Sydney ranks in The New York Times list of top '52 Places to Go in 2016'

The best of Sydney, by drone

Drone manufacturer 3DR has released spectacular aerial footage of Sydney as seen from a 3DR Solo drone. The company received special permission from the Civil Aviation Safety Authority to film the footage. Video: 3DR

 The New York Times has released its annual list of the 52 top places to go in 2016, with only one Australian city featuring at number 51 - Sydney.

The much-maligned South Australian capital of Adelaide fared better in 2015 slotting in at number 24.

However this year Sydney has earned its place for it being a city 'outdoor lovers can embrace' (perhaps the judges had not been following the recent weather stories), home to beaches and national parks.

But Sydney's two new developments have caught the eye of the New York Times this year. The shoreside promenade of Barangaroo Reserve, and will also temporarily house Copenhagen restaurant Noma for ten weeks from this month.

The Goods Line - a repurposed train line that's been turned into an elevated walkway in a similar vein to New York's High Line, Sydney's renovated Old Clare Hotel and the reintroduction of American Airlines flights to Los Angeles in December also rated a mention.

However, it was the "metropolis that has it all" - Mexico City - that was named as the number one destination for 2016.

A city that "radiates energy", the Mexican capital has been attracting travellers seeking out some of the world's best cuisine, museums and forward-thinking design.

And if Mexico City is too daunting, you could always swing by Todos Santos (23) on the pacific coast of Baja California, for its laid back blend of Mexican and Californian culture.

While the list features perennial favourites like the Spanish towns of San Sebastian ( columnist Ben Groundwater calls it the greatest place on earth) and Barcelona (18 and 29 respectively), much like Lonely Planet's Best in Travel, there's a smattering of unusual destinations or those considered off the beaten track, such as second city of Aarhus (13) in Denmark, for 'thriving Danish culture beyond well-trodden Copenhagen'. The second-city contains the 'Iceberg' - a striking residential building on water, plus three Michelin-starred restaurants.

The culinary scene of Cesme, a port city of Turkey, has it ranked at number 14, along with its boutique hotels.

Toronto (7), Canada's largest city, usually left off these lists, is apparently "ready for its close up". A new train whisks travellers downtown from the airport, making it a more convenient stopover location, and urban projects have linked green spaces filled with public art together. A former industrial area has also been developed into a stylish new neighbourhood filled with bars, live music and coffee shops.

"Mediterranean on a dime" Malta has been named as the third best place to visit, an "affordable playground with superb climate and beaches", and at number 2, the French wine capital of Bordeaux, now the largest urban World Heritage site. Restaurant openings, along with a new Wine and Trade museum and revitalisation projects along its waterways had it earning its ranking on the list for 2016.

Abu Dhabi was placed at number 8 for its innovative architectural projects and its upmarket hotels and conservation projects.

See: Dubai's wealthier stopover rival

Those intending on visiting the US this year should set their sights further than the normal tourist destinations such as San Francisco and head to East Bay (39), in California, which includes the towns of Oakland, Alameda and Berkeley, known for their glorious inland climate, thriving arts scene and culinary culture. In Alameda, formal naval air station hangars now house breweries, distilleries and wineries in what has been dubbed 'spirits alley'.

Music lovers could head to Rosine (42), in Kentucky, population 113, for its popular weekly bluegrass jam in an old barn, or St Louis (46) in Missouri, for its forthcoming museum tribute to the blues. And there's always Marfa (48), the tiny offbeat town in Texas those interested in Austin should include on their itinerary, attracting those interested in its funky, low-key artistic vibe that permeates it. Set to open this year is a newly renovated hotel and a new art installation, as well as hosting annual music and film festivals throughout the year.

A common theme running throughout the New York Times' selection include culinary traits, groundbreaking architecture, the repurposing of former industrial areas and artistic pursuits.

The complete list of 52 destinations can be viewed here.

Read Traveller's own list of the top cities to visit in 2016 here and our list of the top countries here.