The harbour city’s celebration of creativity and culture has returned. Here’s our guide to the best of the 2022 program.

Start by checking into the five-star Pullman Hyde Park in the heart of the CBD – the rooms are bright and the rooftop pool serves up views across the city. Swing down to coffee joint Stop Valve then loop back up to the Australian Museum. Unsettled, a reframing of Australian history through the accounts of First Nations people, is a must-see.

Time to wander down to The Royal Botanic Garden. If you have little ones, grab tickets to Erth’s Prehistoric Picnic, a multi-sensory experience where a menagerie of dino-puppets might sniff your sandwiches. The Sydney Opera House, 10 minutes away on foot, is your best vantage point for Thaw, an aerial performance that sees a woman suspended on an ice block over the harbour. If it’s a Sunday, stick around for lunch – fine-diner Bennelong is hosting live jazz throughout the festival. Or try Opera Bar, where the adorable Seagull Patrol pups work their tails off to protect your food from sneaky birds.

Thaw on Sydney Harbour, NSW

You’ll need to have booked ahead for many of the festival’s highlights, including Night of the Soul by the Sydney Philharmonia Choir at The Cutaway at Barangaroo; Wudjang: Not the Past by Bangarra Dance Theatre; Decadance by Ohad Naharin and Sydney Dance Company; and Girl From the North Country, showing at the Theatre Royal Sydney.

Bangarra’s Wudjang: Not the Past, Sydney, NSW

Down at Circular Quay you’ll find kaleidoscopic exhibition Doug Aitken: New Era, at the Museum of Contemporary Art. Afterwards, stroll over to the historic centre of The Rocks to explore its bar scene and put Euro-style pop-up 101 George Street, by the founders of Restaurant Hubert, on your list. Located in the old Phillip’s Foote pub, it’s pouring craft beers and plating snacks that’ll pass for dinner. Unless, of course, festival tickets call you back out into the summer eve…

Sydney Festival will take place 6-30 January.

SEE MORE: Everything to Know About Sydney WorldPride 2023

Image credit: Daniel Boud

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