Each year, more than 200,000 people converge on Sydney’s Oxford Street glitter strip for the Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade and Party.
Traditionally held on the first Saturday in March, the colourful parade runs for 1.7 kilometres up Oxford Street and along Flinders Street towards Moore Park.
From its origins as a 1978 political protest that resulted in the violent arrest of 53 people, the parade is now a well-oiled spectacle that shuts down the “gaybourhood” on the eastern fringe of Sydney’s CBD.
More than 200 floats, up to 12,000 participants and hundreds of thousands on the sidelines make this one of the most colourful nights on the Sydney calendar.
Pre-show celebrations usually start at 7.15 pm with the parade often getting under way around 7.45 pm. But with many roads around the parade route closing at 5pm, it’s best to get there as early as you can.
To catch a bird’s eye view of the parade, you can either reserve a seat in one of the ticketed areas or battle it our for a prime spot along the parade route.
The Parade Route
Kicking off at the corner of College and Oxford Streets, the parade runs for around four hours so you’ll want to grab yourself a comfy spot to watch all the action.
The best vantage points for the parade are obviously along the 1.7 km parade route, which starts at Whitlam Square at Liverpool and College Streets and runs up Oxford Street to Taylor Square. The parade then turns right down Flinders Street and heads to Moore Park.
With more than 200,000 revellers expected to turn out for the parade, it’s best to plan ahead and preferably get there early.
Many streets will be blocked off, so leave the car at home and take public transport or walk to the area. Visit www.transportnsw.info to plan your trip.
If you haven’t already secured seats in the VIP viewing area (they’re now sold out), or you haven’t been invited to one of the many parties in high-rise apartments along the parade route, then here are your next best options:
On the first Saturday in March, Oxford Street is usually heaving with people. If you can get a front row spot close to the action, then it’s potentially one of the best areas to enjoy the night.
Some restaurants along the strip are continuing to trade on the night. But be warned, it will be a lock in and you won’t be able to leave while the parade is under way. It’s one option to consider if you want to sit back with a champagne or vino and avoid the crush.
Taylor Square at Flinders Street
This is one of the more popular areas to watch the parade, so take your milk crate and get there early to grab your spot. A dedicated drop-off and pick-up zone on Forbes Street is close by, making it easily accessible.
Short and Flinders Street
Near the end of the parade route, this area is often less crowded and is more suitable for families with children. It’s usually less crowded than Taylor Square and you’ll still get to see the parade as it makes its way along Flinders St.
Flinders Street and South Dowling Street
This spot is right near Drivers Triangle and you’ll get a great view of the parade as it moves along Flinders St.
Local Gay Publications and Resources:
Have a Happy and Safe Mardi Gras
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