Sydney has ranked as Australia’s best city for cultural experiences

The Harbour City has claimed the top spot in a report ranking Australia's best cities for cultural experiences

Winnie Stubbs
Written by
Winnie Stubbs
Lifestyle Writer
Exterior view of MCA building with Sydney Harbour Bridge in background.
Photograph: Anna Kucera | Museum of Contemporary Art

As a city known for its natural beauty, Sydney hasn’t always been regarded as the country’s cultural capital. But with our extensive knowledge of things to do in the Harbour City, we at Time Out beg to differ. From our award-winning galleries, huge range of mainstream and fringe shows on our stages, expanding live-music scene, Indigenous-led walks and tourssprawling libraries, and vibrant markets that pop up across Sydney, there’s so much that makes Sydney a culturally rich city. And now Time Out's belief has been backed up by a new analysis, which found Sydney is Australia’s number one city for cultural experiences. How? Read on. 

To determine which Australian city offers the best range of cultural experiences, the team at the online language learning marketplace Preply compared 50 of Australia’s most populated cities using eight different cultural metrics. The researchers calculated the number of cultural tours, hatted restaurants, cultural attractions, museums, theatre events, libraries, concerts/shows and markets available in each city, and the detailed analysis found our very own Emerald City has the most to offer.

ramadan nights lakemba
Photograph: Supplied

The study ranked our friends down in Melbourne (the unofficial cultural mecca of Australia) in spot number two, followed by Perth, Brisbane and Adelaide respectively.

Sydney claimed the top spot based on high scores in all five categories – boasting more cultural tours than any other city (66), more cultural attractions (54) and more museums (a whopping 80). On the markets front, Sydney tied with Brisbane – each playing host to 51 markets. And despite our blossoming dining scene, our friends up north out-did us on the hatted restaurants count – with Brisbane home to 35 hatted restaurants (more than any other city). Brisbane is also home to 35 libraries (more than any other city), and our friends down in Melbourne lay claim to the highest theatre count, with a total of 113.

Here are Australia’s 10 best cities for cultural experiences:

  1. Sydney, NSW - 535
  2. Melbourne, VIC - 441
  3. Perth, WA - 244
  4. Brisbane, QLD - 208
  5. Adelaide, SA - 205
  6. Canberra, ACT - 174
  7. Hobart, TAS - 105
  8. Darwin, QLD - 102
  9. Newcastle, NSW - 93
  10. Cairns. QLD - 80

In order to celebrate Sydney (and Melbourne's) cultural scene, Time Out has just launched a brand-new Arts & Culture Awards – check out what they're all about, and vote in the Sydney People's Choice categories, over here.  

Keen to learn more about how our city stacks up on the cultural experience count? You can read the full report over here.

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