The Rocks arts & culture

The Rocks was one of Sydney's first suburbs and the area reflects its fascinating cultural history. Aboriginal heritage and architecture from colonial British convict settlement sit alongside modern museums and contemporary city life. In addition, nearby Walsh Bay offers some of Australia’s best dance, theatre and visual arts.

 

History

This historic area is best appreciated on foot. Step back in time and join a walking tour such as The Rocks Walking Tours or wait outside colonial-era Cadman's Cottage every evening at 6pm for a guided and free (you pay what you think it’s worth) excursion with I'm Free Tours. You'll explore The Rocks' laneways, pubs and heritage buildings and learn stories of its colourful past.

Art

The Museum of Contemporary Art Australia has an emphasis on living artists and its collection includes paintings, photography, video, sculpture and installation art. There's also a rooftop cafe with stunning views of the Sydney Opera House

The Argyle Gallery has an impressive collection of Aboriginal fine arts and crafts while Gannon House Gallery displays traditional Indigenous art. The Rocks Discovery Museum is home to an interactive collection of images and archaeological artefacts found in the area, spanning from pre-European settlement to colonial times.

Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, Courtesy the artist and Tolarno Galleries, Melbourne Created for the 19th Biennale of Sydney

19th Biennale of Sydney, Museum of Contemporary Art Australia

Local artisans

If you're exploring the cobblestone lanes and winding sandstone staircases on the weekend, head to The Rocks Markets, which has more than 200 stalls offering original artworks, hand-painted ceramics, crafts and prints.

People enjoying dancing and live music in The Rocks, Sydney

Live music in The Rocks, Sydney City

Aboriginal experiences

Join Dunghutti-Jerrinjah elder Margret Campbell on The Rocks Aboriginal Dreaming Tour. The 90-minute walking tour explains the Aboriginal heritage of the area and the spiritual connection to the waterways and foreshores.

Theatre

The Sydney Theatre Company and Roslyn Packer Theatre in nearby Walsh Bay program a range of local and international works. You can regularly see local stars such as Cate Blanchett, Hugo Weaving and Rose Byrne treading the boards.