The Sydney Opera House, a world-class performing arts venue and iconic Australian landmark, defines the Sydney Harbour in the heart of the city. Designed by Danish architect Jorn Utzon, the structure is a masterpiece of late 20th-century architecture, despite challenges that plagued the 15-year project before it was formally opened by Queen Elizabeth II in 1973. Distinguished by soaring halls with a white ceramic-tiled exterior shaped to evoke the sails of a yacht, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is a must-see Sydney attraction.
The Sydney Opera House is a highlight of any city tour or harbor cruise, and it’s well worth an up-close look, too. It’s best explored as part of a guided tour, either a guided walking option that hits highlights of the building's history and architecture or an in-depth tour that goes backstage to concert halls, green rooms, and studios usually off-limits to visitors. Given that this is a functioning performance venue, visitors can also experience the Opera House by attending a show, whether pairing a theater performance with dinner as part of an evening package, or dining along the waterfront before a night of ballet.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Attending a performance at the Opera House is a must for music, dance, and theater fans.
- Tickets for tours and events often sell out, so it’s best to book in advance.
- Public areas of the complex are wheelchair accessible, and accessible show seating is available for all performances (seats must be pre-booked, and availability is limited).
- Unless visiting on a guided tour, travelers are unable to access the Concert Hall and Joan Sutherland Theatre foyers or performance spaces.
- The Opera House complex contains restaurants, bars, cafes, shops, and outdoor plazas.
How to Get There
Located on Bennelong Point at the waters of Sydney Cove and Farm Cove, the Sydney Opera House is just a few minutes’ walk from Circular Quay and its ferries, trains, and buses. The site is easy to spot from around Sydney Harbour and from the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
When to Get There
Shows and performances run year-round at the Opera House, and with more than 2,500 of them taking place each year, you’re likely to find one during your visit. For a special experience, time your trip during the Vivid Sydney festival, when the Opera House exterior becomes the canvas for colorful light displays.