Vivid Sydney is back with a bang in 2023; transforming Sydney for 23 days and nights with boundary-pushing art, music, food and talks.
In its 13th year, the annual celebration is taking things up a notch, illuminating some of Sydney’s most iconic landmarks and hidden gems, while shining a light on the rule breakers, troublemakers and revolutionary chefs, thinkers, artists and musicians from both Australia and abroad.
From 26 May–17 June, engage the senses at the world-famous Lightscape – a 2.1km journey through the Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney – dance to tribal Yolngu beats from First Nations supergroup Yothu Yindi accompanied by Wik and Solomon Island rapper Ziggy Ramo at Tumbalong Nights, indulge in flame-fuelled festivities at Vivid Fire Kitchen, or expand your mind with talks from Jeanette Winterson and other storytellers at Vivid Ideas.
Embrace the very essence of Vivid Sydney by thinking outside of the box, admiring light displays from a different viewpoint, taking a chance on an undiscovered artist or building an itinerary of talks that’s sure to challenge. The stage is set; it’s your time to shine.
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1. Book a restaurant (or two) with a view
Take in panoramic views of all the Vivid action from your very own Dining Dome at Luna Lu. Enjoy a five-course bespoke degustation at this chef-hatted contemporary Asian restaurant, nestled in Sydney’s iconic Campbells Cove with direct views of the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge.
Sip on a welcome cocktail as the awe-inspiring installations unfold, before enthralling your other senses with Luna Lu’s pan-Asian dishes. Sample sensational local seafood with premium-grade oysters and cured silver skin kingfish, before moving onto the bold flavours of Peking-style duck breasts, served with black cabbage.
Give Vivid is on for 23 nights, you'll have plenty of opportunity to take your pick of restaurants. Be sure to make a reservation at 6HEAD in The Rocks, where each melt-in-your-mouth bite is accompanied by views of Vivid Sydney’s glittering art installations dappled across the harbourside. Plus, the bottle of French Champagne adds extra effervescence to this exclusive experience.
Brush up on your BBQ skills at Vivid Fire Kitchen in the Cutaway in Barangaroo, where the world’s best pitmasters will be revealing their tricks of the trade, while dishing out exclusive dishes that are sure to excite and surprise.
2. Choose a hotel with skyline vistas
There’s no better way to soak up the significance of Vivid Sydney than with a stay at Sydney’s iconic harbourfront hotels. Stay in the middle of the action at the five-star Shangri-La Sydney, where sweeping views of the Opera House and Harbour Bridge come standard. See the brilliance of Sydney’s Connected City from your sky-high spot, before venturing out into Circular Quay and the Rocks to find live gigs, pop-up kitchens and thought-provoking talks. Return for late-night cocktails at Blu Bar on 36 or luxurious spa treatments at Chi, The Spa.
For a slightly different view, stay at the five-star InterContinental Sydney, set within the beautifully restored Treasury Building of 1851 in Circular Quay. Lazily lap in the indoor heated pool with a backdrop of jaw-dropping attractions – it overlooks the Sydney Opera House – or start your Vivid Sydney experience at the Aster, the exclusive rooftop bar serving creative cocktails with expansive harbour views.
3. Take a harbour cruise
Sydney’s harbour is breathtaking any time of year, but Vivid Sydney’s program of events takes it to a whole new level come May and June. The best way to see it all is on an evening harbour cruise, taking in the sights and sounds from a 78ft luxury cruiser.
Setting sail from King Street Wharf, you’ll sail under the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge, passing Kirribilli House and Watsons Bay, while enjoying the theatrics of the Vivid Light attractions. A three-course menu of regionally focussed dishes is the perfect pair to this one-of-a-kind experience, all washed down with wine from New South Wales’ best wineries.
4. Catch some beats at Vivid Music
Sydney will be awash with new voices and old melodies throughout Vivid Sydney, elevating some of Australia’s best artists to the world stage. Discover your new favourite song at Tumbalong Park, where Tumbalong Nights delivers 12 nights of free live music, or let roaming artists soundtrack your journey through the Vivid Sydney Light Walk.
Get up close and personal with the stars of Australia’s art scene at the Vivid Sydney Supper Club, with performances from David Campbell, Christine Anu, Beccy Cole and Rhys Nicholson, or catch international superstars José González, Cat Power and Yaeji on Sydney’s most iconic stage: the Sydney Opera House at Vivid Live. Pay tribute to musical legend Archie Roach at A Bend in the River: A Tribute to Archie Roach AC, then find inspiration with Yolngu supergroup, Yothu Yindi and Solomon Islands’ rapper, Ziggy Ramo at Tumbalong Nights.
5. Plan your itinerary
Make sure you don’t miss a thing with their handy itinerary builder, MyVivid or Luxury Escapes TripPlanner. Step into the festival’s largest-ever installation, The Last Ocean, wander through the hidden laneways of the Rocks for a one-of-a-kind audio journey with NOCTURNE, or discover the Wild Lights with a brand-new light trail at Taronga Zoo.
See how food, music, ideas and light interact at the Vivid Sydney Dinner with renowned chefs Ben Greeno and Danielle Alvarez, or hear experimental psychologist Jesse Bering untangle shame and sexuality at Perv: The Kink in all of Us. Expect to be challenged and comforted, awed and amazed – this is Vivid Sydney, naturally.
Vivid Sydney runs from 26 May to 17 June, 2023. Find the latest events and program at vividsydney.com
Images courtesy of Destination NSW