What’s on in Sydney in January 2023

January is a busy month in Sydney. With summer in full swing and what seems like half the city on holidays, there is something happening every day.

Average Temperatures: 25.9 – 18.7 C ( 79.7 – 67.3°F)
While each year varies, the last January was pretty wet with 12 days of rain.

Accommodation prices are still pretty high, and many attractions are busy. If you are keen to do tours and activities on a particular day, it’s worth booking in advance.

New events and updated content are added to these pages as it becomes available.

Festivals and Major Events in January

Sydney Festival

This annual celebration kicks off the new year right with over 100 events spread across Sydney during the first three weeks of January. Comprising both free and ticketed events covering theatre, music, dance, live performances and more, there is something for everyone.

Message Bank Parramatta Square

Here are some events we think deserve a special mention:

Where: Many events take place in the CBD area but the festival is spread across the Greater Sydney area.
When: 5-29 January 2023.
More: Check out the jam-packed program here.

ELEVATE Sydney

ELEVATE Sydney sees the ever-busy Cahill Expressway shut down and transformed into a five day-and-night-long entertainment and cultural celebration. ELEVATE has events that cater to families and those looking to dance the night away on top of a train station. Bookings are essential as most events, though free, still require tickets. See below for more information.

ELEVATE Sydney Credit: Destination NSW

Also, check out the ELEVATE SkyShow which does not require tickets and can be seen from Circular Quay and along Sydney Harbour.

Where: Sydney’s Cahill Expressway overlooking Circular Quay, the Sydney Opera House, and Sydney Harbour Bridge
When: 3-7 January 2023
Cost: Free
More Info: This event is free but still ticketed, so bookings are essential. You can read the program here and book tickets here.

EQ Sunday Festival

The EQ Sunday Festival at Sydney’s Entertainment Quarter is a great option for low-cost family fun. The festival has something for all ages including workshops dedicated to arts & crafts (operated by the non-profit art collective The Crud Muffins) and others offering music activities. There’s also live music, free table tennis tables and life-sized game installations. For those not opposed to some shopping also check out the markets with stalls operated by artists and creators of all types.

Where: Terrace & Market Canopy, EQ Entertainment Quarter
When: 8-29 Jan, 10-4pm
Cost: Free
More Info: Find out more here

The Year of the Rabbit Festival

To celebrate Lunar New Year Willoughby City Council is hosting the Year of the Rabbit Festival in Chatswood, named aptly after the Chinese zodiac sign for 2023. The festival schedule is jam-packed with parades, live entertainment including comedy shows and concerts as well as regular night markets offering an array of culinary delights. Before joining the hunt for giant inflatable rabbits, check out one of the several free workshops on offer where you can, among other things, learn how to make your own lanterns or to perform a Chinese peacock dance.

Check our Lunar New Year page for all the city wide Lunar New Year celebrations.

Where: Chatswood CBD
When: 18 Jan – 23 Feb
Cost: Free
More Info: Find the festival schedule here.

So Frenchy So Chic

Billed as the hottest picnic in the southern hemisphere, So Frenchy So Chic brings all things French to Sydney so you can escape to France for a day with sun, fun, French musicians, and plenty of Champagne!

Where: Bicentennial Park Glebe
When: 21 Jan
Cost: $96.85
More Info: Find out more here

Australia Day

Australia Day, held on 26 January, commemorates the 1788 arrival of the First Fleet of British ships at Port Jackson. Conversly, it is a sad day for indigenous Australians as it marks the day of the white invasion. There are options for commemorating each of these events.

Head to the Harbour to join the Australia Day Regatta will play out on the harbour from 1:30 pm – 6pm, and the Wheelchair Race will take place in the Rocks from 9am.

To join the indigenous activities head to the Yabun Festival in Redfern. This festival is the largest one-day gathering and recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures in Australia.

Where: All over Sydney but the CBD, Rocks and Circular Quay are the centre of the action
When: 26 January 2023
More: Check out our guide to Australia Day events here

Symphony By the Beach Concert – Cronulla Beach

Part of Sutherland Shire Council’s Australia Day events, this concert will be held on Friday 27 January. Starting with a fun movie before local singers entertain with opera, classical and musical theatre pieces.

The schedule includes:

  • 3pm Movie screening ‘Sing 2’ (PG)
  • 5pm Local performers
  • 6pm Miranda Musical Society
  • 6.30 pm Engadine Musical Society
  • 7pm Sutherland Shire Symphony Orchestra

Where: South Cronulla Beach
When: from 3pm 27 January 2023
More: Sutherland Shire website

Theatre and Performance

Velvet Rewired

Marcia Hines stars in Velvet Rewired, a glittering spectacle of circus, cabaret, and disco. Craig Reid and Joe Accaria co-star in the show, which follows a young man’s journey to self-discovery.

Velvet Rewired
Marcia Hines stars in Velvet Rewired Credit: Wallis Media

Tom Sharah, Beau Sargent, Harley Timmermans, Sven and Jan, Jacinta Gulisano, and Sasha Lee Saunders also appear. The show honors disco greats with songs like “Ain’t No Body” and “It’s Raining Men”.

Where: The Studio, Sydney Opera House
When: Until 12 February 23
Cost: From $64.90 + $8.50 booking fee

Girl From the North Country

On stage at Theatre Royal Sydney as part of the Sydney Festival, this joyful musical reimagines the songs of Bob Dylan through a story of American life set in 1930s Minnesota. Tickets are on sale now. 

Girl From the North Country

Where: Theatre Royal Sydney
When: Closes 29 January
Cost: Tickets from $79.00

The Gruffalo’s Child

Gruffalo’s Child on stage is sure to captivate little eyes but may very well entertain their parents too

The stage adaption of the much-loved, award-winning picture book The Gruffalo’s Child by Julia Donaldson is back this year at the Riverside Theatres. With catchy songs, immersive lighting and some audience participation we’d recommend this activity for families with little ones aged 3+ who like stories.

Where: Riverside Theatres
When: 19-21st January
Cost: $31-$39 plus a booking fee of $4.95.
Find more information or book tickets here.

Opera Australia – La Boheme and Don Giovani

OA returns to the Opera House with the final season of Gale Edwards’ glistening production of Puccini’s tragic love story.

La Boheme Credit: Opera Australia

Where: Joan Sutherland Theatre Sydney Opera House
When: 12 Jan – 11 March 2023
Cost: From $49.50

Moulin Rouge

It’s your last chance to see what many are calling the best show to hit Sydney in years.

Moulin Rouge
Credit: Destination NSW

Where: Capitol Theatre, Sydney
When: Until 28 January 2023
Cost: Tickets from $69

Cinderella

Final weeks also before the ball ends this time around for Cinderalla.

Where: Sydney Lyric Theatre
When: Until 29 January
Cost: Tickets from $110.00

Cinema

Flickerfest

Flickerfest is an Academy® Accredited and BAFTA-recognised International Short Film. Films of 35 minutes or less and completed in the last two years are eligible for entry.

This year is the festival’s 31st anniversary and will feature 25 films shown in the Spiegeltent tent on the North Park lawn at Bondi Beach. The festival will tour Australia from February to October.

Where: Bondi Beach
When: 21-30 January
More: check the website for program details.

Warner Bros. 100

In 2023 Warner Bros. celebrates a century of storytelling and the party starts in Darling Harbour mid January. Each Thursday night will see one film screen at 6pm with Friday to Sunday both a 6pm and an 8.45pm screening.

There will be 2 reserved areas – one with bean bags and a picnic table and one for you to BYO picnic blanket. There is also a general admission area. Click and collect your meal from one of the surrounding restaurants or bring something with you.

Where: North Village Greens, Darling Quarter
When: Thursday to Sunday 12-29 January
Cost: Free – but must register online
More: Full schedule

“The World’s Most Beautiful Cinema”

Billed as the most beautiful cinema in the world, the Westpac Open Air Cinema shows both the latest flicks as well as classics with the beautiful Sydney Harbour at its back.

outdoor cinema sydney

Where: Mrs Macquaries Point
When: 8 Jan – 21 Feb
Cost: $36
More: Full schedule

Exhibitions in Sydney in January

Frida Kahlo: The Life of an Icon

As part of Sydney Festival 2023, and for the first time in Australia, a unique biographical exhibition allows you to better understand Frida Kahlo, the woman whose perseverance, rebellion and talent placed her eons ahead of her time. Limited season, book early.

Where: The Cutaway Barangaroo
When: From 4 January (limited season)
Cost: $25 Adult $15 Children over 4 – bookings or more details here

Brickwrecks

Brickwrecks

Where: Maritime Museum
When: Dec 17 till late January
Cost: $25 Adult $15 Children over 4 – bookings or more details here

Van Gogh Alive 

Van Gogh Alice
Van Gogh Alive by Ben Broady

Where: Entertainment Quarter 
When: 3 Jan – 19  Feb $39
Cost: $39 tickets from Ticketek

Since opening in 2009, the White Rabbit Gallery has bought us some of the most significant exhibitions of Chinese contemporary art on offer. The current show is no exception.

“The artists in ‘Shuo Shu’ map the evolution of the story from timeless myths and literary romances to political propaganda and modern-day censorship. Artists become shapeshifters, and their stories twist and turn to fit within codes and secret messages. Whilst a closed mind is like a closed book, stories reveal themselves to those who are open.”

Where: 30 Balfour Street, Chippendale NSW
When: to 14 May 2023
Cost: Free

Zampatti Powerhouse

The first internationally exclusive retrospective of Carla Zampatti AC, OMRI (1938–2021) will present the life and work of the inimitable Italian-born designer, beloved as an Australian fashion icon. The breadth of her extraordinary private, professional and public life will be rendered in exquisite detail, anchored by Zampatti’s signature designs and brought to life with first person reflections on the designer's clients, family, staff and friends. Zampatti Powerhouse will encompass 100 designs from over 50 lenders and over five decades of material, surveying a trailblazing career from the establishment of her business in 1965 to her most recent work.
Carla Zampatti Exhibition

Where:
When: 24 November – 11 June
Cost:

Playscapes

The Museum of Sydney has transformed into a physical and digital playground in collaboration with Junior Major and Beastman. Get ready for activations that’ll push your imagination and problem-solving skills to the limit. Let’s play,

Where: Museum of Sydney
When: 17 Dec – 4 June
Cost: Free but bookings required
More: Museum of Sydney website

The Weaving Room

The Museum of Sydney celebrates NSW’s First Nations weaving traditions in the Weaving Room. Drop-in to join workshops where you can hear from Elders and artists, create a piece to take home, and make a special connection to First Nations culture.

Where: Museum of Sydney
When: 3 Dec -19 February 23
Cost: Free but bookings required
More: Museum of Sydney website

Wildlife Photographer of the Year – Reconnect with nature

The 56th Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition attracted more than 49,000 images from professional and amateur photographers across 86 countries.

The exhibition, this year, features themed panels curated with expert scientists. Through the comparison and contrast of images, these panels reveal important and surprising stories about our relationship with the world we live in.

Where: 2 Murray Street, Darling Harbour, Sydney
When: to 5 March 2023
Cost: Members – Free; Non Member – from $25
More: Australian Maritime Museum

Regional Events

If you are road tripping this month, put these festivals on your radar.

January Parkes Elvis Festival
Parkes Elvis Festival is a great way to start 2023

A Midsummers Night Dream

Where: Everglades Gardens Leura
When: 7-22 January
Cost: from $32

Meroogal Women’s Art Prize

The Meroogal Prize celebrates the achievements of women artists across NSW by inviting them to create works inspired by Meroogal and its sense of place. Our judges selected the finalists from the more than 280 entries, looking for artworks that shed light on the stories of the people who lived at Meroogal. The short-listed works were displayed in the house among its furniture, paintings, ceramics, and other ephemera, creating an intimate exhibition experience.

Where: Meroogal Corner West and Worrigee streets, Nowra 
When: 17 Sept – 22 April 10am-4pm
Cost: Free

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