Transforming the city into a riot of outrageous costumes and foot-stomping beats, Mardi Gras in Sydney is no ordinary carnival—it's one of the world’s largest and most important LGBTQ pride festivals. Here’s what to know if you plan to attend.
Mardi Gras History
Australia’s first ever Mardi Gras parade took place in 1978, on the anniversary of the Stonewall riots in New York, a reaction to discrimination against the city’s LGBTQ community. The incident is heralded as a major milestone for the gay community, resulting in key changes in both laws and public opinion. Today, many of the events at Sydney’s Mardi Gras have a political undercurrent, with workshops, talks, and demonstrations focusing on equal rights and LGBTQ issues, and the festival is renowned as a vibrant and far-reaching celebration of diversity, individuality, and acceptance.
Ways to Celebrate Sydney Mardi Gras
- Get glammed up for the grand Mardi Gras parade, the festival’s headline event, which takes place along Oxford Street, Flinders Street, and Taylor Square on the first Saturday of March.
- Make the most of Sydney’s Mardi Gras celebrations, including popular events such as the Bondi Beach Drag Races, the Mardi Gras Film Festival, and Victoria Park Fair Day.
- Snag tickets for the legendary Mardi Gras party, with live performances by big-name international acts.
- Challenge yourself to a Mardi Gras–themed Sydney BridgeClimb and wave a rainbow flag from the top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
- Celebrate by taking in Sydney’s top attractions on a Sydney Harbour cruise, admiring the views from the Sydney Tower, taking a tour of the Sydney Opera House, or hitting the waves at Bondi Beach.