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Dive into Sydney’s arts and culture

Art Gallery of New South Wales, SydneyCREDIT: Destination NSW

Friends enjoying a visit the the Art Gallery of New South Wales in Sydney.

#ilovesydney

Dive into Sydney’s
arts and culture

Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney CREDIT: Destination NSW

Friends enjoying a visit the the Art Gallery of New South Wales in Sydney.

#ilovesydney

Hashtags #ilovesydney

Sydney is a world-class destination for the arts. In the inner-city precincts — where Sydney’s arts and culture truly shines — you’ll find intriguing galleries, design-led hotels, interesting architecture and of course, some creative food along the way.  

Highlights: 

  • Gallery hop through Sydney’s creative precincts  
  • Dine in cool, converted warehouse spaces 
  • Shop for handcrafted local products at markets and boutiques  

Where to get an art fix 

Sydney is home to many renowned art galleries with a roster of world-class exhibitions. Start your arts tour at White Rabbit Gallery in Chippendale, on the fringe of the city centre, which showcases one of the world’s most significant collections of Chinese contemporary art. Opened in 2009, today the collection includes more than 2,000 thought-provoking works by almost 700 artists.  

At The Rocks in central Sydney, the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) presents more than 4,000 works by Australian artists, with a strong commitment to work by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists. Its permanent collection includes photography, sculpture, painting and moving image, complemented by a calendar of intriguing exhibitions. Have a bite to eat on the patio at Graze MCA overlooking Circular Quay and the Sydney Opera House, or on weekends, head to The Rocks Market for handmade artisanal wares and gourmet food trucks. 

Drop into the Art Gallery of NSW, a 15-minute walk from the city centre, which presents more than 30 exhibitions each year, including the flagship Archibald Prize. Its collection spans colonial and 19th century Australian works, European masterpieces, modern and contemporary art and galleries dedicated to the arts of Asia, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art. In Surry Hills, you can also visit the Brett Whiteley Studio, a gallery housed within the acclaimed artist’s former workplace and home.

Brett Whiteley Studio, Surry Hills CREDIT: James Horan; Destination NSW

Brett Whiteley Studio in Surry Hills

#ilovesydney

Brett Whiteley Studio, Surry Hills CREDIT: James Horan; Destination NSW

Brett Whiteley Studio in Surry Hills

#ilovesydney

The Imperial Erskineville CREDIT: Destination NSW

Artist on stage performing at the Imperial Hotel, Erskineville.

#ilovesydney

The Imperial Erskineville CREDIT: Destination NSW

Artist on stage performing at the Imperial Hotel, Erskineville.

#ilovesydney

What to see and do 

Feeling inspired? Get your hands dirty with a wheel throwing class at Clay Sydney in the inner-west suburb of Marrickville, a 25-minute drive from the city centre. Its 90-minute Wheel Throwing Master Class offers an introduction to working with clay, teaching the process of stoneware ceramics and basic vessel forming techniques.  

In the evening, catch a performance at Belvoir Street Theatre, one of Australia’s most celebrated theatre companies in Surry Hills, a 10-minute drive from the city. For more than 30 years, this much-loved venue has engaged prominent and promising playwrights, actors and directors for an evocative annual program.  


If you’re looking for something a little more offbeat, head to Priscillas at The Imperial Erskineville, a few minutes walk from Newtown. Its Drag n’ Dine nights (Wednesday to Sunday) feature performances from some of Australia’s most dazzling drag queens, along with a vegetarian and vegan-friendly dinner. You might even be called on stage for an impromptu performance.  

Where to eat and drink  

Start the day at concept café Henry Lee’s in inner-city Redfern, located within the warehouse space and courtyard of the 16 Eveleigh Creative Precinct. Admire original artworks including Lucky Penny, designed by Vince Frost of Frost Collective, and the Secret of their Merit mural by local Redfern artist Gemma O’Brien. 

For lunch, head to Two Chaps in Marrickville. It’s a “from-scratch” café, with a seasonal menu that heroes local suppliers and producers. Also, in Marrickville, the gin hall at Poor Toms is well worth a visit. At this discreet gin bar, tucked beside a motorcycle repair shop, you can sample the spirits in a tasting flight or cocktail, with a sandwich on the side. 

In the late afternoon, sit down to a glass of wine and curate your own cheese board at The Stinking Bishops in Newtown, a 15-minute drive from the city centre. Choose from 40-plus artisanal cheeses, along with meat boards, snacks and light grazing dishes. 

Book dinner at Chin Chin, which fuses Australian and Southeast Asian flavours in a modern converted warehouse space on the fringe of the city centre in Surry Hills. Delve into the ‘Feed Me’ tasting menu for a selection of mouthwatering share plates.  

Kick on at The ArtHouse Hotel, a bar and cocktail lounge housed within the 19th-century School of Arts on Pitt Street in the city centre. Enjoy classic cocktails and carafes while you marvel at the heritage-listed architecture. 

Where to stay 

Stay at The Old Clare Hotel in Chippendale, opting for the Showroom Suite that features a vintage bar, salvaged and restored from the former brewery building onsite. The beautifully appointed, design-forward room includes vintage furniture and lamps, a super king-sized bed and a modern oversized bathroom. 

Tucked into the former headquarters of Paramount Picture Studios in Surry Hills, Paramount House Hotel blends heritage details with modern comforts. Each room has its unique personality, while guests can enjoy access to the rooftop Paramount Recreation Club with a day pass. Be sure to catch a flick at Golden Age Cinema right downstairs and a wine at Poly, also located within the Paramount House precinct.  

Poor Toms, Marrickville CREDIT: Destination NSW

The bar at Poor Toms Gin Hall, Marrickville.

#lovensw #ilovesydney

Poor Toms, Marrickville CREDIT: Destination NSW

The bar at Poor Toms Gin Hall, Marrickville.

#lovensw #ilovesydney

Golden Age Cinema & Bar, Surry Hills CREDIT: Destination NSW

Patrons enjoying drinks and live music at Golden Age Cinema & Bar, Surry Hills.

#ilovesydney

Golden Age Cinema & Bar, Surry Hills CREDIT: Destination NSW

Patrons enjoying drinks and live music at Golden Age Cinema & Bar, Surry Hills.

#ilovesydney

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