Parramatta arts & culture
From lively theatre and cutting-edge art to learning how to make jewellery and clay artworks, Parramatta’s arts, cultural and entertainment scene is as diverse as the city’s multicultural population. This vibrant heart of Western Sydney is also home to an assortment of historical treasures and an array of festivals that celebrate everything from culture to food.
Arts & culture attractions
Riverside Theatre is the jewel in Parramatta's arts crown. It’s home to three separate venues and hosts over 1,000 shows a year, with an eclectic and vibrant program that spans Shakespeare and comedy to ballet and musicals. Check out an exhibition at Pari, an artist-run initiative dedicated to telling hyper-local stories through contemporary art, and pop into the nearby Parramatta Heritage and Visitor Information Centre to see what else is happening in the neighbourhood.
When planning a visit, consult the events calendar, a comprehensive list of festivals, shows and attractions. One of the highlights is Parramasala, an annual multicultural festival in March that attracts tens of thousands of people, and celebrates Western Sydney’s rich cultural diversity through music, dance, film, food and more.
History & heritage
Learn about Parramatta's place in Australia's colonial history by visiting Old Government House and Parramatta Park, both World Heritage-listed Australian Convict Sites. The elegant Georgian building overlooking Parramatta River is Australia's oldest public building. It was the country residence for the first 10 governors of the Sydney colony and tours are available.
The 1835-built Experiment Farm Cottage also offers a window into early colonial life, as does Elizabeth Farm, one of the oldest homes in Australia, built by wool pioneers John and Elizabeth Macarthur. Hambledon Cottage was built in 1824 and is now a museum on the Elizabeth Farm estate.
The farm began in 1793 and the garden contains some of the earliest European plantings in Australia. On weekends, the Elizabeth Farm Tearooms are open for afternoon tea. If you're interested in military history, discover the story of Australia’s oldest regiment at the NSW Lancers Memorial Museum, housed in heritage-listed barracks, built from 1818 to 1820.
Lake Parramatta Reserve is in northern Parramatta and offers another cultural touchpoint. In this beautiful bushland, you can stroll along the fascinating bush tucker walk in the Arrunga Bardo Aboriginal Bush Food Garden. For more insight into the area’s Indigenous history, join an Warami Mittigar Aboriginal Cultural Tour along Parramatta River.