Take part in the glamour of the world’s most spectacular celebration of LGBTQI pride.
The Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras is a three-week festival featuring more than 100 events that culminate in the world-famous Mardi Gras parade on the first Saturday of March. Each year, the festival attracts more than 200,000 people, so be sure to 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. Here’s how to get among the festivities.
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.
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.
Witness the raising of the Rainbow flag
To kick off the Mardi Gras festivities, Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore will raise the rainbow flag at Town Hall. The flying of the flag symbolises the city's support for LGBTQI community, and will remain on Town Hall for the duration of Mardi Gras.
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.
Dance the night away at the Mardi Gras party
The Mardi Gras party is one of the biggest parties in Australia, with popular local and international musicians (which have previously included pop sensation and LGBTQI advocate, Cher) headlining. The party features a range of DJs, entertainment, food stalls and theatrics.