By Sibel Tinar, Senior Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Millions, including a good portion of Cariocas and the majority of tourists, rush to the famous celebrations at Copacabana beach, but the rest of the city is far from being deserted or silent, as Carnival-like excitement and energy sweeps across the streets of Cidade Maravilhosa.

Penha, a neighborhood in Zona Norte of Rio, will host a public New Year's Eve celebration centered around its famous church, photo by rickipanema/Flickr Creative Commons License.

Both private events, and the free parties in various neighborhoods promise to make the night that connects 2010 to 2011 an unforgettable one.

Within Zona Sul, the public celebration at Flamengo beach, expected to attract about 400,000 people, appears to be the biggest rival of Copacabana, with a slightly longer fireworks show over Guanabara Bay, and a performance by the São Clemente samba school.

Zona Oeste, the vast West zone of Rio, will be making the most of its tens of kilometers of beaches, with three different public celebrations organized in three different neighborhoods. Barra da Tijuca will host performances by the singer Baia, the bands Molejo, and Batuque Digital, as well as the bateria of the famous samba school Salgueiro.

The stages at Recôncavo Beach in Sepetiba, and at the Brisa Beach in Pedra Guaratiba will see shows of Mocidade Independente and Mangueira samba schools respectively.

In Zona Norte, the less affluent North zone of Rio, Penha will be the neighborhood hosting the biggest celebration, in which fireworks launched from the top of Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Penha (Penha Church) will illuminate the skies, as performances by AfroReggae and the Imperatriz Leopoldinense pump up the crowds.

Piscinão de Ramos, which is the artificial beach of Zona Norte, as well as Ilha do Governador, and the tourist-friendly Paquetá Island are among the other neighborhoods that will ring in the new year with public parties including fireworks, and lots of samba.

Aside form these public events, private parties will be held all over the city, with the most exorbitantly priced being those overlooking the Copacabana beach. The price tag associated with fine dining at the rooftop restaurant of the Sofitel Hotel in Copacabana is R$2,000 per person, plus 10 percent service charge.

The private event at Forte de Copacabana has a direct view of the Copacabana beach celebrations, photo by

Pão de Açúcar (Sugarloaf Mountain), one of Rio’s most well-known landmarks that has views of both Copacabana and Flamengo beaches will be hosting a two-tier private party with the performances of Soul de Quem Quiser, and Anselmo & Rafael.

The event at Pão de Açúcar itself costs R$1,250, and the one at the lower hill, Morro da Urca is priced at R$550 for men and R$500 for women.

Another event that guarantees a unique view of the Copacabana beach is the party at Forte de Copacabana, which will be accompanied by the music of various DJs and a samba bateria. The ticket prices for the event range from R$600 to R$900, depending on the location.

Gávea’s famous Jóckey Club is also home to a promising New Year’s Eve celebration called Rio Réveillon 2011, including a performance by Monobloco, which is possibly the most famous Carnival bloco of Rio, as well as shows by Anselmo & Rafael, and Groove Box. The cost is R$280 for women, R$330 for men at the Gávea space, and R$410 for women, and R$460 for men at the VIP area by Lagoa.

Aside from the above, Réveillon Cidade Maravilhosa at MAM (Modern Art Museum), and Réveillon Iate Club at Urca’s Yacht Club are other highlights among the many high-profile events organized around Rio de Janeiro.

The private parties, though pricey, fill up quickly, and many have already sold out their best seats; so if interested, it is recommended that one get in touch with the organizers as soon as possible.

The public street or beach celebrations, on the other hand, are free-of-charge, and all you need to do to participate is to show up with your wishes for the new year, ready to celebrate and dance the night away.

Feliz ano novo pra todos!


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