Canberra's ultimate arts and culture checklist

Canberra's ultimate arts and culture checklist

From impressive national art collections to intimate galleries where you can meet the makers, Canberra sure knows how to put on a show.

Get your hit of exceptional arts and culture at some of Australia’s most iconic museums and art galleries.

  1. 1

    Canberra Glassworks

    Canberra Glassworks is Australia’s only cultural centre that is wholly dedicated to contemporary glass art, with a workspace for glass artists and a gallery for those interested in the craft of working with this delicate material. Explore exhibitions in its two dedicated spaces, watch art in the making in the Hotshop, sign up for a class, or browse the shop for something to take home.

    Visit Canberra Glassworks
  2. 2

    Nishi Gallery

    Nishi Gallery in the creative NewActon precinct is a blank space for artists and curators to display all types of visual art and also plays host to some performances. This contemporary gallery is nestled next to Parlour Wine Room, perfect for an alfresco drink afterward.

    Visit Nishi Gallery
  3. 3

    National Portrait Gallery

    Considering the idea of a portrait gallery wasn’t really floated until the early 1990s, the breadth and quality of the National Portrait Gallery, which opened in 2008, is exceptional. The gallery shares the history of Australia, revealed by the people who shaped it and the artists who captured their images. One of the most popular artworks here, Howard Arkley’s portrait of Nick Cave, was one of the first commissioned by the gallery.

    Visit the National Portrait Gallery
  4. 4

    National Gallery of Australia

    There are more than 160,000 works in the National Gallery of Australia’s collections, all of which belong to the Australian people. There’s something for everyone, with the permanent collections rotated regularly and outstanding, often exclusive travelling exhibitions gracing the light-filled galleries. Even if you just see the Australian works (don’t miss John Olsen’s astonishing Sydney sun), you’ve witnessed some of the creativity that has shaped the nation. But, of course, you should venture further to view Jackson Pollock’s Blue poles.

    Visit the National Gallery of Australia
  5. 5

    Craft ACT: Craft Design and Centre

    Make your way over to Craft ACT: Craft and 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 city centre

    Visit Craft ACT: Craft and Design Centre
  6. 6

    Australian War Memorial

    A shrine and an expansive museum dedicated to the men and women who have served for our country, many people consider the Australian War Memorial to be one of the most important landmarks in Australia. Discover the stories of individuals involved in overseas conflicts and connect with events that helped to shape Australia. Don’t miss the moving Last Post each day when a different person who gave their life is remembered.

    Visit the Australian War Memorial
  7. 7

    National Museum of Australia

    Everything you ever wanted to know about our amazing nation – its history, land, culture and people – is exhibited within the walls of the National Museum of Australia, an architecturally stunning museum. Some of the country’s most important historical collections spanning the environment, sport, Indigenous culture and fashion are under the one roof. Check out the Phar Lap collection (the racehorse’s huge heart is on display) and wander the various galleries, expanding your knowledge at every turn.

    Visit the National Museum of Australia
  8. 8

    Beaver Galleries of Australia

    Once a local secret but now considered a national treasure, Beaver Galleries of Australia can be found in Deakin. Its extraordinary selection of artworks attracts visitors all year round. With a regularly changing exhibition program, four gallery spaces and a sculpture garden, you're guaranteed to see something new each visit.

    Visit the Beaver Galleries of Australia
  9. 9

    National Library of Australia

    Of course there are books, but there’s so much more to the National Library of Australia, Australia's largest library. Discover what the library describes as ‘the greatest collection in the world’ relating to Australia and its people. Rare books, magazines, photographs, artworks, maps and oral history… you’ll find it all. Uncover new knowledge from over 10 million items at the National Library of Australia.

    Visit the National Library of Australia
  10. 10

    Parliament House

    This is where the decisions affecting the nation are made. While that’s significant in itself, Parliament House, an extraordinary building on Capital Hill offers much to explore and enjoy. Hanging in the Great Hall, the tapestry of an Arthur Boyd painting of eucalypts is truly magnificent. One of the largest tapestries in the world (20m x 9m), it took 14 full-time weavers at the Victorian Tapestry Workshop two years to complete it.

    Visit Parliament House
  11. 11

    Canberra Airport

    You read correctly. Canberra Airport helps get you to and from the nation's capital, but it has pioneered the idea of creating a stimulating environment for travellers in Australia. Over eight sculptures by renowned artists call the Canberra Airport home, including Perception and Reality by Andrew Rogers, a 7.5 metre bronze sculpture -(Australia's largest cast figurative sculpture, in fact) and Journeys by Phil Price, a kinetic, wind-activated sculpture that graces the entrance to the Airport.

    Visit Canberra Airport

Sound interesting? Plan your own itinerary with the help of our planner app. Download for free today from the iTunes Store or Google Play  and start planning your ultimate arts and culture escape.