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Sydney Summer Events You Won’t Want To Miss

A round up of the best summer events in Sydney!

Sydney is home to some of the best summer events in the world. From art to sports to multi-day festivals, there’s something for everyone. If you’re planning a visit to the city this summer or if you’re a local looking for something new to try, we know some summer-season Sydney events to help you create your perfect summer.

SXSW Sydney launch party
SXSW Sydney launch party

SXSW Sydney

In 2023, the iconic festival of creative industries South by South West (SXSW) is coming to Sydney. With events on tech and innovation, games, music, film, and more—it's no surprise that Sydney is buzzing to host the first iteration of South By outside of North America. SXSW Sydney® runs from the 15th of October to the 22nd of October throughout the city.
Tech & Innovation
Innovators and creators showcase their groundbreaking works across industries—from entertainment to education to health to fashion. Guests can immerse themselves in experiences like product demonstrations, interactive installations, meet-and-greets, and so much more within Sydney’s International Convention and Exhibition Centre.
The SXSW Sydney Games Showcase gives a platform to 150 independent games from across the Asia-Pacific region. Indie developers will show off their work to industry professionals, media, other creatives, and fans in the massive showcase. Experience the future of gaming with live play-throughs and demos before you head to the Tabletop Festival, the XR Showcase, charity marathon stream, and the Games Awards, hosted by beloved comedian/musician, Tom Cardy.
Over 300 artists take to the stage for SXSW Sydney, across some of the city's most iconic venues. International artists, local performers, and everything in between creates an energetic soundtrack to the festival.
Just like the original SXSW in Austin, TX, the Sydney festival will include a number of designated ‘country houses’, including the British Music Embassy and Korea Spotlight presented by Kocca. Head along to enjoy showcases from record labels, brands, festivals, and agencies from around the APAC region.
The SXSW Screen Festival hosts exclusive premiers across a huge genre of films —from feature-length films to short works to episodic instalments. Traditional screenings as well as innovative XR and VR technology invite you into the creative worlds of the filmmakers.
See the Screen Festival’s Opening Night film—the highly anticipated thriller The Royal Hotel—and the global premiere of Hot Potato: The Story of The Wiggles, which will also feature special Q&A sessions and performances by The Wiggles.
If you’re visiting Sydney for SXSW and don’t want to miss a moment of this mammoth festival, be sure to book your stay in nearby SXSW Sydney Accommodation to make the most of your time.
Sydney Modern
Art Gallery of New South Wales. Image credit: Destination NSW

Sydney Modern

The Art Gallery of NSW transformed into a unique museum campus of two buildings and an art garden with the Sydney Modern project. The project was the most significant cultural development and investment in the city since the Sydney Opera House opened its doors nearly half a century earlier. The expansion puts the Sydney Modern on the same playing field as London's Tate Modern, inviting more exhibitors and inspiring more and more artists. 
Stay in a hotel near the Sydney Modern Project with the luxurious Sofitel Sydney Wentworth, just a short walk from the Gallery’s doors.
Performances during MCA Late, a part of Vivid Sydney 2022 held at the Museum of Contemporary Art.
Do Ho Suh, Hub series, 2022, installation view, Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, Sydney, 2022, polyester fabric, stainless steel, image courtesy and © Do Ho Suh, photograph: Jessica Maurer

Museum of Contemporary Art Sydney exhibitions

The Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) hosts a range of exhibitions throughout summer. Installations include work from artists from across the globe and each exhibition evokes new sensations as the works span theme, genre, and media.
Stay nearby at the Harbour Rocks Hotel Sydney – Mgallery and take advantage of the boutique hotel rooms, heritage hallways, restaurant, and bar.
Family visiting the Australian Museum
Family visiting the Australian Museum which is hosting Ramses & The Gold of the Pharaohs exhibition. Image credit: Destination NSW

Ramses & The Gold of the Pharaohs

More than 3000 years in the making, this iconic collection is exclusive to the Australian Museum in Sydney, and features over 180 ancient Egyptian treasures. The exhibition runs from the 18th of November to the 19th of May, and transports visitors back to the time of the most celebrated pharaoh, Ramses himself.
Boats race across the harbour during the Australia Sail Grand Prix, Sydney
Boats race across the harbour during the Australia Sail Grand Prix, Sydney. Image credit: Destination NSW

Live entertainment in Sydney this summer

Sydney is home to several fantastic theatres, from the Capitol Theatre to the Sydney Lyric Theatre, and summer might just be the best time of year to enjoy all the live shows that visit this iconic city.
Tina: The Tina Turner Musical
Experience the inspiring story of the queen of Rock & Roll, Tina Turner. A rock music spectacular, Tina is already bringing audiences to their feet, night after night at the Theatre Royal Sydney. The show features more than 20 of the artist’s iconic songs, including “Simply the Best”, “What’s Love Got to Do with It”, and the high-energy “Proud Mary” that’s sure to get you dancing in your seat!
Wicked returns to Sydney to tell the untold, true story of the Witches of Oz. Fans of the original book by L. Frank Baum will know the story of Dorothy, and how the good witch Glinda helped her on her path. But Wicked takes audiences into the world of Oz to learn what life was like for Glinda and her friend–the iconic, green, Wicked Witch of the East–and why being wicked might not mean what we thought.
Sail GP Sydney
For those in Sydney looking for a different type of live entertainment, there are plenty of exciting sports events to enjoy throughout the city, including the Sail GP. The Australia Sail Grand Prix takes to the seas on the 24th and 25th of February 2024. The event showcases the best sailing Sydney has to offer, with heart-stopping races across both days. 
Friends enjoying food from a market stall and exploring The Rocks
Friends enjoying food from a market stall and exploring The Rocks. Image credit: Destination NSW

The Rocks Christmas Markets

To celebrate the holiday season, the beloved The Rocks Market is transforming into a Christmas wonderland. Stop by to find the perfect artisan gift for a loved one, or to grab something special for yourself!
Digital Christmas Forest at Noel Sydney
Digital Christmas Forest at Noel Sydney. Image credit: Destination NSW

Christmas and NYE Sydney Events

Summer in Sydney means celebrating the holidays and the new year.
Evening event at the Domain in Sydney
Evening event at the Domain in Sydney. Image credit: Destination NSW

Carols in the Domain

The iconic Carols in the Domain is back for another year in 2023, celebrating the event’s 40th anniversary on Saturday the 16th of December. You can find tickets for reserved seating available on the event’s website.
Spectacular fireworks across Sydney Harbour for New Years Eve
Spectacular fireworks across Sydney Harbour for New Years Eve. Image credit: Destination NSW

Sydney NYE Fireworks

From all across the state, the nation, and even the world, people come to Sydney to enjoy the iconic fireworks over Sydney harbour each new year. If you’re not a local, be sure to book your stay in a Sydney hotel so you won’t have to head all the way home after enjoying the festivities.
Oxford Street Fair, Sydney WorldPride 2023, Sydney
Oxford Street Fair, Sydney WorldPride 2023, Sydney. Image credit: Destination NSW

Sydney Mardi Gras

On the 2nd of March 2024, the 46th Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade takes over the city for the biggest night-time LGBTQIA+ Parade in the world. The 2024 theme is "Our Future" and it invites all to participate and champion LGBTQIA+ causes as we look forward while honouring the past.
FRIDA at Sydney Festival.
FRIDA at Sydney Festival. Image credit: Destination NSW

Sydney Festival

Sydney Festival is a city-wide celebration of all things culture, creativity, and curiosity. The festival has been running since 1977 and shows no signs of slowing down. Live music, theatre, comedy, visual art, and plenty more for all ages take over the city from the 5th to the 29th of January. Highlights include Frida Kahlo: the life of an icon, Sun & Sea, Room, and Sara Baras: Alma.
Friends have fun at a concert, The Domain, Sydney
Friends have fun at a concert, The Domain, Sydney. Image credit: Destination NSW


The world’s largest short film festival, Tropfest is a must-visit for film lovers. The festival has helped kickstart the careers of some of Australia’s best filmmakers, spanning genres and audiences. The festival first ran in 1993 with a screening for only 200 people at the Tropicana Caffé in Darlinghurst. Now the festival is so popular, it has even expanded around the globe, with other locations in London, Toronto, Berlin, and New York City. Despite the international expansion, the original Tropfest right here in Sydney remains iconic and unique.
Lunar New Year Sydney festivities
Lunar New Year Sydney festivities. Image credit: James Adams | City of Sydney

Lunar New Year

Lunar New Year celebrations in Sydney are a sight to behold. From street performances, market stalls, food trucks, DJs, and plenty of moments that you won’t be able to resist snapping a shot of for your social feed. 2024 is the Year of the Dragon—specifically the Wood Dragon—and promises a creative year for all.

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