Dinner and a Show: The Ultimate Vivid Sydney Dining and Entertainment Guide 

Submitted by Vivid Sydney

08 Apr 2024
Aster at Vivid Sydney

 At this year’s Vivid Sydney, don't just bask in the dazzling displays, taste the flavours, hear the stories, and be moved by the ideas  that make Vivid Sydney a festival for all senses.  

From vegetarian menus crafted from rescued ingredients to dinner and cocktails with an unrivalled Light Walk view and fire-infused global cuisine, Vivid Sydney serves up an array of dining experiences that promise to satiate all appetites and are an unmissable part of your night out.  

We’ve curated our top selection of dining and entertainment pairings to help you make the most of Vivid Sydney.  

Circular Quay: A dazzling night of discovery   

Where to eat:  

VIVIDPLACE FOOD TRAIL  

Immerse yourself in the buzz and bustle of this pop-up night market, stretching across the pedestrianised laneways of Sydney Place and Bulletin Place. With an array of more than 20 cafes, restaurants, bars, and stalls, there’s something here for everyone. Cuisines from across the globe will be on offer every night of the festival until late in the evening, including mi goreng toasties, Lebanese sausage with pomegranate molasses, fresh-churned gelato and one-off Vivid Sydney specials.   

AURORAE AT BENNELONG BAR   

Perch at Bennelong Bar, set within Sydney Opera House, and enjoy a bespoke cocktail and bar snack pairing exclusively crafted for Vivid Sydney by chef Peter Gilmore. A deliciously rare opportunity to take in the ambiance of one of Australia’s best restaurants including live music on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday nights from 8-11pm.   

A CULINARY CANVAS BY DANIELLE ALVAREZ  

This is dinner and a show all wrapped up in one. Celebrate women in gastronomy at the Sydney Opera House’s iconic Yallamundi Rooms with a special one-off menu by Danielle Alvarez, fine wines by female winemakers and an intimate performance by the incredible Katie Noonan. All set against the illuminated artwork of the Vivid Sydney Light Walk.  

Aurorae at Vivid Sydney
Aurorae
 
A Culinary Canvas by Danielle Alvarez
A Culinary Canvas by Danielle Alvarez

What to see and do post meal:  

A THOUSAND WAYS: AN ENCOUNTER  

For an incredible experience you’ll never forgot, wander for 15 minutes from Circular Quay to The State Library for this immersive theatre piece. Once inside, you’ll be seated at a table opposite a stranger with a stack of instruction cards between you. As The New York Times said, “It is a joy; even if it scares you, go.”    

EMBRACE  

Before jumping on the train home from Circular Quay station, stop and interact with these life-sized silhouettes in First Fleet Park. The figures illuminate and light ripples when their hands are touched, a dazzling visual metaphor for how connected we all are.  

SEA, SAND AND STARS  

Watch as celebrated Chinese-Australian artist Guan Wei's work is projected across the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia’s facade, taking us from deep in the sea to the outer reaches of space, and back to Bondi Beach. This is the first time Guan Wei’s work has been transformed into a light projection, make sure you take in as much of the intricate detail as you can!   

GUMSCAPE WITH ROAD AND CREATURES  

Strap yourself in for a surreal road trip with legendary Australian musician and artist Reg Mombassa. Customs House is the canvas for his wild ride of retro-futuristic robots, one-eyed koalas and other strange creatures in this reimagining of Australian icons. Plus, catch Reg performing as part of Dog Trumpet live and free at Customs House on Saturday 25 May at 7.30pm.  

Sea, Sand and Stars
Sea,Sand and Stars
 
Gumscape with Road and Creatures
Gumscape with Road and Creatures

The Rocks: Where gastronomy meets our history, and future  

Where to eat:  

ASTER  

Picture yourself sipping on your Vivid Sydney-exclusive cocktails and savouring a special two-course meal at the rooftop bar of the InterContinental Sydney. Complete with panoramic views of the Vivid Sydney Light Walk.   

LUKE’S VIVID TABLE AT THE PYLON LOOKOUT  

This exclusive dining experience is quite literally inside one of the pylons of the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge. You’ll be seated in the South-East Pylon to be exact, enjoying a delectable three-course menu by Luke Mangan, not to mention the breathtaking Vivid Sydney Light Walk views.  

What to see and do post meal:  

CONNECTION  

Wander through an interactive forest of hundreds of LED ropes, as they pulse with light and sound, you’ll feel truly immersed in this wash of colour.   

FACES OF CHANGE  

Put a face to climate change. Several, actually. Experience the animated story of climate change warriors the Torres Strait 8 as each of their distinct and beautiful totems are brought to life on the Sydney Harbour Bridge Pylons.  

MIGRATING LIGHT  

Trace the stories of Sydney’s past migrants as you follow holographic figures across Walsh Bay. An opportunity to hear these personal tales of struggle and hope and discover how they shaped our city.   

MARY’S UNDERGROUND FOR VIVID SYDNEY SUPPER CLUB   

It’s always a good idea to have a nightcap. And this is the Vivid Sydney, cabaret-style equivalent. Every Thursday and Friday of the festival, experience a sparkling, electric fusion of comedy, music, stories and performances curated by Rhys Nicholson and Georgia Mooney.   

Luke's Vivid Table Pylon Lookout
Luke's Pylon Vivid Table at the Pylon Lookout
 
Aster
Aster

Tumbalong & Darling Harbour: Elevated dining and luminous experiences  

Where to eat:  

ATELIER BY SOFITEL – A CULINARY CONNECTION  

Spectacular on several levels, this French-inspired four-course experience is set against a backdrop of Darling Harbour's dazzling Vivid Sydney lights. An uncommon view of the festival lights, and an unforgettable meal.   

What to see and do post meal:  

TUMBALONG NIGHTS  

This is the beating drum of Vivid Sydney’s Light Walk and your opportunity to relish 23 nights of free live music and Djs. Catch a diverse range of acts like Budjerah, Mallrat, grentperez, 3%, Club Broadway and Vivid Kids at Tumbalong. Make sure you explore the full program here.   

HIKA RAKUYO  

When we say this is stunning, we really mean it. Witness the ephemeral beauty of life through this dazzling light and laser show, inspired by Japanese philosophy, the transient beauty of flowers and our deep connection to nature.  

POEM BOOTH  

This is your chance to encounter Artificial Intelligence as a poet. Step up to and interact with several ‘booths’ as they translate visual stimuli into original verse. You’ll be left wondering what creativity means in this new AI-age.   

 

Atelier by Sofitel
Atelier by Sofitel - A Culinary Connection
 
Poem Booth
Poem Booth

The Goods Line: Fiery flavours, icy delights and new ideas   

Where to eat:  

VIVID SYDNEY FIRE KITCHEN

Smoky, succulent, crisp, caramelised – there’s nothing quite like cooking with fire. That’s why Vivid Sydney Fire Kitchen is a must. Food trucks, markets stalls and barbecue stands will serve the best global dishes, like wood-fired pizza, Sudanese BBQ sandwiches, Greek street food, Malaysian bites and much, much more. A bustling and delicious reflection of the diversity of Sydney’s vibrant food scene.

MESSINA MILK BAR  

In the heat of the Fire Kitchen action, step into Gelato Messina’s whimsical twist on the classic Australian milk bar for a scoop or two of nostalgia. This modern interpretation of a 'mixed business' will have you scooping up gelato-infused chocolate bars, dixie cups, tailor-made milkshakes and spiders. Not to mention their warm Milo fudge sundae, a Vivid Sydney exclusive.   

What to see and do post meal:  

AFTER THE FACT  

Enjoy an end-of-day drink while high-profile change-makers and experts dissect the day’s breaking news and current affairs at Rekodo, Barangaroo House. Brilliantly moderated by Tom Wright, this lively, free panel is the perfect kick-start to your evening before wandering up to the Fire Kitchen to continue the conversation over the best barbecued morsels.  

A NEW NORMAL  

It’s time to imagine a brighter, more sustainable future with this interactive showcase of visionary projects. Wander through all the prototypes, including a food-scrap-powered sauna, furniture made from rubbish and a petrol to solar car conversion, all made for a greener world.    

WINDOW DRESSING   

This performance piece turns the Chau Chak Wing Building into a canvas of illuminated stories, inviting onlookers to peer into eight windows animated by performers, allowing us to indulge our natural curiosity about the lives of others. Right next to the Fire Kitchen action, this free show is a great way to extend your visit to The Goods Line. Please note: Window Dressing won’t be showing on Mondays during the festival.   

NOWHERE TO BE  

Watch this breathtaking portrait of our bustling world in stillness. The free, Australian premiere of this compelling documentary offers a fresh look at the COVID-19 pandemic through the lens of 31 international cinematographers.   

Messina Milk Bar
Messina Milk Bar
 
A New Normal
A New Normal

Sydney CBD and surrounds: new flavours and ways of seeing    

Where to eat:  

OUR SHARED HUMANITY  

At Refettorio OzHarvest, top NSW chefs like Peter Gilmore, Guillaume Brahimi, Orazio D’Elia and more create innovative, delicious vegetarian fare from rescued ingredients, all while helping feed Sydney's vulnerable communities.   

PLATES WITH PURPOSE – A TASTE OF UKRAINE  

At Kyiv Social’s Plates with Purpose, you can immerse yourself in Ukrainian culture and cuisine with a delicious 10-course degustation. An all-female Ukrainian band will serenade you with traditional music throughout your meal. Plus, each delicious mouthful helps support Ukrainian refugees through Plate it Forward.    

What to see and do post meal:  

GOLDEN AGE OF HUMANITY  

Celebrate humanity and the cinematic greats with a range of films selected by nine notable Australians. Kate McClymont, Kylie Kwong, Craig Foster and more will introduce the film they have specially selected that connects with the festival theme of humanity at the beloved Golden Age Cinema.  

MACHINE HALL  

A short stroll or quick tram ride away you’ll find Vivid Sydney’s new home for Music at Machine Hall on Clarence Street near King Street in the heart of the CBD. Here, at this reimagined 100-year-old substation you can listen to the best boundary-pushing sounds from around the world and around the corner, with highlights from Deerhoof, Jen Cloher and Ngulmiya.  

A Taste of Ukraine
A Taste of Ukraine
 
Golden Age
Golden Age of Humanity

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