Annually, for the two weeks prior to Canberra Day in early March, the public buildings in the Parliamentary Triangle become canvases and turn into illuminated public artworks. The National Library, Questacon (Science Museum), the National Portrait Gallery, the National Art Gallery, Old Parliament House and Parliament House are all lit up via projected images in an event called Enlighten. Even the water feature on the avenue up to the High Court bust into flames in 2014.
You can easily walk between all these venues within the Parliamentary Triangle south of the lake..
In past years the projections were mainly static (changing every couple of minutes) images. 2014 saw the incorporation of many more moving images – the best being on the National Portrait Gallery and Questacon (just below).
The event which is complemented by bands in the park area, street theatre and late opening hours in the galleries (entrance free or with fee for special exhibitions as during normal hours) attracts thousands of people each year though 2014 numbers (based on the nights I attended) were significantly down on those of 2013 which coincided with Canberra’s Centenary celebrations.
While food is available via a number of stalls (much to few) I recommend you eat before going or take a picnic with you as the queues for food can be dreadfully long. However, if you do need a drink, (and who doesn’t?), check out the purpose built wine bar in the lobby of the National Library (above) which also hosts a live band to amuse you while you imbibe.
An additional program of paid events is also timed to coincide with Enlighten. As this varies from year to year I suggest you check the program on the website below for details.
Enlighten runs from 8pm to 10pm (midnight on Friday and Saturdays). The galleries/museums, food vendors etc are open earlier so I suggest you get there a bit before 8pm as parking becomes difficult if you are driving.
A great evening out and not to be missed if you are in Canberra.
The event is free. Picture included are from 2013 and 2014.
Address: Parliamentary Triangle
Directions: Various venues – check website for specific locations as they change a little year on year.