A candle-lit desert walk in Arizona, torchlit skiing in Verbier, a glowing parade in Hong Kong – the world’s holiday traditions are distinctive in their own way but one thing unites them all: the love of light. Here’s our Insider picks for the best and brightest holiday events from around the world, each city with a unique cultural tradition that truly make the season shine.
New Years Countdown Party at Central World
December 31 2016 at Central World, Bangkok
On New Year’s Eve, Bangkok will rock with incomparable nightlife at Central World, one of Bangkok’s biggest shopping malls holding the biggest New Years Eve countdown party in the city. Begin with fireworks followed by an evening of glowing public light installations and live concerts by popular Thai local bands.
Recommended by W Bangkok
Día de los Reyes Magos Parade
January 5, 2017 starting at Ciutadella Park to Plaza Catalunya, Barcelona
3 Kings Day (Día de los Reyes Magos) is one of the most celebrated festivals in Barcelona, celebrating Three Wise Men that bring gifts for the children. Celebrate on the 5th with a giant parade through the streets of Barcelona as the kings appear on regal floats, throwing sweets and gifts to onlookers!
Recommended by W Barcelona
37th Street Christmas Lights
All December at 37th Street between Guadalupe St. and Home Ln., Austin
Every December, Austin illuminates with holiday cheer with the 37th Street Christmas Lights in Hyde Park. Neighbors in the community stay decorate their houses, brightening up the city with tacky light displays, props, and illuminated holiday scenes, so take a long walk and enjoy.
Recommended by W Austin
Decemeber 21st, 2016 at the Savoyleres cabins, Verbier
No matter if you are an avid skier or hit the snowy slopes butt-first, this flaming holiday tradition can’t be missed. Grab a torch like an Olympian and slide down a beautiful ski slope in this Verbier tradition, lighting up the night with friends, family and fun.
Recommended by W Verbier
Multimedia/3D-mapping New Year’s Celebration
December 25 – December 30, 2016 at the Palace (Dvortsovaya) square, St. Petersburg
A multimedia presentation dedicated to Russian Cinema is the center piece for an unmissable New Year’s celebration, ringing in 2017 with a fireworks show set to the music from Russian films. The best views are from Dvortsovaya embankment, Dvortsoviy bridge and Birzhevoy garden (skver) and be sure to bring a blanket so you can watch all night.
Recommended by W St. Petersburg
Hong Kong Winterfest
Hong Kong Harbourfront until January 1st, Hong Kong
Soak up a choreographed Christmas light show on 40 buildings along the Victoria Harbor of Hong Kong during WinterFest, showing festive lighting, laser imagery and 3D lights over the clock tower. Enjoy the firework light show on New Year’s Eve!
Recommended by W Hong Hong
La Seconde Avant Minuit NYE Party
December 31st at Auberge Saint Gabriel, Montreal
Say goodbye to 2016 with an unforgettable evening of decadent luxury at an exclusive club and restaurant with decedent food, music, dancing and a glittering atmosphere. Stay for sets by Christian Pronovost, DAF, Cabana and Adrien Mitchell. Reserve your spot here for a night to remember.
Recommended by W Montreal
Las Noches de las Luminarias
December 20-23, & 26-31 at The Desert Botanical Garden, Phoenix
Every winter, the 140 acre garden is beautifully lit with eight thousand luminaria bags and thousands of white twinkle lights. Guests can stroll through the various paths while they listen to the sounds of nine entertainment ensembles, sipping festive beverages as you stroll through the beautifully vibrant desert spectacle.
Recommended by W Scottsdale