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Get around Sydney’s top spring activities

Here’s your guide to the top entertainment taking over the city this spring

By Melissa Woodley for Time Out in association with Department of Enterprise, Investment and Trade (Office of the 24-Hour Economy Commissioner)

Sydney bursts to life in spring with a magical season of arts, innovation, food and entertainment. From the highly anticipated launch of SXSW 2023 which comes to life in Chippendale to the return of GroundSwell in Brookvale Arts District and the rise of new bars in the buzzing UpTown CBD, there’s excitement to be had in all pockets of our city.

This spring, Sydney welcomes entertainment enthusiasts to experience the best of the season with three fresh initiatives taking place in districts supported by Uptown – a program helping local business communities enhance their districts into vibrant going-out hubs. Read on to discover the spectrum of spring activities in Sydney.

Sydney’s top Spring activities

The countdown is getting tighter, with SXSW Sydney – the first-ever edition of the legendary futuristic festival to be held outside of Texas – being set loose across the city from October 15-22. Chippendale will be at the epicentre of this global innovation convergence and is a natural fit considering that the suburb has long been at the forefront of creativity, culture and thinking outside the box. Shape your festival experience with incredible events across tech, gaming, music and film, including Palace Cinema and pop-ups in Chippendale’s e-gaming hub Fortress, both in Central Park Mall, and at the cutting-edge performance space Phoenix Central Park. You can keep the vibrance and energy pumping long after the festival is over too with more than 100 bars, clubs, eateries, galleries and entertainment spaces to explore in the tiny but mighty suburb. For instance, discover a world of flavours in the hawker-style Spice Alley, or if you’re after a cheap eat or a decadent feast, support local and taste global at Sydney’s most eclectic eat street, Kensington Street.

If you can’t make it to SXSW or are simply craving more of that energetic atmosphere, then mark your calendars for GroundSwell at the Brookvale Arts District (BAD). This eclectic music, art and culture festival returns to the creative and innovation hub of the Northern Beaches, over three epic days from October 27-29. Expect a captivating and quirky mix of performances infused with skater punk, house, neo-funk, jazz and more, featuring local rockers Le Shiv and a DJ set from CrocodylusInner West party crew Motorik! will hit the decks as the headline act in the BAD Laneway at LABEL on Friday night, along with End in Tears, Reenie and Redman. Another stand-out from the festival is an augmented reality experience featuring the works of legendary local artist and former frontman of skate-punk/hardcore band the Hellmenn, Ben Brown. While you’re in Brookvale, check out what’s happening across the BAD precinct including Bucketty's Battle of the Bands, Manly Spirits' Gin and Jazz, a chill-out beer garden at 7th Day Brewery, Octoberfest at 4 Pines Truck Barand refreshing low and no-alcohol offerings at Seadrift’s So-Bar.

Discover fresh dining and entertainment in UpTown Sydney CBD
Photograph: T F Photo

Discover fresh dining and entertainment in UpTown Sydney CBD

Sydney's beating heart lies in its entertainment and dining offerings, and you can experience the best of both worlds at the refreshed UpTown CBD. Just moments from iconic landmarks like the Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House, this lively precinct has had a vibrant makeover, emerging as Sydney’s new go-to destination for entertainment. This spring, you’ll discover a fresh line-up of drinking and dining spots that will seamlessly take you from day to night. You can enjoy the refreshing ambience of the newly reopened Jacksons on George's breezy rooftop bar, bask in the southern French-inspired vibes of Martinez while taking in views from the "world's best skyscraper", and immerse yourself in the bustling lanes at Quay Quarter. There are many reasons to stay and play in UpTown CBD after the sun sets too with the Museum of Sydney hosting a celebratory series of free late-night musical performances to coincide with Sydney Opera House’s 50th birthday. The People’s House: Up Late program will shine a light on the city’s top emerging performers with an evening dedicated to Future Icons on October 12, followed by a dynamic night of passion and funk by Soul of Sydney on November 9.

The Uptown program is a NSW Government initiative being delivered by the Office of the 24-Hour Economy Commissioner.

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