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Exterior view of MCA forecourt with Lindy Lee sculpture installed
Photograph: Museum of Contemporary Art Australia/Ken Leanfore | Lindy Lee, Secret World of a Starlight Ember, 2020, installation view, Lindy Lee: Moon in a Dew Drop.

The best art galleries in Sydney

Here are some of the best places to while away the day checking out fantastic art in the city

Written by
Time Out editors

We're lucky here in Sydney that vibrant art scene is bursting at the seams with great galleries of all shapes and sizes. From major institutions like the Art Gallery of NSW and the Museum of Contemporary Art, to independent gems like White Rabbit Gallery and a thriving scene of independent and artist-run initiatives.

But where should you start? We’ve hand-picked a few of our favourites from across the spectrum, showing everything from cutting edge contemporary art to blockbuster exhibitions of the classics an everything in between. Enjoy exploring them all. 

Sydney's best galleries

  • Art
  • Leichhardt

Pleae note, to ensure elders, workers and the public are safe, the gallery will admit visitors by appointment only.

Leichhardt-based Boomalli Aboriginal Artists Co-operative was founded in 1987 by local artists including Euphemia Bostock, Fiona Foley, Tracey Moffatt, Jeffrey Samuels, Bronwyn Bancroft, and Brenda L. Croft. Challenging the status quo, they drove a new understanding of the urban Indigenous art movement in Australia. They continue to showcase the incredible work of the foundational members as well as emerging and mid-career Aboriginal artists whose language groups exist within the NSW state boundaries, with a strong focus on regional creatives.

  • Art
  • Haymarket

This impressive non-profit arts organisation aims to strengthen the cultural conversation between Australia and Asia. Showcasing diverse perspectives with a particular focus on art that addresses Asian-Australian experiences, the gallery hosts exhibitions, performances and public programs. 4A has a proud record both at home and throughout the wider Asian region, and highlights the huge contribution of Asian migration in this shaping of this nation.

  • Art
  • Sydney

Please note, Art Gallery of NSW is currently issuing free timed-entry tickets.Cloaking facilities, the library and archive, study room and Chiswick at the Gallery restaurant are currently closed. 

Established in 1871, the Art Gallery of New South Wales is the leading museum of art in New South Wales and Sydney, and one of Australia's foremost cultural institutions. It holds significant collections of Australian, European and Asian art, and presents nearly 40 exhibitions annually.

  • Art
  • Woolloomooloo

Woolloomooloo gem Artspace moved in way back in 1992 and quickly established the Gunnery as a hotspot of Sydney’s contemporary art scene. Its annual program includes exhibitions, artist residencies, talks and symposiums, and the publication of artist monographs.

Brett Whiteley Studio
  • Art
  • Surry Hills

Please note, visitor numbers will be limited, but you do not have to book tickets.

Miraculously, the studio that Australia's great expressionist worked from has been kept exactly the way it was when he tragically died young in 1992. You can browse Whiteley's books and records and even see the unfinished painting he was working on at the end. The space regulalry holds exhibitions.

Campbelltown Arts Centre
  • Art
  • Campbelltown

Please note, visitor numbers will be limited, but you do not have to book tickets.

Located in a dreamy spot to the south-west of the city, Campbelltown Arts Centre – aka CAC – encompasses gallery spaces, a performance studio and workshops, a residency apartment, stunning Japanese garden and sculpture park, plus a large outdoor amphitheatre for good measure. They're all about forging collaborative exchanges between artists, disciplines and communities.

  • Art
  • Woolloomooloo

Please note, the gallery is closed unitl further notice.

Australia’s longest-running artist-led initiative moved to new, bigger premises in March 2014. The expanded footprint of the future-focused space, promoting the development of emerging and experimental art and art practise, now encompasses four galleries, two artist studios and a backyard. Firstdraft is run by a team of eight volunteer directors who are all either practicing artists or arts professionals. The line-up currently inlcudes Jamey Nguyen, Georgia Mokak, Athena Thebus, Hannah Jenkins and Michael Sun.


Casula Powerhouse
  • Art
  • Casula

Please note, visitor numbers will be limited, but you do not have to book tickets.

Built in 1951 by the NSW Electricity Commission, this re-purposed industrial powerhouse is now an artistic one. If you're not local and find yourself moaning about the trek to Liverpool, then seriously, do yourself a favour and quit that silliness right now. Yes, there is culture in them there outer 'burbs, and this magnetic hotspot takes in no fewer than six gallery spaces, artist studios, a theatre and beautiful parklands. 

Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA)
  • Museums
  • The Rocks

Please note, the gallery will reopen June 16. Visitor numbers will be limited, but you do not have to book tickets.

Two international design competitions, months of construction and $53 million later, the MCA was was born again in 2012 with double the floor space at its command, including a swish new rooftop café, high-tech education centre and a lush sculpture terrace. Champions of Australia's thriving contemporary art scene, the depth and range of their ever-expanding colleciton is breathtaking. 

Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery
  • Art
  • Paddington

Established in 1982 and ensconced in a tiny Paddington backstreet, comerical outfit Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery has played an indelible role in supporting the stellar careers of some of Australia's most envelope-pushing contemporary artists. It's an enviable roll-call, including the likes of Tracey Moffatt, David Noonan, Fiona Hall, Patricia Piccinini, Bill Henson and Dale Frank, as well as presenting a diverse schedule of international artists.

S.H. Ervin Gallery
  • Art
  • Millers Point

Please note, the gallery will reopen June 30.

Housed in the gorgeous 1856 National Trust Centre building, this oft-overlooked gallery is well worth a trek through the Rocks (and up Observatory Hill). You mgiht be huffing and puffing by the time you get there, but the climb is well worth it. Folding in rich context to hisotrical and contemporary art proudly shown side-by-side, they have a particular focus on foregrounding the invaluable contribution of some of Australia's most exciting artist who are women.


White Rabbit
  • Art
  • Chippendale

Please note, visitor numbers will be limited, but you do not have to book tickets.

This former 1940s Rolls-Royce service depot was transformed into a privately-owned gallery opening in 2009. The state-of-the-art, four-floor wonderland showcasing the best of 21st century Chinese art is owned by philanthropist Judith Neilson. She was inspired to establish the incredible space after visting Beijing in the late 1990s. There have been many more such trips to China and Taiwan since, expanding the fantastic collection each time. Be sure to head to the tea room for dumplings while you're there. 

The best exhibitions to see this June

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