Sydney is one of the best cities in the world.

It has the beach, it has the Opera House, and let’s be real. It’s just downright beautiful.

I don’t think it gets much better than Sydney! And lucky for all my party people—the festivals go wild!

The downside to Sydney—it’s literally a 20+ hour plane ride from just about anywhere, so making the most of that hella expensive and hella long flight is an absolute must. That’s why I’ve rounded up the absolute best festivals in Sydney, so you know exactly when your feet need to be down unda’!

You can experience cultural events, insane music festivals, and some of the most unique art exhibitions in Australia without even leaving the city. Sydney is about to blow your mind with its festival scene.

Festivals in Sydney

Australia’s festival scene is an explosion of creativity and celebration, reflecting the country’s diverse and rich culture.

Enjoy the pumped-up music festivals, deliciously good food festivals, and even a few art festivals to help you tap into your creative side. And you don’t even have to travel the whole country to see all of this—you can find every kind of festival when visiting Sydney.

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    Australia Day

    Australia Day Fireworks
    Don’t miss Australia Day!

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    • When: January
    • Where: Sydney

    Australia Day is the ultimate celebration throughout Australia! This fantastic national holiday goes down on January 26th and commemorates when the first British ships entered Sydney Cove in 1788.

    Many cities go all out with parades, parties, loads of fireworks, and more. Plus, it’s the perfect occasion to soak up some sun and enjoy the fantastic weather in the Southern Hemisphere.

    You can celebrate the festival in any city in the country, but if you’re looking for the best place to stay in Aus for Australia Day, Sydney is where it’s at.

    The beaches will be jam-packed with families having BBQs, and streets will be filled with Aussies having a wild time. Sydney has the absolute biggest Australia Day festival, with awesome live music, mouthwatering food, and loads of different activities.

    However, while lots of Aussies still have fun and celebrate, it’s important to remember that this day is a time of sadness for indigenous Australians, often called invasion day. Please be sensitive that the event may have a different significance for Aboriginals, and the celebration can be quite controversial.

    Where to Stay: YEHS Hotel Sydney Harbour Suites

    This location is perfect. Right in the center of Australia Day parades and celebrations, you’ll be right in the thick of all the activities going on in Sydney. Get a room with a view for an amazing fireworks experience!

    Field Day

    Festival goers partying
    • When: January 1st
    • Where: Sydney

    It’s a new year, and why not start it out with an absolute banger at Sydney’s annual Field Day? Every year, the beautiful domain is turned into one of the biggest party venues in the city.

    The colossal festival is spread out between 4 and 5 stages, and the line-ups always go crazy with some of the best in-house and international artists.

    I’m not gonna lie; this place gets crazy packed. I’m talking wall-to-wall Aussies singing their hearts out, but damn—it’s a good vibe to start the year off on!

    If you’re worried about liking the music, I promise they’ll have something for you. The stages range from hip-hop, house, indie and electronic.

    Field Day is a truly unique experience, often called a ‘Boutique Festival’. Its vibey atmosphere is perfect for a day of dancing and singing with friends. Don’t miss out on this one-of-a-kind festival in Sydney.

    Where to Stay: Quest North Sydney

    Sydney can be expensive, especially during the summer, so this serviced apartment is a fantastic place to stay when you’ve got a long festival weekend on your hands.

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      Sydney Festival

      Sydney Festival
      Trippy, huh?
      • When: January
      • Where: All over Sydney

      As one of the oldest festivals in Sydney, the Sydney Festival needs to be high on your list of reasons to visit Sydney in the summer.

      The Sydney Festival is a cultural explosion happening all over the city. You’ll see loads of performances from world-renowned musicians and artists, it’s one of the best things to do in Sydney.

      For three whole weeks, the city turns into all things creative and fun, making summertime in the city even more enjoyable. And if anyone does summer right, it’s Aus.

      Make sure to wear a hat and sunscreen. It can get freaking hot out there.

      Every day the streets are full of people looking for a good time, and if you’re headed to the beach, well, good luck. Finding a place to lay your town can be a mission and a half, but it’s definitely worth it! The festival brings a certain excitement to the city that just can’t be experienced at any other time of the year.

      Along with their ticketed events, they also have a ton of free events—heavy on the free as it basically costs $100 just to step outside in Syndey. Theatre, music, dance, and literally every other kind of art form are all up for grabs when trying to decide which event to attend. Sounds pretty freakin cool, right?

      Where to Stay: Vibe Hotel Sydney

      Get your vibe on and stay right in the heart of Sydney. Vibe Hotel Sydney is located in the city’s center, making it easy to make it to any and every event.

      Sydney Mardi Gras

      Sydney Mardi Gras
      Because who doesn’t love Mardi Gras…
      • When: February
      • Where: Sydney

      Sydney Mardi Gras is the perfect festival for a wild and festive time! This incredible festival celebrates all things LGBTQIA+ and is renowned worldwide as the biggest event in Australia to support gay pride.

      It’s a whole week of non-stop partying—make sure to pack some Advil and drink water. The week ends with the popular parade followed by an epic street party.

      With live music, outstanding performers, delicious food vendors, and tons of dancing. It’s one of everyone’s favorite gay-friendly festivals in Sydney!

      Of course, the whole city will be buzzing, but I can’t recommend heading to Oxford St in Darlinghurst enough! This area is full of people enjoying and being fully themselves. You can truly feel the vibrancy of the community come alive.

      Syndey Mardi Gras has become so popular that people from around the globe fly into Sydney to join in the LGBTQIA+ rights festivities.

      Where to Stay: Song Hotel Sydney

      Song Hotel has a great CBD location, funky modern decor, and a lively hotel bar. You won’t go a night without a full celebration of queer pride and meeting other travelers attending different events throughout the week.


      Ultra Sydney Australia
      EDM heaven, Ultra
      Photo: Ultra Australia
      • When: March
      • Where: Sydney

      One of the best music festivals in Sydney is definitely Ultra. In fact, I’d go as far as saying it’s one of the best festivals in Australia!

      This epic global event showcases the hottest names in EDM music, with three days of heart-pounding beats and mind-blowing visuals that give your brain a massive endorphin rush. If EDM is your thing, you must snag a ticket to their Sydney event! General admission begins at $160, and VIP starts around $300.

      Ultra started in Miami in 1999 and has since become one of the biggest EDM festivals on the planet. Like the other Ultra shows, Ultra Sydnes has multiple stages, each showcasing a diverse array of talented artists and DJs.

      The thing I love about the Syndey venue is how spread out the space is so that everyone can enjoy their favorite performances to the fullest—being shoulder to shoulder can be nice during certain sets but the whole time? No, thank you!

      Where to Stay: The Pacific House

      The Pacific House hostel is a great place to stay during Ultra. The ticket prices can definitely put a dent in your budget, so this place is awesome if you’re on a tighter budget.

      Have you sorted your accommodation yet?
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      Sydney Comedy Festival

      Enmore Theater Sydney
      Photo: Gmilonas (WikiCommons)
      • When: April
      • Where: Sydney

      The laughs are loud, and the jokes are plenty at the Sydney Comedy Festival. This annual event brings together some of Australia’s best comedians to perform over four weeks. The festival takes over the city from the end of April to the end of May.

      The comedians perform in venues all over the city, but the Factory Theatre is a trendy spot. The lineup changes each year, but there are always stand-up shows, improv troupes, and sketch comedy performances.

      It’s definitely the funniest festival in Sydney. With so many hilarious comedians from all over the world, you’ll be laughing so hard you’ll be in tears.

      I love that the shows will take you all over the city, from tiny comedy clubs to larger theaters and outdoor venues. It’s my favorite way to see different neighborhoods in Sydney.

      Where to Stay: The General Gordon

      Located right down the road from one of the most famous comedy clubs, the Factory Theatre, General Gordon is within walking distance from a few venues in the city and offers a cozy atmosphere that is great for relaxing after a night of laughs.

      Vivid Sydney

      Opera House Vivid Sydney Australia
      Simply iconic
      • When: May
      • Where: Sydney

      Vivid Sydney is simply mind-blowing—there’s no way around it! As one of the best festivals in Sydney, it’s an absolute must-see in Australia. Just picture thousands of lights and jaw-dropping visual displays all over the city.

      You will find your jaw on the ground as you watch stunning light installations illuminating beautiful Sydney sites like the Darling Harbour, the Sydney Opera House, and the Royal Botanic Garden. But while that’s the most famous part, my favorite part of Vivid is finding hidden artistic gems in smaller galleries and museums across town. It’s like an easter egg hunt of art.

      The city also puts on incredible performances and music events all month long. Get ready for electrifying live concerts, enchanting performances, and the thrill of watching movies under the stars at outdoor cinema events.

      Prices per show vary, but you’ll find a handful of free events that are just as cool, in my opinion.

      Where to Stay: YEHS Hotel Sydney Harbour Suites

      YEHS Hotel Sydney Harbour Suites is in a prime spot in downtown Sydney, near loads of cool art exhibits, ideal for Vivid. Depending on your floor, you might even get glimpses of the light shows from your room.

      Travel with peace of mind. Travel WITH a security belt.
      Active Roots Security Belt

      Stash your cash safely with this money belt. It will keep your valuables safely concealed, no matter where you go.

      It looks exactly like a normal belt except for a SECRET interior pocket perfectly designed to hide a wad of cash, a passport photocopy or anything else you may wish to hide. Never get caught with your pants down again! (Unless you want to…)

      Hide Yo’ Money!

      Sydney Film Festival

      • When: June
      • Where: Sydney

      For 70 years, the Sydney Film Festival has been showcasing local and international films on the big screen for all of Australia to see. Founded in 1954, this annual event has become a huge part of Sydney’s film culture.

      This is one of the best festivals to attend in June, as the weather in Sydney can be less than ideal. It’s the perfect chance to dress up and head indoors to watch some of the best films being showcased. There are different panels and interviews taking place throughout the city and, of course, fabulous after-parties that you have to go to.

      If you aren’t sure where the party is, just ask around. Word of mouth is huge at this event. So, eyes open and ears perked at all times, got it?

      Last year they had over 100,000 people attend, making it the biggest film festival in Australia. If you’re new to the film game, this might be your big break as so many big names are all in one room. You just gotta get your foot in the door and squeeze your way in!

      Where to Stay: SKYE Suites Green Square

      Sometimes splurging on a luxurious stay is just what you need. SKYE Suites Green Square is the perfect spot to maybe run into a few producers after an event. With its stylish rooms and chic amenities, everyone is trying to get a room here.

      Taste in the City

      Taste in the Sydney
      BBQ on Bondi? I’m in!
      Photo: Taste in the City
      • When: September
      • Where: Bondi Beach

      Get ready to indulge in a true celebration of great food, wine, and entertainment at Taste in the City.

      On the first weekend in September, Sydney’s taste buds go wild for yummy eats and drinks. Year after year, the city welcomes thousands of food enthusiasts eager to discover the finest restaurants, food, wineries, and craft beer that Sydney has to offer.

      The festival takes place at Bondi Beach, and a ton of food stalls are set up, making it hard to choose which one to try first.

      Pro tip* go with friends so you can all get something different and try a little bit of everything 😉

      While you sip and munch, you can walk the artisan stalls and purchase some unique handicrafts and souvenirs. It’s a great way to support local businesses and take home memories of Sydney.

      This is honestly one of my favorite food festivals. It just feels so down to earth, and cute families with pups and kids are having fun. It just feels so wholesome!

      Where to Stay: Meriton Suites North Sydney

      Stunning beach and city skyline views are exactly what you get at Meriton Suites North Sydney. Just a short drive from Bondi Beach, this luxurious hotel offers unbeatable comfort with its plush rooms.

      The Future of the SIM Card is HERE!
      mockup of a person holding a smartphone in white background with Holafly logo

      A new country, a new contract, a new piece of plastic – booooring. Instead, buy an eSIM!

      An eSIM works just like an app: you buy it, you download it, and BOOM! You’re connected the minute you land. It’s that easy.

      Is your phone eSIM ready? Read about how e-Sims work or click below to see one of the top eSIM providers on the market and ditch the plastic.

      Grab an eSIM!

      What To Pack For Your Sydney Trip

      Australia is a one-of-a-kind country. Make sure you’re packed and ready for Australia so that the adventure is one to remember for the right reasons!

      Don’t Let Snorers Keep You Awake!
      Don’t Let Snorers Keep You Awake!

      Ear Plugs

      Snoring dorm-mates can ruin your nights rest and seriously damage the hostel experience. This is why I always travel with a pack of decent ear plugs.

      Keep your laundry organized and stink free
      Keep your laundry organized and stink free

      Hanging Laundry Bag

      Trust us, this is an absolute game changer. Super compact, a hanging mesh laundry bag stops your dirty clothes from stinking, you don’t know how much you need one of these… so just get it, thank us later.

      Stay Dry With a Micro Towel
      Stay Dry With a Micro Towel

      Sea To Summit Micro Towel

      Hostel towels are scummy and take forever to dry. Microfibre towels dry quickly, are compact, lightweight, and can be used as a blanket or yoga mat if need be.

      Make Some New Buddies…
      Make Some New Buddies…

      Monopoly Deal

      Forget about Poker! Monopoly Deal is the single best travel card game that we have ever played. Works with 2-5 players and guarantees happy days.

      Reduce Plastic – Bring a Water Bottle!
      Reduce Plastic – Bring a Water Bottle!

      Grayl Geopress Water Bottle

      Always travel with a water bottle! They save you money and reduce your plastic footprint on our planet. The Grayl Geopress acts as a purifier AND temperature regulator. Boom!

      Don’t Forget Travel Insurance

      If you’re heading down under, make sure you’re insured. Good travel insurance goes a long way, you won’t regret it!

      ALWAYS sort out your backpacker insurance before your trip. There’s plenty to choose from in that department, but a good place to start is Safety Wing.

      They offer month-to-month payments, no lock-in contracts, and require absolutely no itineraries: that’s the exact kind of insurance long-term travellers and digital nomads need.

      SafetyWing is cheap, easy, and admin-free: just sign up lickety-split so you can get back to it!

      Click the button below to learn more about SafetyWing’s setup or read our insider review for the full tasty scoop.

      Final Thoughts on Sydney’s Best Festivals

      Australia is one of my favorite countries in the world. I don’t know if it’s the accent, the beautiful beaches, or just how friendly and laid-back the people are. But one thing that truly makes it special is its amazing festivals.

      In one city, you can get some of the best EDM artists while also getting the opportunity to taste the best wines from all over the country. And you can’t forget watching the Sydney Opera House light up with crazy visuals during VIVID. Seriously, how are you supposed to choose?

      One option is to just sign up for your working holiday visa like me and move there. Haha, ok, ok, a bit much. Fine!

      If you really want to join the absolute best festival in Sydney, then you have to go to Festival Sydney. Packed to the brim with Australia’s music, art, and culture, and of course, located right at the heart of Sydney.

      It will make your time down unda’ one of the best experiences of your life—trust me. You don’t want to miss it.

      A person jumping in front of the Sydney Opera House in New South Wales, Australia
      Image: Nic Hilditch-Short