Sydney city skyline lit up during Vivid Sydney 2013. Credit: Destination NSW; James Horan
City Centre Arts and Culture
Arts and culture Sydney-style
Vibrant, vivid, audacious and entertaining. Sydney has a lively appetite for culture and the arts and an annual calendar that dazzles with the best of music, dance, theatre and the viusal arts. Make sure you check what's on in Sydney before you visit so you can enjoy the best of the best at superb venues around the city centre.
Galleries, museums, festivals and more
Sydney's city centre is a magnet for some of the biggest annual arts and culture events each year and is home to some of the country's best museums and galleries.
A range of blockbuster exhibitions plus notable annual events such as the Archibald Przie makes the Art Gallery of NSW an absolute must-visit. An enjoyable day trip includes a visit to the gallery followed by a picnic in the nearby Royal Botanic Gardens. The Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA) at Circular Quay is also well worth a visit.
For history buffs and museum-goers, The Mint is part of the Historic Houses Trust, and features a fascinating historic display and a great caf. The Museum of Sydney (MOS), built on the site of the first Government House, is a contemporary museum at its best. See models of First Fleet ships, local Aboriginal heritage and the archeological artefacts from the original site. A changing program showcases the diversity of modern-day Sydney and there's a great bookshop packed with architecture, design, history and fiction books as well as a terrfifc cafe and shop.
The Sydney Festival in January is the city's premier cultural event, transforming the city with performances from over 1000 artists. The famous Spiegeltent in Hyde Park and the Keystone Festival Bar in historic Hyde Park Barracks are the event's mainstays while the festival continues to attract world-class performers to free concerts in the Domain and Hyde Park. And, for a week in May, 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.
Art and technology unite for Vivid Sydney running for three weeks in May and June and featuring interactive outdoor light sculptures and nightly illuminations of the Sydney Opera House. Arts and culture buffs should also have a performance at the Opera House on top of their must-do list.