian parties still carry on. New Year’s Eve, or Réveillon, is a very big deal in Rio de Janeiro, and 2.5 million people will descend upon Copacabana Beach to dance together and watch the massive fireworks display. The fireworks in Rio are bananas. Play the clip above.
Sydney Harbour (spelled with a “u” because Australia is fancy!) has a world-famous fireworks show on New Year’s Eve, with pyrotechnics shooting off of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, and over a million people will pack into the viewing grounds to watch. But for a lucky group of gays—who have the money to afford the gobsmacking admission price (if you have to ask, you can’t afford it)—the Museum of Contemporary Art hosts a fabulous party on their rooftop deck, which has a perfect view of the waterfront.
Attendees can sip some of that famous Australian wine, and post lots of selfies on their social media accounts to alert the rest of the world that the New Year is on its way—because Sydney is one of the closest major cities to the International Date Line, so the new year hits there first.
Check out this video above, which is several years old, but it shows the party and the fireworks—and a super-cute reporter with that enviable Australian accent. Can we all please go to Australia?
To add your New Year’s Eve party to our list, email [email protected] Also feel free to invite the staff of GayCities to your party.