Looking for an excuse to fight those winter hibernation vibes? It doesn’t get much better than Vivid Sydney. The festival of lights, music and ideas transforms the city of Sydney from May 24 to June 15. With so many amazing things to see and do during this time we thought we’d pull together a list of highlights and must-see events for Sydney locals and visitors alike. Whether you’re planning a full day in the city or only heading out after dark, here are some ideas on how to make the most of this year’s Vivid Sydney festival.
With a full day of sightseeing ahead of you, you’ll need to be well fed. There are a few great options in some of Sydney’s most iconic locations. You could enjoy a seaside champagne breakfast for two in Balmoral or a coastal tour with breakfast and picnic hamper that takes you from Bondi to Watson’s Bay. If you’re planning on starting your day in the city, you can’t go wrong with a Chandon breakfast in Darling Harbour.
If you’re planning a whirlwind visit, a trip to Taronga Zoo is always worthwhile. Check out the animals in the day, but if you do have a couple of night to see the lights of Vivid Sydney be sure to return to Taronga after dark to experience Lights for the Wild, a dazzling and moving animal projection show which is part of the festival.
After your trip to the zoo catch the ferry back to Circular Quay and tuck into lunch at The Meat and Wine Co. You’ll enjoy a two-course lunch accompanied by a glass of wine and a delicious Vivid Sydney-themed cocktail.
Jump back on the ferry and head over to Luna Park, take a spin on the Ferris wheel, snack on some fairy floss and take on the rollercoaster if you dare. It’s a good idea to stay as the sun goes down as you’ll be able to enjoy great views of the city as the lights start up. The Ferris wheel will also be illuminated by more than 3,000 LED lights! The second Vivid Sydney installation at Luna Park is the Spirit of Fun, an interactive installation that celebrates the park’s colourful history.
Sign yourself up for a wine and dine cruise. There’s something for all budgets. If you’re feeling fancy, treat yourself to a private harbour cruise or a Penfolds degustation dinner cruise. If you’re on a bit more of a budget try the BYO catamaran cruise with snacks. The point is, the best views of Vivid Sydney are from the harbour itself. Sydney locals are lucky enough to take in the sights on the commute home on the ferry!
If you’re simply planning to spend a night walking around the city, there are a few locations you don’t want to miss. These include Darling Harbour, Barangaroo, The Rocks, Circular Quay and the Royal Botanical Gardens. Head to the Vivid Sydney website for more details on the installations, but the Firefly Field (Botanical Gardens) and Timber Aurora (Circular Quay) look like two experiences you won’t want to miss! If you have more time there is plenty to see in Chatswood as well – the Trumpet Flowers display looks like it’s going to be incredibly special!
With all the excitement around the lights, sometimes people forget about the incredible line up of musicians taking part in this year’s festival. From Australian artists like our 2019 Eurovision contestant Kate Miller-Heidke to Katie Noonan, Paul Dempsy and Paul Kelly to international acts including Jónsi ( Sigur Rós) & Alex Somers, Maggie Rogers and FKA Twigs there is loads of wonderful music from a range of genres to enjoy. There are also some great options for families, including the Kiddo Disco Winter Onesie Land (yes, you read that correctly, and yes, you will be encouraged to dust off your onesie and bring your dancing shoes!).
While the lights and music are certainly impressive the extensive program of talks and workshops is inspiring. From the future of technology to discussions on how style can save the world – put your thinking caps on and make sure you leave time to catch a talk or two.