From late May to mid-June, the down-under metropolis of Sydney offers visitors a dazzling light show.
Every evening at 6PM during the annual Vivid Sydney event, the lights turn on to transform Sydney into the world’s biggest—and brightest—outdoor art gallery. The city becomes a kaleidoscope of mesmerizing light sculptures and large-scale projections onto iconic canvasses such as the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge. And that’s just the beginning.
Vivid Sydney is a citywide celebration of cutting-edge light artists, with the world’s most groundbreaking musicians and creative thinkers thrown into the mix. The event is so all-encompassing, it’s actually broken out into three distinct platforms. Vivid Light is the first platform, inviting light artists, sculptors and designers from around the globe to showcase their most innovative works and transform Sydney’s urban landscape in the process. The second, Vivid Music, features an incredible lineup of multi-genre music and performances at venues across Sydney. Vivid Music offers something for every music fan—you can watch a headlining hip-hop artist at the Sydney Opera House or catch an experimental local cellist over beers at a corner King Street bar. The final, and most cerebral, of the three platforms is Vivid Ideas. Ideas brings together the world’s most avant-garde thinkers and entrepreneurs at events across the city. The intriguing program features talks with renowned leaders from the film, animation, architecture, and tech industries.
If this isn’t enough to get you on a plane to Sydney come springtime, Vivid Sydney’s biggest draw, the light show, is absolutely free. Take a “Vivid walk” at your leisure and soak it all in. Incredible light installations lie around every corner and everywhere you turn. When your feet get tired, several of Sydney’s restaurants stay open late and offer event-themed specials. Barangaroo is already a magnet for foodies with its enticing eateries. Add Vivid to the menu and you never know what to expect. Rainbow cocktails? Neon cupcakes? The sky’s the limit.
Discovering the city on foot is the ideal way to sample all that Vivid Sydney has to offer, but if you’d like to experience the much-bigger picture, you’ll want to hit the harbor. Vivid Sydney cruises tend to be (surprisingly) inexpensive and usually include a drink and/or small bites as an added perk. Most boats leave from Darling Harbour/King Street Wharf and pass under the Harbour Bridge toward the Opera House, letting you ogle some of the most magnificent illuminations up close. For an even more up-close-and-personal peek, book a guided BridgeClimb. Both twilight and night climbs are available during Vivid and offer panoramic views of the harb
The next Vivid Sydney is set to run from May 24th to June 15th 2019, so start planning now. No matter how you decide to experience it—through the music, speaker events, light art, or all of the above—just be sure to pack your sunnies. It’s going to be a very electric—and bright—three weeks.