The best things to do in Sydney this month: May 2017

Festivals dominate Sydney whenever winter approaches. Food & Wine festivals, light festivals, writers festivals, fashion festivals, beer festivals – you name it. On the produce side of things, the cool climate starts to bring in some incredible eats and drinks, filling you up with all kinds of intense flavours and fuel to help you make the most of what is now Sydney’s most festive time of year. We’ve picked out some our favourite happenings across the city, both big and small, so you can pack your calendar or plan your next road trip and live a little.

Vivid Sydney (Various)
When: 26th May to 17th June

And the least surprising entry on the list goes to. Vivid Sydney has become one of the world’s most unique and sought after festivals, attracting people from all over the world as they descend upon a chilly harbour city to find a smartly curated, intelligent and forward-thinking program full of lights, music and ideas. Anchored by those three pillars, Vivid turns the city into a futuristic playground, and it grows each year, increasing their footprint every which way to truly highlight the future, past and present of creative arts. From live concerts by Goldfrapp and Sampha through to a whole range of Vivid Ideas talks, and of course the various light installations – not to mention the pop ups and the unofficial celebrations by local businesses – Vivid Sydney is an absolutely essential experience.

Not keen on the tourists? There’s still plenty to do around Vivid aside from the key hubs of Darling Harbour and Circular Quay. You can check out the full program of things to do during the festival, which runs from 26th May to 17th June, HERE.

Mercedes Benz Fashion Week (Eveleigh)
When: 14th to 19th May.

The famous Mercedes Benz Fashion Week returns to Sydney each May to bring the big names in fashion all to one spot, anchored in the unique surrounds of Carriageworks. Various runway shows, industry events, presentations, pop-up stores, and bars will turn Sydney’s most distinctive art hub into a fashionistas dream. International and local models showcasing the newest designs from some of the biggest names really is just the tip of the iceberg here.

For more information and tickets click HERE.

World Cocktail Week (Various)
When: 7th to 13th May.

You ready for seven days of the finest in cocktail culture? Sydney will join other major hubs around the world when the city’s best drinking establishments break the mold and curate their own events, celebrating cocktails trends and adding their own little touches to make each event unique, accessible, and very, very affordable. This is always the best time of the year to experience the creativity of the city’s best bars without worrying about the price tag (most of these events are so reasonably priced they might as well be free) so make sure you head to at least a few.

For the full program head to Broadsheet HERE.

Mr Black Festival of the Espresso Martini (The Rocks)
When: 26th to 29th May

The Mr Black Festival of the Espresso Martini comes after huge success down in Melbourne last year. It celebrates, you guessed it, the simple espresso martini and its many creative iterations as well as some of the best local food vendors and independent live music. You’ll never look at spiked coffee the same after you see just how well it can be used in a variety of ways.

For more information and tickets click HERE.

Pyrmont Food & Wine Festival (Pyrmont)
When: 13th to 27th May

Mudgee makes plenty of trips to Sydney to showcase their local food and wine, we just can’t seem to get enough of the valuable NSW region. But this long-running festival may just be the best showcase of them all, going down right by the sparkling waters of the harbour with stalls set up keen to get more Sydney locals and visitors hooked on what makes Mudgee such a special place to visit (and one of the best road trip options we’ve got). Pro tip: seek out those intensely flavoured cherries as soon as you can.

For more information click HERE.

Aussie Wine Month (Various)
When: From 6th May

As if several food and wine festivals weren’t enough, this May also introduced Aussie Wine Month to the city’s calendar as it joins the rest of Australia in celebrating the very best drops and innovative techniques that have the country thriving on the global wine scene. There are dizzying amount of events going down as part of this nationwide celebration, tasking some of the city’s finest restaurants with offering up fantastic food pairing menus and bringing in some of the best sommeliers to spread their knowledge and hopefully turn everyone into a wine connoisseur. Those wine snobs with their exclusiveness and eye-rolling won’t seem so intimidating once you leave this month with a deeper insight into red, white and everything in between.

For more information click HERE.

Sydney Writers Festival (Various)
When: 22nd to 28th May

Workshops, talks and exhibitions. If any festival has a chance of making a big impact on your life, this will be it. This isn’t just for budding writers, it’s for anyone who wants to delve into topics both fun and serious, coming out the other end with bucket loads of inspiration.

Make sure you’re across this one by looking through the program HERE.

GABS (Olympic Park)
When: 27th May

Short for the Great Australiasian Beer SpecTAPular, GABS has become world renowned for being one of the most interesting and creative beer festivals in the world. You’ll be tasting some of the most unexpected brews showcased by some of the most talented brewers when you head along to this one, a festive celebration of hoppy greatness and all the diversity that comes with it. Just make sure you’re resetting your palate every now and then because some of the beers planned for this year’s event are intense.

For more information and tickets click HERE.

The Dolphin Hotel’s Aperitivo Hour (Surry Hills)
When: Throughout May and June

The Dolphin Hotel has introduced a neat series with which they are going to welcome various guest chefs into their wine room, each tasked with collaborating on unique snacks to pair up with wines showcased by the grower. Each week will bring in a new guest who will become a resident chef for a few days, giving you a chance to experience unique pairings for very reasonable prices (think under $10).

For more information click and a full schedule of guest chefs click HERE

Bottomless Rose at Nour (Surry Hills)
When: Every weeknight.

One of Surry Hills’ finest new restaurants is Nour, a very attractive contemporary Lebanese restaurant that has brought a fresh spin to middle eastern dining in Sydney. They’ve already picked up a chef’s hat and bookings have been difficult to secure, but the large salmon pink and rose gold space ain’t going anywhere anytime soon, neither is there new Bottomless Rose happy hour which is now offered every weeknight for two hours straight. What’s in include? Well the name says it all really; a constant stream of quality, clean and crisp rosé. Pair these up with baby prawn falafels and camel sambusak fresh from the kitchen and satisfaction is guaranteed.


Hunter Valley Food & Wine Festival (Various)
When: Throughout May and June

The ever-growing popularity of Australian produce just wouldn’t be the same without Hunter Valley. The famous getaway boasts not only some of the most stunning scenery in all of New South Wales, but presents guests and locals with a huge range of fresh seasonal produce that each May is used to great effect, celebrating the start of the colder months. It’s the perfect time to visit since, through May and June, Hunter Valley turns into a string of festival after festival, highlighting the many sides of local produce.

Love cheese? Head to the Cheese Lovers Festival. Interesting in learning more about on-site produce? Take part on the “Meet the Farmer Dinner” at Margan Restaurant. Want more insight into the cycle of the vineyard? Head to the “Broke Fordwich Meet the Growers” event. Or, you know, just drink all the award-winning shiraz you can while cellar door hopping your way to a weekend well done.

The program is so packed it’d take pages and pages to get through it, so head HERE for more information.

Noosa Food and Wine Festival (Various)
When: 18th to 21st May

One of the state’s best yearly beachside food & wine festivals is this epic four-day celebration, bringing in food and wine from across to country so guests and locals can get absorb it all, through a comprehensive series of events. The nighttime beachside dinners are a must, but you’ll also find some special guests visiting interstate, ready to collaborate with local legends for one-off lunches and dinners. Or you can just spend time in the pop up village dedicated entirely to wine tastings!

For the full program click HERE.

Feature image: Pyrmont Food & Wine Festival, credited to Fiora Sacco.