Sydney Opera House Night

With its “sail” architecture, the Sydney Opera House cuts a striking profile among the skyscrapers in this historic harbor. On the Sydney Harbor Evening Cruise, we learned about the Opera House’s history and architecture. Seeing it from the ship gave us a unique perspective before going inside this UNESCO World Heritage site.

Outside Area

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.

sydney opera house tall ships night
Seeing this side of the Sydney Opera House gave a unique perspective.

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.

sydney opera house night stroll
Taking a night stroll along the edge of the Harbor is a popular activity.
sydney opera house dining
Plenty of dining options and ample seating throughout Bennelong Point.
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From the front entrance, the “sails” of the Sydney Opera House look more like large sea shells.

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, our family’s perfect performance was being held, a full orchestra playing a screening of Return of the Jedi.

sydney opera house jay
Everyone was excited to see a show in the Sydney Opera House.

At the top of the stairs, you can get a close-up view of the shape and textures of the unique roof.

sydney opera house sail tiles
Close up, you can see the individual glazed ceramic tiles that make up the outer shell of the building.

The inside of the structure takes advantage of glass and open beams to keep much of the unique ribbing architecture exposed.

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The open air lobby has great atmosphere.

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.

sydney opera house program
We were all excited to see Star Wars: Return of the Jedi in concert.

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.

sydney opera house seating
Seating in the main concert hall at the Sydney Opera House.

When I purchased our tickets, I was 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!

sydney opera house inside sails
Surprisingly, we got the best seats in the house!

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.

The Show

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.

sydney opera house best seats
Watching Star Wars Return of the Jedi in full orchestra concert at the Sydney Opera House.
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Full orchestra playing Return of the Jedi at the Sydney Opera House.

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 you 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.