Sydney in summer is all about outdoor dining, rooftop bars, and natural park escapes. But let’s not forget about all the incredible cultural events the city has to offer. This year Sydney is teeming with interesting and innovative experiences, so make sure you mark some of these events on your calendar.
Teleport: enLIGHTenment is an immersive sci-fi experience that is at the junction of art, technology and storytelling featuring light sculptures and interactive visual elements in its narrative-driven adventure.
Guided by light you will embark on an adventure of travel between the world of the living and the world of spirits.
Music mogul Stephen Pavlovic has had some life in the industry. From launching the iconic Summersault Festival in Australia to bringing groundbreaking bands like Nirvana Down Under, he’s built up a pretty great archive of music history in Australia. For the first time, Pavlovic’s archives will be brought to light.
Expect to see backstage photographs, posters, unseen video footage, unheard music demos, live audio recordings and graphic art. Visitors will also be privy to tour itineraries, setlists, personal handwritten letters and postcards at the upcoming exhibition ‘Unpopular’, which includes alt-rock icons like Beastie Boys, Foo Fighters and Sonic Youth among others.
The exhibition is now on until 3 June 2023, and you can read more about Unpopular at Powerhouse here.
Theatre enthusiasts will be happy to know that 2023 has a range of ongoing productions. You can expect everything from giant Broadway productions to niche, homegrown acts.
There are dramas, musicals, kids’ shows and burlesque performances to choose from and more productions are still to be announced!
End your weekends on a high note, with a relaxing Sunday concert. Taking place at The Zenith Theatre, you can look forward to classical renditions of both old and contemporary music, from some of the best musicians in Australia.
Celebrate summer like the Greeks! This Greek festival will have over 50 stalls, live music and entertainment, kids activities and a fireworks show.
This is an incredible way for the whole family to learn more about greek food, culture and traditions, while enjoying a fun day out. The event will be held in Carss Bush Park on Sunday 12th February and entrance is completely free!
Carla Zampatti is one of Australian fashion’s most coveted names and her legacy is now being honoured at Powerhouse. The retrospective exhibition showcases the Italian-born designer’s illustrious career with private and public interviews as well as 100 garments including rare pieces from the 1960s and 70s.
Sydney will be hosting a number of Candlelight concerts during the summer. From tributes to Mozart to renditions of contemporary music, there is a wide variety of performances you can choose from.
You can go on your own, with a mate, a group of friends, or a special someone because there’s a Candlelight concert to entertain everybody.
Moonlight needs no introduction, but we’ll give it one anyway. Every year, the outdoor cinema brings an amassment of exciting films under the stars at Centennial Park. It’s currently running its 27th summer season and you can once again look forward to summer evenings spent in the open-air.
For the month of February the theme is all about romance, the perfect event for a Valentines Day date!
Vibrant architectural works, large-scale installations, drawings and printmaking from the majestic mind of Do Ho Suh are now on show at the MCA. The interactive artworks span over three decades, as the artist explores themes of belonging, identity and home.
This exhibition will allow you to briefly glimpse into the life Do Ho Suh. It contains replicas he has made of his childhood home’s exterior, and even mundane objects from specific periods of his life like door handles, light bulbs and switches. From video works to giant physical models, several striking pieces are on display until February 2023.
Created to spread awareness of the richness and intensity of the french film industry. The Alliance Francais Film festival is organised in collaboration with the french embassy and shows the best of contemporary French cinema. Genres include action, romance, comedy, thrillers, children’s films, animation and documentaries.
With over 35 new French films screened at the festival each year, you are bound to find something that intrigues and excites you. In 2023 it is back for its 34th year, and you can attend in Sydney from March 7 to April 5.
The exact lineup has not yet been confirmed, but their 2022 program included notable flicks like Lost Illusions, Maigret and Fly Me Away. Make sure you keep your eyes on their website to be the first to know when the lineup is released!
11. Van Gogh Alive
Van Gogh Alive returns to Sydney two years after the last visit. You can once again experience The Starry Night, Sunflowers and a number of other images as they swirl, sway and soar in a digital projection.
When the exhibition came to Sydney in 2020 it attracted thousands of visitors from across the city and beyond, and it’s not hard to see why! The event truly creates a magical world where art comes to life, room after room.
It is now open until the 12th of February 2023.
12. MOPOKE Festival
A free arts and culture festival is making its way to Sydney! Macquarie Street will be cordoned off for pedestrians only, from the Hyde Park Barracks to the State Library of NSW. The street will be transformed into a an all night party zone. There will be food trucks, live performers and a market featuring 20 pop-up artist studios from pottery makers, hair stylists to painters and more.
The MOPOKE Festival comes to town on Saturday, February 4 and Sunday, February 5 for a 6pm start. Spend your night dancing at the silent DJ party, and end off with a mimosa or two the next morning at the bookclub brunch. There will be an extensive list of activities to choose from, make sure you check out their programme so you don’t miss a thing.
Taking over The Cutaway, Barangaroo this January, Frida Kahlo: Life of an Icon celebrates one of the 20th century’s most influential artists with an immersive, multi-sensory and transportive exhibition. Learn more about this artist’s fascinating life, while also creating your own art pieces in this immersive experience.
The exhibition is open until the 7th of March 2023. You can read all about Frida Kahlo: Life of an Icon here.
As part of the Sydney Festival, four major exhibitions, including two by leading Australian artists Paul Yore and The Huxleys, will take over Carriageworks. The exhibitions will be shown alongside murals, live performances and industry-related talks. The last exhibition will be on display until the 5th of March.
Located at the historic Mrs Macquarie’s Point in the Royal Botanic Gardens, Westpac’s Open-air 350-square-meter screen will definitely give you a phenomenal viewing experience.
The venue overlooks the harbour as well as Sydney Opera House, and drinks and snacks are available to make your movie even more enjoyable. Make sure you check out their screenings for February 21 2023.
16. Live at Yours
Live at Yours continues in 2023 with a lineup of internationally acclaimed and award-winning musicians beginning in late February. Held in the stunning synagogue The Great, each performance aims to bridge the gap between musicians and audiences.
These are shows that create an intimate atmosphere, and you will walk away with a new love and appreciation for classical artists.
Watching live music as the sun sets, with a cold drink in hand, sounds like the perfect way to spend a Saturday evening. Hosted at Biloela House on Cockatoo Island, it’s a quick ferry ride from Sydney.
Performances are every Saturday until the 1st of April, and the lineup covers different genres which includes First Nations and LGBTQIA+ artists. The Marina Café & Bar will be available for ordering food if you start to get hungry, as well as drinks and refreshments throughout the performance.