Vivid Sydney 2016 – our picks of what to do and what to see

Every year for the past 7 years, Sydney’s streets and skyline have come alight with this beautiful, inspiring, interactive festival. Here are some of the must-see and must-do exhibits of Vivid 2016.

Vivid Sydney 2016 - our favourite picks for this year's festival



Mrs Romance and I always have so much trouble deciding on what to go and see when Vivid Sydney’s on. This year, there are over 330 different things to do, see, touch and learn about, so how do you know what to make a priority?

Well, in one respect deciding what to go to is easier seeing as we’re actually part of this year’s Vivid Sydney… but more about that later.

First, let’s look at what’s being lit up around town this year from 27 May – 18 June.


Vivid Sydney 2016


Most of the light action takes place at Circular Quay all the way round to Walsh Bay. Check out Customs House and the Museum of Contemporary Art, which are very popular spectacles, plus the Opera House always has amazing displays projected onto it.

This year the east side of the Harbour Bridge will be lit up too. Views from the Opera House will be perfect or you can hop on a ferry for amazing water views.

Martin Place is another hub for the light shows, and Darling Harbour’s Laser Dragon Water Theatre light displays coming from the water promise to be spectacular.

Plus keep your eyes peeled for all the little displays dotted around Sydney – the Star Casino usually does some fun things, there’s always something going on in Hyde Park and the Botanic Gardens has something called the Sentiment Cocoon this year we’re looking forward to checking out.

Vivid Sydney 2016 - our picks for this year's festival - our mate was dressed as a stickman last year! Vivid Sydney 2016 - our picks for this year's festival - the lights over the city are amazing this time of year especially over Circular Quay Vivid Sydney 2016 - our picks for this year's festival - the Ferris Wheel in Darling Harbour looked amazingly - just hope it's back for Vivid this year


Each year, Vivid Sydney has a range of speakers and panels talking on a variety of different subjects. This year there are almost 170 different events to look at.

But there’s one you really can’t miss.

I’ll be part of a panel of expert digital influencers speaking about taking things to the next level with online reach and perspective.

On 28 May in the Museum of Contemporary Art, I’ll be speaking next to Lisa Messenger from Collective Hub, Kate McKibbin from Secret Bloggers’ Business, Jen Bishop from Interiors Addict, Monty Dimond from Show and Tell and Lorraine Murphy from The Remarkables Group.

It’d be great to see you there – here’s a link to more info on the event on the Vivid Sydney website.

For the full list of Ideas events on at this year’s Vivid Sydney, check out the website here.

Vivid Sydney 2016 - Darling Harbour fountains Vivid Sydney 2016 - our picks for this year's festival - the lights on the Opera House are always impressive Vivid Sydney 2016 - our picks for this year's festival - the water looks incredible in Sydney Harbour. The blues in this shot say everything and more! Our picks for this year's festival - Vivid Sydney 2016 - last year at Darling Harbour was amazing


There’s everything from things going on in classic venues like the Art Factory, Newtown Social Club and the Argyle in the Rocks to interactive light and sound exhibitions as you walk down one of the main Vivid Trails around Circular Quay.

Our mates at Cake Wines are also involved this year. Their Lovebombs by Cake Wines is promising to be one of those secret location style underground events and utterly cool.

The main event on the music side of Vivid Sydney this year will be at the Carriageworks in Everleigh. A virtual reality projection created in collaboration with musicians, programmers and filmmakers to bring Byork Digital alive.


With last year bringing over 1.7 million people to the city – and this year set to be even bigger – it’s essential you know where to go to refresh, reset, survive.

Thankfully there are lots of places you can go to get away from it all during Vivid Sydney. We’ve written about 3 unusual places to view Vivid here, but there’s also the Glenmore Pub in the Rocks, which has awesome views from its rooftop bar down over much of the festival.

Surprisingly quiet for where it is, ECQ Bar right at Circular Quay is always a good spot that not many people know about, and if you want to be right in the thick of it, below ECQ Bar is Eastbank Café – a classic Italian restaurant with lots of outdoor seating perfect for people watching!

But if you really want to keep in the festival state of mind while you’re refreshing, keep an eye out for a pop-up bar called Deep Purple Pool Hall. It’s in the Opera House itself in the Concert Hall bar level. Run by the boys from Tio’s, this low-down dark pool hall concept bar looks like it’s going to be a lot of fun.

Vivid Sydney 2016 - our picks for this year's festival - The Star Casino Vivid Sydney 2016 - our picks for this year's festival - Opera House Vivid Sydney 2016 - our picks for this year's festival - the lights on the water make the most amazing night

Whatever you get up to this Vivid Sydney, you’ll be sure of an illuminating evening (sorry – had to) and that feeling only Sydney has when there’s a month-long party to be had!

Vivid Sydney 2016 runs from May 27 to Jun 18 – from 6pm – 11pm.

Do you have a favourite place to go to see Vivid Sydney? Does your hometown have a festival you love? Tell us about it in the comments!

Vivid Sydney 2016 - our picks for this year's festival at Vivid Sydney 2016

Images by Mrs Romance using an Olympus OM-D E-M10 camera.

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