What's On

Everything You Need To Do At Vivid 2017

By Phoebe McRae
27th Mar 2017

If you only visit Sydney once this year, make it during Vivid Sydney. From May 26 to June 17, the city transforms into a totally magical place, showered with all things lights, music, and ideas.

There’s so much to do, and even more to see. Which, let’s be honest, can be kind of overwhelming (read: FOMO levels are at an all time high). Luckily for you, we’ve had a little help from Qantas and Destination NSW and done the hard work for you, pulling together the only guide you’ll need to totally nail Vivid 2017. From the best eats, drinks, shows and experiences, we’ve got you covered. 



Circular Quay

If you’re looking to treat yo’self (and be guaranteed one of the best seats in town), book yourself in to Bennelong. Smack bang in the centre of the hustle and bustle of all things Vivid, we strongly recommend you save room for dessert—the pavlova alone is worth travelling to Sydney for.



In the last few years Chippendale has completely transformed to become a trendy AF foodie precinct. Leading the way is Ester, with beautiful food, intimate vibes and impeccable service. Don’t go home without ordering the blood sausage sanga (yes, we’re serious).


Surry Hills

Nomad is never a bad idea. With a Middle Eastern menu and impressive Australian-only wine list, this contemporary Surry Hills eatery is a Sydney institution. As soon as you step through the doors, you’ll understand why. 



Escape the crowds and spend a night at Restaurant Hubert. French inspired and in the heart of the CBD, you’re sure to impress your mates here. Easily one of the most hyped restaurants of 2016, it will not disappoint, so prepare to drink your weight in margaritas and order two serves of the steak tartare with fries (obvs).



The Rocks

Offering 180-degree views of Sydney’s harbour and CBD, The Glenmore’s rooftop offers one of the best vantage points for out-of-towners. Loved by locals, this laid back pub is the perfect place for sundowners and of course, some classic pub grub.


Circular Quay

There’s no denying Bulletin Place is hard to find, but we promise you it’s worth it. A cult favourite amongst Sydneysiders, the cocktails change nightly, just check the butcher’s paper.


Walsh Bay

Overlooking the Harbour Bridge, The Bar At The End Of The Wharf is as hidden as a place with waterfront views in Sydney gets. Located at the end of Pier 4 at Walsh Bay, get there early and stay all night.



If you’re looking for a break from the crowds (and an epic date night spot), Kittyhawk is a must. Boasting over 900 spirits, you may be here a while, so kick back and get comfy in a one of their luxe leather booths and drink whatever the bartender decides to give you. 



For the first time in five years, everyone’s fave six piece folk band, Fleet Foxes, will be returning to the stage at the oh-so iconic Sydney Opera House for Vivid LIVE. Their only Australian shows for 2017, die-hard fans can sing away their helplessness blues, and newbies can discover the American band’s latest sweet, sweet sounds.


Anyone who’s anyone (in the muso world anywayyy) knows who AIR is and if you don’t, you need to. For only the second time ever, the French electronic duo will be back in Australia so you can cut a rug and get down and boogie the way that only the French know how.


27-year-old Laura Marling is one of England’s best exports. With a whole heap of awards under her belt, this adorable (and smart, obvs) singer-songwriter will celebrate the release of her sixth album, Semper Femina. Exploring femininity in creativity and building on the success of her recent podcast series Reversal of the Muse, make this one a must #girlpower.


The Chet Faker you thought you knew is no longer and Nick Murphy now holds all the power. Don’t miss the creative rebirth of Chet Faker as Nick Murphy in a 360° in the round at Vivid LIVE, yep we’re excited too. He is (or at least, was) a household name for a reason.




One of the best way to see Vivid Sydney is by foot, so dine yourself silly before (so you don’t get hangry, duh) then take on the Light Walk through the Rocks and the Botanical Garden Sydney. With more than 60 light art installations, large-scale illuminations and mesmerising 3D-mapped building projections along the way, put this at the top of your Sydney must do list.



For one night only, the City Recital Hall will transform into a magical 3 level sound-meets-light rave cave. Paul Mac will be leading the charge inside an inflatable cube (because why the hell not?) and each level will have its own vibe, beat and theme. Don’t forget your dancing shoes.



Sydney knows how to do a farmers market and they know how to do it damn well, which is exactly why you need to check out The Night Market at Carriageworks on June 16th. Showcasing only the finest produce from across NSW, there will be a whole heap of delicious food and wine (we’re talking samples and more samples), as well as a series of exclusive dinners curated by Sydney's best chefs.


Taronga Zoo

One of the most popular installations of 2016, Lights For The Wild at Taronga Zoo is back and bigger than ever. Featuring giant animal light sculptures (think a swarm of tiny buzzing bees and a giant interactive Port Jackson shark), catch the ferry from Circular and see Vivid Sydney from the other side.

Editor’s Note: This article is proudly sponsored by Destination NSW and Qantas and endorsed by The Urban List. Thank you for supporting the sponsors who make The Urban List possible. Click here for more information on our editorial policy.

Image credit: Destination NSW

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