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The best events in May

There's a glowing line-up of festivals and events to explore this month

People walking in a market at Finders Keepers.
Photograph: Supplied

Put on your thinking caps and practice your belly laughs for this huge month of intrigue and chilly adventures. While April saw the opening nights of the Sydney Writers’ Festival and Sydney Comedy Festival, there’s more on the way in May, plus the glittering beginning of Vivid Sydney.

When you’re not all cosy inside well-heated theatres, hit the unpaved roads on some of the best walks in Sydney. Don’t forget to bring your binoculars, as it’s also the start of whale-watching season. And double don't forget it's Mother's Day this month, too.

RECOMMENDED: Food and drink festivals in Sydney.

The best things to do in May

Art, Galleries

The Archibald Prize

icon-location-pin Art Gallery of NSW, Sydney

The Archibald Prize is the exhibition that stops a nation – well, a city anyway. Everyone has an opinion about who and what is most deserving of the $100,000 top gong – and the annual exhibition of finalists offers plenty to argue over, featuring faces familiar and not, by big name, mid-career and emerging painters. 

Stall holder at the Westies Markets displaying her fashion designs
Photograph: Supplied
Shopping, Markets

The Westies Markets

icon-location-pin Nepean Creative and Performing Arts High School, Western Sydney

The non-for-profit collective behind this quarterly market, the Westies, is all about showcasing the Penrith region while giving local growers and makers the opportunity to sell their products. They want to create a lazy Sunday atmosphere, where you get to know the community rather than fight over the bargain bin.

MCA Artbar 2015 Vivid Sydney edition curated by Rebecca Baumann image feat artwork by Rosie Deacon (c) Museum of Contemporary Art Australia photographer credit Jacquie Manning
Art, Digital and interactive

MCA Artbar

icon-location-pin Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA), The Rocks

The MCA's party series used to be held once a month, but as of 2019 is only taking place four times a year. It's the same basic idea: a night curated by a different artist or collective each edition, featuring art, performance and design – with killer views, party tunes and hands-on activities with artists.

Boxes of iced doughnuts.
Photograph: Gallant Lee
Things to do, Classes and workshops

Donut Masterclass with Shortstop

icon-location-pin Barangaroo Avenue, Barangaroo

If you’re a diehard doughnut fan and you’ve got Shortstop on your list of top dough joints, then it feels essential that you join their talented doughnut makers in this masterclass. Over two and a half hours, you’ll be rolling, proofing, frying and glazing your own batches of doughnuts, before you scoff them straight out of the fryer. 

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Spaghetti prawns at Fratelli Paradiso
Photograph: Anna Kucera
Restaurants, Italian

The best Italian restaurants in Sydney

While good pizzerias and dirt-cheap red sauces places are harder to find than the poshest stuff, there are still spades of options to choose from. We've picked our favourites from every style.