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The relatively new Darling Square is a vibrant mix of hip and modern shops, eateries and bars in Haymarket. Nestled beside Chinatown, there's a lot to discover in this innovative urban playground with culture and entertainment providing unexpected experiences and memorable moments.
From the circular building of The Darling Exchange to the laneways of retailers, pop-up art installations and activations, you'll find something enthralling around every corner. For Lunar New Year, you're in for an even bigger treat.
Darling Square, as an official partner with the impressive Lunar Lanes activation, will light up to celebrate the Year of the Rat with a host of sights and sounds that will have you mesmerised. Framing the entrance at Little Pier Street are the Moon Gates, 2.7m tall, featuring rat motifs and lilies (the flower considered most lucky for this zodiac). Designed by Sydney-based artist Louise Zhang, the gates are a traditional welcome that offer good fortune to those who pass through them.
A large scale illuminated Year of the Rat themed interactive installation provides more colour as do the Lucky Lunar Lamp Posts that light up the Square with 40 bright red gloss sculpted rats climbing up them, simultaneously creating a sensation of movement and animation of the structure. With music too, the light show runs every 15mins. You can also touch the pipes of the posts to activate the lights and the sound of a bell.
Lunar New Year festivities also bring music and dance. A mix of Malaysian drumming, Asian pop and contemporary music performances, plus DJ entertainment, will begin in the Square from 2pm on 25 January.
There's plenty of amazing food and beverages to devour with pop-up carts and stalls, amongst permanent dining options. You'll find Lunar specials from some establishments, such as, limited edition lobster dumplings and dragon ball ice cream from Made in China, Yee Sang raw fish salad (a Chinese New Year delicacy) from Dopa by Devon and an organic red beetroot noodle dish from IIKO Mazesoba (celebrating the lucky colour of red).
Be sure to explore the other retailers in this precinct. You never know what gems you'll find, like Five Beauty, who are offering lucky door prizes where you can win discounts on beauty, nails and make-up.
Getting to Darling Square is easy with the Hay Street Light Rail on its doorstep (alight at Paddy's Market stop), else it is a 10min walk from Central or Town Hall stations and 5mins from Darling Harbour. Parking is available at Wilson car park on Zollner Circuit.