Loading

A first-timer’s guide to Vivid Sydney

Vivid Sydney 2023Credit: Destination NSW

Views of harbour lights installations on marine vessels moving across Sydney Harbour during Vivid Sydney 2023.

#feelnewsydney #vividsydney

A first-timer’s guide to Vivid Sydney

Vivid Sydney 2023 Credit: Destination NSW

Views of harbour lights installations on marine vessels moving across Sydney Harbour during Vivid Sydney 2023.

#feelnewsydney #vividsydney

Hashtags #feelnewsydney #vividsydney

Every year Vivid Sydney, the Southern Hemisphere’s leading multi-artform festival, transforms Sydney into a vibrant hub of creativity, innovation and community connection.

Over 23 nights, light installations, music, ideas and food inspire global audiences and encourage cultural exchange across the Harbour City. This year the festival theme of ‘Humanity’ will spark connection, wonder and reflection.

If you haven’t visited Vivid Sydney before (or need a refresher), read on. Discover the best vantage points to see the Light Walk, how to score the best tickets and where to savour the most delicious food and drinks. Find everything you need to know below.

Sydney lights up at 6pm every night

Lights On happens each night at 6pm. This is when the festival’s light installations and projections spring to life across the Vivid Sydney Light Walk from Circular Quay, across the CBD to the Goods Line.

The Vivid Sydney Light Walk

The Vivid Sydney Light Walk is an 8km stretch dotted with all the festival’s Light installations and projections. It runs from Circular Quay, around The Rocks, through Walsh Bay, Barangaroo, Darling Harbour and Tumbalong Park, all the way to The Goods Line.

Be sure to wear some comfortable shoes and make sure you pack your camera – or make space on your phone to capture some stunning shots. Read our photography tips from Australia’s leading landscape photographer Daniel Tran so you can take some pictures that really stand out.

Top tip: take your time to explore the Light Walk over 2-3 nights!

Vivid Sydney 2023 Credit: Destination NSW

Couple enjoying the Barerarerungar installation at The Museum of Contemporary Art, The Rocks during Vivid 2023. Artist: Maree Clarke Barerarerungar, meaning ‘Country’ in the Kulin Nation language of Boonwurrung, draws from the artist’s three decades of reclaiming and resurfacing south-east First Nations art and cultural practices. This work evokes Maree Clarke’s necklaces made with river reeds, a symbol of safe travel and friendship.

#feelnewsydney #vividsydney

Vivid Sydney 2023 Credit: Destination NSW

Couple enjoying the Barerarerungar installation at The Museum of Contemporary Art, The Rocks during Vivid 2023. Artist: Maree Clarke Barerarerungar, meaning ‘Country’ in the Kulin Nation language of Boonwurrung, draws from the artist’s three decades of reclaiming and resurfacing south-east First Nations art and cultural practices. This work evokes Maree Clarke’s necklaces made with river reeds, a symbol of safe travel and friendship.

#feelnewsydney #vividsydney

Vivid Sydney 2023 Credit: Destination NSW

Views of Harbour Lights installations over Sydney Harbour during Vivid Sydney 2023, as seen from Quay West , Sydney.

#feelnewsydney #vividsydney

Vivid Sydney 2023 Credit: Destination NSW

Views of Harbour Lights installations over Sydney Harbour during Vivid Sydney 2023, as seen from Quay West , Sydney.

#feelnewsydney #vividsydney

Vivid Sydney is so much more than a light festival

Let music move you

The Vivid Music program offers a diverse range of exclusive concerts, free gigs and a late-night Supper Club. There’s something to get everyone moving.

Vivid Sydney also hosts a whole range of free live music events for all ages and tastes at Tumbalong Nights at the Tumbalong Park Stage at Tumbalong Park in Darling Harbour. Here, catch a diverse range of acts like Budjerah, Mallrat, grentperez, 3%, Club Broadway and Vivid Kids at Tumbalong. Plus, you can also step into nearby immersive installation Neolithic.

Vivid LIVE at Sydney Opera House and Vivid Sydney at Carriageworks are a great place to start if you’re looking for global and local music icons. With multiple venues, there is always someone incredible to see, plus you when taking in a Vivid LIVE at Sydney Opera House show you can also enjoy the stunning projections on the Sydney Opera House sails.

This year, Vivid Sydney takes up residence in a new home for cutting-edge music at the Machine Hall Precinct. This reimagined 100-year-old substation will come alive with the best boundary-pushing music, from around the world and around the corner like Deerhoof, Jen Cohler and Ngulmiya.

Plus, every Thursday and Friday of the festival, Mary’s Underground is transformed into Vivid Sydney Supper Club. A hub of late-night cabaret, curators Rhys Nicholson and Georgia Mooney have a jam-packed program of comedy, music and left-of-field variety nights up their sleeve.

Vivid Sydney 2023 Credit: Destination NSW

Vivid Sydney Supper Club at Mary's Underground, Circular Quay for Vivid Music during Vivid Sydney 2023

#feelnewsydney #vividsydney

Vivid Sydney 2023 Credit: Destination NSW

Vivid Sydney Supper Club at Mary's Underground, Circular Quay for Vivid Music during Vivid Sydney 2023

#feelnewsydney #vividsydney

Vivid Sydney 2023 Credit: Destination NSW

Crowds at Tumbalong Nights at Darling Harbour, Vivid Sydney 2023.

#feelnewsydney #vividsydney

Vivid Sydney 2023 Credit: Destination NSW

Crowds at Tumbalong Nights at Darling Harbour, Vivid Sydney 2023.

#feelnewsydney #vividsydney

Leave with a fresh perspective

Vivid Sydney’s Ideas program is a forum for inspiration. An opportunity to challenge and reshape how we think about the world and our place in it.

Beyond just talks, we explore this year’s theme of humanity through live performances, walking tours, panel discussions, immersive dance pieces and other thought-provoking experiences. Spark your empathy, intellect and imagination with program highlights like Shifting Perspectives, A THOUSAND WAYS: An Encounter, Golden Age of Humanity, Window Dressing and After The Fact.

Come and change your mind, learn something new and feel more connected to one another.

Hungry for more

Vivid Food offers a smorgasbord of dining options. From high-end dining with a spectacular view at Vivid Residence, to the best of the world’s flame-cooked street food at Fire Kitchen, there’s something for all tastes and budgets. Plus, this year you can dine and make a difference with Plates with Purpose – A Taste of Ukraine and Our Shared Humanity.

This year Sydney Place and Bulletin Place laneways in the CBD will be transformed into a pedestrianised night market for Vivid Sydney. Head to VividPlace Food Trail for the best of the globe, open late.

In addition to the culinary delights the Vivid Food program has to offer, Sydney is packed with incredible bars and restaurants for quick bites or a full degustation. The city gets very busy during Vivid Sydney, so we recommend making a reservation of you’re planning a sit-down dinner.

Vivid Sydney 2023 Credit: Destination NSW

Couple enjoying food and drinks at Aster Bar at the InterContinental Sydney during Vivid Sydney 2023

#feelnewsydney #vividsydney

Vivid Sydney 2023 Credit: Destination NSW

Couple enjoying food and drinks at Aster Bar at the InterContinental Sydney during Vivid Sydney 2023

#feelnewsydney #vividsydney

Vivid Sydney 2023 Credit: Destination NSW

Crowds at Sydney Town Hall for Vivid Ideas during Vivid Sydney 2023

#feelnewsydney #vividsydney

Vivid Sydney 2023 Credit: Destination NSW

Crowds at Sydney Town Hall for Vivid Ideas during Vivid Sydney 2023

#feelnewsydney #vividsydney

Getting here and home again

Our advice is: leave the car at home. There is limited parking and several road closures in the CBD, so opt for public transport instead. You can take the train or bus to Wynyard, Town Hall, or Martin Place to be close to the action, or catch a ferry into Circular Quay. It’s a great way to see the lights from the water!

There are also accessibility facilities and services available to Vivid Sydney visitors who need them, such as accessible drop-off and pick-up points, and bookable accessible mini-buses.

Vivid Sydney is for the whole family

Vivid Sydney is for everyone – including the little ones! If you’re visiting with children, we recommend getting here early to beat the crowds, and consider visiting earlier in the week as the Light Walk can get very busy on the weekends.

There are also free ID wristbands available at Vivid Sydney Information Booths, which are helpful should your child get lost. You can also download a printable map of Vivid Sydney to keep to hand so you can find your closest information point or plan a meetings point should your group get split up.

Stay up to date

Make sure you’re the first to know about events, tickets and all things Vivid Sydney by signing up to MyVivid. You can even let us know your preferences, so you hear about the events we think you’ll love.

Vivid Sydney 2023 Credit: Destination NSW

Friends explore Dandelion, Vivid Sydney 2023. Make a wish, take a deep breath and come watch Dandelion blow - either from afar or head inside! This 4,000kg steel recreation of the flower’s wispy petals is a testament to the surprising strength of its namesake, continually moving in a dazzling dance of wind and light.

#feelnewsydney #vividsydney

Vivid Sydney 2023 Credit: Destination NSW

Friends explore Dandelion, Vivid Sydney 2023. Make a wish, take a deep breath and come watch Dandelion blow - either from afar or head inside! This 4,000kg steel recreation of the flower’s wispy petals is a testament to the surprising strength of its namesake, continually moving in a dazzling dance of wind and light.

#feelnewsydney #vividsydney

Vivid Sydney 2023 Credit: Destination NSW

Family explores the Swarm light installation at Vivid Sydney 2023. Swarm is inspired by the mathematical precision of flocks of birds flying or schools of fish swimming in unison. Using flickering suspended LED tubes frozen in a spiral formation, this natural phenomenon repeated across our skies and seas is rendered into a thing of abstract beauty.

#feelnewsydney #vividsydney

Vivid Sydney 2023 Credit: Destination NSW

Family explores the Swarm light installation at Vivid Sydney 2023. Swarm is inspired by the mathematical precision of flocks of birds flying or schools of fish swimming in unison. Using flickering suspended LED tubes frozen in a spiral formation, this natural phenomenon repeated across our skies and seas is rendered into a thing of abstract beauty.

#feelnewsydney #vividsydney

MORE INSPIRATIONAL STORIES

More Inspirational Stories

ALL ASSETS FROM THE DESTINATION NSW MEDIA CENTRE ARE FOR EDITORIAL USAGE ONLY AND MUST BE USED IN ACCORDANCE WITH OUR TERMS AND CONDITIONS.


For all non-editorial usage, please
visit the Destination NSW Content Library.

REGISTER
NOW

Access assets curated for media and content creators.

For all non-editorial usage, please
visit the Destination NSW Content Library.

Already have an account?

Permission Request


Destination NSW wants to access your Destination NSW Media Centre account.


This application will:

  • View your basic account information
  • View your email address
  • View your phone number, if provided
  • View your street address, if provided
  • View basic information about your organization, if provided
  • View your site usage
  • View your asset download activity

This access will help Destination NSW manage copyright owner rights, provide you with digital assets, keep you updated with new information and improve your user experience.


Do you agree to allow this access? If yes, click the REGISTER button.


You can unsubscribe at any time.

12 + 6 =
Solve this simple math problem and enter the result. E.g. for 1+3, enter 4.

Permission Request

Destination NSW wants to review your registration for your Destination NSW Media Centre account.

This review will:

  • View your basic account information
  • View your email address
  • View your basic information about your organisation, if provided
  • View your site usage
  • View your asset download activity

This will assist Destination NSW manage copyright owner rights, provide you with digital assets, keep you updated with new information and improve your user experience.


By clicking REGISTER, you agree that you have read and agree to the TERMS & CONDITIONS and Destination NSW's PRIVACY POLICY


You can unsubscribe at any time.