Planning your Vivid Sydney visit well in advance? You’ve come to the right place. We’ve sourced the best spots (and installations) for you to ‘do’ Vivid right.
Every year Vivid Sydney seems to get bigger and bigger. There are more lights, more walks, more crowds (erm...), and more days to explore and experience this festival of light. In 2017, Vivid Sydney ran from 25 May until 17 June, giving you three weeks to take in the spectacle.
What to do at Vivid Sydney
Vivid as you’ve never experienced it before
Vivid only comes around once a year, and honestly, how often will you see the city glowing like the emerald city on steroids? #onceinabluemoon. My suggestion? Make the most of this festival by turning it into a memorable event for you and your loved one with one of these experiences.
BridgeClimb Sydney during Vivid from Adrenaline
- Experience Vivid like never before with a Sydney Harbour Bridge BridgeClimb while the lights are on.
- Boogie on a 70s-style disco floor on the top of the Harbour Bridge
- Includes a souvenir photograph
$253 (adult)View details
Vivid Sydney cruises
See Vivid from a whole different perspective by hitting the Harbour. Cruises tend to be inexpensive starting at less than $20 per person, and usually include a drink or food.
Most leave from Darling Harbour/King Street Wharf and pass under the Harbour Bridge toward the Opera House, letting you see some of the event's best illuminations up close.
While next year's Vivid displays still remain a mystery, here's what was shown at the 2017 event, with Barangaroo being the newest addition to the Vivid mix. There was also be displays at Kings Cross.
Image: Vivid Sydney
Barangaroo's two main displays will be A Day In The Light, which is designed to make you feel like you've been immersed in a mystical universe of light and sound along Mercantile Walk. There's also Trapdoor, where you'll be transported into a subterranean world.
Much loved in year's past, once again light displays will paint the Sydney Opera Houses’ sails, and the façades of the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) and Customs House (best seen from the train platform at Circular Quay Station). Smaller displays lit up The Rocks, Millers Point, Walsh Bay and Darling Harbour. Newcomers last year, Chatswood and Taronga Zoo will once again join the Vivid party. Our Vivid precinct guide can help you plan your journey through the festival.
Lights for the Wild
Where: Taronga Zoo
Where: The Rocks
Magicians in the Mist
Where: Darling Harbour
Where: Martin Place
Where: Royal Botanic Gardens
Vivid Sydney Maps
These official maps should give you an idea of where most of the Vivid displays will be. Simply click on the area you'd like to visit below and the section will expand into a map.
Circular Quay, Opera House, Walsh Bay and Darling Harbour
Images from Vivid Sydney
Vivid Sydney Activities and Experiences
All along the Vivid walks, restaurants offer specials to lure in visitors. While heaps of places offer doing specials and remain open later than usual, only a select few are offering something vividly spectacular for your eyes and your tastebuds.
Vivid LIVE and Vivid Music
Artists from around the world joined the Vivid LIVE line-up, with award-winning acts performing at the Sydney Opera House during the festival. Some of this year's scheduled acts include:
- Fleet Foxes
- The Avalanches
- Nick Murphy
- Beth Orton
- Laura Marling
Hear ideas from influences from all walks of life, including filmmakers and artists, as they discuss ideas with other industry leaders. Key events included The Sunrise - Founders Helping Founders, Robowars and Game-Changer: Shepard Fairey..
Where to stay during Vivid Sydney
Are you visiting Sydney just to see the Vivid lights? (We don’t blame you). Or, perhaps you want to avoid the madness that is Sydney transport by making the CBD your home base for the evening? Whatever your reasons, there are some beautiful hotels in the city you can check into to make seeing the Vivid lights that much more enjoyable.
They also have some kickass views of the lights, too. #winning
What do I need to know about Vivid Sydney?
Is Vivid Sydney free?
Yes, Vivid Sydney's displays are completely free to access. However, if you'd like to join a cruise or bridge climb, then you'll need to pay for admission to those attractions.
What time does Vivid sydney start?
The Vivid Sydney light displays will be turned on at 6pm each night during the festival.
How does Vivid Sydney work?
Being a free event throughout Circular Quay, The Rocks, Martin Place, Walsh Bay and Darling Harbour (with smaller displays in other parts of the city), Vivid is like a giant open-air gallery. It's a free event where you can walk around and check out light-based displays and illuminations created by a range of artists. There are guides available and each attraction is signposted and explains what it is you're looking at and who created it.
Are there many Vivid Sydney road closures?
Many roads leading toward Circular Quay and The Rocks will be closed or restricted during the event. Given those limitations, and the road closures along George Street, it's recommended to take public transport to Vivid. There will be an extra 3,500 public transport services available during the event, and the ferries will be illuminated each night from 6pm.
How long does Vivid Sydney go for?
While it's usually an 18-day event, this year the festival will be running for 23 days, from 26 May until 17 June.
When did Vivid Sydney start?
Vivid Sydney has been lighting up the Sydney foreshore since 2009. It began as a light festival promoting energy efficiency with light paintings displayed on the sails of the Sydney Opera House.
Can I do a Vivid Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb?
Yes! The twilight and night-time Bridge Climbs are available during Vivid and offer panoramic views of the harbour displays.
Do you have any tips on how to photograph Vivid Sydney?
If night photography isn't your forte, consider joining a night photography class prior to the festival, or even during the festival to try and capture the best images.