Welcome to the last month of the cold season! August is brimming with vibrant adventures, soothing winter sunshine and plenty of cool activities that will tempt you to leave the comfort of home. Settle in for a jam-packed month of festivals, immersive pop-ups, exhibitions and more. Highlights include big ticket musicals like Wicked, Miss Saigon and Beauty and the Beast. Plus, boost your serotonin with the lovely Cherry Blossom Festival and get your fill of cosy winter treats at one of Sydney’s many excellent winter markets. Here are some exciting things to do this August in Sydney.
1. Explore the stunning Cherry Blossom Festival
Western Sydney’s popular Cherry Blossom Festival returns this August for nine days of pretty pink flowers, a Japanese Food Village, live entertainment, workshops and a delightful cherry blossom trail. There’s also sake, mocktails and a number of cherry blossom-themed dishes to devour. The festival will take place at the Auburn Botanic Gardens from Saturday, August 19 to Sunday, August 27.
Steve McCurry is an established contemporary photographer whose work has won numerous accolades. Photography lovers now have a chance to witness his work up close through the ICONS exhibition. This exhibition is a tribute to McCurry’s career and showcases a collection of over 100 images that you can experience while listening to audio descriptions from 42 selected exhibitors who will narrate the stories behind these stellar photos.
3. See the sensational new production of Miss Saigon
August is a great time to be in Sydney if you enjoy live theatre and musicals. To kick things off, the Sydney Opera House is bringing Cameron Mackintosh’s critically acclaimed new production of Boublil and Schönberg’s Miss Saigon to the Joan Sutherland Theatre. See the epic love story of passion and tragedy based on Giacomo Puccini’s 1904 opera Madama Butterfly this August. Grab your tickets here.
Ever wondered what it’s like to dine in complete darkness? If science is to be believed, it can elevate your dining experience to a whole other level of deliciousness. A sensational new experience called Dining in the Dark is putting this to the test with a blindfold and a surprise menu for guests.
5. Fill your bags at the Ultimate Winter Market
Cambridge Markets are bringing back the huge Ultimate Winter Market on August 6 for a day of food, fun and shopping. The event will take over the Entertainment Quarter with the best of fashion, food, homewares, art and more on display. Hot food and drinks will also be available on-site for visitors.
6. Get a taste of magic at the Yule Ball Celebration
The long-awaited Harry Potter: A Yule Ball Celebration is finally coming to Sydney this July. Potterheads can look forward to a magical celebration filled with dreamy lighting, stunning decor, snow and a super festive atmosphere that is ideal for the whole family. There’s also performances, music, themed food and drink and even a Yule Ball Market so don’t miss out.
7. Walk through the trippy Kaleidoscope mirror maze
An interactive new artwork has come to town and it’ll take you inside a life-sized mirror maze. Inspired by a classic kaleidoscope toy, the installation features mirrors, lights, colours, sounds and more and it’s housed at Powerhouse Ultimo. Grab your tickets for this Insta-worthy and larger-than-life mirror maze here.
8. Get ready for Wicked the Musical
Adding to the bumper arts calendar is Broadway sensation Wicked which is flying back into Australia for its big 20th anniversary. Wicked is a prequel to The Wizard of Oz and tells the story of how Elphaba became the Wicked Witch and Glinda became the Good Witch. It will play at the Lyric Theatre from August 2023. Get your tickets here.
9. Head to the purrrfect Cat Lovers Festival
The Sydney Cat Lovers Festival is coming to town this August and it’s a slice of heaven for cat-mad folk. Expect talks, demonstrations and over 200 rare and popular breeds of cats at the venue. There’s also an exclusive Pat-A-Cat Zone if you’re keen for some feline therapy. The event will take place at the Sydney Showground across two days in August.
10. Discover a secret wildflower reserve
When spring rolls around, the Muogamarra Nature Reserve transforms into an actual floral wonderland filled with striking native wildflower including waratahs, pink boronias, old-man banksias, native orchids and much more. The reserve is located just north of Sydney and it’s only open for six weeks every year for guided and self-guided tours. Get ticket details and more info here.
11. Check out this immersive new exhibition at Powerhouse
Atmospheric Memory is making its Australia premiere at Powerhouse Ultimo. The exhibition features cutting-edge technology which transforms vibrations in the atmosphere. See your voice travel in a ripple tank and walk through clouds of text written in mid-air in this immersive new exhibit. Grab your tickets here. Get more details about it here.
Attend one of Sydney’s beautiful Candlelight concerts and get lost in a number of familiar tunes this August. Tickets are available to tribute shows to Queen, Coldplay, Joe Hisaishi and more.
🕯️Candlelight: A Tribute to Queen at The SMC
🕯️Candlelight: A Tribute to Rihanna at SMC
🕯️Candlelight: Tribute to Elton John at St. Stephen’s Uniting Church
🕯️Candlelight: Hans Zimmer’s Best Works at The Concourse Chatswood
🕯️Candlelight: Tribute to Ludovico Einaudi at SMC
🕯️Candlelight: Best of Joe Hisaishi at The Concourse
🕯️Candlelight Soundtracks: Rings & Dragons at St. Stephen’s Uniting Church
🕯️Candlelight : A Tribute to The Jackson 5
🕯️Candlelight: Tribute to Linkin Park
13. Have a lazy Sunday at The Rocks’ Market
Love a weekend market? It doesn’t get better than the one at The Rocks. Local artisanal goods, smoky street food, gorgeous harbour views and excellent vibes all around is what is on offer at this market which sets up shop every Saturday and Sunday. Read all about it here.
14. Get mesmerised by Cirque du Soleil – Crystal
Montreal circus legends Cirque du Soleil are bringing their first-ever show performed on ice to Sydney this August and it features everything from extreme skating to aerial aerobics and more set to iconic pop songs. Catch a show at the Qudos Bank Arena from August 3-13. Grab your tickets here.
The Magician’s Cabaret is super popular for its extravagant shows and excellent dinners. There’s no other show in Sydney quite like The Underground Burlesque Experience or La Belle Rose—Sydney’s longest-running cabaret show. Grab your tickets before they sell out.
16. See the dazzling Tina — The Tina Turner Musical
Get working on your Nutbush City Limits routine because the long-awaited Tina Turner musical has taken over the Theatre Royal. The musical premiered in London in 2018 to widespread critical and commercial acclaim; it tells the story of the singer’s humble beginnings in Tennessee to her meteoric rise to global fame and a comeback story like no other. Grab your tickets here.
17. Get spooked at a Ghostly Garden Tour
The Royal Botanic Garden is bringing back its Ghostly Garden Tours this August for two exclusive sessions and it’s not for the faint of heart. Visitors will get access to the garden after hours and hear creepy stories from the past. The 90-minute tour will take you past creepy a number of scary spots in the garden including grottos, ponds and more. Get more info and ticket details here.
18. Dig out your Blue Suede Shoes for the Elvis Musical
The appetite for Elvis Presley is still strong and fans can now look forward to an epic musical featuring 40 of his most iconic songs including Jailhouse Rock, Hound Dog, Heartbreak Hotel, Burning Love and Good Rockin’ Tonight. The Australian premiere has opened at Sydney’s State Theatre and you can grab your tickets here.
19. See the Demon Barber of Fleet Street in action
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street has opened at the Sydney Opera House with a serving of greed, lust, and vengeance. Expect blood, gore and more in this giant production by the Victorian Opera and New Zealand Opera. Grab your tickets here.
20. Enjoy a bohemian glamping experience
The Winery has transformed into a glamping hideout with all the bohemian vibes and cosy winter fare. There’s a decadent three-course meal, a heated teepee tent, ‘smores, mulled wine and so much more. Book a spot and read all about it here.
21. Walk through a Candyland at The Grounds
The Grounds has introduced its latest theme to Sydneysiders and it’s extra sweet this time around. Dubbed Candyland, the super colourful activation will take visitors on a journey through a vibrant and joy-filled world complete with giant lollipop towers, gumball machines and more. Read all about it here.
22. Get enchanted by the Beauty and the Beast musical
Disney’s Beauty And The Beast Musical is currently delighting both young and old musical lovers at the Capitol Theatre. Expect stunning new sets, costume designs and state-of-the-art technology breathing new life into the classic tale. The musical features a stellar all-Australian cast and tickets are now on sale. Grab them here.
23. Check out this huge Marilyn Monroe Exhibition
A blockbuster Marilyn Monroe exhibition has opened at Sydney Town Hall with over 200 single pieces of personal artifacts on display. There’s handwritten notes, letters and a number of personal possessions which will give fans a deeper insight into the icon’s life and career. You can get your tickets for the exhibition here.
24. Dine at this charming European pop-up
Have you been to East Village Sydney yet? The roofto bar is serving pretty lights, lovely pink hues and faux fur cushions to snuggle up around with their Insta-worthy Winter Garden pop-up. There’s also a Belgian chocolate fondue fountain, Dutch cinnamon doughnuts, mulled wine, cocktails and more to indulge in. Read all about it here and check it out before it wraps up for the season.
25. Go on a ghostly candlelit tour of Old Government House
Love getting spooked? The Old Government House in Parramatta is hosting ghostly night tours every month throughout winter and it’s guaranteed to give you the creeps. This month the tour takes place on July 21 with snacks and hot drinks afterward. Read all about it here.
26. Head to the Wildlife Photographer of the Year Exhibition
If you’re a photography fan, there’s an event in town that’s tailormade for you. Head down to the Australian National Maritime Museum in Darling Harbour and discover Over 100 exemplary images covering a range of topics from animals to nature and landscapes and explore the beauty of our world like never before thanks to the Wildlife Photographer of the Year Exhibition. It runs until October 31 and you can snag some tickets here.
27. Hit the road for a dreamy winter getaway
Make the most of the last month of winter by heading out of town. NSW has plenty to offer in terms of winter getaways right from cosy retreats to snowy adventures, quaint villages and more. Check out some of our favourites here.
28. Attend the vibrant Ferragosto Street Festival
Sydney’s huge Italian street festival returns this August with the best of Italian food, culture and entertainment on offer. The one-day event will transform the Great North Road in Five Dock into a colourful party with more than 200 retailers, food and merchandise stalls, dances, activities and more. Find more info here.
29. Attend Last Night of the Proms by the Willoughby Symphony Orchestra and Choir
The Willoughby Symphony Orchestra are back this August with a very British performance you’ll want to add to your calendar. Last Night of the Proms is making its way to The Concourse Concert Hall on August 12 and 13 complete with a nostalgic sing-along concert of famous British classics. Get all the details here.
A Magical Soirée, by Bruce Glen combines fantastic stories with fascinating magic tricks to leave audiences in awe and wonder inside a heritage building. Grab your tickets here.