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Sydney Opera House | Architecture, History, Inside & More

Sydney Opera House, an iconic landmark, holds immense historical and cultural significance. Its unique architectural design and stunning waterfront location make it a must-visit attraction. With multiple performance venues, it showcases various ar...

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Bennelong Point, Sydney NSW 2000, Australia





Did you know?

Sydney Opera House was designed by a Danish architect, Jørn Utzon, who won an international competition in 1957.

The roof of Sydney Opera House is covered with over a million tiles, each handmade and individually designed.

The Sydney Opera House is not just a performing arts center, it is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2007.

Book Your Sydney Opera House Tours

Guided Tour of Sydney Opera House
30 min. - 1 hr.
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Sydney Opera House Architecture Tour
1 hr.
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Guided Walking Tour of Sydney Opera House
1 hr.
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Guided Back Stage Tour of Sydney Opera House
2 hr. 30 min.
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Meals Included
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Sydney Opera House

One of the most distinctive structures that you would be able to recognize on any postcard, the Sydney Opera House is Australia’s architectural jewel. This performing arts centre is located on the banks of the Sydney Harbour and is known to host over 1500 performances every year. Read on to learn about the history, architecture, and details you might need to plan your visit. 

What is the Sydney Opera House?

Sydney Opera House

Sydney's Iconic Landmark

As the name suggests, the Opera House is a performing arts theatre known to conduct various performances throughout the year. It accommodates six performing theatres within its walls, and its sail-shaped exterior is famous worldwide. The Sydney Opera House was deemed a World Heritage Site in 2007. Its unique design has made it an iconic internationally renowned structure, which is managed by the Sydney Opera House Trust. The Opera House also contains a recording studio, retail stores, bars and restaurants. Guided tours are open to the public who’d like to explore the building. 

Sydney Opera House - Quick Facts

Sydney Opera House
  • Official name: Sydney Opera House
  • Location: Bennelong Point, Sydney
  • Date of opening: 20 October 1973
  • Timings: 9 AM - 5 PM (Monday-Saturday) and 10 AM - 6 PM (Sundays)
  • Architect:  Jørn Utzon
  • Architectural style: Modern Expressionist
  • UNESCO World Heritage Site: 28 June 2007
  • Number of visitors per year: 1.2 million

Why Visit the Sydney Opera House?

Sydney Opera House
  • Famous worldwide: The opera performances that are staged at the centre attract tourists from the world over. The Concert Hall also hosts musicals and theatre performances and can seat over 2,500 people. 
  • Dine-in: Grab a drink and a bite at the famous rooftop Opera Bar that provides undeterred views of the Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Harbour. 
  • Guided tour: Take a guided tour of the interior of the Opera House to admire the modern and eclectic architecture of the building, including the kissing wall. 
  • Merch: Purchase merchandise at the Sydney Opera House, which operates as a non-profit, and support the performing artists.
  • Kid-friendly: Catch a musical performance or comedy show at the Drama Theatre or the Playhouse. 
  • Architectural marvel: Be awed by the architecture including the glass walls, ivory tiles, theatre interiors and plywood corridors that took over 14 years to complete.

Plan Your Visit to Sydney Opera House

History of the Sydney Opera House 

In the 1940s, Sydney’s administration identified the need for a large performance theatre as the existing ones were not able to meet the demand. An architectural design competition was conducted, with the submission of the current plan winning first place. Construction began in 1959 and was expected to continue for four years. 10,000 construction workers and 14 years later, the building was finally completed. 

The theatre was inaugurated by Queen Elizabeth II, and the first performance at the theatre was in 1906 by concert artist Paul Robeson, who dedicated his performance to the construction workers. The entire construction is said to have cost around $102 million, against the estimated cost of $7 million. 

The construction process saw its own share of hiccups, one of which was the disagreement between the main architect Utzon and Sydney’s administration, which led Utzon to finally resign from the project. Another firm was hired to complete the construction, and Utzon was later re-hired as a design consultant to build the structure we see today. 

Architecture of Sydney Opera House

Sydney Opera House

Who Built the Sydney Opera House?

Sydney Opera House

Jørn Utzon

The original design of the Sydney Opera House was the brainchild of the Danish architect Jørn Utzon. He was part of the project for the first few stages till he quit due to disagreements with the government. The construction was handed over to another firm Ove Arup and Partners, and built under the guidance of three architects - Peter Hall, David Littlemore, and Lionel Todd. Utzon later rejoined the project and has the Utzon room in the Opera House dedicated to him. 

Inside the Sydney Opera House

Sydney Opera House

Concert Hall

This hall seats 2679 patrons at once, and is known to be the biggest venue for performances. Besides its marvellous interiors, it is also known for having the world’s largest mechanical action organ.

Sydney Opera House

Joan Sutherland Theatre

This is the second largest theatre in the Opera House and holds 1507 people. It has a large orchestra pit that can house up to 70 musicians at a time and has been a host to some of the most famous plays and conferences from artists worldwide. 

Sydney Opera House

Utzon Room

Dedicated to the original architect of the project, this room is primarily used to host smaller private events such as parties, conferences and more. With the beautiful Sydney Harbour backdrop, it can house 100-200 people easily.

Sydney Opera House

The Studio

This is the most flexible venue at the Sydney Opera House and is able to host a large variety of productions. It has a seating capacity of 320, but can otherwise accommodate up to 600 people.

Sydney Opera House


Better suited for younger audiences, the Playhouse usually hosts theatrical performances, debates, lectures, and dance programs. The scenery can be easily changed with its modern motorised machinery and houses 398 people.

Sydney Opera House


Lying in the exteriors of the Sydney Opera House, Forecourt has been hosting some of the greatest musical shows and concerts in the world. It has the capacity to hold nearly 6000 people and overlooks the beautiful Sydney Harbour.

Sydney Opera House

Opera Bar

This rooftop bar is where you can go to grab a drink after attending an opera performance. The bar has outstanding views of the Sydney Harbour and the Harbour Bridge and is especially a sight to see when lit up at night.

Frequently Asked Questions About the Sydney Opera House

What is the Sydney Opera House?

With its distinctive sail-like structure, the Sydney Opera House is a famous landmark and a performing arts venue located on Bennelong Point.

Where is the Sydney Opera House?

The Sydney Opera House is located at Bennelong Point on the banks of the Sydney Harbour. Find it on Maps

What is the Sydney Opera House famous for?

Apart from its iconic architecture, the Opera House is known for being one of the largest venues in Australia that hosts operas, musical performances, theatres etc.

Is it worth visiting the Sydney Opera House?

With stunning architecture, this engineering marvel provides a stage for budding and leading artists and performers worldwide. Indulge yourself in performance arts or take a guided tour to uncover the mysteries of the building, Sydney Opera House is definitely worth a visit. 

How much does it cost to visit the Sydney Opera House?

The cost of your Sydney Opera House ticket depends on the ticket type. While show tickets have their own pricing, guided tour tickets start from A$43.

Who built the Sydney Opera House?

The original designs for the Sydney Opera House were submitted by Danish architect Jørn Utzon. Learn more about Sydney Opera House Architecture.

When did the Sydney Opera House open?

The Sydney Opera House opened to the public in 1973 and was inaugurated by Queen Elizabeth.

What’s inside the Sydney Opera House?

The Opera House includes a Concert Hall, several smaller theatres, a rooftop bar, a kitchen, a recording studio and retail stores.

What are the Sydney Opera House’s opening hours?

The Sydney Opera House is open from 8:45 AM - 5:00 PM on all days for tour bookings and from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM for show bookings.