The 18-night festival is set to draw more than 1.4 million people from Friday as the city glows under an array of spectacular displays, including Paint the Town, Piano Stairs and Light Origami installations.
Musical performances will accompany more than 60 works.
Authorities have urged visitors to stay safe after an intoxicated Vivid patron fell into the water at Darling Harbour and died last year.
“We know that alcohol does play a role in some of these social events in Sydney. We would ask that you drink in moderation and you respect the fact that this is a family-friendly event,” Assistant Commissioner Mick Fuller said.
The festival is expected to provide a $43 million boost to the local economy and surpass last year’s figure of 30,000 international visitors.
“It’s simply the best light show anywhere in the world,” NSW Tourism Minister Stuart Ayres said