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Large block letters spelling out Enlighten on the steps of the National Library of Australia building

Explore Canberra's iconic buildings from day to night during Enlighten Festival

Updated 18 Mar 2024

A visit to Canberra's iconic buildings are a must-do on your trip to the capital  

Canberra is well-known for its world-class national attractions and visiting during 3 - 13 March will allow you to see them come to life at night for Illuminations @ Enlighten Festival. 

Start your day experiencing all there is to do at Australian Parliament House, National Portrait Gallery, National Library of Australia, Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House, National Gallery of Australia and Questacon. Come evening, marvel at the iconic buildings in a stunning display of light, sound and movement.

Illuminations @ Enlighten Festival programming will start from 6pm, with the architectural projections lighting up from 8-11 pm each night.

You won't want to miss Pride Weekend @ Enlighten Festival (10-12 March) where you will see the buildings become canvases for specially designed pride themed projections.

Young female tour guide shows a young woman in a mobility chair through portraits hung on the walls inside Australian Parliament House.
Australian Parliament House

Australian Parliament House

Set out to Australian Parliament House where you'll find some of Australia’s finest historical treasures, symbolic architecture, and contemporary art on display throughout the building.

Embark on an Unconformity Geology Tour (4 - 18 March) with an expert geologist to understand the earth in the Canberra region. 

Discover the birdlife, insects and trees featured in the  Australian Parliament House Illumination in a Dusk Artist talk (8 March) with designers Camila De Gregorio and Christopher Macaluso. 

Mum and daughter looking at portrait of Hugh Jackman.
Art installation in front of National Portrait Gallery at Enlighten Illuminations

National Portrait Gallery 

Gain a greater understanding of Australia's identity, history, creativity, culture, and diversity through portraiture, stories, and a myriad of programs in the award-winning building of the National Portrait Gallery.

We recommend starting with the Highlights Collection Tour for a free 30-minute guided tour of the collection and building.

Woman reading book in front of bookshelf
Illuminations projected on the National Library of Australia building
Illuminations projected on the National Library as part of the Enlighten Festival 2021.

National Library of Australia 

The National Library of Australia is much more than an impressive collection of books. Find remarkable items from the Library’s collections in their Treasures Gallery, or explore the latest blockbuster displays in the Exhibition Gallery.

The Library's foyer will be transformed after-hours into a fabulous jazz lounge (3 - 11 March) and the entrance will provide entertainment for all ages including giant lawn games, hula-hooping, face painting and  a Jazzy Jumpers skipping rope demonstration.

Furniture in an office set up
Illuminations projected on Old Parliament House building

Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House

From the red heels Julie Bishop wore when she announced her resignation from Parliament to interactive exhibitions for the kids, this museum housed in Old Parliament House is rich in history and political intrigue. The collection of political cartoons is a crowd favourite.

The imaginative family space PLAYUP has hands-on activities to educate, excite and challenge young minds.  

Family and tour guide in a gallery
Illuminations projected on the National Gallery of Australia building

National Gallery of Australia 

With an evolving collection of over 155,000 works of art including the world’s largest collection of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art, the National Gallery of Australia is sure to impress. 

See if you can find all 26 masterpieces in the National Gallery of Australia’s sculpture garden.

Two people wearing rainbow coloured tie dye lab coats, standing behind a liquid nitrogen science experiment.
A family standing outside the Questacon building.
Illuminations projected on the Questacon building

Questacon 

Questacon will inspire minds with the world of science and technology.

Watch enthralling live science demonstrations and visit Questacon’s galleries where you can free fall smoothly down a tall vertical slide, feel the force of an earthquake, watch lightning strike twice, and see a hive with 10,000 bees.

Don't miss Atomic Carnival (3 - 11 March) to see Questacon's deck transform into a carnival playground with flashing fairy floss, cronuts, glowing slushies, an Atomics Glow Bar and more.

Hot air balloons above lake and museum
Canberra Balloon Spectacular
Art installations at Enlighten Festival
Enlighten Illuminations
Art installation in front of National Portrait Gallery at Enlighten Illuminations
Enlighten Illuminations
People enjoying food and drink at a market at Enlighten Festival
Enlighten Festival
A musical duo singing and playing guitar at Enlighten Festival.
Enlighten Illuminations
A circus performer at Enlighten Festival
Enlighten Illuminations
Illuminations projected on the National Library as part of the Enlighten Festival 2021.
Enlighten Illuminations
Large neon letters spelling out Enlighten on the steps of the National Library of Australia
Enlighten Festival Illuminations
People taking photos in front of hot air balloons by the lake
Canberra Balloon Spectacular
20 hot air balloons above the lake and hills of Canberra
Canberra Balloon Spectacular
People watching hot air balloons inflate and taking photos
Canberra Balloon Spectacular
Large crowd watching free musical performance
Symphony in the Park

#EnlightenFestival Gallery

See Enlighten Festival fans' favourite moments from past years. Where will your perfect picture moment be? Share your snaps using #VisitCanberra and #EnlightenFestival.

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