One of the many things I missed about Sydney (and Australia in general) while I lived in Hong Kong was the culture – art galleries, theatre and museums. I find it so relaxing and educational to see an exhibition, watch a play or wander around a museum with a friend or even by myself. We have so many places to experience this culture in Sydney, here is a small list of the places I know about, plus suggestions for where to enjoy a drink or meal before or after your cultural outing.
– Museum of Contemporary Art on the waterfront in Circular Quay houses (as the name suggests) international and local modern art. It’s not exactly my cup of tea (think light installations, abstract art etc), but it’s worth a visit either way. Take a break for coffee and food at the MCA Cafe, or if you have some time sit down for a meal at their restaurant ‘Graze MCA’. Also note that only some sections are free.
– Art Gallery of New South Wales in the Domain has Australian, European and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Galleries in addition to local and international exhibitions. Again, only some sections are free. After wandering around, sit down for lunch or coffee at their very own Cafe, or if you’re feeling fancy treat yourself to a meal at Matt Moran’s ‘Chiswick at the Gallery’. Don’t forget to stop in at their lovely shop on your way out (I love Art Gallery shops!).
– State Library of New South Wales on Macquarie Street generally has some great exhibitions (usually for free!) on the ground floor and first floor. Enjoy a cafe-style lunch and coffee at their light-filled restaurant Cafe Trim downstairs.
– Sydney Opera House showcases beautiful ballet performances, opera (of course!), talks or musical performances in their stunning, iconic building. For example, the upcoming musical performance Wild Swans featuring talented Sydney violinist, Victoria Jacono-Gilmovich. There are only 2 performances, on Sunday 19th July at 3pm and 6pm – so buy tickets soon, it’s meant to be beautiful! Have a drink and gaze at the beautiful view at the Opera Bar and eat something delicious at the Opera Kitchen.
– Capitol Theatre seems to show a lot of Broadway plays like ‘The Lion King’, ‘Wicked’ and currently, ‘Les Miserable’. Before the show you can enjoy some of the best, reasonably priced Thai food in the city at Chat Thai, just across the road.
– Sydney Theatre Company, Walsh Bay which is in a beautiful location with some great plays by the Sydney Theatre Company. Easy to access from the Rocks, where there are plenty of dinner options including the Pancake Parlour (!) after the play.
– Belvoir Street Theatre in Surry Hills showing international and local plays. Beforehand, have a drink at Vini and if you have a little cash, dine at MoVida.
– Museum of Sydney for some history. Located on Phillip Street, and built on the ruins of the home of New South Wales’ first Governor, Arthur Phillip. Stop to sip a tasty cup of coffee or a devour a tasty meal at their restaurant ‘The Governor’s Table’. If it’s a little too fancy, walk a little further for a delicious sandwich and coffee at Little Vienna.
– Powerhouse Museum for some interesting arts and science-related exhibitions, located on Harris Street in Ultimo. They’re currently showing an interesting exhibition – ‘Undressed: 350 years of underwear in fashion’. Enjoy coffee and a sweet treat at the Black Star Pastry Cafe.
This is a list of venues that are easy to access from the city. But there are so many more scattered around Sydney, in the suburbs or inner city areas. All you have to do is keep your eyes open for a poster or hear it through word-of-mouth.
Hope you enjoy some culture in the city this weekend!