City Centre Arts and Culture

Highlights

Dazzling calendar of events

Vibrant, vivid and audacious. Sydney's lively appetite for culture and arts ensures a dazzling annual calendar of the best of music, dance, opera, theatre, exhibitions and visual arts in the city centre. From museums and galleries to festivals and shows, Sydney is the best place in Australia for wonderful and inspiring arts and cultural events.

  • Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, Sydney
  • Vivid Sydney

Galleries, museums, festivals and more

Begin your discovery at the World Heritage-listed Sydney Opera House, the heart of the city's cultural life. More than 1,600 performances are held each year in this masterpiece of architecture, including ballet and contemporary dance, opera, classical music, stage plays and more. 

You'll find many more cultural opportunities in the city centre.The Art Gallery of NSW has an extensive collection and a rolling program of exhibitions including the Archibald Prize for portraiture. The gallery is near the Royal Botanic Garden, a beautiful spot for a picnic.

Jenny Kee Archibald Prize, Sydney

The Australian Museum has dinosaur skeletons, natural exhibits and interactive displays to delight youngsters.

Nearby is the Hyde Park Barracks Museum, one of Australia's 11 World Heritage-listed convict sites, The Mint and the State Library of NSW, which has fascinating exhibitions too.

In the historic Rocks is the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, which has popular rooftop cafe with great views of The Sydney Opera House.

The leading Sydney Theatre Company is based in nearby Walsh Bay, home to the Roslyn Packer Theatre and Bangarra Dance Theatre.

The Museum of Sydney, near Circular Quay, is built on the site of the first Government House. Climb aboard a tall ship at the Australian National Maritime Museum in Darling Harbour.

For blockbuster shows, check out the Capitol Theatre, near Chinatown, the Sydney Lyric in Pyrmont, the State Theatre, near the Queen Victoria Building, and the Theatre Royal in the MLC Centre.

Sydney Film Festival, Sydney

Festivals in Sydney are enthralling. The Sydney Festival in January is the city's premier cultural event, with performance from more than 1,000 artists. In May, the Sydney Writers' Festival attracts some of the biggest names in literature.

The Sydney Writers' Festival celebrates literature in venues all over the city, hosting author Q&As as part of the festival's 300 events, many of them free.

And Sydney shines each winter when Vivid Sydney, held over several weeks in May and June, warms up the city with a unrivalled celebration of light, music and ideas.

  1. Argyle Gallery

    Argyle Gallery at The Rocks in Sydney presents a collection of all Australian and Aboriginal art and fine crafts. All works are sourced directly from artists and Aboriginal communities. Argyle Gallery also carries a...

  2. Art House Gallery

    The Art House Gallery represents and exhibits the work of both emerging and established Australian artists. The contemporary art exhibits displayed at the Rushcutters Bay art spacey feature award-winning works...

  3. Artspace Sydney

    Artspace is where audiences meet the artists and the ideas of these times.Artspace was established in 1983 as an artist-run contemporary art space dedicated to the presentation of contemporary and...

  4. Bangarra Dance Theatre

    Bangarra is an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisation, and one of Australia's leading performing arts companies. They are widely acclaimed, nationally and around the world, for their powerful dancing,...

  5. Capitol Theatre

    Sydney's beautiful historic Capitol Theatre is host to world class musicals, theatre, ballet, concerts and performers.Don't just go for the show, visit the Capitol Theatre for a great and total night out!...

  6. Courtesy of the Artist

    Offering Sydney it's most dynamic collection of contemporary jewellery and objects, Courtesy of the Artist continues to be at the forefront of the collectable jewellery movement since launching in 2004.With...

  7. Descendance

    Descendance preserves and promotes Aboriginal culture. They represent Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander performers from many diverse tribes. Descendance has both traditional and contemporary performances....

  8. Doonooch Dance Company

    This traditional dance company has performed in over 24 countries around the world. The performances present traditional Aboriginal stories in a contemporary setting and feature songs in Monero people language....

  9. Hayes Theatre Co

    Hayes Theatre Co, located in Potts Point, has the focus on providing a permanent home for small-scale musical theatre and cabaret. By providing venue space to newly mounted productions, Hayes...

  10. In Between Two Worlds

    In Between Two Worlds by artist Jason Wing forms the centrepiece of the City of Sydney's upgrade to Little Hay Street, Factory Street and Kimber Lane. By day this unassuming lane has been brightened by blue clouds and...

  11. Indigiearth

    Experience traditional NSW Aboriginal culture the 'Ngemba Way' with Indigiearth. Indigiearth is an Australian Aboriginal owned and operated business. Offering a range of highly authentic and...

  12. Ken Done Gallery

    Ken Done's first solo exhibition was held in Sydney in 1980. Since then, he has held over 50 one-man shows, including major exhibitions in Australia, Europe, Japan, and the USA. His work has been described as the most...

  13. Kings Cross Theatre (KXT)

    Kings Cross Theatre (KXT) is one of the latest venues to join Sydney's inner city theatre precinct. Located in the heart of the city at the iconic Kings Cross Hotel, Sydney's theatre hub for the arts is just...

  14. Limelight Gallery - Sydney TAFE

    Located at Sydney TAFE arcade, Haymarket, Ultimo, Limelight Gallery is a premier student design showcase featuring student artworks from a range of disciplines. It includes but is not limited to, jewellery, fashion,...

  15. Victorian watercolours

    Friday 2 June to Sunday 3 December 2017, City Centre

    Over 80 magnificent but seldom-seen watercolours made between the 1830s and 1900 from the Gallery’s collection are presented in a Victorian-style display in the Grand Courts.Victorian watercolours were among...

    02 Jun -03Dec
  16. My Fair Lady

    Thursday 24 August to Sunday 1 October 2017, Chinatown And Haymarket

    Celebrating the beloved original, Lerner and Loewe’s My Fair Lady comes to the Capitol Theatre under the direction of Julie Andrews.Opera Australia and John Frost take pride in presenting the beloved story of...

    24 Aug -01Oct
  17. Aboriginal Art Classes

    Saturday 5 August to Saturday 4 November 2017, City Centre

    Experience the oldest living culture through Aboriginal Art.Join an Aboriginal guide for an art class inspired by traditional Aboriginal art concepts and the environment around you.Using materials...

    05 Aug -04Nov
  18. Art and About Sydney

    Event dates to be confirmed: September 2017, City Centre

    This city shines in every season, and now Art and About Sydney allows you to celebrate each one with an ongoing program.After 13 years of a...

    Sep 2017
  19. Pipilotti Rist: Sip my Ocean

    Wednesday 1 November to Sunday 31 December 2017, The Rocks

    Walk through a forest of hanging lights, get lost in a maze of floating fabric or lay back on a bed and watch the ceiling morph above you. Over the past 30 years, Swiss artist Pipilotti Rist has achieved...

    01 Nov -31Dec
  20. Rob Guest Endowment Award

    Event dates to be confirmed: November 2017, City Centre

    The Rob Guest Endowment Award is one of Australia's most exciting scholarship programs providing financial assistance and industry support to the next...

    Nov 2017
  21. ARIA Week

    Event dates to be confirmed: November 2017, City Centre

    Welcome to ARIA Week - A week-long program of gigs, showcases, conferences and events taking place in and around Sydney in celebration of Australian music...

    Nov 2017
  22. AACTA Awards presented by Foxtel

    Wednesday 6 December to Thursday 7 December 2017, Pyrmont

    Join your favourite Australian film and television stars this December, as they honour screen excellence at the seventh AACTA Awards presented by Foxtel, telecast on Channel Seven.Walk the red carpet...

    06 Dec -07Dec
  23. Sydney Festival

    Event dates to be confirmed: January 2018, City Centre

    Exuberant, exciting and forever effervescent - the best time to experience Sydney is in January, when the city is in full celebratory mode. Sydney Festival...

    Jan 2018
  24. underSTATEd

    Saturday 24 February to Sunday 25 February 2018, City Centre

    Brett Whiteley, Lloyd Rees, Martin Sharp, Carl Plate, Cressida Campbell, Peter Kingston, Badger Bates and Roy Kennedy; these are just some of the iconic Australian artists featured in a new exhibition on display in...

    24 Feb -25Feb

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