I’ve finally found the best art galleries in Sydney! After nearly 10 years of living in Sydney, I’ve made the effort to visit every single art gallery in Sydney mentioned in this list.
As a fine art painting graduate, I have a passion for art and have been fortunate to visit some incredible galleries all over the world. Find out which Sydney contemporary art museums made my top list.
The MCA is probably the most famous art gallery in Sydney. It’s also located in the most iconic part of Sydney at Circular Quay. With major exhibitions held throughout the year, this is the gallery in Sydney we’ve been to the most. Whilst it’s one of the best free things to do in Sydney, you could spend hours walking between the four floors filled with contemporary art in Sydney.
There are some exhibitions you have to pay to get into which for the one’s we’ve been to, didn’t disappoint at all.
Make sure you head up to the rooftop MCA cafe for lunch. It’s got amazing views out to the Sydney Opera House and even if you don’t want to pay for food, you can check out the rooftop anyway. Don’t forget to check out the MCA shop, you can find some fab gifts in there.
Also, make sure you check out MCA Late as it’s open until 9pm on Friday nights during Summer time. You can find out more information about MCA Late here. Plus Art Bar where they hold live music in the gallery and workshops too!
Whilst Art Gallery NSW offers a more tradition side of painting and sculpture than the MCA, it’s in a great location if you’re visiting Sydney on holidays. Located right near to the Botanic Gardens in Sydney, it’s one of the most iconic art galleries in Australia.
We absolutely love visiting Art Gallery NSW Archibald Exhibition which is the most prestigious portrait prize in Australia. The annual art prize usually takes place between September – January each year.
White Rabbit Gallery is one of those Sydney art galleries I’ve been meaning to visit for ages. Luckily, I managed to visit during their visiting hours (they are only open Wednesday – Sunday).
It’s known as being home to one of the world’s largest privately owned collection of 21st Century Chinese Art. I was sort of expecting it to be a gallery full of traditional Chinese paintings but it’s a super cool gallery. With four floors and a theatre on the top floor, I was blown away by how brilliant this gallery really is.
Make sure you check out the gorgeous cafe with the beautiful bird cages hanging from the ceiling. They do some of the best Chinese tea in Sydney!
Owned by Billionaire Judith Neilson, she’s recently built a new art performance space called Phoenix. I thought it was an art gallery in Sydney but it turns out it’s a performance space hosting music performances such as opera and contemporary dance. It looks incredible and her home next door looks equally as impressive.
Address: White Rabbit Sydney, 30 Balfour Street, Chippendale (behind Central Park building) .
The Brett Whiteley Studio is another one of those art museums in Sydney I’ve wanted to visit for a long time. Open from Thursday – Sunday, I think every time I wanted to visit, it wasn’t on these days. But, recently I was able to go and check it out and I loved it.
Based down a residential lane in Surry Hills, the Brett Whiteley Studio feels like you’ve found a hidden gem. After visiting his wife’s amazing garden, Wendy’s Secret Garden, which is indeed in tribute to him after his passing in 1992, which you can read about in our 4 Best Secret Gardens In Sydney article, I have always been fascinated with this couple.
Brett Whitely was known as one of the most famous Artists of his time in Australia. He lived in his studio for five years in the late 80s/early 90s and you’ll be able to experience his work as well as his living area upstairs in the gallery. It is said he loved living in his studio as he produced some of his best work either first thing in the morning or late at night.
Whilst his collection is on a rotating basis, you’ll notice his love for birds runs throughout his art work. I loved his living area upstairs and watching his interviews whilst seeing some of his unfinished work, books and photographs on the walls.
Please note – no images or videos are allowed to be taken inside the Brett Whitely Studio.
Although it’s technically not an art gallery, we stumbled across Faversham Lane in Marrickville and just had to include it in this article.
British artist Stuart Sale used the lane outside of his studio to practice his stencil art. He has since brought the lane to life with paintings of celebrities who have inspired him throughout his life. It’s a sight to be seen and definitely somewhere you need to go and explore. You can actually read our full review and interview with Stuart about Faversham Lane here.
Make sure you pop into Luso Liquors at the end of Faversham Lane. This bottle shop is run by a hilarious Portuguese couple who know everything about wine. Their imported selection of Portuguese wines is an absolute hidden gem in Sydney.
Address: Faversham Lane, Marrickville
6. Sophie Tea Art In Manly
Speaking of British artists, check out Sophie Tea Art Gallery in Manly. This British Artist ended up getting stuck in Manly during Covid and has used the time to open a gallery both in Manly and on Carnaby Street in London.
As one of the most exciting emerging British artists in UK, she’s currently painting nudes of her audience on Instagram to empower her followers. She’s turned the rules of art galleries upside down, wanting to make art accessible for all. With £100 deposit to receive her paintings straight away, you’d be mad not to snap up a piece of her work before she hits global status. If you’re looking for art for sale in Sydney, you’ve come to the right place.
Located around the corner from White Rabbit and Pheonix, Galerie Pom Pom is a gorgeous little gallery celebrating Australian art. When you walk in, you’ll be given a price list which is actually more accessible than you think. With art ranging from $800 up to $7500 (during the time we visited), exhibitions change on a monthly monthly basis.
Having been to Woolloomooloo wharf so many times in the past, I had no idea Artspace even existed. Located opposite the famous Harry’s Cafe De Wheels in Woolloomooloo, you’ll find a huge space dedicated to enhancing culture through contemporary art.
The leading international residency-based contemporary art centre is located in the historic Gunnery Building. Expect exhibitions throughout the year including contemporary art and performances.
Address: Artspace, The Gunnery, 43/51 Cowper Wharf Roadway, Woolloomooloo
9. Carriageworks In Redfern
Carriageworks in Sydney is a multi-arts urban cultural precinct in Redfern. Look out for global exhibitions, festivals, weekly farmer markets and so much more in Australia’s largest multi-art centre. We’ve seen so many amazing exhibitions over the years as well as attended many events and even Sydney Fashion Week!
I was really surprised how cool Rosyln Oxley9 Gallery in Paddington truely is. It’s hidden down a residential lane and once you go inside, you feel like you’ve found a bit of a hidden gem. As one of the leading commercial galleries in Sydney, its helped shape some of the most influential artists in Australia.
When you go inside the gallery, you’ll be given a price list to be able to acquire some of the best artwork in Australia.
I actually stumbled across Vandal Gallery whilst in Redfern recently and I loved it. The progressive art space must be one of the coolest art galleries in Sydney.
The small gallery located in the studio space might make you wonder if you’ve stepped into a cool office, but the gallery space itself is showcasing some of the best emerging contemporary artists in Australia.
107 Projects in Redfern is a fantastic not-for-profit community art space on Redfern Street. With exhibitions, workshops, life drawing classes and events, there’s always something going on at 107 Projects!
What used to be a car garage, the space is now home to one of the best performance spaces, artist studios, event spaces and co-working offices in Sydney. There’s even a rooftop garden and public social areas too!
When we visited Tap Gallery in Surry Hills, it definitely feels like you’re visiting an artist’s studio which has been running for around 25 years. As an art gallery, exhibition centre and arts and drama venue, the best part about this gallery is you can also take part in their life drawing classes on Monday nights from 7-10pm.
Address: Tap Gallery, Level 1/259 Riley St, Surry Hills
15. Maunsell Wickes Gallery In Paddington
I stumbled across Maunsell Wickes Gallery in Paddington which is located in three 1840s terraced houses. The gallery itself has an impressive nine different exhibition spaces and the space itself is nothing like any other art galleries in Sydney. You’ll find a mixture of sculpture, Aboriginal paintings and so much more in this paddington gallery.
The Biennale of Sydney is an awesome art festival in Sydney which takes place every two years. The international festival of contemporary art is the largest and best-attended contemporary visual arts event in Australia.
Running since 1973, you’ll be able to attend art exhibitions all over Sydney. Make sure you make the effort to check out the work on Cockatoo Island – it’s an amazing space to showcase some of the best art in Australia.
Find some of the best Indigenous art in Australia at the National Indigenous Art Fair during NAIDOC Week in July. Located at the Overseas Passenger Terminal in Circular Quay, you’ll be able to check out some of the most amazing artworks from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists in Australia. Expect to see live music and Aboriginal dance performances as well.
This is a fantastic opportunity to support Aboriginal artists and buy some of the best work in Australia to hang proudly in your home.
We’re ending our best art galleries in Sydney with the National Gallery Of Australia. Although it’s located in Canberra, we highly recommend visiting this amazing art gallery as a weekend from Sydney idea. We were blown away by how amazing the art is in this gallery as it features some of the best work from global artists, including an infinity room by Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama.
Make sure you go inside James Turrell’s Skyspace. It’s an amazing piece of art which Instagrammers and photographers will absolutely love!
We hope we’ve inspired you to get out and visit more amazing art galleries in Sydney! If you loved this article, please share it on your social media pages to inspire your friends and family to visit them too!