Your complete guide to exploring Vivid Sydney with kids

Submitted by Vivid Sydney

08 Apr 2024
The Quokkas

Three family-friendly Vivid Sydney itineraries  

Every year Vivid Sydney transforms the Harbour City into a playground of activity for families. From 24 May to 15 June, there’ll be a range of fun and kid-friendly events across Light, Music, Food and Ideas for curious families to choose from.  

Make things easy: one night at a time  

We understand that a big night out with the kids can be a juggling act, but your Vivid Sydney visit can be a breeze to plan, visit and enjoy.  

Aside from arriving early to beat the crowds, one of our biggest recommendations for families with small kids is to focus your evening on one area each night. This way you can avoid the hassle of walking too far and tiring out those little feet too quickly. This also gives you time to enjoy or interact with each artwork or event without feeling rushed.  

The Vivid Sydney program is so choc-a-block with amazing events, meals and experiences you can easily spend an evening in one area and walk away having had a wonderful, illuminating time together. Return later to repeat the experience again in a new location.  

To make things extra easy, we’ve sketched out three location-based itineraries below so you can make the most of your time out-and-about with your kids this Vivid Sydney.  

 

Tumbalong Park Kids
Vivid Kids at Tumbalong Park: The Beanies, Formidable Vegetable, The Quokkas, Buuja Buuja Dance

Night 1: Tumbalong Park 

In the heart of Darling Harbour, Tumbalong Park promises a night of free music, awe-inspiring light and easy, delicious dinner for families with kids of any age.  

Parking: First Parking Darling Quarter (please note: bookings are essential, so make sure to plan ahead)  

Nearest station: Town Hall Station (+10-min walk to Tumbalong Park)  

Ages: 0+ (easy pram access) 

Vibe: Enjoy new experiences and dance together under the stars. 

Get those little feet moving to the beat!  

Tumbalong Park welcomes music-loving kiddos at Vivid Kids at Tumbalong Stage every Saturday at 5pm for free family-friendly live shows. Catch stellar performances from Buuja Buuja Dance (25 May), The Beanies (1 June), Formidable Vegetable (8 June) and The Quokkas (15 June).  

There’s also a choice of family-friendly performances for older kids from 7:30pm across the Tumbalong Nights program. Club Broadway (1 June) is great for little performers or families who love belting out show tunes in the car; Budjerah (15 June), an inspiring 22-year-old pop singer from the Bundjalung Nation; a colourful night of dance and rhythm at Sounds of Afrobeat (9 June); and Julbu Muna (25 May), which starts with a kids’ music and dance workshop from a First Nations led dance group. Explore the full program at vividsydney.com.  

Hot tip: For science-minded eight to 12-year-olds, there’s the one-off Superheroes of Science on 1 June from 3-4:30pm. Poke around the lab, ask scientists and artists questions, make discoveries and gaze into microscopes before wandering down to Tumbalong Park for The Beanies show at 5pm and Club Broadway from 7:30pm. A full day of fun and adventure! 

Gaze above, see into the past and imagine the future  

Post-boogie at Tumbalong Nights, see nearby light installation Neolithic. Wander through this dazzling post-Stone age inspired structure hand-in-hand. Marvel at the stunning light patterns, dance to the Neolithic soundtrack and imagine what humans many, many moons ago were thinking as they gazed up at the night sky.  

A bite to eat to fuel your fun 

With food tracks and a bar (serving plenty of kid friendly options) right near the Tumbalong Park Stage, mealtime can be quick and convenient for when the tummy grumbles strike. Or make your way to Vivid Fire Kitchen, a night market serving flame-cooked NSW produce, just a 10-minute walk away.  

More to see, touch and experience  

A stone’s throw away from Tumbalong Park, you’ll also find captivating light installations Neuron and Hika Rakuyo and light projection BARANI. All three light works will spark the curiosity of young minds through storytelling, technology and wonder-inducing light displays. Each piece is an opportunity to teach your child something new too, from the science of the brain, First Nations wisdom to the connection between nature and humanity.  

 

A New Normal
A New Normal

Night 2: The Goods Line  

The Goods Line precinct offers a wonder-filled night out for families with older kids with plenty to see, experience and taste. 

Parking: Wilsons Market City Car Park Quay St (please note: bookings are essential, so make sure to plan ahead) 

Nearest station: Central Train Station (+15-min walk to The Goods Line), Chinatown Light Rail Stop (+10-min walk to the Goods Line)  

Ages: 6+  

Vibe: A night of eye-opening adventure, new ideas and mesmerising fire for curious young minds.  

Get up close and curious about our future  

A New Normal is an immersive future-focused prototype hub where enquiring minds of all ages can see sustainable, innovative ideas up close and in action. Examine and sit on furniture made entirely from rubbish, feel the heat radiating from a sauna powered by leftover food and see below the bonnet of an old petrol car transformed into a solar-powered 'forever car'.  

Global barbecue dishes to warm and delight tummies big and small 

Then gather round the heat and enjoy a flame-seared meal at nearby Vivid Fire Kitchen. Here, you can weave between the smoke and firepits to select your dinner from the many sizzling options. With dishes from tandoor to teppanyaki, it’s a great opportunity to introduce your curious kid to something delicious and new or to sample a classic barbecue favourite like a sausage sandwich. After dinner, visit Messina Milk Bar for a scoop of nostalgia and a sweet treat for all.  

More to see, just beyond the flame-seared action  

Shining above all the fiery action, you’ll spot the giant neon letters of Humanity/Humility light up the rear wall of the Powerhouse. Not only is it striking, but it’ll also prompt further curiosity. Why not start a discussion on what the two words mean to you and your family?  

Also at the Fire Kitchen you’ll find Window Dressing. A performance installation lighting up several windows of the Frank Gehry-designed building. Within each window, catch glimpses of performers as they act out intriguing, everyday scenes. With no dialogue, this is a fun opportunity to try and decipher together what each person is doing and imagine what their lives are like.  

 

Gumscape with Road and Creatures
Gumscape with Road and Creatures

Night 3: Circular Quay and The Rocks  

The iconic Circular Quay offers a spectacular mix of visual and culinary fun, interactivity, and inspiration during Vivid Sydney, making it the perfect destination for families with little and big kids. 

Parking: Sydney Opera House Car Park (please note: bookings are essential, so make sure to plan ahead) 

Nearest station: Circular Quay Train Station or Circular Quay Light Rail Stop. On Saturday nights during the festival and on Sunday 9 June and Monday 10 June, trains will not drop off passengers at Circular Quay from 6pm-11pm. Please use Wynyard station and continue your journey to Circular Quay.  

Ages: 0+ (easy pram access) 

Vibe: Wander as you wonder at the dazzling lights and sample the best global food at a bustling night market just behind Circular Quay.  

The quintessential Vivid Sydney experience through their wide eyes 

Start by taking in the Lighting of the Sails: Echo by Julia Gutman at the Sydney Opera House, Sea, Sand and Stars on the MCA façade by Guan Wei and Gumscape with Road and Creatures at Customs House by Reg Mombassa. All three of these stunning projections have a story to tell about what it means to be human. Plus, the bold and striking art is sure to captivate your child’s imagination and curiosity. Encourage them to point out their favourite parts of each story and what they like most about each artist’s style!   

A bustling night market with something for everyone 

Once you’ve wondered around, you can then hop to the nearby night market at VividPlace Food Trail for a bite. Nestled in Sydney Place and Bulletin Place laneways, families can explore an array of international and local cuisines and Vivid Sydney-inspired specials in a lively, pedestrianised setting, no bookings needed. You can grab and go, or sit and eat, whichever suits your group best. There will also be light and fire displays in the mix, making for a lively and fun meal.  

Squeeze in a bit more action  

Want to see more? We suggest heading to First Fleet Park, right next to Circular Quay station, to enjoy Embrace. This piece invites participation, lighting up when your little one reaches up to hold one of the figure’s hands. A fun and dazzling way to encourage us to think about how we’re connected to the people around us. Just around the corner at Hickson Road Reserve, find the spectacular Connection. Here, you can wander through a rainbow canopy of LED ropes, where different switches trigger patterns and light displays.  

 

Embrace
Embrace

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