10 great places across the globe to ring in 2006

Updated 12/30/2005 10:18 AM ET

Whether wild or mild, unique New Year's Eve celebrations offer memorable ways to ring in 2006. "Since 9/11, people want to seize the moment," says Melissa Biggs Bradley, editor of Town & Country Travel magazine. "Most want to usher in the new year in spirited surroundings," she says, "and the ideal spot is a place with a knockout view and a really great party — a big festive bash or an elegant meal with a few loved ones." Here, she shares with USA TODAY's Shawn Sell some special spots to fete the future.

Time Warner Center
New York

"Jazz at Lincoln Center moved into an extraordinary space in this new complex last year, and one of its music halls is an intimate jazz club called Dizzy's," says Bradley. "Eat here (or upstairs at Thomas Keller's Per Se), then catch the late set of Cuban saxophonist/clarinetist Paquito D'Rivera and Panamericana. At night on New Year's, the views of Central Park fireworks and the lighted Manhattan skyline form an unforgettable backdrop." 212-258-9800; jazzatlincolncenter.org

Bauer Hotel
Venice, Italy

Celebrate Old World style at "a gala dinner at the 19-century Palazzo Bauer, a gloriously historic hotel on Venice's Grand Canal," says Bradley. "Its elegant owner, Francesca Possatti, presides over the annual eight-course dinner held at the rooftop restaurant. Everyone dresses in black tie, and at midnight you can hear the cheering from nearby St. Mark's Square, where crowds have gathered on this night for centuries." 011-39-041-520-7022; bauervenezia.com

St. Barts
French West Indies

"On this French Caribbean island, the festivities begin with a Round the Island yacht race on Saturday," says Bradley. "Dozens of boats compete and many others flock to picturesque Gustavia Harbor, site of the start and finish lines. Later in the night, fireworks illuminate the harbor as all restaurants with good views, such as Maya's and Wall House, buzz with an international mix of people." stbartstourist.com

The Bund

"This booming metropolis already has twice the number of skyscrapers as New York," says Bradley, "and the best spots from which to see them are the restaurants in the fabulously restored neo-colonial buildings on the Bund," the city's landmark waterfront. "From their windows, gaze across the Huangpo River to Shanghai's financial center of Pudong. At midnight on New Year's Eve, thousands of people gather along the Bund to watch fireworks shot off river barges." www.travelchinaguide.com/attraction/shanghai/huangpu.htm

Post Ranch Inn
Big Sur, Calif.

"Enjoy a quiet, romantic evening for two at Post Ranch, a 30-room eco-luxury inn on the cliffs of Big Sur," says Bradley. "End a day of yoga or hiking along the dramatic coastline, or in the redwood forest, with a massage and dinner in one of the five wood-and-glass ocean cabins. Each has its own terrace jutting 1,200 feet over the Pacific. There are no televisions in any of the rooms, so midnight is marked by the sound of crashing waves." 800-527-2200; postranchinn.com

The Wynn
Las Vegas

"Located on the Vegas Strip, the Wynn is a 50-story bronze tower with 2,700 rooms, all of which have floor-to-ceiling glass windows with views of the Strip and the property's own golf course and mountain," says Bradley. Check out the tower's many restaurants, "from gourmet French to Chinese, as well as shows, shopping, lounges and nightclubs — all designed so you can observe the New Year's Eve crowds down on the Strip without ever leaving the resort." 888-320-9966; wynnlasvegas.com

Casa Casuarina

"Right in the heart of South Beach's Deco district is an elaborate 1930s Spanish-style mansion, previously owned by the late Gianni Versace," says Bradley. "It's now a members-only club with 10 suites that anyone can reserve as a temporary member. The New Year's party will certainly be one of Miami's liveliest since the building features a gorgeous indoor mosaic swimming pool and a Moroccan-style roof deck, with views of the beach and the fireworks." 305-672-6604; casacasuarina.com

Punta del Este

"Casinos and nightclubs exist in Punta proper," says Bradley, "but for a casual chic South American experience, head to the nearby fishing village of José Ignacio, where restaurants serve grilled food at long tables set right on the beach. Sit next to people from a dozen different countries as you eat Argentine steak and sip Chilean wine. It's so low-key that you might not even notice when midnight arrives. Toast it a few minutes late." visit-uruguay.com/puntadeleste.htm

The Little Nell
Aspen, Colo.

"This legendary gathering spot is popular for celebrities who annually descend on the resort," says Bradley. "After a day of skiing, mingle at the hotel's bar, a lively après-ski scene" featuring a New Year's Eve band and a good vantage point to watch the town's fireworks. Private parties also abound on the mountain and often the hosts put on additional fireworks shows for the whole town to see." 970-920-4600; thelittlenell.com

The Tsar's Ball
St. Petersburg, Russia

"This gorgeous city of palaces celebrates New Year's with balls," says Bradley. "The grandest is the Tsar's Ball, held at the French baroque Catherine Palace just outside St. Petersburg in Pavlovsk. Guests in black tie spend the evening moving from one opulent hall to another for cocktails and dinner, during which opera singers and ballerinas perform. Enjoy champagne, vodka and beluga caviar as fireworks explode in the French gardens outside at midnight. Then a jazz band begins, and everyone dances." 800-633-1008; exeterinternational.com

Posted 12/29/2005 8:44 PM ET
Updated 12/30/2005 10:18 AM ET
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