In Las Vegas, New Year’s Eve manages to bring an even more raucous, risque air to the town. The famed Vegas Strip remains closed to all traffic for a 4-mile stretch on the holiday. Splurge on tickets to an A-list party at one of Las Vegas’s nightclubs, like PURE, LAX and TAO. Before hitting the party scene consider making a dinner reservation for an intimate meal at one of Vegas’s best restaurants — many offer special New Year’s Eve menus, like Jaleo at The Cosmopolitan, which features a 3-course prix fixe menu and specialty cocktails.
Rio de Janeiro
It should come as no surprise that one of the sexiest cities on the planet rings in the New Year with steamy celebrations. Remember, Rio sits below the equator, so New Year’s Eve arrives in the heart — and heat — of summer.
At midnight, the skies above the Strip erupt in fireworks. If you plan to head into the chilly night to watch the display, be warned: Casinos stop letting people inside at 11 p.m. and won’t start again until 12:30 a.m., to help maintain crowd occupancy limits.
Two million people will hit the sands for the festivities, second only in popularity to Carnival. Find your skimpiest outfit and make sure it’s white, the traditional New Year’s color in Brazil, to blend in with the locals on Copacabana Beach, the epicenter of Rio’s celebrations. At midnight, fireworks displays light the evening sky above partiers from a series of launching points in the ocean along the 2 1/2 mile stretch of beach. If money’s no object, book a stay at the famed beachfront Copacabana Palace.
Jost Van Dyke, British Virgin Islands
Kevin Oliver, flickr
Head to the tiny British Virgin Island of Jost Van Dyke for one of the Caribbean’s biggest New Year’s Eve parties. On this speck of an island lies one of the region’s most rockin’ bars, Foxy’s Tamarind Bar, which celebrates “Old Year’s Eve,” a party that lasts 2 days, and draws revelers from across the globe to the island’s Great Harbor. Foxy’s 48-hour shindig features live music, dancing, eating and copious drinking. Sparkly bikinis for the ladies, and a lack of shirts for the men, are de rigueur. Make travel and accommodation arrangements in advance, as lodging on the island is sparse. It’s not unusual to stay overnight on the beach, and quite common, in fact, to see tangles of bodies, er, recuperating together from the festivities.
Key West, Florida
Meanwhile, the famed mother of all dive bars, Sloppy Joe’s has celebrated the Annual Dropping of the Conch Shell for more than 20 years. Rigged onto a frame, the giant conch is lowered by hand to the ground in the midst of much revelry and bikini-clad party-goers.
Key West features one wild take on New York City’s Times Square celebration. While a crystal ball might be apropos for dropping in Manhattan, in the Keys there’s a different version of the tradition: At the Historic Seaport a scantily-clad pirate wench is lowered from the mast of a tall ship to the ground amid cheers, cannon fire and live music.
Saranac Lake, New York
Sometimes, the sexiest New Year’s Eve of them all involves you, your loved one and a cozy resort in the woods. Guests of The Point Resort in New York’s Adirondack Mountains experience all those luxuries plus some. Book a night in the Weatherwatch room, which features a romantically draped king-size bed, sitting area, walk-in fireplace, outdoor deck, and sprawling mountain and lake views. After a day spent snowshoeing, ice skating and downhill skiing, snuggle up to your sweetie back at the resort. Plan to reserve an in-room New Year’s Eve dinner, served in front of the fireplace. Come morning, there’s no need to rise and shine; have the restaurant deliver breakfast to your room.