Live like a Sydney local

Sydney is unstoppable, and nobody knows that better than the people who live there.

Here's our local's guide to finding a great Sydney moment at any time of the year.

Major Sydney events for 2019

No matter what time of the year you visit, Sydney is always putting on a show. Whether you're looking for bright lights, high fashion or world-class sport, there'll be something exciting happening around every corner. We've picked out some highlights from the Sydney events calendar to get you started.

Vivid Sydney

Experience the world's largest annual festival of light, music and ideas. From 24 May to 15 June 2019, Vivid Sydney will once again transform the CBD with amazing light installations, excellent music and stimulating workshops. The excitement spills into the surrounding streets, as everyone gets wrapped up in the colour, light and ideas.

Roald Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Willy Wonka is opening his marvellous and mysterious chocolate factory to a lucky few, including Charlie Bucket. He and four other golden ticket winners will embark on a mesmerizing joyride through a world of pure imagination. Experience the wonders of Wonka and get ready for the Oompa-Loompas, incredible inventions, lavish costumes, breathtaking sets and more at this everlasting showstopper! Apart from three Tuesdays in April, performances run Wednesday to Sunday until 9 June 2019 at Sydney's Capitol Theatre.

HSBC Sydney 7s

Immerse yourself in three days of non-stop high-energy rugby, live music and fun-filled celebrations at Sydney's Spotless Stadium. HSBC Sydney 7s 2019, 1 to 3 February, was a huge hit with sell-out crowds on finals day. Don’t miss out in 2020. Visit the HSBC Sydney 7s website and sign up for updates. Then get a group of friends together, secure your stadium tickets, book your flights and you're all set for a legendary weekend across the ditch.

Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour - West Side Story

Relax at onsite bars and restaurants as the sun sets before enjoying a stunning open-air performance of one of Broadway's most iconic musicals. Backed by a live orchestra and with fireworks at every performance, the cast performs all the show's big hits, including 'Somewhere', 'Maria', 'I Feel Pretty', 'America', 'Cool' and 'Tonight'. Performances run Tuesday to Sunday 22 March to 21 April at Mrs Macquaries' Point in Sydney's Royal Botanic Gardens.

Hunter Valley Wine and Food Festival

For two months from 1 May to 30 June 2019, the Hunter Valley turns on a celebrated festival of food and wine. Just two hours north of Sydney, it's the perfect destination for a quick weekend away or a fortnight of relaxation in foodie heaven. Immerse yourself in local markets, long lunches and special gourmet dinners from award-winning restaurants. Take a vineyard tour or extend your knowledge at wine and cooking classes, and food producers' workshops. When you're ready to unwind, curl up in front of a fire with your favourite wine and a platter of local cheese.

Muriel's Wedding the Musical

Experience one of the most iconic and loved films of all time in this big, brash and very cheeky new musical. After a sold-out premiere season, Muriel's Wedding the Musical returns to Sydney and will play a strictly limited season at the Lyric Theatre in June. Stuck in a dead-end life in Porpoise Spit, Muriel dreams of the perfect wedding – the dress, the church, the attention. Unfortunately, there's one thing missing. A groom. Following her dreams to Sydney, Muriel ends up with everything she ever wanted. That's when things start to go really wrong. With music by Kate Miller-Heidke and Keir Nuttall, Muriel’s Wedding the Musical features an incredible soundtrack of addictive new songs plus your favourite ABBA hits. Winner of 5 Helpmann Awards. Directed by Simon Phillips. This is the must-see musical of 2019.

NRL Grand Final

Rugby league is huge in Australia and the NRL Grand Final will decide the premier team for 2019. Scheduled for Sunday 6 October at Sydney's ANZ Stadium, this event will once again offer 80 minutes of adrenalin-packed entertainment. With seating for 83,500 fans, easy transport links and excellent facilities, ANZ Stadium knows how to turn on a world-class sporting event. The crowd vibe here is amazing, so get your friends together, organise tickets and flights and enjoy a long weekend of full-on fun in Sydney.

Shopping the way the locals like it

Everyone knows Paddington; it's been the mainstay of alternative Sydney shopping for years. But have you discovered some of the other inner-city suburbs? We have a few recommendations, based on where the locals like to shop in central Sydney.

  • Right next to Paddington, Surry Hills is the place to add to your vinyl collection or buy an edgy piece of art.
  • Newtown is bohemian and arty, with food and fashion to match. Wander down King Street to discover vintage shops, themed boutiques and healthy café food that is truly delectable.
  • Birkenhead Point, because everyone loves a bargain or three. This brand outlet area has close to 200 stores and you can get there by Shopper Hopper ferry, which leaves from Circular Quay and Darling Harbour.
  • Balmain, which is also accessible by ferry, for fashion, homewares and jewellery. At Balmain Markets, held the second and fourth Saturday of every month, you can hunt for vintage fashion, pre-loved books, antiques and collectables.
  • Rozelle on the weekend. The open-air market (every Saturday and Sunday) has a bit of everything; there's great food too.

History, culture and art at Carriageworks

Housed in the Eveleigh Rail Yard, Carriageworks offers up a little something for every sense. Regular exhibitions show off world-class art, while performances from local musicians - such as the Aboriginal collective Klub Koori and the design and creativity festival Semi Permanent - are treats worth flying to Sydney for. A Saturday farmers' market offers delicious local breads, meat and veggies, as well as flower stalls loaded with scented wonders from the region.

Carriageworks is Australia's biggest multi-arts centre and a great stop for anyone with an appetite for culture. The unique venue is a heritage site complete with an original railway carriage and blacksmiths' workshops, giving the whole experience an authentic industrial feel. The artists, stalls and performances change regularly, with new exhibits and features popping up all the time.

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