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Darlinghurst Arts and Culture

Highlights

Arts and culture in Darlinghurst

Soak up the history, browse contemporary art galleries and stake your spot on Oxford Street for the world's famous annual Mardi Gras festival. In Darlinghurst, there's always something new to see and do on the ever-changing arts and culture scene.

Must Do

Museums, galleries and performing arts

Although well known for its infamous history, Darlinghurst has now come of age with a thriving arts and culture scene. The annual Sydney Gay Mardi Gras Parade is an annual highlight. This glamorous glitz-fest takes over Oxford Street for a night in March with all manner of colourful floats, music and an infectious party vibe. If there's one parade that promises much to write home about, it's this one.

You'll find that decadent atmosphere at cabaret lounge Slide too, where patrons drink, dine and watch some amazing fire breathers, aerialists, acrobatic artists, live singers and a magician as part of Saturday night's famous El Circo.

Mention Darlo's dark past and it's not hard to conjure up the razor gangs of the 1920s, fronted by notorious madam Tilly Devine (the Love Tilly Devine bar behind Crown Street is named in her honour).

Historic Darlinghurst Gaol is worth a peek for the insight it gives into the lives of the convicts who lugged the sandstone to build the walls in the early 1800s. Australian writer, Henry Lawson, penned the poem ‘One Hundred and Three' while doing time here for drunkenness and dodging alimony payments. Today the gaol is the site of the National Art School.

On Darlinghurst Road, the Sydney Jewish Museum has guided tours escorted by Holocaust survivors and the story of early Jewish settlement in Australia. There's a kosher café here too.

Arts and culture abounds at various galleries and venues in Darlinghurst. The Artery on Darlinghurst Road sells Aboriginal art while Gallery 9 in Darley Street has been recognised by the UK's Contemporary Magazine as one of the 50 emerging galleries in the world. On Oxford Street, concept gallery He Made She Made promotes emerging Australian artists; nearby Oxford St Design Store enables local designers, artists and writers to sell their work with one condition: nothing costs more than $20.

For theatre and art combined, check out the program at the edgy Oxford Art Factory with its flexible performance areas, an Art After Dark Bar and a Live Art Space. The Tap Gallery and Theatre in Burton Street provides a platform for all kinds of art mediums, and a bar-slash-bookstore where you can enjoy a drink. The Gallery's housecat, often found sleeping in a basket on a coffee table, brings a little furry charm to the venue.

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