Museum of Contemporary Art Sydney (MCA)

Museum of Contemporary Art

The Museum of Contemporary Art Building is unmistakable

A Sydney icon the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) is a magnet for art lovers, tourists and families. The museum is dedicated to showcasing the work of living artists both Australian and international. Housed in a beautiful sandstone building on Sydney Harbour, the Museum of Contemporary Art is home to more than 4,000 works. The art spans all forms including paintings, photos, sculptures, as well as moving art such as video and digital mediums.

Embarrassingly I haven’t been to the MCA for a long time but wow I loved my morning here. It is a really quiet place, uncluttered with wide open spaces and not surprisingly it was pretty busy even on a weekday.

Here are my top 5 things to do at the Museum of contemporary Art.

1. Fall in love with the temporary exhibitions (Level 1 and 3)

Museum of Contemporary Art

Be inspired  by the artwork by Kaylene Whiskey

The MCA  hosts changing temporary exhibitions throughout the year. The exhibitions will generally last from two to four months which gives everyone plenty of time to see them! Check out the MCA What’s On timetable to see what is showing when you plan to visit.

Admission to the galleries and temporary exhibitions is free. Entry fees only apply to the MCA’s major summer exhibition, the Sydney International Art Series.

2. Discover the Museums permanent exhibition (Level 2)

Museum of Contemporary Art

Today Tomorrow Yesterday

Some of the Museum of Contemporary Art’s collection is displayed in a permanent exhibition titled ‘Today Tomorrow Yesterday’. The exhibition is full of fascinating paintings, sculptures, and digital artworks. The exhibition is dedicated to exploring how history impacts art today.

Included within this exhibition is an excellent Aboriginal art display.

Level 2 is also host to the Inside/Out room which provides visitors with access to online information about the MCA’s collection including details of past exhibitions and interviews with artists.

3. Hop on a FREE guided tour

Mabel Juli Garnkiny Ngarranggarni

Enjoy this striking piece by Mabel Juli, titled Garnkiny Ngarranggarni

An excellent way to see the Museum of Contemporary Art Sydney is to connect with one of their guided tours.

Managed by volunteers the tours run at various times throughout the day and have a maximum of 10 visitors per tour. Tours focus on different areas of the museum so make sure to check tour times and themes before you go so you don’t miss out!

4. Give the kids a culture hit

Museum of Contemporary Art

Kids will love exploring this lifesize artwork by Mikala Dwyer

I will admit the Museum of Contemporary Art doesn’t seem overly child friendly at first sight but don’t let that put you off if you want to bring the kidlets.

Throughout the Museum there are interactive displays that the kids will love as well as some great organised tours. Parents and carers with young babies (under 12 months) can enjoy Art Baby, children aged 3 to 5 years can enjoy an Art Safari, and there are great school holiday activities for the older kids.

Certain artworks also have tips on how parents can engage with their children to help them explore the art.

5. Soak up the view on the Sculpture Terrace

Museum of Contemporary Art Terrace

Beautiful even on a moody day

The terrace is located on level 4 of the Museum of Contemporary Art Sydney. There is a cafe here (great spot if you have some money for a coffee) and a huge terrace with excellent views to the Harbour Bridge and Opera House. The Queen Elizabeth was in port the day I visited but the view was still great.

Freedays summary 

  • Entry: Free
  • Toilets: Yes
  • Wheelchair friendly: Yes
  • Free carparking: No
  • Free BBQ facilities: No
  • Time to spend here: 1 to 2 hours
  • Food available: Yes
  • Address: 140 George Street, The Rocks, Sydney NSW 2000
  • Further details: Visit Museum of Contemporary Art Gallery Sydney directory listing

More free things to do 

After exploring the gallery why not:

  • Enjoy the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney and Mrs Macquarie’s Chair
  • Wander through Circular Quay
  • See Cadmans Cottage


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