Every Brazilian dreams of spending New Year’s on a remote getaway vacation. But with unemployment rates at a record high, not everybody’s got the means. So for those broke in the city, here’s a list of free New Year’s Eve parties for Brazilians to welcome 2017 with a bang.
Rio de Janeiro
While Rio may be bankrupt, you can always count on the Cariocas for a great New Year’s party. The traditional waterfront show in Copacabana expects up to 2 million spectators, featuring popular artists like Elba Ramalho and DJ MAM. Rio’s top samba schools close out the night’s festivities to 12 minutes of fireworks along the Barra da Tijuca oceanfront. The city has also planned concerts in 10 neighborhoods across the city.
The best way to get around is Rio’s subway, which has a stop just blocks from the famous beach. The Metrô Rio offers special tickets for those who want to use public transport well into the night, which are up for purchase on their website. Partygoers should bring as little as possible with them and stay alert among the beach crowds, especially with protests against public salary delays in the forecast. Over 3,000 civil guards will patrol the beach during the festivities. The city also provides four public health posts and 120 health professionals for the beach party.
São Paulo might not have a beach, but does Rio one better by turning its famous Avenida Paulista into one giant outdoor stage. All metro lines will run for the entire night so partygoers can get from one blowout to the next. The only closed station will be Brigadeiro, where the free concerts will take place. On stage, the city offers free shows by local rapper Emicida, MPB legend Elza Soares, and more. The show starts at 19h on the intersection of Avenida Paulista with the Avenida Brigadeiro Luís Antônio, with a fireworks display at midnight.
Bahia’s coastal capital is Brazil’s second hottest New Year’s destination after Rio de Janeiro. And not for naught. Salvador is universally famous for its amazing Carnaval festivities, but also offers amazing street parties for the end-of-the-year countdown. Salvador’s Praça Cairu turns into a giant stage with free shows of Brazil’s top artists of northeastern music genres. Fans have got forró heartthrob Wesley Safadão, “Queen of Axé” and Bahia sweetheart Ivete Sangalo, and the young generation’s favorite funk-pop singer Anitta.
Fortaleza, the capital of northeastern state Ceará, is famous worldwide for its beautiful beaches. Last year, Fortaleza brought out 1 million partygoers for its New Year’s show on Iracema beach. After Rio and Salvador, Fortaleza reps Brazil’s third largest end-of-the-year bash. To welcome 2017, the city’s put together over 12 hours of free shows and a 17-minute fireworks display. Brazilian TV personality Falcão will lead the countdown.
Even the national capital of Brasilia, known for being a colorless maze of pavement, hosts its fair share of New Year’s celebrations. Right smack in the capital’s downtown is a giant rectangular lawn lined with government buildings and memorials. Called the Ministries Esplanade, the open area will host shows by funk rapper Mc Carol, hip hop artist Criolo, and legendary samba quintet Fundo de Quintal. The National Museum, located on the Esplanade, offers special activities for kids and youth. The youth scheduling includes dance, circus, and DJ workshops, as well as craft sessions utilizing recyclable items and cupcake-making classes.