Vivid Sydney 2018 Taronga Zoo Opening Night CREDIT DestinationNSW

The question “What’s on in Sydney?” perennially warrants the answer “Sydney has everything on!” As far as annual festivals go, these five stand out as Sydney’s best for the family.

Sydney Festival

Come January, Sydney becomes a stage for some of the boldest performances Australia hosts. The annual program typically features immersive art installations and virtual reality experiences, Indigenous art and threatre, awe-inspiring dance performances, and even envelope-pushing musical acts. This is the perfect festival for families with mature children or teens.

Vivid Sydney

While this incredible light, music, and ideas festival feels like a Sydney staple, it’s only 10 years old. Each autumn, Vivid illuminates Sydney to bring fresh, moving visions, ideas, and sounds to the public for free. It’s a celebration of ideas, with the pinnacle event in the heart of Sydney itself: lighting of the sails at the Sydney Opera House.

Granny Smith Festival

Granny Smith, born Maria Ann Smith, herself lived in New South Wales and to honour her most delicious legacy, Eastwood celebrates with an annual Granny Smith Festival in October. This festival began in 1985 and now attracts over 90,000 visitors. Families can watch or participate the dance performances and battles, sport, camel rides, circus workshops, or explore their creative sides with face paint and crafts. Of course, apples play a role in the festival, providing scrumptious eats and treats, including cidre for the adults.

Real Festival

Sydney welcomes a newcomer to the group, the Real Festival in Penrith, in November 2018. An exciting mix of food, markets, and hands-on activities will bring families together for an exploration in creativity. Visitors will be able to peruse the artisan markets, grab a bite from Sydney’s best food trucks - and adults can even indulge in a drink from the Nepean River riverside bar under the stars - and get your hands dirty with some immersive artwork.  

Carols in the Domain

Truly a Sydney classic, Carols in the Domain has been bringing families and friends together each December for the last 36 years. Each year, Australia’s biggest stars come out to sing and celebrate the spirit of the holidays with over 50,000 visitors in the Domain, a beautiful area adjacent to the Royal Botanic Gardens. Eat, drink, and be merry!


Need more to do? From coastal walks to theatre and art performances to weekly, monthly, and annual markets, there is something for the family to do in all seasons in Sydney!