Sydney Opera House, with its “sail” architecture, cuts a striking profile among the skyscrapers in this historic harbor. On the Sydney Harbor Evening Cruise, we learned about the Opera House history and architect. Seeing it from the ship gave us a unique perspective before going inside this UNESCO World Heritage site.
Taking up the entire Bennelong Point of the harbor, the Opera House towers over the neighboring shops and restaurants. Sydney’s Royal Botanical Gardens are adjacent to the building, allowing more sightseeing in one trip.
Those iconic establishing shots in countless movies and TV shows make it hard to get a sense of the complex’s size. It also surprised us to see an entire establishment of dining and walkways along the harbor’s edge.
The Sydney Opera House
If visiting Sydney, try to see a performance at the Opera House. But be warned, they sell out way in advance. We purchased our tickets several weeks before the performance and seats were extremely limited.
When booking a performance, realize this is a multi-venue performing arts center, so not all of the shows will be in the main concert hall. For the dates we were in Sydney, the perfect performance for our family was being held, a full orchestra playing a screening of Return of the Jedi.
At the top of the stairs, you can get a close-up view of the shape and textures of the unique roof.
The inside of the structure takes advantage of glass and open beams to keep much of the unique ribbing architecture exposed.
Before the Show
Located in the upper lobby is a concession stand where you can purchase beverages and snacks. There is also a small gift shop to pick up a few souvenirs to take home. The gift shop will be closed at the end of the evening performance, so make your purchases before or at the intermission.
An outdoor terrace overlooking the harbor is adjacent to the concession area. We took a moment to step out there and enjoy the different views before heading inside to our seats.
When I purchased our tickets, I was extremely disappointed the only seats available were in the “partially obstructed view” area. Wishing I had purchased the tickets earlier, I begrudgingly bought those seats, being grateful we were even able to attend. They ended up being the best seats for the performance!
We are grateful our seats gave the perfect view. We could see the entire orchestra playing and the full movie screen. We only shifted our bodies slightly to face the movie.
Watching the full orchestra playing the beautifully composed music to Return of the Jedi was spectacular! I’m talking goosebumps! As the booming intro for 20th Century Fox played, it got a cheer from the entire audience. And I will never forget the look on our boys’ faces once the top of Star Wars began.
Our visit to the Sydney Opera House ranked as one of the most memorable experiences on our trip. It was remarkable to see the combination of dedicated musicians performing to a classic sci-fi film in such a beautifully designed structure. Our entire family loved this night at the Sydney Opera House.
- As soon as your know your dates, look up showings at Sydney Opera House Calendar.
- Purchase tickets online to secure your seats.
- Plan plenty of time to experience the Opera House, inside and out.
- Day tours are available to learn more about the history and architecture.