Thu. May 19th, 2022

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Is the Canberra cold already getting you down? Sydney Solstice promises to warm up your winter with a 12-day party highlighting the city’s excellent music, food, drink, art and cultural offerings.

The longest night of the year is – depending on how you look at it – either a depressing reminder that we are deep into winter or a spark of hope that the days will only get longer from here. Sydney solstice redefines the longest night of the year with a 12-day party highlighting the city’s excellent music, food, drink, art and cultural offerings.

From Tuesday, June 8 to Sunday, June 20, four local areas around the CBD, Darling Harbor, Oxford Street and Newtown will offer more than 80 attractions for all ages and appetites — from frosty fantasy lands to unique parties and Chinatown choreography to sounds, spanning the vast stars.

We have selected some of our favorites. Road trip, anyone?

Food and drink experiences to enjoy

Photo: Destination NSW

Aria After Dark takes place at Matt Moran’s restaurant by the harbor, where each dinner features a star NSW winemaker and a selection of their drinks, ingeniously paired with hyperlocal snacks by Aria’s head chef Joel Bickford.

Heaps Gay combines music, art and meals and takes over Sydney Town Hall with a ‘Queens fest‘of Sydney hospitality (Bloodwood’s Claire Van Vuuren, Bart Jr.’s Georgia Woodyard and MasterChef stars Sarah Tiong and Anna Polyviou) who steered the Queen’s birthday long weekend in an immersive dining, art and music experience.

New small bar areas and lanes to discover

There’s more to Sydney’s CBD than drinks after lunch and lunch meetings with CBD’s lively new small bar area, known as YCK Laneways. Across the Sydney Solstice, these 15 bars around York, Clarence and Kent streets (such as Sammy Junior, Since I Left You, Prince of York) serve Night Over Light with their cocktails: expect an eclectic program of cultural events (dance, theater) , music, art and more), plus there will be concerts on a pop-up outdoor stage and a big closing party to end the fun.

All beer to drink

As a two-time winner of Australia’s best beer venue (awarded by Beer & Brewer), Bitter Phew in Darlinghurst is already a draw for drinkers. But it’s two weeks Phew-Ture festival also celebrates other forms of well-fermented wonders with meetings-to-maker sessions and food samples from cheesemakers, bakers and winemakers.

To ‘Brews, punches and burgers‘, go to Pyrmont’s Terminus Hotel. At this craft beer festival, you can meet frontier-pushing breweries from across the state that make inventive and surprising things with beers, lagers and stouts.

A new food destination to taste

Photo: Mark Pokorny

Sydney’s hottest new dining area in South Eveleigh also has plenty of appeal. It is home to Re, which aims to be Sydney’s first bar without waste, and has furniture made from 82,000 recycled milk bottles.

It is also the site of Kylie Kwong’s brand new Lucky Kwong restaurant and current eateries such as RaRa Chan, Steve Costi’s famous fish, Yoho Loco and Eat Fuh.

Get to know this eatery better as South Eveleigh properly shows off for the first time ever: what was once the historic location of Eveleigh Railway Workshops will highlight its impressive makeover with a two-day South Eveleigh Solstice Festival. Expect art installations, free performances, live music and great food.

Music and dance to get down to

Are you looking for fresh melodies? Go to Songwriters @ The Rocks, a free series of concerts culminating in a significant finale on the final day of the Sydney Solstice in the historic Rocks region.

Looking for something more optimistic? DJs at Tank nightclub in the CBD will drop beats after class until 3am for Midnight party and you can kick-start your dance moves with a dim sum menu from Dan Hong’s award-winning Mr Wong restaurant.

Nearby, the Merivale party is taking place at its other venues Poof Doof FT Sneaky Sound System and more frames Ivy.

Over at the Museum of Contemporary Art, club pioneers Ministry of Sound will highlight the history of Australian dance music across three evenings at the Museum of Contemporary Art’s Foundation Hall. Each night will be a sonic ride down the path of memory, with a particular era represented and recaptured for an intimate audience.

Experience something completely unique

Matt Pearson Gallery’s ‘Usete Sydney’

Sydney Solstice also plays the city in inspired and imaginative ways, with award-winning composer and didgeridoo player William Barton premiering a new work—Songlines of Our Universe-on the Sydney Observatory grounds in Millers Point, where astronomers share the star-gazing perspectives that inspired the notes themselves that guests will hear.

Experience the invisible side of Sydney at Matt Pearson Gallery– his work is a visually spectacular journey through the beautiful city of Sydney in an exhibition showing a thoughtfully curated collection of extraordinary photographs.

For another unique experience of the city, there is the Sydney Solstice Moonlight Sea Kayaking Experience. This is not an ordinary walk around the harbor: this is the first time that the public has been allowed to kayak through this memorable and beautifully lit part of town.

Make it a family affair (free)

From the Sydney Opera House onwards, there is a family-friendly event that does not cost a cent. Each sunset, six female First Nations artists (including Sally M Nangala Mulda, Marlene Rubuntja and Judith Inkamala) light up the Opera House’s sails as part of Badu Gili: Winter Nights. Inspired by this project, a 12-night festival will take place at the iconic landmark of the forecourt and will include live dance performances.

Also worth seeing: A harbor garden, a phenomenal display of inflatable sea creatures at the Australian National Maritime Museum.

Just dancing: cutting a rug in Chinatown

Photo: Studio Chris Fox

During the Sydney Solstice, Chinatown will also become an interactive art gallery and a wide, genre-exciting dance floor thanks to Would you like to dance. There will be ballroom lessons during the day and DJ-led sessions with night tracks, new dance stars blasting their impressive features in demonstrations and performances, as well as a dance floor of a Haymarket cultural heritage open to all.

Walk (or skate) in a winter wonderland

Photo: Darling Harbor

For some snowy magic, head to Darling Harbor and Tumbalong Park for two weeks Darling Harbor Winter Fair. Cut an eight on the ice rink and take a refreshing dip down the Arctic landslide, take a live performance or be charmed by the German-themed cabins and winter decorations.

Also at Darling Harbor is Lumino– a celebration of fire and light, life and energy. Two shows, presented by Foti Fireworks and Darling Harbor, take place at. 19.30 and 21.00, Thursday 10 to Saturday 13 June and Thursday 17 to Saturday 19 June.

Do you still want more?

There are so many events to explore! Check them all out at sydneysolstice.com.

HerCanberra took part in a sneak peek at Sydney Solstice with permission from Destination NSW.

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