Perth - Lifestyle & Culture
Perth, in recent years, has developed into a thriving cultural centre, with a brace of exciting museums and galleries. Add to this a forward-thinking programme of events, festivals and exhibitions celebrating Western Australia’s distinct and captivating history, crafts and traditions.
Perth Tourist Board has created a free Arts and Culture Map, should you wish to explore further - you can pick one up online or at the Tourist Information Centre - ideal for families looking to explore the city.
The Western Australian Museum (Perth Cultural Centre, James Street) specialises in the region’s natural history, with everything from dinosaurs to butterflies on display. The Aboriginal Gallery is outstanding, as is the museum's collection of meteorites - collected from the dusty plains which stretch for thousands of miles inland.
Australia’s leading Aboriginal theatre company, Yirra Yaakin (‘Stand Tall’) offers vibrant performances throughout their summer season, on Murray Street. The striking, modernist-designed Perth Concert Hall is home to the West Australian Symphony Orchestra, and the splendid His Majesty’s Theatre stages performances by the West Australian Ballet, Opera and touring ‘West End’-style musicals.
The Art Gallery of Western Australia is a well-respected institution, part of the Perth Cultural Centre, James Street which houses the State Art Collection (strong on indigenous art) and regularly changing exhibits of Australian and Indian Ocean art, photography and design. Here, you’ll also find the Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts (the city’s visual and performance arts centre), the Perth Gaol (now a visitor attraction), and the city library.
From Thursday evening to Sunday, Perth’s nightlife transforms the city from a laid-back, open-air city into a clubbing epicentre with neon-bathed bars, dance clubs, Irish bars and smart cocktail bars.
In the city centre, Aberdeen Street, Northbridge is the place to head. The Deen has nine bars under one roof, while The Shed is Perth’s biggest nightspot - an ‘Australian-themed’ restaurant, party venue and late-night club. Nearby Eurobar plays house and party tunes to a friendly, mixed crowd, and Black Betty’s offers more of the same, with occasional live bands and public appearances from Aussie celebrities. Leederville is another cool haunt, just minutes from the city centre, with a selection of bars, live music venues, good value restaurants and coffee shops. For jazz, try the Ellington Jazz Club in Beaufort Street.
The inner western suburb of Subiaco is a good spot to seek out lively nightlife, with its sprinkling of bars and clubs and, at the Subiaco Arts Centre, a great venue popular with touring and local bands.
Further out, the beach resort of Freemantle has a thriving nightlife scene, with clubs and bars centred on the roads around South Terrace, Riverside Road and High Street: expect loud music, excitable young things and an unrefined but fun-loving party scene!