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Vivid Sydney Guide 2024: Dates, maps and things to do

The best things to do and installations to see for you to do Vivid right.

Vivid Sydney returns from 24 May to 15 June 2024 and will be brighter than ever before.

Expect 22 mammoth nights of ✨ light displays, 🎵 live music💡 inspiring talks and 😋 Vivid-inspired food.

Then, let's not forget the extra stuff such as unique experiences and harbour cruises.

Vivid light displays: What is planned for 2024?

Vivid Sydney 2024 opening night - fireworks over Sydney Harbour

This year's Vivid Sydney is set to be a dazzling and unique affair. On top of its famous precincts such as Circular Quay and the Royal Botanic Gardens it's opened up some new and exclusive sights of Sydney.

One in particular that has made waves through the channels is the abandoned railway tunnels beneath Wynyard Station. Coined Dark Spectrum this installation transforms these underground rooms into something akin to a dance floor, filling them with light and sound.

In total there are 12 precincts to explore, each with their own unique installations and characteristics:

  1. Barangaroo
  2. Carriageworks
  3. University of Technology, Sydney (UTS)
  4. Circular Quay and The Rocks
  5. Darling Harbour
  6. Darling Quarter
  1. Darling Square
  2. Royal Botanic Gardens
  3. Sydney CBD and surrounds
  4. Sydney Opera House
  5. The Goods Line
  6. Walsh Bay

Getting into Sydney: Best flights

If you currently live in another state or territory, May-June is a great time to fly into Sydney. In addition to experiencing the wonders of Vivid, you can also score cheaper accommodation and flights compared to the summer months.

Here are the cheapest flights into Sydney from each major airport:

Woman enjoying Greece view Image: Getty Images


Dark Spectrum Wynyard Tunnels

Other Vivid Lights highlights include:

Sydney Harbour Vivid Lights Night Kayak Tour
Sydney Harbour Vivid Lights Night Kayak Tour

Experience Oz

SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium Vivid Special
SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium Vivid Special

Experience Oz

  • Love Is In The Air: This spectacular drone show is the biggest in the Southern Hemisphere exploring themes of humanity, love and compassion. See it at Circular Quay on 8 June, 9 June and 15 June.
  • Lighting of the Sails. Always a highlight, this year the Sydney Opera House sails come to life dressed in the textural artworks of Julia Gutman.
  • Connection: Step into a technicolour, immersive forest of LED ropes and interactive posts designed by New Zealand artist Angus Muir. See it at Hickson Road Reserve.
  • Vivid House: 4 artworks converge in this 360° experience. Housed within a hidden cove you'll journey through nature from its mountain peaks to its infinite oceans. See it at The Cutaway.
  • Lightscape: Carving a 2.1km pathway through the The Royal Botanic Garden, Lightscape transforms the natural world into a wonderland of giant flowers, electrifying trees and glowing tunnels. This is a ticketed event that should take you 90 minutes to experience. See it at The Royal Botanic Garden.
  • The Last Ocean: This dynamic ice sheet shifts throughout the day, beginning as an iceberg of blue and white before being kicked up by your movements, stirring up the seas and changing its form. See it at Barangaroo.

Lightscape 2024: Is it worth it?

There was a lot of chatter last year about Lightscape at The Royal Botanic Garden. It marked the first time this precinct required payment to enter: $38 for adults and $128 for families of 4. Is the cost worth the experience?

Finder's former travel editor Stephanie Yip went in 2024 this is what she thought.

Lit up tree at Vivid Sydney 2024

I went with my family of 3 and was completely in awe by the light displays and the musical accompaniments. Flowers bloomed above my head dancing to pop-music, a whale fluke up dived in a sea of mesmerising dots and neon lights drew a tree into reality.

As suggested, it took 90-minutes to complete the walk. This included a pit-stop for food.

On top of a unique experience, I loved how quiet the walk was. I never felt rushed or that I was clambering to get a good angle on an installation. The walk was easy and pram and mobility-aid friendly.

With a toddler this made for a relaxing Vivid night-out.

As for the price-tag? Considering the exhibit was free in previous years it's a hard pill to swallow.

To its credit it does feel as though there are more installations than usual, and they are to a larger scale. Then there's the musical curation, which is absolutely flawless.

It truly is a VIP and stress-free way to enjoy Vivid, particularly considering how crowded the event has become. If that's worth $40 to you, go for it.

Personally, I feel the cost is too steep when you consider you can hop on a cruise for $25.

Stephanie Yip attended Lightscape as a guest of Vivid Sydney.



Vivid experiences: Things to do at Vivid Sydney 2024

Want to do more at Vivid then the typical program of light walks and talks?

There are stacks of events and experiences from cruises and helicopter rides to feasts and tower walks so you can experience Vivid from a new perspective.

Our picks of things to do during Vivid 2024

Experience Vivid Sydney from $22

Experience Vivid Sydney from $22

Vivid Sydney Harbour BYO Catamaran Cruise
Vivid Sydney Harbour BYO Catamaran Cruise

RedBalloon

Vivid Sydney Cruise and Romantic Overnight Yacht Stay
Vivid Sydney Cruise and Romantic Overnight Yacht Stay

RedBalloon

Vivid Sydney Night Photography Workshop - 3 Hours
Vivid Sydney Night Photography Workshop - 3 Hours

Experience Oz

Sydney Harbour City Lights Night Kayak Tour
Sydney Harbour City Lights Night Kayak Tour

Experience Oz

Madame Tussauds Vivid Sydney Special
Madame Tussauds Vivid Sydney Special

Experience Oz

Looking for more? RedBalloon, Luxury Escapes and Experience Oz all sell Vivid experiences.

Vivid Ideas

Creators, public figures and industry leaders are booked to discuss ideas that matter during the Vivid Sydney festival.

To date 60 talks and workshops have been scheduled featuring a rich assortment of artists, musicians and thought leaders. This year, the programme will explore human and physical nature.

Picture not described

Highlights include

  • SWF Great Debate: AI is Better Than the Real Thing. Team captains Annabel Crabb and David Marrwill will debate whether artificial intelligence is better than the real thing alongside teammates Matilda Boseley, Rhys Nicholson, Tracey Spicer and Toby Walsh. Adjudicated by Yumi Stynes.
  • On Aboriginalia & Archiving & Working with Racist Materials. A panel discussion of artists and historians speaking to their respective practices as they pertain to the handling of Aboriginalia and historic material contributing to the subjugation of First Peoples.
  • Public speaking course. This course will involve a deep dive into how you can present more effectively through simple yet powerful changes to your body language covering topics like speechwriting fundamentals, tips for thinking quickly on your feet and how to handle nerves.

More workshops and events to come. Bookings can be made via the Vivid Sydney website.


Vivid Music

Over 50 live shows are set to reach our ears for Vivid Sydney 2024.

Under Vivid Music is the original Vivid Live series. This is centred around the Sydney Opera House and is packed with stars including Arca, Air, Moon Safari, Underworld, Devonté Hynes, Snoh Aalegra and Yung Lean. All tickets can be purchased through Ticketek.

The wider Vivid Music explores Sydney, cropping everywhere, including Circular Quay, The Goods Line and Timbalong Park. Events can be ticketed or free.

Astral People

Here's the full line-up for Vivid Music 2024:

Sydney Opera House

  • Air (performing Moon Safari)
  • Arca
  • Barkaa
  • Barney Kato presents Alien feat. Radioactive Man, Mark N, au4r33y & Magda Bytnerowicz
  • Bumpy
  • Club Mince
  • Cult Shφtta
  • Devonté Hynes with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra: Selected Classical Works
  • dstreet (with Mad Miran, Piezo and Kate Miller b2b Emelyne)
  • Elefant Traks: The Finale (with Hermitude, The Herd, OKENYO, Horrorshow, ANESU, The Last Kinection, Urthboy & more)
  • Fever Ray
  • Fred P
  • Jlin
  • jonatan leandoer96 x Frederik Valentin, Ecco2K, oqbqbo & Scandinavian Star, Aya Gloomy
  • Jonti presents The Moonblades
  • Kaiit
  • Maple Glider
  • Mala, Alec Sander & Jungist
  • Sky Ferreira
  • South Summit
  • Spice Trail (with Sid Sriram, Priya Ragu, Raf-Saperra)
  • Spunk Records: 25 Finale (with Explosions In The Sky, Aldous Harding and The Middle East)
  • Snoh Allegra
  • Tasman Keith, Flewnt & Inkabee
  • Thelma Plum
  • Tia Gostelow
  • Tinariwen
  • Underworld
  • Vv Pete
  • xmunashe
  • Yung Lean
  • Zion Garcia

Carriageworks:

  • Electric Fields
  • Emma Donovan
  • Synthony
  • Tirzah
  • Montell Fish
  • Yasiin Bey (FKA Mos Def): The Ecstatic Anniversary Show and Beyondoom
  • Yves Tumor
  • X Club

Mary's Underground:

  • Divas Live: A Night Of Worship
  • Georgia Mooney + Rhys Nicholson + Nikki Britton
  • Mo'Ju + Zoe Coombs Marr
  • Tanzer + Don't Thank Me Spank Me + Michael Hing
  • Up-Late Play Date: A Kids' Party For Adults

Tumbalong Park:

  • 3% (Kill the Dead album launch)
  • Bare Necessities
  • Budjerah + Jem Cassar-Daley
  • Club Broadway + The Carpenters From Kempsey
  • Forest Claudette + The Blssm
  • grentperez + FRIDAY
  • Jalbu Muna (with Christine Anu, Kee'ahn, Deline Briscoe, Nadeena Dixon and Akala Newman)
  • K-Indie Music Fest (with Silica Gel + sunwoojunga)
  • Mallrat + Tiffi
  • Sounds of Afrobeats
  • Teenage Joans + Lola Scott
  • The Push
  • VIVID Kids (with Buuja Buuja Dance, The Beanies, Formidable Vegetable and The Quokkas)
  • Wildfire Manwuurk + Battlesnake

Machine Hall Precinct:

  • Black Milk
  • Club 4A
  • Deerhoof
  • Jen Cloher
  • Ngulmiya
  • No Fixed Address
  • The Grand Silky Ball
  • The Huxleys present Personality Crisis
  • Underscores
  • Windchill

Vivid Sydney food


A visit to one of Australia's acclaimed festivals requires a pit stop for dining. On the plus side there's a plethora of top-notch restaurants, cafes and food trucks that pave the Vivid pathway.

Some even offer special Vivid menus and deals to make the journey that much brighter.

5 brightly coloured cocktails

Our picks of food options at Vivid

  • Vivid Sydney food stalls: Found at the Overseas Passenger Terminal, Circular Quay and Royal Botanic Gardens, these offer an affordable meal that's easy to eat while walking and are all part of the festival experience.
  • The American Express Vivid Constellation Lounge: Every year American Express cardholders (and one of their mates) are given a VIP space at Cruise Bar on level 3 of the Overseas Passenger Terminal. On top of sweeping harbour views they're treated to free live music. Available every night from 5:30–10:30pm. Details for 2024 have yet to be confirmed.
  • 6HEAD: Commanding one of the best harbourside views for a food outlet, this steakhouse nestled in an 1839 heritage building will inject some history into your evening.
  • Sydney Harbour Cruise aboard MV Sydney 2000: While more than a handful cruises include meals the one to beat is the Penfolds Degustation dinner. Onboard you'll delight in a 6-course menu complete with Penfolds' gold collection of bin and vintage wines. Plus, you'll snag those stellar views from a premium spot. Book through RedBalloon.
  • Opera Bar: It's the best seat in the house, right under the lit-up sails and looks out overlooking the Harbour Bridge and Luna Park. Open from 11am until late.
  • Vivid Chef Series: Part of the new Vivid Food program, the Vivid Chef Series sees international chefs collaboate with local top chefs. The result? Unique and delicious fusion focused menus. Think baby popcorn with smoked misco and barbequed bamboo with Tascan kale. Seatings are available from 4-17 June 2024.
  • Vivid Fire Kitchen: Experience flame-seared street food from around the globe at The Goods Line with BBQ creations from renowned chefs Shalamar Lane, Christine Manfield, Mindy Woods, Jess Pryles, Oscar Solomon and more. Tandoor, teppanyaki and First Nations food are just some of the options on offer.

Where to stay during Vivid Sydney

Avoid the madness of Sydney transport and make the CBD your home base. There are some beautiful hotels in the city that usually have some great views of the lights too. Some, for example the Novotel Sydney Central is having a VIVID-themed package deal which includes a bottle of wine for the adults and soft drinks and glow sticks for the kids. Psst – it even has an illuminated ball pit in the lobby.


Hot tips to avoid the crowds and save money

  • Visit early on Mondays and Tuesdays: As they're working days they tend to be the quietest and there's a greater chance you'll have that installation all to yourself.
  • Avoid the weekends, including Friday night: They're the peak days and are often swamped with the after-work crowds, families and visitors.
  • Bring your own food: While the call of neon-lit specials is high, the price tag is also. Budget-savvy Vivid visitors can bring their own food to the festival.
  • Catch the free events: The light installations aren't the only freebies going around. There are stacks of ideas and music events strewn throughout the city that are free to attend. Tumbalong Park in particular is hosting Vivid nights throughout the show.
  • Spending the night? It's easy to have a Vivid staycation on a budget.

Vivid Sydney Walsh Bay Monad

Frequently asked questions about Vivid Sydney 2024

Is Vivid Sydney on in 2024? When is it?

Yes. Vivid Sydney will return in 2024 for 23 nights from 24 May – 15 June 2024.

Is Vivid Sydney free?

Yes, Vivid Sydney's displays are completely free to access. However, events such as Vivid Live performances, Vivid Ideas talks and Lightscape at the Royal Botanic Gardens are paid events. Extra experiences such as cruises and bridge climbs require an admission fee, too.

Can I get a refund?

No. Refunds are not available for purchased events.

Where is Vivid Sydney?

Vivid Sydney can be found in various precincts and locations across Sydney CBD. These are:

  • Barangaroo
  • Carriageworks
  • Central Station and The Goods Line
  • Circular Quay and The Rocks
  • Darling Harbour
  • Darling Quarter
  • Darling Square
  • Royal Botanic Gardens
  • Sydney CBD and surrounds
  • Sydney Opera House
  • University of Technology, Sydney (UTS)
  • Walsh Bay

What time does Vivid start?

The Vivid Sydney light displays turn on at 6pm each night during the festival and are turned off at midnight.

How long does Vivid last?

The festival runs for 22 days.

How does Vivid Sydney work?

Vivid Sydney is a free outdoor event held throughout the Sydney CBD. Essentially it's a giant open-air gallery. You can wander around and check out light-based displays and illuminations created by a range of artists between 6pm and midnight, when lights turn off.

There are guides available. Each attraction is signposted and explains what it is you're looking at and who created it.

Are there many road closures during Vivid?

Many roads leading towards Circular Quay and The Rocks will be closed or restricted during the event. Given those limitations and the road closures throughout the city, it's recommended to take public transport. There will be increased services available during the event and the ferries will be illuminated each night from 6pm.

Can I do a Vivid Sydney Harbour Bridge climb?

Yes. The twilight and night-time bridge climbs are available during Vivid.

Do you have any tips on how to photograph Vivid?

If night photography isn't your forte, it pays to read some online guides prior to attending the event. Unless you are taking photos in the distance, we would steer clear of night modes on your phone - the lights from the show will provide plenty of natural illumination.

Where should I park?

These are the closest parking lots to the attractions. However, public transport is advised as select roads close due to the event.

For Darling Harbour and Barangaroo access:

  • Secure Parking Hilton Sydney Car Park
  • Secure Parking Kent Street
  • Wilson Parking on Sussex Street
  • Wilson Parking on Kent Street
  • Secure Parking – Allianz Centre Car Park
  • Secure Parking on Shelley Street
  • Divvy Parking on Shelley Street

For Circular Quay access:

  • Divvy Parking on Macquarie Street
  • Wilson Parking 37 Pitt Street
  • Secure Parking – Aurora Place Car Park
  • Wilson Parking George Street
  • Secure Parking – 20 Bond Street Car Park
  • Wilson Parking Quay West

Are drones allowed?

The use of drones is prohibited in Sydney Harbour and the Sydney CBD. You also cannot fly over people or at night. If you're caught using a drone during the Vivid Festival you could face an on-the-spot fine of $1,375.


Latest Vivid Sydney deals

Deal

New Year's Eve Cruise in Sydney Harbour with buffet and bar from $950

Verified 4 days ago
Deal exclusive

10% off activities with code FD300

Deal exclusive

15% off 3 days car rental

Deal exclusive

10% off when you spend $350 with code FDEXOZ350

Expires 21 Jul 2024
Deal

Australia flights from $70 one way

Deal

Up to 30% off last-minute escapes

Deal

Up to 60% off airport parking in Australia

Deal

Up to 65% off Sydney dining experiences

Image: Supplied: Destination NSW / Vivid Sydney
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Written by

Lead shopping editor

Chris Jager is the lead shopping editor at Finder, specialising in consumer technology and hunting down the best deals. With over 15 years of experience as a full-time journalist, Chris has provided expertise to many leading technology publications, including PC World, Australian Gamepro, Good Gear Guide, ARN, IT News, PC Authority, CRN, GameSpy, Gizmodo, Business Insider, MSN, Kotaku, Lifehacker Australia, Sydney Morning Herald and The Age. Before joining Finder, Chris was the editor of Lifehacker Australia for five years. He has a Bachelor of Communications in Journalism from the University of Western Sydney. Outside of Finder, you'll find him playing with retro 80s computers while juggling 3 TikTok-obsessed daughters. See full bio

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