Sydney has long been recognized and renowned worldwide for its vibrant art and entertainment scene as well as for its lively sports calendar and fun-filled year-round festivals.
The Opera House is the centerpiece of Sydney's performing arts scene and the venue of choice for Australia's preeminent performances in ballet, opera, music and theatre. There is also the nearby Wharf, the base of such leading performance groups such as the Sydney Dance Company, the Bangarra Dance Company and the Sydney Theatre Company.
The Theatre Royal and the baroque State Theatre regularly stage traditional theater productions while the newly-renovated Capitol is a favorite venue for long-running musicals. The Lyric Theater, Belvois Street and the Showroom, which is housed in the Star City Casino, are other popular entertainment venues. The Ensemble regularly stages productions headlined by popular Australian actors.
For foreign visitors with alternative tastes, we strongly urge a visit to The Stables and the Performance Space. Meanwhile, for a taste of contemporary dance and ballet, the Opera House and the Wharf are excellent choices while The Bondi Pavilion, Enmore Theatre and Seymour Centre are more than worth the visit. Jazz enthusiasts will love the Basement at Circular Quay and Pontoon.
The music scene is alive and thriving in venues such as the City Recital Hall, the Customs House and the Sydney Entertainment Centre, which regularly stages international concerts. The Rose of Australia in Erskineville has developed an excellent reputation for the quality of its live bands.
Sydney is also acclaimed for the quality and diversity of its museums. For a fun and educational afternoon, The Australian and Powerhouse Museums are the places to explore. People with a fascination for naval ships will appreciate The National Maritime Museum while those with a thing for ghosts, especially ghosts of dead prison convicts, may find a trip to the Hyde Park Barracks interesting.
In addition, the State Library of New South Wales offers a wealth of knowledge while Macleay Museum provides an eye-opening exhibit of over 9,000 stuffed birds as well as Charles Darwin's flea.
Australia's leading art institution is the Art Gallery of NSW, which houses perhaps the most significant collection of Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander works. It also contains an impressive array of European and Asian art. Visit the Museum of Sydney for its unique approach to narrating Australia's colonial and indigenous history. The Museum of Contemporary Art boasts of a fine international collection of art pieces, and the Manly Art Gallery & Museum has a permanent display of over 800 paintings tracing the colorful history of beach culture.
On the other hand, if your idea of art and entertainment carries an epicurean yearning, then Sydney's vivacious club scene will provide all the excitement that you need. Virtually every year, there are new and hip places in the city that draw in the most upscale and sophisticated crowds, such as Darling Harbor, DCM, Q Bar, Mr Goodbar and Rogues are other popular choices for foreign visitors looking for a swinging night out in Sydney.
Lastly, the city's best bars and pubs include the likes of Longrain, the Grand Pacific Blue Room, Gilligans and Dugout Bar (underneath Burdekin Hotel). Business types, both foreign and local, usually converge at SlipInn, Wine Banc, Aqua Luna Bar and Jacksons On George.