The Ultimate Family Guide to Sydney's Vivid

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Vivid is officially here! In case you weren’t aware, for almost a whole month each year, Sydney’s CBD and beyond transforms into an incredible display of lights, art installations, food and music – making it a spectacular family outing. It is, however, one of the busiest times of year for the city, and can be a hassle, especially with all the walking, large crowds, and packed public transport. So, we’ve created a little guide to help you plan your Vivid experience this year, and how to get the best out of it for your little ones.

What To Take

Vivid can quickly turn into a lengthy experience, between travelling to the city if you live anywhere other than the CBD, navigating crowds near the installations, and walking between Vivid precincts – so you have to be prepared. Here’s our list of the necessary items;

  • Water (a slightly obvious one, but easily forgotten in the excitement)

  • A printed out map (which you can download here)

  • Snacks, all that walking will definitely need some mid-evening fuel

  • A good camera, so you can capture some gorgeous memories of the kiddos!

Where To Go

This is the big one, where to actually go (and where could possibly be left out). Vivid is HUGE, and it’s impossible to do it all in one night, so unless you’re thinking about spending a few big nights in the city, it’s best to plan ahead and select a group of installations that are on your must-see list. Of course, the event runs for almost a month, so you could spread out your visits, but if once is enough, these are our recommendations that are sure to impress the kiddos.

  • PIXAR Installations at the Argyle Cutaway in The Rocks

  • Samsung ‘Electric Playground’ at First Fleet Park

  • Rayuela, an interactive game helping people learn the importance of recycling at The Rocks

  • Taronga Zoo, if you go in the late afternoon you can see the animals in all their glory, then get a chance to check out the light installations

  • GOO! An interactive installation in Circular Quay

These are just some of our top picks for light installations that the kids will love, but there’s plenty to look at all across the city, and you can plan your evening with the ‘My Vivid’ login here.

When To Go

Vivid is on for a month, so there’s plenty of opportunities to head to the festival and experience all it has to offer, but it’s also extremely busy, and can turn into an annoying mess of slow walking, tired feet and less than desirable views and photos – so you have to time when you choose to go quite carefully to get the most enjoyment. Our recommendation is to head in mid week, right as the lights turn on at 6pm. Sure, you might get the after work crowd, but a lot of people won’t feel like making the trek around the city after a big day – so if you can muster up the energy after work, this is a great time to go. Just be aware that it’s almost impossible to completely avoid crowds, so be prepared!

Transport

Getting to Vivid is actually made quite easy, as Sydney puts on a bunch of extra public transport services like trains, and buses. If you can work it into your evening, a ferry trip across to Manly or Luna Park is definitely a great way to view the harbour lights too! A majority of the light installations are close to major train stations, and getting from one place to another is best to just walk – it’s how you’ll see the most stuff! Due to a lot of road closures, driving to Vivid probably isn’t the best way to experience the festival.

Tips & Other Info

There are a few little tidbits of info that you may not have thought of, or were wondering about, so here’s a few that we think will help make your family evening the best!

  • If you’re planning on getting dinner somewhere in the city whilst you’re looking at the installations – it’s essential to book!

  • A lot of Vivid installations that require payment are card only! So you don’t really have to worry about cash, unless you plan on buying the light up merchandise (which we’re sure the kids will be begging for) so having a small amount of cash on hand is a good idea, but not entirely essential.

  • Crowds can be overwhelming, and safety may be a concern of yours, but Vivid does have a system in place to help families keep track of everyone – information booths along the light walk will have wristbands for parents and children to put their contact details on, and the thousands of security personnel across the city are trained to keep a lookout for any lost kids who may have been separated from their families. They also suggest writing a contact number on their arm!

Vivid Sydney will be running from May 24th until June 15th, and there’s so many amazing installations to explore with your kiddos – so download a map, plan your night, and get the camera ready!