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12 Ways to Elevate Sydney 2023

With its world-class events, pulsing arts and culture scene, and the golden sunshine making every part of the city sparkle with possibility, Sydney is the ultimate summer playground. And now, ELEVATE Sydney is literally stopping traffic on the Cahill Expressway, transforming it into the world’s most spectacular stage from 3-7 January with live music and entertainment aplenty – all for free. Here, all the quintessentially Sydney ways to elevate your festival experience.


Framed by the Harbour BridgeOpera House and the glittering waters of Circular Quay, ELEVATE Sydney’s backdrop couldn’t be more iconic. Take your place in this living postcard as the Cahill lights up over five buzzing nights and four action-packed days.

Get set for big fun with your little ones as ELEVATE Family’s four mega mornings fill them with wonder from 10am-12.30pm, with a massive kids’ street party and playful surprises at every turn. Create new memories together as you zigzag between the festival’s larger than life characters and watch, dance and sing along with the likes of Bluey & Bingo, ERTH, Monski Mouse and The Gagliardies for feelgood moments galore.

Assemble your crew for stellar views, refreshing brews and a boogie or two as ELEVATE Social presents Australia’s best electronic artists from 2.30pm-5pm. As the afternoon sun turns the harbour into a sea of sequins, unwind with a cocktail, grab a bite and slip into summer’s soulful groove as Kinder, Running Touch (DJ), Kito and Harvey Sutherland create your pumping alfresco playlist.

Have you ever danced under the moonlight with bird’s eye view of the world’s most beautiful harbour? That’s what makes  so quintessentially Sydney. From 8pm-11pm, party on another level as the likes of Amy Shark, Becca Hatch, The Veronicas, Betty Who, Client Liaison (DJ), Drax Project, Mallrat and Thelma Plum get front and centre­­.  Nights so quintessentially Sydney. 


Supersize your ELEVATE Sydney experience by making the most of the city’s cultural events and energising natural spaces, all within easy reach of the festival’s stage.

Kickstart your most inspired year as the Sydney Festival unleashes its creative energy with 848 performances and events from 5-29 January. Discover the art and soul of Frida KahloCarla Zampatti and Do Ho Suh, let Sydney Modern refresh your perspective, and more.

Fire up your imagination on a Sydney Architecture Walk, where you’ll step behind the skyline to explore the artistry at its heart. Take a guided stroll to discover the harbour‘s natural beauty, or climb the Harbour Bridge for inspiring views across ELEVATE Sydney and beyond.

Unwind and refresh on the harbour itself. Gather your favourites together for a private cruise complete with your own pontoon; float back in time aboard a tallship; renew your view with an Aboriginal cultural cruise; spin out on a jet boat, or breathe it all in on a kayak tour.


Sydney serves up a moreish spread of epicurean experiences to lift your tastebuds – all just a spoon’s throw from the festival stage.

Raise the stakes with a premium steak at 6Head, luxuriously perched harbourside. Nearby at Quay, Peter Gilmore’s legendary degustations are among Australia’s most celebrated, while Oncore by Clare Smyth draws its culinary inspiration from the city itself.

Reenergise with a tipple or meal in the heart of the action. Grab a bite at MuMu, located in the always on-trend Ivy precinct; taste your way around Shell House, home to Menzies Bar, Sky Bar, The Clocktower Bar, and The Dining Room & Terrace; and, treat yourself to oysters and bubbles harbourside at Whalebridge.

Thirsty for a buzzing waterhole with elevated views? Breathe in the dreamy harbour vistas from the Glenmore Hotel rooftop, within earshot of ELEVATE Sydney; sip cocktails high in the sky at Blu Bar on 36, or revel in the glamour of Aster Bar, where expert mixologists create signature cocktails at your table.


Wind down from the ELEVATE Sydney buzz with a cosy stay mere moments from the Cahill.

When you need to beat a retreat but don’t want to call it a day, savour the festival’s spectacle from your sweet suite at Crown Sydney, the Intercontinental Sydney or Shangri-La Hotel Sydney, where the views are as memorable as the luxury surrounds.

Kick back on the water’s edge at Pier One Sydney HarbourPark Hyatt Sydney or Four Seasons Sydney, all perfectly positioned on the picturesque waterfront.

Or, unwind afterwards with a gentle wander back to a nearby hideaway – the Establishment Hotel, Sofitel Darling Harbour and the Porter House Hotel are all just a short walk from the festival. Further afield, Oxford House and the Ace Hotel offer chic boutique stays on the colourful city fringe.