Arts and culture


A diverse and vibrant cultural calendar

Sydney’s arts and culture line-up is one not to be missed. With internationally acclaimed performances on the city's many stages, award-winning festivals, and a number of exhibitions across the city’s many galleries and performance spaces, there’s something for everyone.

  • Affinity First Fleet, Vivid Sydney
  • Matthew Herbert, Vivid Sydney

Sydney's Art and Culture

Sydney is Australia's premier destination for world-class performances, exhibitions and festivals as well as galleries and museums.

Begin your discovery at the cultural heart, the World Heritage-listed Sydney Opera House, on the edge of one of the most beautiful natural harbours in the world. More than 1,600 performances are held each year at the Sydney Opera House, from ballet and opera to classical music, stage plays and more.

Sydney shines during winter each year when Vivid Sydney warms up the city with a celebration of light, music and ideas. Explore the amazing light art spectacles as well as inspiring music performances and ideas seminars. Due to popular demand the world’s largest festival of light, music and ideas will run for an additional five nights in 2016, making 23 spectacular nights from 27 May to 18 June.

Customs House, Vivid Sydney

Immerse yourself in the popular programs of Sydney Film Festival and Sydney Writers’ Festival. More than 300 screenings of feature films, documentaries, short films and animation from around the world will screen in venues across Sydney during the 63rd Sydney Film Festival.

From 16 to 22 May, the world-famous Sydney Writers' Festival attracts audiences of more than 100,000 to the stunning harbourside location, Walsh Bay, and other venues across the city.

For upcoming blockbuster musicals and stage shows, check out Theatre Royal, State Theatre and Capitol Theatre in the city centre and Sydney Lyric, next to Darling Harbour. Some big international concerts are also held at Sydney Olympic Park, in Sydney's west.

Sydney Film Festival, Sydney

Take a cultural cruise on Sydney Harbour with Tribal Warrior, join a heritage tour in The Rocks, explore the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, and visit the Art Gallery of NSW for its extensive collections as well as a rolling program of exhibitions and events. This splendid gallery is in the leafy Domain, near the Royal Botanic Garden and Woolloomooloo’s historic Finger Wharf.

For an enjoyable family outing The Powerhouse Museum in Ultimo focuses on historical, interactive and inventive displays, with 12 permanent exhibitions as well as dynamic temporary exhibitions.

Enjoy a fascinating adventure into the past, the Australian Museum has a wonderful collection of dinosaur skeletons and plenty of interactive displays for children. Nearby is the World Heritage-listed Hyde Park Barracks Museum and on the forecourt of the Museum of Sydney, near Circular Quay, is the evocative Edge of the Trees sculpture.

Experience the Sydney Festival

The Sydney Festival, Sydney

January is Sydney Festival time, and throughout the month the city is transformed by a dynamic and bold celebration of arts, culture and entertainment.

Each year’s program is kaleidoscopic in its diversity, offering entertainment in the form of burlesque circus, contemporary dance, international theatre companies and the ever-popular free concerts in The Domain. The statistics say it all: more than 370 performances, 100 events, 700 artists and 30 venues.

The festival is open to all, with inclusive programming, a broad range of free events and accessible pricing policies for ticketed shows. The Festival's audacious contemporary programming positions it at the forefront of arts practice in Australia and a must-do summer experience for locals and visitors alike.

  • Concert Hall, Sydney Opera House. Image credit: Peter Garrett

    Theatre and shows

    Sydney is home to some of Australia’s top stages, with the performances to match. Theatre, shows, musicals and dance performances are all of a high calibre. The Sydney Opera House hosts some of Australia’s most well-regarded performers, with The Australian Ballet, Sydney Dane Company, Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Bell Shakespeare and Opera Australia making frequent appearances. Backstage tours are also available.

  • Archibald Prize


    There’s always something to see in the harbour city, from cutting edge contemporary exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA), to the much anticipated awarding of the annual Archibald Prize for portraiture. Visit the groundbreaking, yet accessible pieces at the White Rabbit Gallery, to the thought-provoking works you’ll find in the independent galleries on the city’s fringe.

  • Aida, Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour


    Sydney boasts a buzzing theatre scene, with small independent productions, iconic local companies, and internationally-renowned productions running side by side at the city’s many and varied performance spaces. Check out the Sydney Theatre Company, the iconic Sydney Opera House, the palatial State Theatre or the local favourite Belvoir St Theatre for a great night out at the theatre.

  1. Argyle Gallery

    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

    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 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. My Fair Lady

    Thursday 27 October to Saturday 5 November 2016, City Centre

    Ground-breaking, glorious and grand... Celebrating the beloved original, Lerner and Loewe's My Fair Lady is now playing at the Sydney Opera House, under the direction of Dame Julie Andrews.In the...

    27 Oct -05Nov
  5. The Turquoise Elephant

    Thursday 27 October to Saturday 26 November 2016, Kings Cross

    Inside her triple-glazed compound, Augusta shields herself from the catastrophic elements, bathing in the classics and campaigning for the reinstatement of global reliance on fossil fuels. Outside, the world lurches...

    27 Oct -26Nov
  6. Collette Dinnigan: Unlaced

    Thursday 27 October to Sunday 29 January 2017, Pyrmont

    Exclusive to the Powerhouse Museum, Collette Dinnigan - Unlaced is the first exhibition to explore the work of this internationally acclaimed Australian fashion designer.Featuring ensembles,...

    27 Oct -29Jan

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