Sydney Art Galleries


Great art and splendid views

The Art Gallery of NSW and the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia stage major events, including exhibitions by leading national and international artists. Both galleries are popular attractions, and offer beautiful vistas of Sydney from their cafes and restaurants.

  • Auguste Rodin, The kiss, 1901-1904 Image © Tate, London 2016
  • Yirbana Gallery, Sydney

The Sydney International Art Series

The Sydney International Art Series will showcase two inspired exhibitions in 2016-17. Nude: art from the Tate collection will display at the Art Gallery of NSW. This collection presents the story of the nude through more than 100 powerful artworks spanning two centuries, including work from renowned artists such as Pablo Picasso, Lucian Freud and Henri Matisse.

Tatsuo Miyajima: Connect with Everything can be seen at the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA). One of Japan’s leading contemporary artists, Tatsuo Miyajima is known for immersive and technologically-driven sculptures and installations that feature light-play and time cycles. 

You can also purchase an Art Pass to the Sydney International Art Series to see both exhibitions at a discounted rate.

Tatsuo Miyajima - Sydney International Art Series

The Art Gallery of NSW is Sydney's most important public gallery with more than 30,000 works in its collection. In The Domain, near the Royal Botanic Garden, the gallery showcases significant works of Australian artists and one of the world's largest permanent exhibitions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art. Admission is free and you'll find European, American and Asian artworks too.

Enjoy the rolling exhibitions, from international shows to the annual Archibald Prize for portraiture. Among the many Australian collection highlights are Russell Drysdale's 1945 Walls of China, John Olsen's 1963 Five Bells, Arthur Streeton's 1891 Fire's on and Frederick McCubbin's 1896 On the Wallaby Track.

Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney

The gallery's elegant restaurant and cafe have views of Sydney Harbour, Woolloomooloo and Potts Point. From the gallery, enjoy a stroll through the Royal Botanic Garden to the Sydney Opera House and then to the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA), which is in The Rocks.

The MCA, which has a rooftop cafe with great views of the Sydney Opera House, has an emphasis on living artists and includes paintings, photography, video, sculpture and installation art. Walk to nearby Observatory Hill for the S.H. Erwin Gallery in the historic National Trust Centre.

A diverse range of splendid independent galleries worth visiting include the Olsen Irwin Gallery in Woollahra, the Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation in Paddington and the White Rabbit Gallery, which displays modern Chinese art, in Chippendale. Galleries in Redfern and Waterloo to visit include Janet Clayton Gallery, Ambush Gallery and Utopia Art Sydney.

An enjoyable way to explore the galleries is on tour with the likes of Sydney Art Walks and Tours and Sydney Art Tours, which offers Saturday walking tours that explore contemporary art. Further afield, the Hawkesbury Regional Gallery showcases local and international talent, with regular curator talks, children's workshops and guided tours.

Gallery and Museum Dining

Chiswick at the Gallery

Many of Sydney's galleries and museums feature great places to eat.

The chefs at Chiswick in Woollahra have great success transplanting their culinary magic to Chiswick at the Gallery, in the Art Gallery of NSW. Get your fill of Whiteley, Nolan, Boyd, Gascoigne and Heysen, and then enjoy Chiswick at the Gallery's signature dishes using fresh seasonal produce. And after catching up on the kids' favourite dinosaurs at the Australian Museum, enjoy a lunch box together in the Rooftop Café, overlooking Hyde Park and St Mary’s Cathedral.

The Governors Table complements a visit to the Museum of Sydney, with delectable modern Australian cuisine on the terrace. Explore the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia and then see spectacular views of the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge from the rooftop MCA Cafe.

The Mint is the oldest building in the city centre and its culinary attraction is No.10 Bistro. Open for lunch Monday to Friday, dine alfresco on the balcony and enjoy elegant creations using fresh seasonal produce and choose from an innovative Australian wine list.

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