Things To Do

5 Calendar-Worthy Cultural Events Going Down In Sydney

By Morgan Reardon

People walking in a vibrant Frida Kahlo art exhibition in Sydney.

Whether you’re looking for immersive art experiences, epic festivals or world-class exhibitions, Sydney is the ultimate destination for culture buffs. This summer, the city is teeming with epic events you’ll want to fill your calendar with. 

Score bragging rights amongst your mates, and book yourself a ticket to these amazing cultural events in Sydney. 

Art Gallery of New South Wales: Adrián Villar Rojas 

Prepare to have your mind absolutely blown with the new building at the Art Gallery Of NSW. The sprawling space—which opens in December—will wow art lovers and aficionados alike, and play host to some seriously special exhibitions. Case in point? Argentine-Peruvian artist Adrián Villar Rojas, whose incredible pieces will be housed in The Tank, the Art Gallery Of NSW's new underground gallery. Formerly a Second World War bunker, wander between towering columns as you take in Rojas' haunting exhibit, The End of Imagination, a collection of shape-shifting sculptures.  

Carmen on Cockatoo Island

While we don’t like to play favourites, if there’s only one thing you do this year, it should be booking yourself a ticket to Carmen on Cockatoo Island. Grab a ferry to Cockatoo Island and while the sun sets over the harbour, prepare to be mesmerised by by Opera Australia’s brand new take on Bizet’s gripping and gritty operatic tale of fate and freedom. Under a blanket of stars, you’ll be transported to another world, enthralled by the familiar tunes and floored by the spectacular stagging of Carmen—complete with fireworks every night and thrilling motorcycle stunts. This bucket list-worthy experience runs from 25 November to 18 December 2022. 

Sydney Festival

A true celebration of art, theatre, movement and music, the iconic Sydney Festival is a non-negotiable for any culture buff. Running from 5 to 29 January 2023, book your annual leave now because the program is stacked. We’ve rounded up the exhibits, events and shows you simply can’t miss below.

ROOM: Running from 11 to 25 January 2023, ROOM, is a mind-bending theatrical performance from James Thierrée. A collision of dance, mime, acrobatics, music and jaw-dropping stage effects, you don’t want to miss this beautiful chaos unfolding on stage. 

Sun & Sea: Experience opera, like you’ve never seen or heard it before, at Sun & Sea. Winner of the Golden Lion at the 2019 Venice Biennale (so you know it’s the goods), watch on from above as holidaymakers sunbake and sing on the sand, interweaving humour with powerful thoughts on climate change. This must-see beauty runs from 6 to 8 January 2023. 

Sara Baras: Alma: Transport yourself straight to Spain with a goosebumping production from Sara Baras, one of the world’s greatest flamenco dancers. Baras returns to Australia to present Alma, an ensemble showcase, taking place at the Sydney Opera House from 27 to 28 January 2023. Watch skirts fly, hear heels hammer and witness Baras’ magic first-hand. 

Frida Kahlo: The Life of an Icon: Merging virtual reality, transformational spaces and light projections, journey through the life and mind of one of the most influential artists of all time, Frida Kahlo. Running from 4 January 2023, and coming to Australia for the first time, immerse yourself in Kahlo’s world, listen to live Mexican music and create your own flower crowns. It’s a total vibe. 

Sydney International Art Series: Do Ho Suh 

If you want bragging rights in your crew for being the first to witness Do Ho Suh’s incredible work IRL (trust us, you do), then you’ll want to plan a trip to the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA) stat. Known for his breathtaking large-scale sculpture and architectural installations, the MCA will host Do Ho Suh’s first solo exhibition in the Southern Hemisphere as part of the Sydney International Art Series. The immersive exhibit—which runs from 4 November 2022 to 26 February 2023—is packed with gram-worthy opps as visitors can meander through brightly coloured structures. Be sure to carve out some extra time to explore Suh’s full-scale reconstruction of his childhood home made of paper rubbings. 

Australian Geographic: Our Country

Fans of David Attenborough’s Our Planet will want to check out Australian Geographic’s multi-sensory immersive experience, Our Country, where you’ll witness the country’s breathtaking landscapes and raw, rugged beauty like never before. Opening 19 November 2022 and running until 5 February 2023, Our Country features 1600 square metres of powerful sound and screen projections that will transport you around Australia, celebrating the diversity of our land, sea and skies. Warning: viewing this will induce serious wanderlust. 

Sydney and regional New South Wales are both jam-packed with awe-inspiring cultural events. A feast for the eyes and ears, be sure to check out what’s on offer here.

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

Image source: Sydney Festival Instagram

Get our top stories direct to your inbox.

Get our top stories direct to your inbox.