The options for enjoying Canberra are beautifully broad in autumn. With a long weekend on the way, residents and visitors are spoilt for choice. From the Van Gogh Alive exhibition to the Canberra Balloon Spectacular, a Paul Kelly concert, and the Canberra Racing Carnival, there’s something for everyone. Enlighten will also continue until 20 March, so be sure to check the website for lots of exciting events.
It’s important to note that dates and times may change due to health, supply and weather issues, so check the official sources before heading out.
When: Friday 5 March to Sunday 27 March, 9 am to 7 pm
Where: Grand Pavilion, King Edward Terrace, Parkes
Cost: $44-55. Get tickets here
Visiting the museum no longer involves tiptoeing through silent galleries. With Van Gogh Alive, visitors come face-to-face with art in a way that they’ve never experienced before. Visitors are surrounded by a symphony of light, colour, sound and fragrance that has been hailed as an unforgettable multi-sensory experience. It gives the sensation of walking right into his paintings, and is simultaneously enchanting and educational.
When: Friday 11 March to Thursday 17 March, 5 pm to 11 pm
Where: National Triangle
The Canberra Day long weekend sees the arrival of the Forage@Enlighten Festival, a street food precinct by the lake where you can enjoy local and regional produce.
Canberra’s well-loved food experience returns for a new season in a venue that will soon become a Festival must-do. More than 25 local businesses offer a variety of food and drink options, so you’ll have plenty to choose from.
Take a break from work and enjoy a feast with your family and friends.
When: Friday 11 March and Saturday 12 March, from 7:30 pm
Where: Llewellyn Hall
Cost: $98. Get your tickets here
Perhaps one of Australia’s greatest songwriters, Kelly is a classic Australian musician who has performed solo and led groups such as the Dots, the Colored Girls, and the Messengers. He wrote Aussie anthems such as “To Her Door”, and ‘Treaty’ with Yothu Yindi.
In 2017, Paul Kelly received the Order of Australia as an Officer in recognition of his distinguished service to the performing arts and to the promotion of national identity. He will be joined by special guest Fanny Lumsden, winner of five Golden Guitar Awards and an ARIA.
When: From Saturday 12 to Sunday 20 March, from 6:15 am to 8 am
Where: Patrick White Lawns, National Triangle
With more than 25 balloons from around Australia and overseas, the Canberra skyline becomes a flurry of colour, sound, and movement during the Balloon Spectacular.
Each morning, balloons are inflated on the Patrick White Lawns from 6:15 am, and launch around 7 am (weather permitting). Those who brave the dawn can enjoy a hot breakfast as balloons drift across the morning sky. The top vantage points are around the lake and the Arboretum.
When: Saturday 12 March, from 6:45 pm to 10 pm
Where: Patticeria Amelia, Belconnen Markets, 17 Market Street
Cost: $98. Get your ticket here
Celebrate with your local Italian family La Festa del Pomodoro (Harvest Festival). With four courses featuring countless variations of Nonna’s renowned tomato, the king of the table, she has created an extraordinary set menu. A ticket includes Italian-style appetisers, drinks for the night and a special gift to commemorate the evening. You are invited to this Italian tradition with Nonna and her family.
When: Saturday 12 March, from 8 pm
Where: UC Refectory
Cost: $70. Get your ticket here
From January to April 2022, the three-time ARIA Award-winning hip-hop legends Bliss n Eso will bring their electric energy and unmatched flow to audiences across Australia. The tour promotes the band’s recent album The Sun but classics like ‘This is For You’ and ‘Addicted’ may still make the setlist.
Bliss n’ Eso juxtapose light and dark, blissful and melancholy, and strong and vulnerable. Even in sombre experiences, The Sun finds hope, heightening the sense of release found on the album.
When: Sunday 13 March, from 6:30 pm to 9:30 pm
Where: Commonwealth Park
This year’s Symphony in the Park will feature award-winning singer-songwriter Lior with the Canberra Symphony Orchestra. The annual autumn concert at Commonwealth Park features classical and contemporary music that is both soothing and uplifting. Bring your picnic basket and a chair and enjoy the evening of free music in the park. Leading food stalls will tempt your tastebuds with delicious cuisines from around the world.
When: Sunday 13 March, from 3 pm
Where: Transit Bar
Cost: From $49. Get your tickets here
‘Transit Returns’ marks the comeback of Canberra’s long-running live music institution. The iconic venue is finally open again, with special guests Dune Rats and a line-up filled with Canberra’s finest bands. Sputnik Sweetheart, Parklands, Slow Dial and Slagatha Christie round out a huge lineup of live music to be played on the famous ‘Soul Defender’ in the heart of Canberra City. The event is taking place inside Transit Bar.
When: Sunday 13 March and Monday 14 March, from 3 pm
Where: Thoroughbred Park
Cost: From $25. Get your tickets here
Black Opal Stakes, held on the Sunday of the Canberra Day long weekend, features a day of horse racing, fashions on the field, DJs, and a famous atmosphere. The following day, Canberra Day is also the TAB Canberra Cup Day – a family day with show rides, pony rides, and more.
When: Sunday 13 March, from 4 pm to 7 pm
Where: Corin Forest
Cost: From $10. Get your tickets here
Kopasetic are an acoustic six-piece Canberra band specialising in the fusion of roots, folk and reggae music. Their originals and creative covers thoroughly explore the limits of these genres – venturing from heavy off-beat grooves to energetic Celtic instrumentals. Pack your picnic blanket and make the most of the long weekend with live music in the mountains at Corin Park. They´ll even be operating the Alpine Slide late, so there is something for the whole family.
When: Monday 14 March, from 11 am
Where: Commonwealth Park
Commonwealth Park will come to life with a showcase of multicultural community activities to celebrate the naming, and now the culture, of Canberra. Food, drinks, and entertainment from all over the world will be available. There will be performances highlighting our cultural diversity and vibrancy, activities for local community groups, games for kids, and entertainment for the whole family.