We've sourced the best spots (and installations) for you to ‘do’ Vivid right.
Planning your Vivid Sydney visit well in advance? You've come to the right place.
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.
2018 is Vivid Sydney's 10th year anniversary and with it comes three weeks of spectacular light display. It runs from 25 May - 16 June 2018 and includes displays on icons such as the Sydney Opera House, Sydney Harbour Bridge and Customs House.
Pro tip: Plan to visit early on in the week and avoid weekends. Seems logical, seeing as they’re the working days, but we do tend to forget these things, so here’s your hint hint and your nudge nudge. You’ll avoid most of the crowds, and there’s a greater chance you’ll get to have that installation all to yourself. Vivid Cruises also tend to be cheaper on weekday evenings and depart after the workday is done.
Take in unobstructed views of the light shows at VIVID Sydney, one of Australia’s favorite annual arts festivals and admire mesmerizing light projections displayed on the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge.
Departure point: Darling Harbour
Length of Cruise: 1 hour
Food/Drink included: Choice of glass of wine, beer or soft drinks and buffet dinner.
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
This year Luna Park and Government House make their Vivid debuts. Of the standard locations, the Sydney Opera House's Lighting of the Sails remains a perennial favourite and a must-see on your journey through this festival of light. This year's display is called Metamathemagical and is the brainchild of Aussie artist Jonathan Zawada.
Image: Vivid Sydney
Custom House's bespoke display is also not one to miss, inspired by Snugglepot & Cuddlepie, which turns a century old.
And in celebration of a decade of Vivid, you can also tuck into the making of the 10th birthday cake, which is was created in conjunction with Masterchef and will be detailed on the ASN Co. Building in The Rocks.
Smaller displays shall also light up The Rocks, Millers Point, Walsh Bay and Darling Harbour. More recent newcomers, Chatswood and Taronga Zoo will once again join the Vivid party.
This year's official maps have yet to be released however here's a sample from last year which can 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.
Images from Vivid Sydney
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, City Recital Hall and Carriageworks during the festival. Some of this year's scheduled acts include:
Hear ideas from influences from all walks of life, including filmmakers and artists, as they discuss ideas with other industry leaders. Key events included Game Changer: James Cameron, IQ2 #MeToo and Game Changer: Jane McGonigal and Kriti Sharma.
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.
2-Course Steakhouse Dinner with Wine and Vivid Cocktails from RedBalloon
Get ready to experience a culinary journey like never before!
We reckon it's pretty fair to say that Opera Bar has the best seats in the house. It sits right below the lit up sails, and looks out toward the Harbour Bridge and Luna Park. The bar always showcases something fun, neon and bright to coincide with Vivid Festival and while this year's spectacular is still hush-hush last year's saw the venue transform into a Garden of Neon complete with illuminated ceiling and a retro games arcade. This year we're holding out for something similar.
Expert tip: For those looking to maximise the experience, but keep the cost down, there are food trucks galore hanging in the Opera House forecourt. Grab something cheap and on-the-go, to make the most of your evening out.
The American Express Lounge
New to the festival, American Express holders get a VIP pass into one of the most relaxing spaces in the heart of the action. Simply flash your card at the Cruise Bar rooftop on level 3 of the Overseas Passenger Terminal and you'll be ushered into a world of panoramic harbour views and complimentary nibbles. Open every night of Vivid from 5:30pm-10:30pm.
Heads up party people: Darling Harbour is gets in on the lights action too. One of best viewpoints is Cafe Del Mar. It's the ideal place to view the installations over the water and to see the facades of Darling Harbour's towering hotels all lit up. It often hosts special Vivid meal and drinks deals on the terrace. Even if it doesn't this year, the terrace is still the place to be.
Probably our favourite event on the bill, the Opera House is notorious for hosting pop up bars during the festival. Last year's bar was the Deep Purple Pool Hall and the name of the game was be all kinds of "Vivid". The drinks menu was drowned in "downtown favourites" including a Clementine Highball (Glenmorangie Orange Mandarin Soda, Lemon and Thyme), Negroni, Old Fashion and a Pickled (Jameson, Pickle) and , as you've likely guessed, there was free pool.
Venture beyond the city and Circular Quay and over to the finger wharves. You'll pass quite a number of installations as you wander down one of the many Vivid Trails, but from this more quiet spot of the show you can view the Vivid boats as they sail by, cocktail (or wine) in hand.
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
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.
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