Some cities shut up shop when the weather cools down, but Sydney is just getting started.
Shorter days in this global metropolis mean even more nights, Vivid Sydney has extended 23 days with lights on from May 27th to June 18th.
Now we know what you’re thinking, but the lights only come on at night, that’s a whole lot of hours left to fill. Lucky for you, Qantas has compiled your complete go-to guide so you can experience the best the harbour city has to offer and to make the most of your experience in Sydney.
Brunch may be the unofficial official meal of Sydney and one of the best can be found at Three Williams. They do things their own way, with delish poached eggs, a decent list of smoothies and perfectly roasted coffee to set you up for a fabulous day ahead.
No. 10 Bistro
Combine a bit of history with a great feed at the new eatery, No. 10 Bistro. Housed in The Mint on Macquarie Street it is just the right bit of fancy for lunch or dinner, and with it sweeping views towards Hyde Park, be sure to score yourself a seat on the balcony.
With one of the best menus in Sydney, Ester is tucked away in the back streets of Chippendale, and right near the X Factory Vivid light installation. It boasts an ever so creative menu, with the crispy squid dumplings, half a duck with burnt honey and, our favourite, the young coconut sorbet drizzled with sake all highly recommended.
Buon Ricordo has been a Sydney institution since the 80s and we suggest you use at least three of your 72 hours to see (and taste) why for yourself. Paired with one of their award winning wines, the fettuccine al tartufo will have you licking the bowl, with no judgement here.
Take dinner with a view up a notch and book a table at Quay. Located in the dress circle of Sydney Harbour, this three hatted beauty dishes up something special, from Jerusalem artichoke to wild blacklip abalone and has you perfectly placed for an after dinner stroll through the surrounding light installations or nearby Vivid Light walk.
Lotus Dumpling Bar
There aren’t many things in life as divine as the pairing of a good dumpling and an even better cocktail, which is what makes Lotus Dumpling Bar so special. Nestled amongst the theatre loving crowds of Walsh Bay, you will want to try them all, and rightly so, especially the xiao long bao soup dumplings as well as a serve of the fried pot sticker dumplings, for good measure.
Fish at the Rocks
Taking pride of place in the heart of The Rocks it won’t take long for you to see why this place is still going strong after 27 years on the Sydney food scene. Whether its a whole local rock lobster or the baked barramundi, we guarantee you’ll be suitable impressed.
A favourite amongst both locals and tourists, this is the place to truly experience the wonder and awe that is the harbour during Vivid Sydney. Combining an impressive food menu, decadent cocktails and stunning views of the Opera House projections, it’s highly likely (and completely understandable) that you may be here in a while.
Offering 180-degree views of Sydney’s harbour and CBD, The Glenmore’s rooftop is one epic vantage point come May (or any time for that matter). Serving up some tasty eats to accompany the views, stay for some double-deep-fried chips, a juicy rib or two and most of all, enjoy the show.
The Old Clare Hotel Rooftop Pool and Bar
Sydney loves a good rooftop bar and don’t let the name fool you, this relatively new kid on the block has some pretty decent views of the Sydney skyline and one mighty fine cocktail list waiting for you.
Impress your friends with your on point Sydney knowledge and take them to one of the best secret bars, conveniently located right in the centre of town. From classic cocktails with a twist to wagyu burgers, this is just the place to have you fed and watered before the long night ahead.
Vivid Music is bringing the beats with 63 different acts, across all 15 Vivid Sydney precincts, to guarantee you a pretty epic six weeks. From live music at The Basement in Circular Quay to Bon Iver at the Opera House and Live Flamenco in Marrickville. And with tickets starting at just $15 they’re an absolute steal.
Shop til you drop at Sydney’s markets
Sydney loves a market and they’re a great way to explore some of Sydney’s most popular suburbs and experience life like a local. Whether it’s a one of a kind find in Glebe, a designer purchase in Paddington, or the farmers markets in Eveleigh, they’re the perfect way to spend some time (and some cash).
Take a Sydney Chocolate Tour
A walking tour devoted to chocolate can really only be a good thing, and this tour takes you through the heart of Sydney’s CBD to showcase, and most importantly taste test, a range of local chocolate creations.
Visit the Sydney Fish Market
No trip to Sydney is complete without visiting the always-bustling Sydney Fish Market. Tourists flock here and locals come from across Sydney to stock up on their fresh fare. What’s even better is you can grab a table and eat what you’ve purchased—just mind the seagulls.
Got ideas? Vivid has plenty. With 140 ticketed and free events, Vivid Ideas has something that’s sure to inspire your intellect, including debates, master classes, art exhibitions, story telling and more.
Spa treatment at The Darling
This newly renovated, ever so luxurious, day spa in Pyrmont is the perfect place to unwind on your Sydney getaway. Located in The Star, there’s even a spa date menu so you’ll keep all your senses happy as you indulge in one of their signature treatments that has seen them labelled one of the best in Sydney.
Staying beach side at Bondi is on nearly everyone’s bucket list so why not do it the right way with a room at QT Bondi? There are 69 studios and apartments overlooking the coastline and all are complete with the signature fittings of life at Australia’s most famous beach.
The recent beneficiary of a cool $20 million refurb, this could well be Sydney’s hippest hotel. There are 100 rooms to choose from including a luxe bar and all within a casual stroll from the Vivid Sydney harbour lights. Oh, and they have a free mini bar too. Yep, free mini bar!
Primus Hotel Sydney
This is one hotel with some serious Insta-game. The Art Deco building is one good-looking step back in time located in the heart of the CBD. With six levels on offer, all with five star luxury features, the New York inspired rooftop has us sold every single time.
Editors note: This article is sponsored by Qantas, Destination NSW and proudly 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: Vivid Sydney