Events and festivals

Events and festivals

The Magnificent Seven

Spring and summer in Sydney wouldn’t be the same if it weren’t for our Magnificent Seven events.

From art in unusual places and a 2-week party of all things cycling, to the magical festive season and an oriental wonderland, the City is helping put Sydney front and centre on the world’s cultural stage.

In case you missed ...

Trolley acrobatics show for Art and About 2014

Art & About Sydney

September is always an exciting time as it marks the launch of Art & About Sydney.

From 19 September to 12 October, the 13th Art & About festival saw 5 3-metre-high tepees constructed in Hyde Park, illuminating the works of some well-known artists, an outdoor photographic studio on the QVB forecourt recreating school photos with strangers, street dancers and acrobats coming together with the humble shopping trolley to spin, glide and slide and the Australian Life exhibition along with the Little Sydney Lives photo competition.

Festivities started with Friday Night Live when Martin Place was transformed into a giant backyard featuring entertainment, quality food and drinks – a great place to begin your festival adventure. 

With a program boasting works from the quirky to the quintessentially Australian, local and international artists presented works that explored the festival theme of ‘endangered'.

Sydney Rides Festival

Sydney Rides Festival

Thousands of riders joined Sydney's largest celebration of bike riding in October 2014. Signature events included:

Sydney Rides to Work where riders refuelled on their way to work with free breakfast, coffee and a tune-up. 

Sydney Rides the City a fun-filled bike bonanza for all the family which featured BMX stunt displays, face painting and live music by the harbour. 

Sydney Rides the Night brought everyone together with a picture-perfect night-time ride and festival closing celebration for all ages. Light installations and special effects adorned a 2.5km loop along Mrs Macquaries Road. More than 2,000 people enjoyed the harbourside ride, spending time in the outdoor lounge, listening to the DJ or at the silent disco, roller racing or grabbing a bite to eat from the gourmet food trucks. 

Sydney Christmas

A Sydney Christmas is like no other in the world, with its sun-drenched summer days and balmy nights, uniquely Aussie festivities, and tradition with a twist. 

From 27 November until Christmas Day, streets in the city centre will be illuminated with bright lights and decorations, including dramatic digital projections that transform the façades of Sydney Town Hall and Pitt Street Mall’s King Street entrance. The new Street Light Disco in Martin Place with its sparkling disco ball-effect inspires visitors to 'trip the light fantastic' and get into the festive cheer.

Jump on the interactive dance pad at the Martin Place Christmas Tree, or text us your message and we’ll make it appear on the tree’s branches for everyone to see.  

And, the free family-friendly concerts in Martin Place, Hyde Park and the villages are guaranteed to be a big hit with the kids, with Santa making a special appearance.  


Sydney New Year's Eve

There’s only one place in the world to be for the biggest and best New Year’s Eve - Sydney. 

Join over 1.6 million people lining the Sydney Harbour foreshore, and millions watching across the world, as Sydney welcomes in the New Year.

The official program starts at 6pm with air displays full of acrobatic spills and thrills over Sydney Harbour. The 9pm family fireworks display will illuminate Sydney Harbour, then the enchanting Harbour of Light Parade® will glide across the water. At 10.30pm, a special "inspire moment" fireworks display will tease the crowds, then our world-famous fireworks display kicks off at midnight with dazzling fireworks going off from seven barges, jet-skis, the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House. 

Visit the Sydney New Year's Eve website for more information.

A reader sitting in a comfy red armchair at the Lawn Library.

Sydney Festival

Every January, Sydney Festival takes over the streets and parks of central Sydney with world-class music, dance and visual arts. Sydney Festival comprises of around 400 performances of 140 events performed by more than 1000 artists in more than 30 venues.

A highlight this year was the Festival Village in Hyde Park. Entry is free, with plenty of things for kids and adults to do. 

The City of Sydney is a major sponsor of this significant event that attracts visitors from interstate and overseas.

Sydney New Year's Eve

Australia Day

We are so lucky to live in Australia, which is why every January we celebrate our great nation.

Sydney’s magnificent Hyde Park marks Australia Day every year with some free entertainment.

Residents and visitors can also mark the occasion by having a picnic with friends and family in one of the City’s many beautiful parks and outdoor spaces. They include Pirrama Park in Pyrmont, Sydney Park in St Peters, Rushcutters Bay Park, or Glebe Foreshore Parklands.


Sydney Chinese New Year Festival 2015

The Year of the Sheep was celebrated from 13 February to 1 March.

As one of the largest Chinese New Year Festivals outside of China, Sydneysiders and visitors were invited to share in a month-long program of free and ticketed events, starting with the free festival launch at Dawes Point.

More special events to herald the Year of the Sheep included Lanterns of the Terracotta Warrior Exhibition, glowing against the backdrop of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House as well as Lunar Streets, a feast of Asian food in the heart of Haymarket.

The biggest competitive event in Australia’s dragon boat racing calendar took place, along with our signature Twilight Parade, honouring all things sheep, with lanterns, floats and projections lighting up city streets and buildings. 

Last updated: Monday, 2 March 2015