Arts and Australian culture in the nation's capital
With some of Australia’s most iconic museums and art galleries scattered around the city, Canberra, the nation’s capital is a treasure trove for art and culture.
Your guide to a great weekend in Canberra
This Canberra weekend itinerary is curated by Urban Walkabout. Plan a weekend in Canberra and discover some of Australia’s most esteemed artists and vibrant history. Arrive on Friday night and leave at your leisure on Sunday evening.
Day one: Saturday
Breakfast: Močan & Green Grout
Fitted out with reclaimed materials and eclectic pieces, Močan & Green Grout plates up mouth-watering food made from sustainable, local produce. Redecorated by artists regularly, this café is the perfect place to start your journey through Canberra.
Morning: ANU Drill Hall Gallery
After breakfast, head over to the ANU Drill Hall Gallery, home to an impeccable selection of artworks and exhibitions by leading Australian and international contemporary artists and curators. Check out Sidney Nolan’s 9-panel panorama, Riverbend, which is on permanent display in Gallery 4 and was recently nominated within the top 10 art treasures of Canberra.
Ranked third in the ACT section of the Gourmet Traveller’s 2015 Restaurant Guide, Temporada delivers a quirky take on all your favourite cuisines. Artfully plated, the dishes are as much a visual feast as they are delicious. The vanilla custard, mandarin sorbet, meringue and citrus salad is a must try.
Afternoon: Palace Electric Cinema
Once you’ve eaten your fill, unwind with a movie at Palace Electric Cinema in NewActon. With a retro fit out, this luxury cinema hosts international film festivals, houses a Prosecco Bar and presents art-house and independent films alongside new releases.
Craft ACT: Craft Design Centre
After a movie, make your way over to Craft ACT: Craft & Design Centre and trawl through the unique handcrafted items on offer. Featuring products by local crafters and design artists, you’ll find only the most cutting-edge designs, located in one convenient space within Canberra’s CBD.
Dinner: Italian and Sons
For authentic Italian flavours and wine, Italian and Sons offers a modern take on the Roman trattoria. With a seasonal approach to cooking, and dishes like braised lamb shoulder, panna cotta and an extensive antipasti menu, this one-hatted restaurant is Canberra's eatery of choice for a traditional Italian dinner.
Bar: Knightsbridge Penthouse
A wonderful end to a jam-packed day awaits you at Knightsbridge Penthouse in Braddon, an edgy lounge bar with an eclectic fit out and vintage prints adorning the walls. With the artwork constantly changing, local DJs and a bar staff dedicated to helping you choose the perfect drink, this bar will keep you entertained and satisfied all night long.
Day two: Sunday
Situated in the heart of NewActon, kick off day two with an adventurous breakfast at this trendy restaurant-cum-bakery. Functioning also as a bar, the sleek, monochromatic fit out combined with the use of the charred walls from a fire in 2011, saw A. Baker shortlisted in the 2014 Australian Interior Design Awards.
Morning: Beaver Galleries of Australia
Once a local secret but now considered a national treasure, Beaver Galleries of Australia is in Deakin. Its extraordinary selection of artworks attracting visitors all year. With a regularly changing exhibition program, four gallery spaces and a sculpture garden, you're guaranteed to see something new each visit.
Lunch: Urban Pantry
When you've worked up an appetite, head to Manuka for lunch at Urban Pantry, a vintage, rustic style cafe that stocks Sonoma sourdough breads and boutique wines and beers. Featuring dishes like the maple smoked chicken and the chateaux and truffle burger, the inspired menu will leave you salivating.
Afternoon: The Silk Road Gallery
Your stay in Canberra will not be complete until you visit The Silk Road Gallery. An emporium of restored pieces of Chinese furniture and homewares, the boutique is a cultural fix for those wanting to jazz up their homes with an oriental feel. Spend your last couple of hours in the nation's capital browsing the aisles of The Silk Road Gallery, before departing from Canberra at your own leisure.
Canberra's best arts and cultural spots
If you’re planning on staying in Canberra for a little while longer, or you find yourself with some spare time, take a trip to the following locations, recommended by local artist Melinda Willis as the best arts and cultural spots in the city.
The Hamlet, on Lonsdale Street in Braddon, is a group of makers, foodies and local creatives that offer a space for markets, shopping and sampling Canberra street food.
Canberra Glassworks is Australia’s only cultural centre that is wholly dedicated to contemporary glass art. Visitors can view artists working with glass, and even 'Make their Own' glass artwork.
Australian War Memorial
A combination of shrine and world-class museum, the Australian War Memorial is an extensive archive of Australia’s military history.
The National Arboretum Canberra
The National Arboretum Canberra is a place for conservation, display and scientific study of rare, endangered and significant trees.
The National Portrait Gallery
The National Portrait Gallery in the parliamentary triangle aims to increase the understanding of the Australian people – their identity, history, creativity and culture – through portraiture.
This Braddon restaurant delivers modern Australian seasonal cuisine with a casual, energetic service style.
Browse Canberra's largest detailed listing of accommodation options and choices here. You'll find everything from five star luxury to budget options. Check our short break options and if you want to speak to a really friendly and helpful local, just call our Visitors Centre on 1300 554 114. They often have deals on Fridays that are cheaper than online prices!