Sydney - Lifestyle & Culture
A vibrant stew of ethnic groups, immigrants, Aboriginals and Sydneysiders comprise the city's rich and kaleidoscopic culture.
Their stories are told in the city’s wealth of cultural interpretation centres, art galleries and museums. To fully understand - or at least begin to understand - the city's backstory, you should visit at least a couple.
Art Gallery of NSW, Art Gallery Road, The Domain. The city’s most important collection - encompassing the finest array of Australian Art, including the Yiribana Gallery, the world's best collection of Aboriginal Art.
Australian Museum, College Street. The country's history dissected and celebrated in a series of stunning galleries, dioramas and historical collections - with excellent audio guides, and great cafe.
Museum of Contemporary Art, Circular Quay. Always provocative and consistently engaging collection of Australian and international modern art.
Museum of Sydney, Bridge Street. Sydney's fascinating history - from Aboriginal times through to colonialism and beyond.
Powerhouse Museum, Harris Street. A fun, hands-on technological museum, the Powerhouse shows science at its most electrifying.
Sydney's nightlife is as glittering and cosmopolitan as you’d imagine. All human life is here - from the camp and glamorous clubs of Oxford Street’s gay village (everyone welcome), to the stylish cocktail bars of The Rocks, there’s always something going on and something worth getting dressed up for.
Huge clubs, such as Home, on Cockle Home, Cockle Bay Wharf, the Art Deco chic of Soho, in Kings Cross and the gay friendly Arq in Darlinghurst pump out house tunes all night long to a vibrant, sociable and attitude-free crowd.
Other hotspots include Darling Harbour, The Rocks and North Sydney's 'studenty' (and cheaper) watering holes, while backpackers and surfer-types head out to Bondi Beach's bars and cafes.
Recently, the CBD district has seen a move away from the somewhat rough-and-ready thrills of the traditional Aussie boozer, and has become a popular late night venue for boutique bars, cocktail joints, cabaret bars and chic members-only clubs, centred on the streets around Oxford Street, George Street and Australia Square, while the ubiquitous Irish Bar is alive and well and thriving down in south Sydney. And if you do want an authentic Aussie pub, remember, they’re called ‘hotels’ - although they’re unlikely to put you up for the night! You’ll find them on most street corners in the suburbs.
Sydney's a great city for catching live music - aside from the grandeur of the Opera House, you can catch up-and-coming and well known bands at venues such as the venerable Annandale Hotel on Parramatta Road and arena-sized acts at the Sydney Entertainment Centre. For Jazz and acoustic thrills, head to The Basement, on Macquarie Place. Sydney's theatres offer all manner of stages for performing arts and plays - from the traditional touring productions and musicals of the Sydney Theatre, the two Wharf Theatres and Theatre Royal, to the home-grown rep and performance art of The Stables in Kings Cross and the Parramatta Riverside Theatres - there's always something to make a song and a dance about.