Le Magazine Accor Hotels
In partnership with Destination NSW

Ultimate Guide to Vivid Sydney

Bursting with creativity, Vivid Sydney comes to life in 2023

The largest festival of its kind in the southern hemisphere, Vivid Sydney is an incredible festival of lights, music, ideas, and food. Bursting with innovation and creativity, Vivid Sydney is one of Australia’s most loved festivals.

See the city transformed. Discover new artforms. Ride soundwaves. Spark new ideas and ignite conversations. Let your imagination take flight.

- Vivid Sydney
Our Connected City, lights up during Vivid Sydney 2023
Our Connected City, lights up during Vivid Sydney 2023. Image credit: Destination NSW

You can expect the 2023 iteration of Vivid Sydney to reflect this year’s artistic direction: Vivid Sydney, Naturally. Installations, soundscapes, and design will showcase themes of connection, joy, authenticity, love, and nature. Organisers have selected this theme as they strive to re-energise and reconnect the city after the isolation and stagnation of the past few years.
Vivid Sydney brings together light artists, music makers, gourmet masters, and creative minds to create an immersive, city-wide spectacle. Marvel at larger-than-life, three-dimensional, outdoor light installations with Vivid Light. Watch live music performances and collaborations at Vivid Music. Engage in creative discussion and debate at Vivid Ideas. And for the first time this year, discover delicious dining with Vivid Food
Whether you explore spellbinding installations at the Royal Botanical Garden Sydney and Taronga Zoo, get lost in the kaleidoscopic Light Walk around Circular Quay or capture a birds-eye view of it all during The Vivid Sydney Climb – there’s something for everyone at Vivid Sydney.
Tomorrow's Blossoming’ light installation at Darling Square, Vivid Sydney 2022. Artist: ..GF Designs: Gemma Ferguson (Australia)
Tomorrow's Blossoming’ light installation at Darling Square, Vivid Sydney 2022. Artist: GF Designs: Gemma Ferguson (Australia). Image credit: Destination NSW

Vivid Light

The star attraction of Vivid Sydney is the Vivid Sydney Light Walk, where Sydney’s top landmarks and skyline become illuminated in creative and interactive light installations. Lights are turned on at 6pm every night over the course of the 23-day festival, and there are over 50 installations for attendees to discover, making Vivid Lights well worth multiple visits.
Couple enjoying an ice-cream on a night our during Vivid Sydney.
Couple enjoying an ice-cream on a night our during Vivid Sydney. Image credit: Destination NSW

Vivid Sydney Food

To match the bright, vibrant lights of the city, Sydney’s eateries are creating Vivid dishes throughout the festival of lights. You’ll find unique dishes and celebrations of Vivid Sydney to delight your other senses—taste and smell!
Vivid Sydney Dinner: Led by renowned chefs Ben Greeno and Danielle Alvarez, Vivid Sydney Dinner is an exciting collaboration and appreciate of NSW’s fresh seasonal produce. 
The event features a ‘rewilding’ theme, with the ivy Ballroom transforming into a world of nature. You’ll be entertained by the host Eddit Perfect as well as music from Montaigne, Julian Belbachir, and many more as well as the trademark of Vivid Sydney: immersive, otherworldly light.
Vivid Fire Kitchen: Primal, rustic cooking meets the luxury of contemporary Sydney dining at Vivid Fire Kitchen. Street food vendors and acclaimed kitchens stand side-by-side as Sydney comes together to enjoy a delicious, flame-roasted dinner.
Carriageworks Night Market: For street eats, head to Carriageworks and the return of the beloved Carriageworks Night Market, a one-night only event on the 16th of June that showcases over 50 of Sydney’s best restaurants and bars.
Chin Chin Sydney: If you’re in the mood for a bit of fun and entertainment with your food, check out Play with your Dinner at Chin Chin Sydney - a four-course menu with a ‘watercolour’ painting session, where your paints are made of chilli oil, beetroot sauce, and more ingredients, straight from your plate or palette.
Vivid Sydney food and drink specials at Pumphouse Sydney
Vivid Sydney food and drink specials at Pumphouse Sydney

Dine with ALL at Vivid Sydney

Vibrant dining venues with specially crafted dishes are an essential ingredient to a perfect night at Vivid Sydney. Here are some of the Accor restaurants and bars offering spectacular Vivid Sydney dining specials throughout the event:
Pumphouse: Embracing the Vivid Sydney theme of ‘Naturally’, Pumphouse Sydney is embracing natural flavours with their Vivid special three-course shared seafood menu, paired with award-winning botanical gins.
Quartier Bistro & Bar: In the picturesque setting of The Rocks, Quartier Bistro & Bar is delivering a Vivid Sydney special of a three-course menu alongside Vivid cocktails. Set in the heart of The Rocks, Quartier is perfectly situated for an indulgent meal before or after wandering the city lights.
Creperie Suzette: Before the sun sets, head to Creperie Suzette at the Harbour Rocks Hotel Sydney - M Gallery for a specialty Vivid coffee and snack deal that will keep you in high spirits until night settles over the city.
Hyde Hacienda Bar & Cocktail Lounge: After dinner, stop by the Hyde Hacienda Bar & Cocktail Lounge for exclusive Vivid cocktails. Look out over the illuminated Sydney and Sydney Harbour with a twinkling Vivid-themed drink in hand.
Porter House Hotel Sydney – MGallery: Visit the Porter House Hotel Sydney – MGallery for signature Vivid cocktails, a Vivid Chef’s Share Menu, and nature-themed projections enlivening the dining and bar spaces within.
Bar Morris: At the newly-opening Hotel Morris Sydney - Handwritten Collection, Bar Morris is pulling out all the stops for its opening season and Vivid Sydney 2023. Every Friday and Saturday night during Vivid Sydney, enjoy a bottle of Morris whisky, live entertainment, and Morris Spuntino—a dish of marinated olives, focaccina, Parmigiano Reggiano, and other delicious Italian flavours. And throughout Vivid Sydney, enjoy give Vivid-inspired cocktails each day from  5:30pm to 10pm! Perfect for a night cap after a night wandering amongst the lights.
The Sydney Opera House, lit up for VIVID Sydney
The Sydney Opera House in 2021 was decorated with the art piece Yarrkalpa - Hunting Ground by the Martu Artists and Curiious. Image credit: Destination NSW and Vivid Sydney.

Lighting of the Sails

Vivid Lights kicks off every evening with the Lighting of the Sails. Watch as the Sydney Opera House comes to life with original, large-scale projections curated by internationally renowned artists, while ambient music creates an all-encompassing experience. 
This year, Australian artist John Olsen’s vibrant art will decorate the sails of the Sydney Opera House. His artwork, Life Enlivened, showcases Australian nature and landscapes, mirroring the 2023 theme Vivid Sydney, Naturally. Olsen’s dynamic brushstrokes are given new depth and dimension by creative technologists Curiious and curator Dr. Deborah Hart. The momentous Lighting of the Sails kickstarts Vivid, and Life Enlivened signifies a celebration and new perspective on the beauty of the natural world.
The 'Dark Spectrum' installation in Wynard Tunnels, Wynard Park during Vivid 2023.
The 'Dark Spectrum' installation in Wynard Tunnels, Wynard Park during Vivid 2023. Image credit: Destination NSW

Dark Spectrum

Get ready for a luminous adventure beneath the bustling city streets of Sydney. Unlock the secrets of an disused maze beneath Wynyard Station and dive into Dark Spectrum, a mind-bending journey through a vibrant underworld, inspired by the exhilaration of underground dancefloors. This one-of-a-kind event, brought to you in collaboration with Sony Music, Mandylights, and Culture Creative, invites you to venture into a world of lights and music in unexpected surroundings. Prepare to be captivated as you explore eight mesmerising rooms, each with its own distinct atmosphere. 
Head to Wynyard Park (nestled between York Street and Carrington Street) and look for the entrance and box office, where your Dark Spectrum ticket will be scanned. From there, a guide will lead you to the entrance. Your journey will conclude at Cumberland Street in The Rocks, creating a truly unforgettable exit.
The 'Lightscape' installation in the Royal Botanic Gardens during Vivid 2023.
The 'Lightscape' installation in the Royal Botanic Gardens during Vivid 2023. Image credit: Destination NSW


Get ready to be wowed at the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney. Lightscape is making its debut at Vivid Sydney 2023, bringing you a feast for the senses. Step into a world of enchantment as Lightscape takes you on a journey through the botanical wonders of the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney and see light dancing through the trees, canopies shimmer and neon roots glow, creating a mesmerising display of colour. 
The magnificent soundscape and breathtaking lightworks are crafted by renowned local and international artists, including Culture Creative, Mandylights, Novak, Ithaca, TILT, and many more.
Lightscape is available daily during Vivid Sydney, starting from 5:30 PM. Make your way to the Queen Elizabeth II Gates, located next to the Sydney Opera House forecourt, where you'll find the entrance and box office for Lightscape.
Vivid light installations at Sydney's Central Station, during Vivid Sydney 2022
Vivid light installations at Sydney's Central Station, during Vivid Sydney 2022. Image credit: Destination NSW

Vivid Sydney Light Walk

Vivid Sydney’s most famous feature is the renowned Light Walk. This pathway through Sydney’s CBD showcases some of the best outdoor light installations, traversing Circular Quay, The Rocks, Darling Harbour, Barangaroo and Haymarket. The walk will take you past the city’s biggest and brightest light installations, designed to ensure you don’t miss any of the highlights.
More of a ‘choose your own adventure’ rather than a prescribed trail, Vivid Sydney Light Walk is packed full of breakaway spaces for you to sit, enjoy, and soak up the atmosphere and installations throughout the evening. Eateries and drinking holes also line this trail, providing plenty of comfy, warm places to rest your feet.
Couple enjoying the 'Chronoharp' light installation at Barangaroo during Vivid Sydney 2022...Artist: Amigo & Amigo..Collaborators: Otis Studios
Couple enjoying the 'Chronoharp' light installation at Barangaroo during Vivid Sydney 2022. Artist: Amigo & Amigo. Collaborators: Otis Studios Image via Vivid Sydney and Destination NSW

Our Picks: Vivid Sydney 2023 Installations

The only way to experience Vivid Sydney is up close and in person, so plan to hit the streets once, twice, or as many times as you like during the festival to take it all in. Start your night early in tandem with Lights On at 6pm or step out after dinner to begin your Vivid Light Walk. We recommend building out a plan to guide you – this can be just one or two spots to keep the pace relaxed, or more of a marathon if you’re up for it. Remember, Vivid Sydney takes place over the course of 23 nights from May 26 to June 17, so you can always come back for more.
Here are our picks of a few showstopping, transportive and interactive installations to help you draft your Vivid Light Walk path.
Central Station
Launch your Vivid Light Walk at Central Station, where the station’s Grand Concourse dons The Electric Canvas’ projection art piece Eco. It’s a surreal and mesmerising exploration of the history of Central Station and adjacent areas—from The Dreaming to now and beyond. 
The Tunnel
Darling Harbour
Canadian art collective Big Art Inc. presents The Tunnel – their interpretation of the old adage “the journey matters more than the destination”. You’ll travel through a bright, open tunnel of 16 geometric shapes. The Tunnel’s shapes, soundscape, and 8,000+ LEDs are all controlled by Pilots from a nearby console, making each journey through The Tunnel unique. 
Spectrum of Happiness
Darling Quarter
During Vivid Sydney, Tumbalong Park transforms from a kid’s play area into a space for everyone by the Spectrum Of Happiness. This artwork is an interactive swing set suitable for all ages, where your motion on your swing activates and alters the LED tubes and balls attached - so you can take on the role of artist too.
Harbour Life
Darling Harbour, the Australian National Maritime Museum
Approach Darling Harbour and you’ll come face to face with Harbour Life from art collective Artists in Motion. Harbour Life takes you on a journey through the marine life of the region via projections on the HMAS Vampire. See 200-year-old turtles swimming through the waters, Eora people fishing with spear and burra, and witness the ecosystem change as industrial fishing develops. Harbour Life celebrates the beauty of Sydney and Australia’s aquatic ecosystems, telling the story of a resilient underwater world.
Written in the Stars
Circular Quay and The Rocks
Travel to Circular Quay and The Rocks for the biggest drone show in the Southern Hemisphere to date. Look up and watch thousands of moving parts work in harmony to take you through the awe-inspiring journey of the natural world in our skies. Dive into our solar system and explore stars, constellations, and planets along the way.
Written in the Stars runs from 9pm on the following dates, weather permitting:
  • Sunday, 28 May
  • Wednesday, 31 May
  • Sunday, 4 June
  • Wednesday, 7 June
  • Monday, 12 June
  • Wednesday, 14 June
'The Gallery' light projection in Barangaroo during Vivid Sydney 2022.
'The Gallery' light projection in Barangaroo during Vivid Sydney 2022. Image credit: Destination NSW

Vivid Sydney Precincts

You can find explosions of light and colour throughout every corner of the city during Vivid Sydney. If you’re keen to explore the streets and see where the night takes you, head to one of the event’s hotspots. From locations around Circular Quay like Sydney Opera House and the Royal Botanical Gardens, to the Carriageworks cultural precinct and across the river to Taronga Zoo – Vivid Sydney encompasses the whole city for an unforgettable celebration of art, light and joy.
To experience the magic for yourself, travel to one of Vivid Sydney’s key locations:
Barangaroo: This waterfront hub was converted from an unoccupied section of Sydney’s port to a hive of eateries, family activities and boutiques – now playing host to a selection of Vivid Sydney installations, like Fish are jumping and Lilies.
Carriageworks: Everleigh Railway Workshops once shaped the industrial side of the city, building train engines and carriages to transport a growing population. These days, the workshop site is home to Carriageworks, one of Australia’s most important multi-arts centres.
Central Station and The Goods Line: Sydney’s largest heritage-listed railway station is sight to behold on a regular day and will be transformed into an artist’s canvas for the duration of Vivid Sydney by the Eco projections.
Circular Quay & The Rocks: The heart of the city, Circular Quay and The Rocks never fail to capture Sydney’s imagination with that iconic view of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House. During Vivid Sydney, this area will be packed to the brim with light works like Dandelion, Barerarerungar and Superorganism.
Darling Harbour: There’s never a shortage of things to do in Darling Harbour – from maritime museums to wildlife, nightclubs and all the dining options you could want. At Vivid Sydney, you’ll spot the artworks Harbour Life and Elemental in this precinct.
Royal Botanic Garden Sydney: A lush, green hideaway in the middle of the city, the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney is a scientific institution at its core, cultivating and preserving more than 27,000 plant species. Come to take in the mesmerising Lightscape installation.
Sydney CBD and Surrounds: You’re likely to pass through Sydney CBD on your way to any of Vivid Sydney’s events or light installations – but don’t miss the unique opportunity to stroll through the usually businesslike hub while it’s transformed into a celebration of life, art and nature.
Sydney Opera House: The famed curves and contours of the Sydney Opera House has come to symbolise modern Australia to the world. Vivid Sydney will take full advantage of the white sails’ promise as a blank canvas, projecting supersized, captivating work each night.
Taronga Zoo: Take a trip to the north side to experience the wonder of Taronga Zoo during Vivid Sydney. The zoo, which houses over 5,000 animals from over 350 different species, will be lit up in technicolour for the unmissable Wild Lights at Taronga trail.
Walsh Bay: The historic wharves lining Walsh Bay were renovated in recent times to create the Walsh Bay Arts Precinct, habitat of a huge variety of theatre and dance companies. Be sure to explore the area during Vivid Sydney to catch sight of Monad, Bump and Sway, Ghosts and more.
People enjoy the music at the Terrace on the Domain at Sydney's Botanic Gardens, during Vivid Sydney 2022.
People enjoy the music at the Terrace on the Domain at Sydney's Botanic Gardens, during Vivid Sydney 2022. Image credit: Destination NSW

Vivid Music

Music is an essential piece of community and connection. With music, we can communicate across language barriers and find common ground. With this in mind, Vivid Sydney celebrates and elevates musical artists throughout the festival for a multi-sensory experience.
Vivid Sydney is proudly spotlighting First Nations voices, with performances from Yothu Yindi, Ziggy Ramo, Emma Donovan, Budjerah, and more. The song doesn’t end there though, with 23 nights of free, live, urban performances at Tumbalong Park, artists roaming the Light Walk and DJs at The Goods Line. If you’re in the mood to sit down and take in a show, check out late-night cabaret at the Vivid Sydney Supper Club at Mary’s Underground, A Bend in the River: A Tribute to Archie Roach AC, and international performers including Yaejii, José González, and Cat Power.
State Theatre event as part of Vivid Ideas, during Vivid Sydney.
State Theatre event as part of Vivid Ideas, during Vivid Sydney. Image credit: Destination NSW

Vivid Ideas

Vivid Ideas is as vast as Vivid itself, with a lineup of programs to engage anyone. Here’s our handpicked selection of future-facing talks, hands-on workshops and industry-shaping forums from this year’s Vivid Ideas programme.
  • Experience Vivid like never before with NOCTURN—an immersive audio journey through the twisting streets and laneways of The Rocks.
  • Consider the future of humanity, human nature, and AI with “Life and Mars: The Future of Human” from inciteful writer, Jeanette Winterson.
  • Join travel writer Anthony Ham alongside the literary tour guide leader and writer, Bri Lee as they discuss Ethical Travel.
  • Learn about lab-raised steak and microbe-made plastic as the leaders in clean tech businesses discuss how we can create a truly sustainable future.
  • Consider the future of beauty at Skin Deep—a panel featuring experts in beauty, cosmetic surgery, and cultural studies.
  • Reconnect with nature in a multi-sensory mindfulness workshop at Coming to our Senses in the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney.
Vivid light installations at The Goods Line, Ultimo, during Vivid Sydney 2022.
Vivid light installations at The Goods Line, Ultimo, during Vivid Sydney 2022.

Transport & Getting There

Parking at Vivid Sydney:
You can expect road closures and special event clearways throughout the city each night of Vivid. Traffic will be heavy, and parking is extremely limited, with parking restrictions in effect on most roads in the city of Sydney, so it is recommended that you leave your car at home and make use of the extended public transport offering over the course of the festival.
Vivid Sydney Road Closures and Traffic Restrictions:
There will be road closures in place each night throughout the course of the festival in Circular Quay, and closures will extend into the Sydney CBD and Walsh Bay on weekends. 
Public Transport Options to Vivid Sydney: 
Extra trains and buses will operate across the weekends to and from Vivid Sydney precincts. 
Use the transportnsw.info Trip Planner to map out your journey to and from Vivid Sydney, with up-to-date train, bus, ferry and light rail information. Be sure to either top up your Opal Card or buy a ticket to travel on all public transport services. You can also use a credit card to tap on and off if you don’t have an Opal Card.
The exterior of Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour
The lit exterior of Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour, perfectly located on the foreshore of Darling Harbour.

Where to stay during Vivid Sydney 2023?

Sydney has a great range of accommodation options for all budgets. If you are looking to get close to the action in the city, then The Rocks, Circular Quay, Sydney CBD, Darling Harbour or North Sydney are great choices.
If you're looking for a Vivid package with additional features, there are some great accommodation options spread across Sydney CBD. For a newly refurbished and brightly lit space, the ‘Paint the Town Vivid’ package at the Mercure Sydney provides a unique accommodation experience. Use the LED controls to journey through the colour spectrum or simply set it to your favourite colour and relax. The package also includes a chocolate canvas with an array of edible paints so you can create (and then devour) your own Vivid artwork.
Alternatively, the Porter House Hotel Sydney – Mgallery offers another  boutique accommodation option, with lights covering the building. The interior of your room will be nature themed and bathed in light, accompanied by a D-I-Y cocktail kit and cocktail vouchers that you can use at one of the on-site bars or restaurants.
Browse all our phenomenal Sydney accommodation to find one that suits your needs and matches your Vivid style.
Light sentinels; walsh bay.
Light sentinels; walsh bay. Image credit: Destination NSW


When does Vivid start and when does Vivid end?
Vivid runs from the 26th of May to the 17th of June. Each night, Vivid Lights begin at 6pm and conclude at 11pm, however, some precincts have an earlier start and finish time. Most of the events take place at night in Sydney so that the bright lights shine in contrast to the evening and night sky.
Where is Vivid Sydney held?
The Vivid Sydney festival has installations and activations across many locations throughout the city including:
  • Barangaroo
  • Carriageworks
  • Central Station and The Goods Line
  • Circular Quay & The Rocks
  • Darling Harbour
  • Darling Quarter
  • Darling Square
  • Royal Botanic Garden Sydney
  • Sydney CBD and Surrounds
  • Sydney Opera House
  • Taronga Zoo
  • Walsh Bay
Will Vivid Sydney be cancelled if it rains?
Vivid Sydney operates rain, hail, or shine with some restrictions if there are extreme adverse weather conditions.
When should I attend Vivid Sydney to avoid the crowds?
The busiest times at Vivid are on weekends. Friday night, Saturday night, and Sunday night are when most people visit the city to take in the lights. If you can, visit during the week to take advantage of the smaller mid-week attendance rates.

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