Vivid Sydney brings light artists, musicians and innovative thinkers together from Sydney and all over the world to bathe our city in a warm glow. It’s a Sydney event you can enjoy in so many ways, whether you’re wandering the city’s streets exploring countless light sculptures, catching a comedy show or concert, or listening to an inspiring speaker.
Vivid Sydney shines a light over Darling Harbour through art and creativity, from the bizarre and unusual, to the charming and quaint, the sculptures and creatives behind Vivid give us new ways to connect with each other and our city.
It’s full of surprises and new ways of seeing, hearing, feeling and experiencing, right here in Darling Harbour.
As the sun sets, across the city, Sydney will once again transform with more than 50 lustrous light installations, and 3D projection artworks. Lose yourself in the hypnotising wonderland of light and colour around Darling Harbour.
Taking inspiration from the Exchange Building's timber wrapping around the circular building, this installation brings birds to what locals lovingly refer to as 'The Bird's Nest'. Inspired by the classic neon sign animations of Chinatown, giant birds flap their wings across the building in the form of 24 LED outlines, lighting up in sequence across the façade as they take flight.
Inspired by NSW's many natural wonders that have been sculpted and shaped by the eroding effects of wind, water and time, this inflatable labyrinth invites us to look through the cracks formed and see anew. Think of landmarks like the Jenolan Caves, the Three Sisters, Australia Rock and the Royal National Park’s Instagram-famous Figure Eight pools, all made only more beautiful by their natural fractures or 'apertures'.
Standing alone in the dark, these four-metre streetlights keep their lamp shade-like head closed. But as you approach, they come alive. Bending towards you and slowly 'blooming', they light up and open more the closer you get, excited by your presence. The work transforms a common urban sight – a motion-centred light – into a friendly local personality eager to say hello. As you walk away, the lights gradually return to their upright resting position, closing its bloom and dimming its light once more.
Conceived during COVID lockdowns, Dance Together celebrates the importance of gathering and the magic that can happen when strangers congregate. Meet under an unusual source - three giant floating rings, suspended above our heads - for a 360° show that unites us in haloes of light and an ethereal soundscape. Messages rotate around the inner band, allowing us to connect and reach out in new ways - maybe even with a little boogie underneath.
Across countless cultures and centuries, the four elements are opposing forces that make up all life, representing the raw power and alchemic equilibrium of our planet. From the big bang to the natural world as we know it, this breathtaking show celebrates these elements - fire, air, water and earth - combining spectacular 80 metre water shooters, flames, projection and pyro technics – making it more than an essential stop on the Light Walk: it's elemental.
Dive into the history of Australia's harbours with this stunning projection on the HMAS Vampire. Swim alongside 200-year-old sea turtles; join Eora people as they fish with a spear and burra (fishing hook), while keeping the ecosystem in balance; witness the desolation of oceans as colonial settlers arrive and industrial fishing takes hold; see how conservationists are saving our sea life from pollution and stray nets with ocean-based drones and recycling efforts with local artists.
In an age of lockdowns, climate change and global upheaval, it’s easy to feel increasingly ungrounded or disconnected. River Mouth plays with our innate need to connect to nature as an equalising force, taking inspiration from the bizarre but common phenomenon of 'pareidolia' – the tendency to see patterns, animals or faces in inanimate objects and nature.
Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s a swarm! Of what, exactly? That's up to you - inspired by the mathematical precision of flocks of birds flying or schools of fish swimming in unison, Swarm renders this natural phenomenon repeated across our skies and seas into a thing of abstract beauty.
What do hummingbirds, cicadas, bumblebees and helicopter seeds have in common? Watching them whizz through the air is spellbinding. That's thanks to the complicated aerodynamic system keeping them afloat, where their wings (or leaves) twist and turn in the air rather than flapping up and down, creating the illusion of levitating or, occasionally, even dancing in the wind.
Vivid Music 2023 showcases music as the thread that connects us to our natural and urban environments, our culture, our families, our stories and our sense of belonging. Featuring international heavy-hitters and domestic trailblazers, alongside some of Australia’s finest emerging talent, Vivid Music is a world-class program of artists and truth tellers, offering something for all audiences.
The bullseye at the centre of Sydney's Darling Harbour, Tumbalong Park is your Vivid Sydney go-to for free and eclectic contemporary music, in the very heart of the Light Walk. Catch 12 nights of live music, with artists from Africa to Arnhem Land, as well as Sydney's finest acts - free for all, with an open invitation to dance. Plus, DJs keep the vibes high from Sunday to Wednesday nights and beloved Australian children's acts kick things off before the lights turn on, every Saturday from 5pm.
Who said the adults should have all the fun? Round up the little ones and start your Light Walk journey in Tumbalong Park at 5pm each Saturday during the festival as the stage lights up with FREE children’s acts ahead of a night of live music
Vivid Ideas 2023 challenges our ‘natural’ ways of thinking, whether by shining a spotlight on underrepresented communities, offering cultural counterpoints to the mainstream, or creating one-of-a-kind immersive experience
From Ibiza and Art Basel Miami, Future Art arrives to shake up Vivid Sydney with a party celebrating the world's brightest digital and NFT crypto artists. Expect cutting-edge VR experiences, NFT displays and monumental large-scale projections at an art party like no other, soundtracked by live music and Sydney’s dancefloor-filling DJs.
Australia's biggest creative industries summit, REMIX Summit Sydney 2023 is your field guide to what's coming next. Across two days of inspirational talks, discussions and networking, hear from and meet innovators across creative and cultural industries.
Eating and drinking in Darling Harbour
Vivid Sydney is the perfect excuse to visit Darling Harbour for a weekend of art, dining, drinking and exploration.
For beer, gyoza, fried chicken and guaranteed good times, try Harajuku Gyoza Beer Stadium or, for the best craft beer selection in the city, drop in to Batch Brewing in Haymarket.
If you fancy yum-cha and gorgeous garden views, head to The Gardens by Lotus, or book at Momofuku Seiobo for a taste of the Carribean at one of Australia’s leading fine dining restaurants. Try the tastiest, spiciest chicken in Sydney at Belles Hot Chicken, serious donuts at Shortstop or impossibly creamy gelato at Gelato Messina Darling Square.
Keen to explore more of Sydney’s best eating and drinking? Check out a selection of 150+ bars, cafes and restaurants in Darling Harbour and some stocked with these amazing Vivid-inspired offers...
A guide for where to go, eat and stay during Vivid Sydney
This year's Vivid Sydney is better than ever, with a spectacular lineup of events and boundary-pushing installations, many of the highlights being centred around Darling Harbour.
We’ve compiled some itineraries for families, social butterflies and cocktail aficionados so you can get the most out of your Vivid experience in this vibrant precinct.
Getting to Darling Harbour
Getting to Darling Harbour is easy, whether you’re walking, cycling, driving or catching public transport:
- The train from the airport takes just 25 minutes. Get off at the Museum Station and walk less than 10 minutes
- Light rail from the CBD leaves every 4 minutes. Get off at the Town Hall stop and walk less than 5 minutes
- Cycling from the city takes less than 5 minutes. Take your bike over Pyrmont Bridge to see the ultimate view of Darling Harbour
- Walking from the city takes just 10 minutes
- Or there are several car parks throughout Darling Harbour if you’re driving.
For more help getting to Darling Harbour, check out our guide.