Sydney's Best Museums and Cultural Attractions
Collected by Serena Renner , AFAR Contributor
We've all heard about Sydney's biggest cultural attractions like the Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge, but how about a convict island turned event site or the local theater that launched the careers of Mel Gibson and Cate Blanchett? Sydney's best cultural attractions are world-class and getting better every day. Contemporary favorites include Carriageworks and the Museum of Contemporary art, while the Art Gallery of New South Wales has one of Sydney's best aboriginal art collections.
Bridge St &, Phillip St, Sydney NSW 2000, Australia
This sculpture was commissioned for the Museum of Sydney and developed by an indigenous and non-indigenous artist working together: Fiona Foley and Janet Laurence. The name of the sculpture comes from an essay by historian Rhys Jones, 1985: "…the...
Bennelong Point, Sydney NSW 2000, Australia
245 Wilson St, Eveleigh NSW 2015, Australia
The brick-and-iron warehouses of the old Eveleigh Railway Workshops host a diverse lineup of experimental music, theater, film, and fine art. Located on the border of Redfern and Waterloo, Carriageworks was restored to keep the historical roots...
Harbour St, Sydney NSW 2000, Australia
The largest and most storied of the Sydney Harbour islands, Cockatoo was once an Aboriginal fishing ground, a naval shipyard, a girls' reform school, and a gruesome prison. Today, it offers fascinating walking tours, a casual café, and a number of...
Queens Square, Macquarie St, Sydney NSW 2000, Australia
Since opening in 1819, Australia’s first barracks has housed British convicts, female immigrants, destitute elderly women, courtrooms, and government offices until it was finally declared a museum in 1979. During a twice-daily tour, or with...
Art Gallery Rd, Sydney NSW 2000, Australia
The Australian collection here includes almost 19,000 pieces ranging from paintings and decorative arts to modern photography, pop art, and screen-printing. The Yiribana Gallery is renowned for some of the best permanent and rotating exhibits of...
140 George St, The Rocks NSW 2000, Australia
Set on the western side of Circular Quay, the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA) is the country’s leading institution for modern art. While access to touring international exhibitions from the likes of Tatsuo Miyajima and Annie Leibovitz...
The Wharf, Pier 4 Hickson Road, Walsh Bay NSW 2000, Australia
Founded in 1978 and formerly directed by Cate Blanchett, the Sydney Theatre Company has launched the careers of Mel Gibson, Judy Davis, and Geoffrey Rush as well as Blanchett. The state theater of New South Wales, the company produces high-caliber...
The real sailboat-shaped cultural institution in Sydney is not the Opera House, but the Australian National Maritime Museum, a soaring canvas-covered structure built high enough to house tall masts. The museum, located on Darling Harbour, the...
1 William St, Sydney NSW 2010, Australia
Australia's first museum was opened in 1827 in Sydney with the goal of showcasing unique specimens relating to the country's fascinating natural history. Initially called the Sydney Museum or Colonial Museum, the institution was renamed the...
1003 Upper Fort St, Millers Point NSW 2000, Australia
In the 1850s, a rugged hill overlooking Sydney Harbour was capped with the Sydney Observatory at the behest of English astronomer and clergyman William Scott. What started as a sandstone structure used primarily for time-keeping and...
69A Wentworth Rd, Vaucluse NSW 2030, Australia
For a glimpse of Sydney's high society, visit Vaucluse House, a beautiful villa and garden in the Eastern Suburbs near Watsons Bay. A gothic revival mansion built in 1803, Vaucluse House once belonged to ex-convict Sir Henry Browne Hayes, who was...
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