- Destination NSW
Exterior view of the Art Gallery of New South Wales at night, Sydney
The Spirit of Patyegarang by Bangarra Dance Theatre, Southern Pylon, Sydney Harbour Bridge. Vivid Sydney 2014.
Group of Chinese women at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney
Intrude, inflatable white rabbits, by Amanda Parer, Dawes Point. Vivid Sydney 2014.

Arts and culture

  • Sydney Film Festival
  • Sydney Opera House, Vivid Sydney


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.

Must Do

Arts, culture and heritage in Sydney

Matilda the Musical, Sydney Lyric Theatre

Sydney boasts a vibrant arts and culture scene, with many galleries, museums and performance venues in the centre of the city and throughout inner Sydney.

Iconic venues such as the Sydney Opera House, State Theatre, Sydney Theatre Company and the Belvoir St Theatre host an array of great shows year-round. One of the highlights this season is Matilda the Musical, showing at the Sydney Lyric Theatre. Based on Roald Dahl’s famous children’s book, ‘Matilda’ has received rave reviews. With music and lyrics by the brilliant Australian comedian and composer Tim Minchin, this multi-award winning musical is not to be missed.

At the Capitol Theatre in Haymarket you can see Cameron Mackintosh’s acclaimed musical Les Misérables, which has been running continuously since its first staging in 1985 and has been performed in more than 20 languages and 40 countries worldwide.

Be sure to check out the two major public Galleries in Sydney, the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA), which sits between The Rocks and Circular Quay, and the Art Gallery of NSW, which is located on the edge of The Domain in Woolloomooloo. Spread over five levels, the Art Gallery of NSW houses an extensive range of Australian Art, including one of the largest collections of Aboriginal Art in Australia.

The MCA lives up to its name, with a vibrant collection of contemporary works ranging from painting and photography to sculpture, installations, and time-based art from Australian and International artists. It is free to browse the main collection at both galleries, although special exhibitions usually require ticket purchase.

There are also plenty of fantastic museums to visit, ranging from the historical to the family-friendly. The Powerhouse Museum in Ultimo focuses on creative, interactive and scientific displays, with 12 permanent exhibitions complemented by a rotating program of dynamic temporary exhibitions; it's a great day out for the whole family.

The Australian Museum is a natural history museum which sits on the eastern side of Hyde Park. It was established in 1827 and is Australia’s first museum, showcasing extensive collections of cultural and historic artefacts. The Museum of Sydney, built on the site of the first Government House, focuses on Sydney's people, places and cultures from ancient times through to modern.

  • 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 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.