It’s that time of year again. Vivid Sydney, the world’s largest outdoor art gallery and stunning light display kicked off on Friday evening for its eight consecutive year. With the winter months mere days away and the temperatures dropping, your outdoor date ideas will soon need to be archived for a summer revival later in the year.
Until June 17, however, you’ve still got one of the best excuses in the textbook to get out into town, either with your other half or a prospective match, and let Sydney City be your wingman for the evening.
We had the opportunity to experience the best of Vivid’s opening night with Accor Hotels, so we thought we’d share with you our set-play for your own night of indulgence, senses, and romance with three of Accor’s top establishments dotted amongst the highlights of Vivid Sydney.
Begin any date night with food and you’re already off to a flying start in any girl’s books. The Ternary at the Novotel Darling Harbour is the prime spot to perch above the fountains and watch the lights spark to life after sunset at 6pm. The interactive dining experience boasts an open plan kitchen, where the chefs also serve you your food, not just prepare it. If it’s still early days with your date, it’s a unique way to break the ice and get the conversation flowing, if not, it’ll change up your relationship’s routine of standard restaurant experiences.
The dining room and balcony have been completely decked out with eye-catching blue and pink lights to complement the antics happening simultaneously harbourside. It is essential you try the ‘Vivid Sydney’ cocktail special, a colour-changing concoction of unique spirits in a martini glass rimmed with hundreds and thousands. It’ll be one for the Instagram that your date won’t be able to resist, and the best $16 you’ll spend all night.
Keep costs down with the special ‘Vivid’ menu, available in two-course ($55) and three-course ($65) variants.
Keep it short and sweet, then walk down towards in the International Convention Centre to get amongst the revellers. Lap the dock, taking in the ‘Magicians of the Mist’ exhibit, which projects scenes of light onto dancing fountains in the middle of the harbour. From here, either jump on a Quay-bound ferry or continue your stroll around Barangaroo headland and under the iconic bridge.
The Main Event
You’ll either find yourself in ‘The Rocks,’ Sydney’s historic cobblestone suburb, or alighting from the ferry in the centre of the Quay. The best part about Vivid, is that the exhibits and attractions speak for themselves, meaning you’ll never be short of conversation topics, important for date night small talk, and especially important for long established couples looking to shake up their standard Friday evening.
When you’re ready to get away from the hectic atmosphere down on the street, escape to Hacienda Bar at the Pullman Quay Grand, an exclusive balcony bar with a warm Cuban flare, sweeping views of the Harbour Bridge and prime location to watch the Museum of Contemporary Art change its canvas of colour. Keep the buzz going with a selection of espresso martinis topped with flame-grilled marshmallows, perfectly complementing those fresh winter vibes.
So you’ve ticked all the boxes, the perfect night is flying by. A quieter walk around the far side of the Opera House through the Royal Botanical Gardens will give you a chance to chat while avoiding the crowded walkways from earlier. Here you’ll find a dramatic fusion of light and nature. The massive sun flowers that line the foreshore and the garden’s ‘Electric Forest’ are about as romantic as you can get for a late night date night walk by the water.
From here, either meander up towards Martin Place, or alternatively jump in an Uber to the heart of the city. Here you can finish off the Vivid sights among the concrete jungle before heading home, or, if you played your cards right and you’re looking to make a weekend out of it, check into the Sofitel Wentworth, the pinnacle of the Accor brand in Sydney. We’ll leave that last option with you.