THINGS TO DO
See the Mardi Gras parade
Sydney’s Mardi Gras parade is one of the world’s largest LGBTQI celebrations. More than 10,000 people take part the parade – in support of equality, pride and self-expression – bringing the city to a standstill. The procession of colour includes dancing boys, the famous Dykes on Bikes, big and little costumes featuring glitter and leather and big-name acts that in the past have included Cyndi Lauper, George Michael and Kylie Minogue. Arrive early to snare a spot along Oxford or Flinders streets, east of Sydney's city centre. In the heart of the action, Taylor Square provides a fantastic view of the parade coming up Oxford Street. The Local Taphouse, on the corner of Flinders and South Dowling streets, is also a great spot to see the parade as it turns onto Flinders Street.
Head out on the harbour
One of the hottest tickets during the festival is the Mardi Gras Sunset Cruise for over 18s. The four-hour evening cruise, aboard Sydney Glass Island, includes welcome canapés, a bar, live entertainment and DJs – and postcard harbour views.
Take the family to fair day
Each year, Fair Day attracts more than 80,000 people to Victoria Park near The University of Sydney. Join the crowds and head here to sample a smorgasbord of international cuisine, buy local wares and learn more about the LGBTQI community. You can also watch entertaining performances on the main stage and dance tent well into the night.
See a movie at the Mardi Gras Film Festival
Produced by Sydney-based Queer Screen, an independent organisation with a mission to engage individuals and communities through queer storytelling, the Mardi Gras Film Festival runs during February each year and features the best new LGBTQI films and documentaries from around the world. The majority of films are screened at Event Cinemas George Street (in the heart of the city), but for a truly unique experience catch a flick at the boutique Golden Age Cinema and Bar in Surry Hills.
Snap up a ticket to one of the VIP viewing spots. Options range from grandstand-style seating with celebrity hosts to an outdoor club in Taylor Square with raised viewing platforms, cocktail bars and DJs. Tickets from AUD$110.
HOW TO GET THERE
Spectators are encouraged to take public transport into the inner city. Hotels near the parade route are also heavily booked. Wear comfortable shoes and grab a viewing spot well before the parade starts.
Visit transportnsw.info to plan your trip.