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Sydney

Fireworks bursting in air above Sydney Harbor, which is immediately recognizable due to the stunning iconic Sydney Opera House, is one of the visuals most associated with New Year celebrations aside from Times Square.

In Sydney’s favor: It’s more spectacular and December 31 is summertime in Australia. Sydney also beats everyone else to the punch as the first major New Year’s celebration.

Revelers converge at the vibrant and touristy King’s Cross area, as well as Bayswater Road and Victoria Street, Oxford Street between Hyde Park and Taylor Square, and Cockle Bay Wharf in Darling Harbor, says Fodor’s editor Maggie Kelly.

There’s a smoking performance by indigenous Gadigal People, early fireworks at 9 and alcohol-free zones for kiddos and families, and specially lit vessels parade around the harbor. Then at midnight, there’s that world-famous fireworks display centered around and above the Sydney Harbor Bridge, which is known as the Bridge Effect.

Photo: Michael Dunning | Getty Images