Vivid Sydney 2023 is about to wind up this weekend and if you haven’t been to the city yet, there’s still time to explore the hundreds of dazzling installations and immersive events in town. And you can take our word for it, it’s worth sacrificing some sleep for. This year, there’s something to suit everyone’s budget whether you’re after completely free and cheap things to do or looking for exclusively tailored events to enjoy Vivid in style. Oh and if the thought of battling crowds is putting you off, we’ve also scoured some locations to enjoy the lights without the people. Find here some of the best things to see, eat and do before Vivid ends this Saturday, June 17.
We’ve raved about Dark Spectrum before and if there’s one activation you should check out this Vivid, it’s this. Taking over the abandoned tunnels under Wynyard Station, this immersive experience takes guests through 8 rooms filled with light, colour and techno music that’ll get you moving. One room is filled with lasers and mirrors while one is home to robots. Another is filled with pink and purple colours and lights for all your Instagram needs. It’s a blast and highly recommended. Read all about it here.
2. Vivid Residence
Sydney foodies are in for an unforgettable experience at Vivid Residence where one of the world’s best-known chefs is dishing out spectacular tasting menus as part of Vivid Food. New York’s Eleven Madison Park has taken over Aria Sydney for two weeks of dinners and lunches by chef Daniel Humm and his team. Two tasting menus are available along with bespoke drink pairings. Get more info and book a table here.
The Vivid Sydney drone show is by far one of the most exciting events at the festival. It’s also completely free to visit. Over 1000 thousand drones take to the skies over Circular Quay, taking visitors on a dreamy journey through time and space. Wednesday, June 14 is the final show of this year’s Vivid Sydney edition so don’t miss out. Read all about how to get there and more over here.
4. Tumbalong Nights
Want to let your hair down surrounded by picture-perfect lights? Tumbalong Nights at Darling Harbour is the place to go to. The buzzy event is bringing 12 nights of live music, with artists from Africa to Arnhem Land, along with some of Sydney’s most exciting local talent to the stage. It’s also completely free to visit so get your vibe on and close out Vivid in style at this fun event. See the full program here.
Lightscape has transformed the Royal Botanic Garden into a magical oasis filled with blooming flowers, fire-breathing dragons and illuminated tunnels. There’s also a sea of sparkly lights and hearty winter treats on-site. It’s one of the most Instagrammable events at Vivid this year and while tickets will set you back by $30 per person, it’s well worth a visit. Grab your tickets here and read more about it here.
6. Vivid House
Art lovers should bookmark Vivid House at The Cutaway in Barangaroo for a truly immersive experience. There’s four incredible exhibitions to explore which will all take visitors on a trip through Australia’s natural landscapes from the ocean to the country’s colourful coral reefs. Plus, snow-capped mountains, gorgeous hidden coves and more set to atmospheric music completely free of cost. Read all about it here.
7. Vivid Cruise and Dinner
Feeling a little fancy? One of the best ways to experience all the lights and colours during Vivid is on a cruise across the harbour. Indulge in excellent cuisine and soak up all the action from a striking vantage point on the water and don’t forget to take a selfie or two while you’re at it. There’s a number of excellent options to choose from. Head here to find one.
8. Vivid Harbour Bridge Climb
What would be a better way to see Sydney than on top of the city’s most loved icon? If you want to take your Vivid Sydney experience to new heights, don’t look further than the Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb. Stunning views of the harbour and city skyline are promised and there’s a “lights on” moment to make the evening extra special. Don’t miss out and book a spot here.
9. Nature’s Calling
If you’re looking to close out in style, head out to Manning Bar this weekend on Saturday, June 17 and let your hair down to electronica polyrhythmic tropical soul-funk and more. Cold wave electronica act Nabihah Iqbal, keys player Byron The Aquarius and DJ Habibi Funk will bring the tunes along with a number of exciting local acts. Head here to snag your tickets.
10. Lightning of the Sails
Another Sydney icon that is celebrating Vivid in style is the Opera House. Every night throughout Vivid, the Opera House’s sails light up with beautiful artworks by the late Australian artist John Olsen. See the Opera House light up every night from 6pm to 11pm for Lighting of the Sails: Life Enlivened until June 17.
11. Light Up Your Senses at the Pylon Lookout
An exclusive Vivid Sydney experience that will take you away from the crowds and madness outside is taking place within the South-East Pylon of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Guests get access to the historic Pylon Lookout & Museum which also boats stunning harbour views plus live music and wine and cheese. This is a uniquely Sydney experience to spoil yourself with if you’re looking for extra indulgence this Vivid. Grab your tickets here.
If you’re overwhelmed by the number of things to see and do, the best way to experience Vivid Sydney is through the Light Walk. Starting from Circular Quay all the way through to Wynyard, you’ll find installations, projections, artworks and more on the 8.5km walk. There’s also a number of food and beverage options on the way if you start feeling a little peckish. Check out our handy guide on the Vivid Sydney Light Walk here.
13. House of Naturalia
Barangaroo House is currently hosting ‘House of Naturalia’ as part of Vivid Food. Sustainable cocktails, a custom menu by Head Chef Tara Chua and stunning projections are part of the menu. The event takes over all floors of Barangaroo House for parties, drinks and great views. Head here for more and to book a spot.