Whether you’re a culture vulture, history buff, sports fan or food lover, there are plenty of reasons to plan a visit to Canberra this summer.

Big summer skies, alfresco dining and the scent of the Australian bush spell summer in the nation’s capital. But if long, lazy days set the scene, it’s Canberra’s cultural and other attractions that draw visitors into her embrace.

Around man-made Lake Burley Griffin, which turned the ripe old age of 50 in 2014, are many of the country’s most venerable institutions. Not only do they highlight Australia’s journey as a nation, it’s through them that you can experience the essence of Australia.

Let your Aussie pride come to the fore with the Australia Celebrates Live concert in Federation Mall on 25 January. The line-up boasts some of the hottest names in Australian music, and the winners of the Australian of the Year Awards are announced at this family-friendly event.

Pride takes on great poignancy at the Australian War Memorial, where the World War I galleries have been redeveloped to mark the centenary of the war. From 2014 to 2018, the names of each of the 62,000 Australians who gave their lives during the war will be projected onto the Hall of Memory. It’s guaranteed there won’t be a dry eye in the house.

The National Museum of Australia’s Spirited exhibition, showing until 9 March, tells of the enduring relationship between Australians and their horses. Accor Hotels has partnered with the museum to provide a range of packages so you can hop along for the ride.

There will be more reflection and soul-searching at A Ticket to Paradise? hosted by the National Archives of Australia until 9 March. Through archival film, audio, images and an interactive globe, the exhibition looks at how the government sold ‘the dream’ of immigration from the 1940s to the 1990s.

Shhh! Pop into the café at the National Archives and flip through a book or magazine that was once prohibited. Learn the history of Australian censorship in the café’s new display, Banned.

The National Gallery of Australia’s blockbuster exhibition, James Turrell: A Retrospective, on show from 13 December, promises contemporary art like you’ve never seen. Working with light and space, the American artist has purpose-built spectacular installations for Canberra.

If sport is more your scene, pull up stumps for some top cricket action when Canberra hosts three games during the ICC Cricket World Cup in February and March. Catch more cricket action at Manuka Oval at the Prime Minister’s XI vs England match on 14 January and the T20 Big Bash League final on 28 January.

Between 10 and 23 January, Canberra Stadium will host seven AFC Asian Cup matches, including a quarterfinal. It will be the first time that Asia’s biggest football tournament is hosted outside of Asia.

Live music, comedy and a collection of short films will make for a fun night under the stars on 31 January at Flix in the Stix in the Australian National Botanic Gardens.

Follow the Poacher’s Way for food and wine events, twilight concerts and art exhibitions during the Summerside Festival throughout February, and experience the world on a plate at the National Multicultural Festival from 13 to 15 February.

During Enlighten, from 27 February to 7 March, amazing architectural projections will shine on Canberra’s cultural attractions – see the city in a whole new light. And as the curtain closes on summer, the ever-popular Balloon Spectacular will launch from the lawns of Old Parliament House from 7 to 15 March.

If you enjoy a good laugh, the Canberra Comedy Festival is back for its third year with a great line-up of national and international comedians. The opening night gala event is on 17 March and the festival runs until 22 March.

Whether you’re a family, a couple or a solo traveller, Canberra is bound to have an event this summer that piques your interest or a story that resonates with you.

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