One could stay for years and still not take in all of Sydney’s rich cultural and artistic offerings. World-class galleries and museums sit comfortably alongside comedy clubs, live music performances, and arthouse cinema. The city’s artists are compelling and creative, and are not shy of being confronting or non-conformist either.
Sydney Opera House
More than just a masterpiece of design, the Sydney Opera House is one of the world’s busiest performing arts complexes, hosting more than 1,600 performances each year, from ballet and opera to classical music, stage plays and outdoor concerts. It’s as magical inside as out.
Home to the Sydney Theatre Company, Sydney Dance Company, and Bangarra Dance Theatre, amongst others, this timber warehouse at Walsh Bay, presents everything from contemporary dance to theatre. You can even don your dancing shoes and take a class with the Sydney Dance Company performers.
The Comedy Store
Get your giggles on with hard-hitting hours of hilarity at this Moore Park jokesters club. Some of the world's best comedians perform, but be warned, some of the content may make you blush. Order a drink at your table, so you don’t miss a laugh.
One for blues, jazz and rock fans. The oldest licenced music venue in Sydney, right in the CBD, is considered the beating heart of Sydney’s live music scene. You can hear the music, see the band and reach the bar no matter where you're standing.
Palace Norton Street
Bang in the middle of Leichhardt, Sydney’s Italian quarter, not only does Norton Street Palace screen a vast range of new-release art house cinema, it also hosts Sydney's French, Greek, German, Brazilian, Spanish and Italian film festivals, making it the most international of Sydney's cinemas.
Regarded as the spiritual home of Australian film culture, and nestled in the old-world ambience of the former Paddington Town Hall ballroom, the Chauvel regularly screens a program of arthouse classics, independent films and world cinema that will delight true film lovers and passionate cinephiles.
Museum of Contemporary Art
Australia’s most important collection of contemporary art is housed within this striking waterside art deco building in The Rocks. Along with the permanent collection, the museum regularly holds travelling exhibitions – some confronting, some inspiring, some amusing – but one thing is for sure, they’re never boring.
Art Gallery of NSW
Along with hefty collections of Australian, European, Asian, and Australian Aboriginal art, the gallery hosts numerous international exhibitions annually. But it’s more than just a place to eyeball pictures. Every Wednesday night until 10 pm, there’s a varied program of talks, performances and film screenings.
Brett Whiteley Studio
Brett Whiteley’s studio in Surry Hills was the workplace and home of avant-garde Australian artist until his death in 1992. Unfinished paintings, sketchbooks, photographs, and graffiti covered walls, offer a rare insight into the artist’s curious mind and extraordinary talent. Open Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
White Rabbit Gallery
Originally a Rolls-Royce service depot in the 1940s, White Rabbit Gallery has four floors of vibrant, original, and thought-provoking contemporary Chinese art, dedicated solely to works created in the 21st century. There’s also a charming teahouse serving Chinese and Taiwanese teas and delicious handmade dumplings.