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January 11th, 2008

The 10 Best Fireworks Displays of New Years Eve 2008

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Fireworks collage

New Year’s Eve is just as much about spectacular fireworks displays as it is about expensive club entry fe

es, booze and parties. In recent years there has been growing competition between the world’s major cities as to who can lay claim to the title of best New Year’s Eve fireworks extravaganza, VCP-510 and 2008 was no exception. This year’s party was characterised by displays of war-like proportions; in London the display was of such magnitude that at one stage it seemed Donald Rumsfeld was back to open another can of shock-and-awe whoopass for the world to see! Here are the best displays we could find captured on video. Turn your speakers way up, grab a drink and watch as these major cities quite literally blow up our taxes!

London, UK

London: At the stroke of midnight on Big Ben, London ushered in the new year with an incredible 10 minute long pyrotechnic and light spectacular. The focal point of London’s fireworks display was the London Eye, which was used as a backdrop for lighting and as a launch site for over 100,000 pyrotechnics. ISC CISSP The intensity and rhythm of the display half way through resembled, perhaps deliberately, the theatre of war. There were even two speed boats being used as mobile launch pads as they scurried around the Thames River. Several pauses in the action were needed to allow the huge plumes of smoke to disperse and to give the 700,000 strong crowd a chance to ready themselves for the next visual and sonic onslaught and booming finale. The total cost of the display was ~ $2,500,000, or $250,000 per minute. If you were in London for New Years Eve, you saw the best fireworks display anywhere in the world!

Sydney, Australia

Sydney: Well over one million people lined the banks of Sydney Harbour to be among the first making it into 2008. Up to 3,000 privately owned boats squeezed into the harbour for the best vantage point to see this dazzling show. All other Australian cities usually have to play second fiddle to Sydney’s amazing fireworks display on New Years Eve – and 2008 was no different. Come to think of it, most cities in the world would find it cahard to beat Sydney’s pyro-music-light display. Sydney blew up something in the order of $3,500,000 million of fireworks to create 30,000 effects from Sydney Harbour Bridge, six barges covering 3.75 miles of the harbour plus eight skyscrapers in the CBD for a 12 minute long display.

Las Vegas, USA

Las Vegas: Vegas brought in the New Year in the only way it knows how – with a gigantic 20 minute long fireworks and light spectacle backed by performances from a plethora of famous entertainers. The night opened up with Robbie Maddison’s record breaking motorcycle jump at the Rio Suite and Hotel. Then the real party began as the Strip exploded in an eight minute long pyrotechnic extravaganza with fireworks launching from seven casino-rooftop locations.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Rio de Janeiro: After taking in a few bands in the city center the party moved down to Copacabana Beach where all eyes were skyward at midnight for a impressive barrage of fireworks as roughly two million Brazilians and tourists (give or take a few hundred thousand) say “despedida” to 2007 and “Olá” to 2008. Brazilians, as you well know, like to party and what is really cool about the fireworks in Rio is that they last longer than the usual few minutes – Rio’s fireworks last for well over fifteen minutes! Fireworks are set off from hotel tops and barges out to sea creating one of the best shows anywhere.

Dubai, UAE

Dubai: What more would you expect from this booming city than a fireworks spectacular? Dubai wanted to start 2008 with a bang while attempting to break the world record with one of the largest and most artistically detailed fireworks display in history. The emirate employed the services of NYC-based fireworks specialists ‘Grucci’ to design and orchestrate the two-minutes of dazzling fireworks at Dubai Marina. Incidentally, ‘Grucci’ are the same folks who were responsible for the fireworks at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics and the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics. A piano concerto led the evening up to the countdown at midnight when fireworks from over 25 locations along the beachfront were launched up to a record breaking 2,000ft. The ‘love and peace’ theme was evident in a stunning rainbow that illuminated the skyline from the Emirates Towers and down the Sheikh Zayed Road.

Taipei, Taiwan

Taipei: As with most Asian fireworks displays, the creative folks behind the New Year’s Eve fireworks in Taipei made good use of the city skyline. For over three minutes the Taipei 101 Tower was the focal point of everyone’s attention. Not only is Taipei 101 ridiculously tall (standing at 1,671ft) but it also holds the title as the largest countdown clock in the world for use specifically in New Year’s Eve celebrations. The fact that the display was launched from the top 8 floors of one of the tallest buildings on earth made Taipei’s fireworks unforgettable.

Hong Kong, PRC

Hong Kong: It’s the Olympics this year in China and Hong Kong was eager to impress. The highpoint of Hong Kong’s celebrations was the IFC One building, which towers above the skyline at 1,335ft tall. The locals of Hong Kong love a good fireworks show and hundreds of thousands gathered around the Central District, Causeway Bay and Tsim Sha Tsui areas to get a good view of the display. If you enjoy the sound of fireworks as much as the visual aspect you needed to get as close as possible to the IFC building itself or the fireworks won’t be very loud. This video was taken from a distance so the sound wasn’t so impressive, but visually the fireworks display was unreal.

Prague, Czech Republic

Prague: Who would have thought of Prague as a New Year’s Eve destination? Prague actually has two fireworks celebrations, the professional display put on along the River Vltava near Prague Castle, which caters to families and tourists. Afterwards there is … the ‘unscripted display’ in the Old Town Square put on by the good people of Prague which is basically an opportunity to risk your life in a free-for-all of rockets and bangers. Alongside the famous ‘Running of the Bulls‘ spending New Year’s Eve in Prague must surely rank highly for those seeking dangerous fun. Check out the footage from the 2007 New Year’s Eve display for a better idea of what goes on. Its an unscripted war zone!

Paris, France

Paris: Les Champs Elysees looked beautiful, L’Arc de Triumph was elegant and the Eiffel Tower was lit up like a Christmas tree but the fireworks were to be honest, quite modest. Still the French revelers, numbered in the hundreds of thousands, were treated to a few minutes of fireworks as rockets, mines, bombs and comets were unleashed from three locations around the Eiffel Tower. Paris does go much bigger for fireworks when they celebrate Bastille Day on 14th July. For a much more dramatic (and perhaps magical) New Year’s Eve in France check out the seven minute long fireworks extravaganza at Disneyland Paris.

New York, USA

New York: Perhaps I’m a purist when it comes to pyrotechnics and this may come as a surprise to some but … New York came in low down the list due to the fact that the fireworks play second fiddle to the famous New Year’s Eve Ball descending from the flagpole atop One Times Square. Over one million Yankees don’t seem to mind as they packed into Times Square in celebration, joined by millions more nationwide and a further estimated billion worldwide via a live televised feed. Honestly, I thought NYC would do NYE better.


  • what about berlin where they had the worlds biggest new years party of all time?


  • Very nice article. I really wish I could have went to one of the events. I love fireworks…too bad there isn’t any good events around my area…lol

  • I’m pretty much addicted to the fireworks display in Sydney. For the last 3 years I’ve camped out in a good vantage point to watch them live. I’ve even taken photos last 2 years and I’m sure next year will be the same. I need a proper tripod next year and to be able to get even closer… Problem is some people camp out even 2 days in advance to get the best spots.

    If I end up travelling around NYE next year I wouldn’t mind checking out Dubai or Paris fireworks.

  • you forgot about Madeira. It received a World Record for fireworks for 2006/2007 new years show.

    I personally liked this years show better.

  • Damn, London won that without a doubt!

  • I’m in Paris and it was the lamest fireworks display I’ve seen in my life.

  • What about the fireworks in Funchal, Madeira Island ? They are are considered by the Guinness Book of Records the largest in the world … watch this.

  • Too bad they didn’t show Seattle. The computer crashed and the show had a blue screen of death moment for 5 mins before they manually lit off all the fireworks. Probably was running Vista. Slightly ironic that happening here in the Windows capitol of the world.

  • I’m sorry but what does “worlds biggest new year party” have to do with the worlds best fireworks display?

  • [...] pulled, but the US and the world focuses on NYC, so Vegas is a moot point in my mind. Head over to to see what all of America is missing out each time the calendar turns to January [...]

  • you forgot moscow, they had a good one.

  • nice article, fireworks are amazing!

  • We’re sorry. This video is no longer avaliable.

  • Checkout a photo from Oslo Norway’s new years fireworks this past year.

  • How about Louisville Ky in April? It is th elargest annual fireworks show, it marks the beginning of the KY derby festival. If you never seen it it is worth a look.

  • [...] here for the Top 10 Fireworks Display’s from around the [...]

  • [...] you like a good fireworks display then check out this page, it has the10 best fireworks display of New Years 2008. This entry was posted on Tuesday, January [...]

  • [...] London, Sydney, Las Vegas, Rio de Janeiro, Dubai, Hong Kong, New York City, Paris, Prague, Taipei. Fireworks  [...]

  • [...] 1 link… [...]

  • [...] out a rundown of some of the biggest new years eve fireworks spectaculars from a couple weeks ago. I’ve always been a fan of Sydney’s fireworks display each year [...]

  • What makes Rio better than any other city is not only the amazing fireworks, but also the ‘infectious’ bliss of life of its cariocas.
    A complete party is not just the fireworks (visual); it has to cover all human senses: sight (the beauty of the city & its people), hearing (laugh of the cariocas), smell (of the flowers offered to Yemanja), taste (drink a caipirinha and you will know what I’m talking about it), and touch (being around 2 million people without a need of physical touch and feeling embraced by them)…

  • One of the things I notice most about the greatest displays nowadays is the music. Sydney has wonderful music booming out from around the harbour, but as far as I could tell, London had none. I know it’s hard to hear over the noise of the fireworks, but it adds enormously to the atmosphere and should be added for all the displays to be considered great.

  • Hey..
    Does anyone know the top 10 best firework displays for CHINESE NEW YEAR?
    PLS PLS PLS get back to me as soon as possible!!!!

    good pics, btw


  • On you can read and share New Year’s Eve DO and DONT reviews everywhere in the world.

    PS. My favorite city for 31 dec 2008 is Antwerp!

  • I watched London’s fireworks & Sydney’s were far better…

  • Great list and videos! Saw some posts here looking for local shows. This site has a huge list of shows around the world for New Year’s and the rest of the year. Enjoy!

  • where is the fallas?

  • London-fantastic city! Saw the fireworks while visiting over New Years. Loved them and London-its such a fantastic city. In fact, I loved it so much I moved last month from New York. if you havent visited, I insist you do

  • Im from Kansas and i think Sydney had the best display, apart from it being in the beautiful harbour. Rio and Dubai also had great dislpays, can’t say too much for London though, very bland, no music and off that ugly London Eye

  • For the past five years ago the city council of Valparaiso, Chile´s main sea port, has organized a fireworks display that is now reputed to be the best of its kind in the worldTo mark the start of 2008 a total of 28 tons of fireworks and 23,500 rockets (30% more than last year) were fired from rafts in the sea and from 17 points along the hilltops surrounding the Bay of Valparaiso and the adjacent resort city of Viña del Mar. A total of one million tourists arrived at the bay area mostly from the capital city of Santiago, located 130 kilometers to the east to see the fireworks show . Many people decided to camp near the coastline in order to get the best view of the show that lasted for nearly half an hour and left everybody in ecstasy in 22 km of coast.

  • Sydney’s new years eve kicks arse over london, our fireworks are spead out over 12km, our backdrop is surreal and the music pumping throughout the houbour makes you feel like you are in utopia.

    Plus our fireworks are always different each year.

    Sydney No 1!!!!

  • Sydney this year has 5 million dollars in tomorrow nights fireworks, 2x more then london last year.

  • Hey thanks. I’m doing a post on Sydney being pretty spectacular and really appreciated the lowdown! Happy New Year 2008! (Late I know but we Aussies are slow on the uptake)

  • you haven’t seen fireworks, if you haven’t seen the fireworks in Vina del Mar, in CHILE! It’s amazing!!!!!
    It lasted more than 30 minutes tonight!

  • Sydney always has and always will have the best fireworks. No other can beat it. I was there and it literally blew me away.

    Australians can party like no other and NYE is no exception. I’m from London and we have nothing on the Aussie way of celebrating. They’re absolutely crazy. These fireworks were insane and I just can’t wrap my mind around it that they were as big as they were.

    Bring on NY 2009/2010 in Sydney!!

  • Sydney’s fireworks this year had everyone cheering till they were done. London’s fireworks could put an owl to sleep at night.

  • I Think London Was The Best Fiework Display Out Of Them All Any One Else Agree Or Disagree

  • Your so called top ten has missed one of the best displays to be seen anywhere… Edinburgh Castle. Four minutes of heavy-hitting gunpowder and not just a namby pamby art installation like they had in London. It’s good to see other cities catching on (after 2000). Edinburgh has been doing it for years.

  • I’m American but how can any city compare with Sydney on NYE. The whole harbour is a natural ampitheatre, throw in the views of that amazing bridge, the Opera house,the stunning city vista, the million plus people on the harbour, and the balmy summer weather, with the biggest fireworks show on planet Earth that night. Its game over!

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