Revelers in Times Square waited up to 9 hours to see the Swarovski crystal ball drop in freezing temperatures.
Earlier, people partied on land and water in Sydney's harbor area Tuesday to watch 2014 ushered in with fireworks, a flotilla and a birthday celebration.
Revelers were dazzled by fireworks above the Parthenon in Athens, Greece, the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, St. Basil's Cathedral in Moscow, in Manila, Hong Kong, Taipei, Taiwan, Yangon, Myanmar, and Edinburgh, Scotland, to name just a few places -- with Dubai topping them all with what organizers expected would be a world-record pyrotechnic display, CNN reported.
Sydney's Opera House marked its 40th birthday, with fireworks shooting from its sails for the first time in more than 10 years, the Daily Telegraph in Sydney reported.
More than 50 boats joined the Harbor of Light parade, decked out in colored rope lights to help carry out the "Scintillating Sails" theme as a tribute to the Opera House's birthday.
An estimated 1.1 billion people from around the globe watched as Sydney celebrated the start of 2014 and the end of 2013, the Telegraph said.
In Dubai, Palm Jumeirah, the World Islands, Burj Khalifa and Dubai Festival city joined fireworks forces to shoot off more than 400,000 shells from 400 locations with the help of a network of more than 100 computers, Gulf News reported.
In Newcastle, England, people lined streets to watch drummers parade through the city.
In Lahore, Pakistan, young people took to the streets to celebrate, and in Mumbai an Indian boy set fire to the effigy of an old man, symbolizing end of the old and start of the new year.
While New York is known for its New Year's Eve ball drop in Times Square, people in Bangkok witnessed the highest ball drop in the world at 266 meters (872 feet), CNN said.
Beijing was treated to a laser light show from towers at the Great Wall of China, the network said.
Even saber-rattling North Korea celebrated with fireworks reported in Pyongyang.
The light show was more modest at a Buddhist temple in Seoul, where monks held candles to mark the start of the new year, CNN said.
In London, people could literally taste the new year, when banana-flavored confetti rained down on them. Food artists Harry Parr and Sam Bompas also came up with floating oranges that give off a citrus smell when popped.
"We developed a special confetti that's actually biodegradable, and in the rain it will magically dissolve," Parr said. "Even better, it tastes amazing."