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.

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