The Sydney Solstice Events We Can't Wait To Check Out
Fall in love with Sydney and spend a night on the town during the Sydney Solstice festival.
We’ll be the first to admit that we sometimes take Sydney for granted, sometimes when we’re stuck in traffic on the M1 or pushing through crowds at Bondi, it can be easy to forget that we live in one of the most beautiful cities in the world.
If you’re looking to fall back in love with Sydney then the Sydney Solstice festival is the perfect event for you. Held this year from 8 – 20 June, this impressive and eclectic line up of over 200 experiences is absolutely unmissable. Sydney will be transformed into a winter wonderland with four venues across the city from the CBD, Darling Harbour, Newtown and Oxford Street and surrounds.
You can head here to see the full schedule or, if you’re a little more picky, you can check out our edit of the best events happening during the Sydney Solstice.
Sydney Solstice Events: Sydney CBD and Surrounds
Step into a sensory wonderland and enjoy a immersive dining and art experience hosted by Heaps Gay and with dishes from an all female team of chefs including Sydney’s own Claire van Vuuren and Georgia Woodyard as well as Masterchef stars Sarah Tiong and Anna Polyviou which will surely make the Queen’s Birthday long weekend worthy of royalty. Expect a long table feast with everyone dressed to impress With two sittings, Awakening (1pm - 4pm) or Nightshade (7pm - 10pm) this is one event you won’t want to miss.
Sunday 13 June
Club scene pioneers, Ministry of Sound, will be taking over the iconic Museum of Contemporary Art’s Foundation Hall. For three nights, the Ministry of Sound will be hosting a tribute to three unique decades of Australian dance music. Starting on the first night with a celebration of the 90s with house, progressive house and garage; before moving onto the noughties and their mix of electro and house music; and then finally wrapping things up with the new music we’ve been loving with a huge line-up of contemporary artists, techno and big room tunes. In a unique venue and with an intimate crowd, this is a must-visit for house music lovers.
Friday 11 June - Monday 14 June
Like we ever needed more of a reason to go to Aria! Matt Moran’s harbourside restaurant is hosting a celebration of local seasonal produce and NSW wines. Each dinner will feature a star NSW winemaker who will be there to pour some of their best drops while Aria’s executive chef Joel Bickford serves up perfectly matched snacks for each glass.
Wednesday 9 June - Wednesday 16 June
In 2020, William Barton was awarded the Powerhouse Indigenous Cultural Development Residency. Barton and his collaborator Veronique Serret, undertook the residency at the Sydney Observatory and their piece Songlines of our Universe is inspired by the Sydney Observatory, the Southern Sky and the Powerhouse Museum collection. The six-movement strong piece will be performed by the duo over four nights and the Sydney Observatory astronomers will facilitate viewing of the Milky Way, Andromeda and other astronomical phenomenon that inspired the piece. The outdoor event will also feature wintery food and beverages from leading NSW produce and wine makers.
Tuesday 15 June - Friday 18 June
For years we saw the city as a place for high-rise offices, lunch meetings and after-work drinks packed with men in suits and novelty socks. Recently, something has changed. The city feels alive and buzzy for the first time in a long time. A lot of the thanks for this recent development has to go to the YCK Laneways precinct packed with 15 small bars along York, Clarence and King Streets such as Sammy, Junior, Since I Left You, Prince of York, The Barber Shop and other great hidden spots.
During Sydney Solstice these bars will be home to Night Over Light, a series of eclectic cultural events from dance, theatre, music, art and more. In addition to hosting gigs, they’ll be serving up signature cocktails and will be wrapping up the Sydney Solstice with a big block party closing.
Tuesday 8 June - Sunday 20 June
For the thirteen nights of the Sydney Solstice festival the Opera House steps will spring into action with live music, talks and poetry while each night at sunset the sails will light up with a Badu Gili projection. Badu Gili, means water light in Gadigal language and shares the ancient stories of Australia’s First Nations people. This years projection, entitled Badu Gili: Wonder Women will bring to life the stories of the Eureka Stockade, mission days all the way up to the devastating bushfires. There will also be a pop-up bar serving drinks and snacks inspired by native ingredients and a served up by a First Nations chef.
Tuesday 8 June – Sunday 20 June
Sydney Solstice Events: Darling Harbour and Surrounds
Without the daytime crowds and hordes of kids this will offer you the chance to see the Sydney Sea Life Aquarium like you’ve never seen it before. Reimagining the space as a playground for adults with DJs, pop-up bars, food stations and a world of Instagrammable sea life, this is a brand new side to the aquarium. Pick up a drink on arrival and head through the glowing aquarium with light dancers and roving performers accompanying you as they head through the tunnels of glowing coral and bioluminescent sea creatures. Pick up a feed from a BBQ station and fuel up for a night of dancing away under a ‘wave’ that reveals a spectrum of colour and creatures.
Dance the night away in the Great Barrier Reef section of the aquarium. Experience an underwater world complete with glowing jellies, frolic on a moonlit beach and have the time of your life.
Thursday 10 June – Saturday 19 June
Head down to Darling Harbour and immerse yourself in a winter wonderland complete with ice-skating rinks, chalets and live performances. Indulge in a wintry foodie feast (some mulled wine perhaps) and then – if you dare - take an invigorating dip down the artic slide before the sky lights up with fireworks.
Tuesday 8 June – Sunday 20 June
The team from Sydney Harbour Kayaks is helping Sydneysiders get a view of the harbour as they’ve never seen it before. Join the tram as you paddle through Darling Harbour, past the Sydney Maritime Museum before you head through the harbour towards the Glebe Island Bridge. Check out the towering Barangaroo from the ocean and even catch a glimpse of the Anzac Bridge. All that paddling is bound to work up an appetite and, when it does, your tour leaders will find a sheltered spot to serve you refreshments.
Tuesday 8 June – Sunday 20 June
Sydney Solstice Events: Newtown & Surrounds
The streets of South Eveleigh are set to come alive with a flurry of flavours for Sydney Solstice. Local culinary legends – including superstar Kylie Kwong – are set to converge on South Eveleigh’s Locomotive Street and transform the warehouses into a fantastic, fresh foodie precinct. Live performers will fill the streets with colour and excitement. The two day takeover will include Eat Fuh, RaRa Chan, Steve Costi’s famous fish and Re – Sydney’s newest hotspot and first ever zero-waste bar –as well as Kylie Kwong’s new restaurant.
Kylie Kwong has recently opened up her newest restaurant, Lucky Kwong, within the new precinct. Named after her baby son who tragically passed away, Lucky Kwong features some of Kylie’s best classic dishes and new favourites with a small menu and daily specials. Lucky Kwong focuses on nourishment in the true sense of the word, not just serving up treats, but serving the community at large.
Friday 18 June – Saturday 19 June
Sydney Solstice Events: Oxford Street and Surrounds
Head to Five Ways for the ultimate Paddington street party! In the heart of Paddington, along with the traditional fashionable haunts there will be roving musicians throughout the day and DJs on deck all night long. Art and light activations will delight your senses and local venues including the wonderfully named Tequila Mockingbird, Eat Thai, Vino e Cucina, Omeio and more will be presenting special one-off street food and cocktail programs. Literary wonderland Journals, helmed by the passionate paperboy (and vest aficionado) Andrew Packham, will even be hosting a magazine and margaritas matching event! Plus it’s free and family-friendly so, why not?
Saturday 19 June
An afternoon dedicated to drag, sunset and mimosas, what could possibly be better? In what we’re hoping is a direct challenge to Melbourne, Darlinghurst has stepped up to the plate with a series of epic rooftop bars with views over our far superior skyline. During Sydney Solstice, Chingalings and drag sisters Amyl Clooney and Baby Doll will be hosting an open mic competition offering everyone the chance to shine and viewers will be beneficiaries to the killer deals on offer. $12 cocktails and BBQ anyone?
Sunday 20 June
Loving our round-up of Sydney Solstice festival events, head to sydneysolstice.com to learn more. Or, if you're keen to spend some more time exploring the city? Check out our guide to chic-yet-casual CBD eateries. Looking forward to dancing the night away, hit up our guide to Sydney's best dancefloors, have yourself an amazing night on the town and, if you need a late-night pick-me-up, check out our favourite cheap and cheerful dumpling spots.
I'd love to live near