There are blockbuster art shows happening in Sydney this month – read on for what you should check out and where. Sydney Festival 2020 has also been announced and with all the end-of-year planning in everyone’s lives right now it’s easy to forget to book. And after seeing shows and reading programs, you should eat some food and drink some drinks. This is what I’ll be up to – follow my adventures here.

Go (inner) west
Sydney’s inner west proves again it’s a hotbed of deliciousness. Here are eight newbies to try.

Pretty things to buy
Sydney-born fashion and lifestyle studio Alex and Trahanas has released its latest collection and we want everything. This oval lobster serving platter in particular. It Could be a good place to direct people if they want to know what to get you for Christmas.

Or if you are looking for something lovely to hang on your wall, check out Broadsheet Editions – a curated edit of images by past and present Broadsheet photographers. Collectively the photos celebrate the best of city culture, from food to drink, art and the outdoors. I particularly love the work of Sydney photographer Nikki To, who has captured some of our best pics, including her shots of Bondi Icebergs.

Ride the fizz train
What a Fizzer 2 is about drinks with bubbles: pét-nats (pétillant-naturels), grower champagne, lambrusco, small-batch sparkling wines, cider and wild-ferment beers. It’s happening on Saturday November 30 at Paddington's Unicorn Hotel and will offer tastings of more than 100 wines, beers and ciders from legendary Aussie and international producers. It’s presented by Enmore's P&V Wine + Liquor Merchants and Newtown's Mary's.

Purple rain, purple rain
The arrival of the lilac, trumpet-shaped jacaranda flowers signify the coming of the warmer months, and according to Peter Butler, senior arborist at Centennial Parklands, "We’re currently in peak bloom." Here's where you can find those purple beauties.

Eat fantastic pasta
We were convinced Ragazzi was going to be amazing even before it opened (I mean, that name), but now that it’s pumping out bowls of cacio e pepe and goat ragu mafaldine (long ribbon-shaped pasta) in a fun, vibe-y CBD laneway, we can confirm that we were right – it is amazing.

That’s because accomplished pasta-crafter Scott Williams is in the kitchen (Movida Sydney, Bacco Osteria e Espresso, and the other co-owners are Nathanial Hatwell and Matthew Swieboda of two of Sydney’s best wine bars, Love, Tilly Devine and Dear Sainte Eloise, and Felix Colman (ex-Movida). The combo ensures superb vino and really fabulous Italian food.

Speaking of Italian food
There’s also Cicciabella. Chef Mitch Orr from now-closed Acme is heading up the kitchen and he’s turning out some damn fine food. Standouts include the puttanesca pizzetta, the fire-blasted whole-roasted fish and the smashable cocktails. In fact, the cocktails are some of the best I’ve had in recent times. Matt Whiley, from boundary-pushing bar Scout (at the top level of The Dolphin), has crafted them and they are ace.

What’s the collective noun for “many great art shows?”
A bonanza, perhaps? Because that’s what we’ve got in Sydney right now.

There’s the very fun and fascinating AGNSW show, Japan Supernatural staring superstar Japanese artist Takashi Murakami. For the show the gallery commissioned a huge piece by Murakami – the largest single painting to enter AGNSW’s international collection. It is presented alongside 180 wildly imaginative works by Japanese artists from the 18th century to the present.

The MCA has the bright, bold new exhibition by Chinese-Australian artist Guan Wei. It covers four decades of Wei's often-humorous paintings, animations and prints interrogating contemporary Australian and Chinese social life and politics.

Opening November 8, also at the MCA, is the first major survey exhibition in the Southern Hemisphere of British artist Cornelia Parker. The artist explodes, flattens and reinvents everyday objects in new and haunting ways to create large-scale site-specific installations, so it should be great.

Provocateur and performance artist Mike Parr has recreated Melbourne’s Anna Schwartz gallery inside Eveleigh’s Carriageworks. The gallery is lauded for its emphasis on artists’ creative freedom and as you move through the space you will witness Parr’s 2017 performance of Left Field [for Robert Hunter] as well as see the work he’s done on the walls around it.

Things to book
A public service announcement: the 2020 Sydney Festival program is out and tickets are on sale. The three-week event kicks off January 8 and runs to the 26th.

Broadsheet’s Best New Restaurants list
We’ve created a Best New Restaurants Guide – an edit of the finest eateries that have opened in Sydney in the past year, updated each month.

Some are redefining the way we eat and will go on to become classics. Others will be shorter lived yet loved in their moment. Either way, these are the spots we’re enjoying eating and drinking at right now. Bookmark this page. Or use MyBroadsheet to organise your picks.

Sarah Norris is editor of Broadsheet Sydney and if you missed her picks from last month, check them out here.