Sydney Opera House hosts indoor and outdoor events all year round. During the Sydney Festival, crowds gather for many events
Sydney Opera House hosts indoor and outdoor events all year round. Photo: Tourism Australia 

Sydney's culture

Sydney boasts a rich mix of culture and food courtesy of its history and the many people that make up the nation. Explore the many galleries, museums, theatres and playhouses dotted throughout the city where you’ll uncover Sydney’s eclectic, cultural and artistic spirit. Just some of the great museums and galleries to visit include:

Ballerinas performing at the Sydney Opera HouseEnjoy a night at the Opera House. Photo: Tourism Australia
  • Sydney Opera House is uniquely Australian with its dramatic white sails located by the Harbour. This is one of the most photographed buildings in the world but it is far from being just a beautiful photo. By day you can take a tour back stage and by night it has a smorgasbord of restaurants and cafes, opera, theatre, ballet, plays and other concert performances.
  • Museum of Sydney is built on the site of the first Government House, and explores stories about Sydney’s people, places and culture from its indigenous origins to its development into the metropolis it is today.
  • The Art Gallery of NSW has five levels of art including colonial to modern Australian art and Aboriginal art. Other collections include China, Japan and Southeast Asia, plus European art from the Renaissance to Victorian Times.
  • The National Maritime Museum is a treasure trove of all things maritime. Explore Australia's maritime history, climb aboard the magnificent replica of Captain Cook's 18th century ship The Endeavour, a submarine, a navy destroyer and even a refugee boat.


Art Gallery of New South Wales. Photo: Tourism Australia

Explore the historic Rocks district. Photo: Tourism Australia
  • The Rocks is the birthplace of Sydney. Experience convict Sydney as you wander through the original cobblestone lanes and beautifully restored buildings. This old town quarter combines heritage buildings with modern restaurants, shops, art galleries and museums. Book a Rocks walking tour where you’ll learn all about this historic village.
  • Susanna Place Museum in The Rocks is a row of four houses capturing life in early Sydney. Tours capture the real life stories of working class families who lived here from 1844 to the late 20th century.
Visit the Museum of Contemporary Art at Circular Quay, Sydney
Enjoy modern artworks at the MCA. Photo: Tourism Australia
  • Take a guided tour of Government House that was built between 1837 and 1845 and is located beside the Botanic Gardens. It ​has a remarkable collection of 19th century furniture to reflect the changing tastes of the governors.
  • Justice and Police Museum is three courthouses dating back to 1856. Learn about Sydney’s most notorious residents, their crimes and the laws that were established to deal with them.
  • The Museum of Contemporary Art celebrates the work of living artists, housing over 4,000 works including paintings, photography, sculptures, Indigenous collections, and moving images. MONEY SAVER TIP: Sydney Living Museums has 12 historic houses and museums in its collection, including Hyde Park Barracks Museum, Justice & Police Museum, Elizabeth Bay House, The Mint, Museum of Sydney, Susannah Place and Vaucluse House. Rather than paying an entrance fee for each museum, you can buy a Sydney Museums Pass which give you free access to all museums as often as you want.