Dance, Theater, and Music

Bangarra Dance Theatre
“Impeccable new indigenous moves: uniquely Australian.”—Meg Worby, editor, Lonely Planet’s Sydney Encounter and Sydney & New South Wales guidebooks. Australia’s top indigenous dance troupe: contemporary style, traditional imagery. Performances at Sydney Opera House; tickets from $18. Pier 4, Hickson Road, Walsh Bay; tel. 61 2 9251 5333. www.bangarra.com.au

Company B
“Try and beat Sydney to a seat!”—Meg Worby. Artistic director Neil Armfield and big-name Aussie actors including Geoffrey Rush in bold, modern theater. Tickets from $25. Belvoir Street Theatre, 25 Belvoir Street, Surry Hills; tel. 61 2 9699 3444. www.belvoir.com.au

Sydney Dance Company
Australia’s premier contemporary dance company: confronting, sexually charged modern forms by ageless choreographer Graeme Murphy. Opera House performances; tickets from $26. Pier 4, Hickson Road, Walsh Bay; tel. 61 2 9221 4811. www.sydneydancecompany.com

Sydney Entertainment Centre
“Everything from international rock bands to tennis and basketball.”—Anne Matthews, author, Fodor’s Sydney’s 25 Best. King of Sydney’s indoor venues, and home to the Australia National Basketball League’s Firepower Sydney Kings. Concerts by the likes of Coldplay and Bryan Ferry. 35 Harbour Street, Darling Harbour; tel. 61 2 9320 4200. www.sydentcent.com.au

Sydney Symphony
Classical, jazz, movie themes, and Broadway favorites from Sydney’s celebrated 96-member resident symphony at the city’s iconic Opera House. International jazz soloists (Kurt Elling) sometimes grace the stage. Family concerts, matinees, and special series. Tickets from $30. 35 Pitt Street, Sydney; tel. 61 2 8215 4600. www.sydneysymphony.com

Sydney Theatre Company
“Star-studded, quality productions from Sydney’s premier theater company.”—Peter Dragicevich, author, Lonely Planet’s Sydney City Guide. Co-artistic directors Cate Blanchett and Andrew Upton; Sydney Theatre and Sydney Opera House shows; tickets from $18. Pier 4, Hickson Road, Walsh Bay; tel. 61 2 9250 1777. www.sydneytheatre.com.au

Nightlife

The Basement
“Sydney’s subterranean music hub; somewhere between jazz club and wine bar.”—Andrew P. Street, associate editor, Drum Media magazine. Standout international (Taj Mahal) and local (Vince Jones) performers; also blues, soul, and swing. Tickets from $13. 29 Reiby Place, Circular Quay; tel. 61 2 9251 2797. www.thebasement.com.au

Home
“Shiny, heavily mirrored ‘super club’ with harborside views and bangin’ beats.”—Andrew P. Street. Multilevel, 2,000-capacity club with top-flight international DJs and live bands. Superb sound and light. Admission $22. Cockle Bay Wharf, Darling Harbour; tel. 61 2 9266 0600. www.homesydney.com

Lord Nelson Brewery Hotel
“Sydney’s oldest continually licensed pub; thick sandstone walls provide an atmospheric backdrop.”—Peter Dragicevich, author, Lonely Planet’s Sydney City Guide. Dating from 1841; decent bar food; ales and stouts from the on-site microbrewery. 19 Kent Street, The Rocks; tel. 61 2 9251 4044. www.lordnelson.com.au

Opera Bar
Tucked beneath the Opera House concourse on the water’s edge; brilliant for a cocktail or cold beer on a hot Sydney evening. DJs play funk, soul, and jazz grooves nightly. Lower Concourse, Sydney Opera House, Circular Quay East; tel. 61 2 9247 1666. www.operabar.com.au

Slip Inn
“Atmospheric maze of clubby rooms.”—Meg Worby, editor, Lonely Planet’s Sydney Encounter and Sydney & New South Wales guidebooks. All-things-to-all-comers complex of bars; DJs spin funk, Latin, and house. The Crown Prince of Denmark met his Aussie wife here. Admission ranges from free to $13. 111 Sussex Street, Sydney; tel. 61 2 8297 7000. www.merivale.com/slipinn

Zeta Bar
Order a grilled fruit cocktail and slip into a white leather lounge suite at the Hilton’s super-cool bar. Dress to impress; expect lines. Level 4, Hilton Sydney, 488 George Street, Sydney; tel. 61 2 9265 6070. www.zetabar.com.au

Festivals

Australian Fashion Week
Late April/early May. Top local and national designers, plus Asia-Pacific contributors at Circular Quay. Tel. 61 2 9285 8000. www.afw.com.au

Darling Harbour International Jazz Festival
Mid-June. Three days of free jazz at Darling Harbour. Australian masters (James Morrison, Renée Geyer) and funk and reggae jazz-fusion. Tel. 61 2 9240 8788. www.darlingharbour.com

Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras
February-March. Month-long celebration of gay and lesbian culture, culminating in a spectacular Oxford Street parade and decadent after-party. Tel. 61 2 9568 8600. www.mardigras.org.au

Sydney Festival
January. Sydney’s month-long arts and culture festival is Australia’s most attended cultural event, attracting about one million people. Music, theater, dance, and visual arts, with plenty of free shows; venues throughout the city. Wide spectrum of styles, forms, and performers (Philip Glass, Robert Lepage, Björk, Brian Wilson). Tel. 61 2 8248 6500. www.sydneyfestival.org.au

Sydney Writers’ Festival
Mid-May. Dozens of established and emerging international literary guests (Andrew O’Hagan, Bei Dao, Richard Ford, Rachel Seiffert) join hundreds of Australian writers for readings, discussions, film premieres, and workshops. Tel. 61 2 9252 7729. www.swf.org.au

Tropfest
Mid-February. World’s biggest short-film festival. Entries must include the year’s random “signature item” (such as a sneeze, umbrella, or bubble) selected by the judges; free screenings around town. Tel. 61 2 9368 0434. www.tropfest.com.au

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