Looking for ways to entertain the little ones? Here’s a list of what’s on in Sydney for kids and families, from children’s theatre shows to sports camps and events in the school holidays.
What's on for kids?
Free family-friendly events
These dog-friendly markets aren’t just a ritual for locals – loyal visitors from all over Sydney trek to Addison Road Community Centre for organic groceries and a wander around Reverse Garbage. You can find pretty much anything here; vintage clothes, books, rugs, eco food wraps to healing crystals, rice bread and tarot reading. There are plenty of stalls selling seasonal fruit and veg, plus Asian greens, honey and fresh seafood. Pick up a paper lunch bag filled with sweet, mini plums and stop by Brooklyn Boy Bagels for a poppy seed dough with cream cheese, lox, dill and caper schmear. If you visit on the first or fourth Sunday of the month, the longest lines will be found at La Casa Latina – a pop-up diner where you can eat authentic Mexican food. It’s a major drawcard for tamales, chilaquiles, tacos al pastor and pazole. Wash it all down with a Michelada – a popular Mexican drink that combines beer, lime, tomato juice, Worcestershire and hot sauce. If the picnic tables are full, there’s plenty of grass behind the community hall to throw down a rug – just watch out for the pony rides passing through. Find the best markets in Sydney.
UPDATE: This exhibition will not re-open at Art Gallery NSW and can only be viewed online. Melbourne-based artist Julia Ciccarone has taken home the $5,000 2021 People’s Choice Award for her spectacular self-portrait ‘The Sea Within’. She painted it at home in Alphington during the Victorian capital’s extended 2020 lockdown. The work depicts her wrapped up in a beloved blanket from her childhood, with her head resting on a suitcase that her father carried when he migrated to Australia from Italy during the ‘50s. The ocean rages behind her. “When I painted this work, life was intense and overwhelming,” Ciccarone says. “It’s hard to believe that we are still experiencing times of great uncertainty, more than a year on. I believe we share in a collective trauma. But the ocean, which features large in my life and art, is my healing place.” While we might not be able to visit Art Gallery of NSW IRL right now, you can still admire Ciccarone’s work thanks to their digital walk-through. The Archibald, Wynne and Sulman Prize exhibitions have been given the digital treatment, with a swish 360-degree immersive experience. It’s heaps of fun to explore, with the self-guided tour flagging loads of interesting facts along the way as you click on the works to read their labels. Elsewhere you can admire Peter Wegner’s Archibald Prize-winning ‘Portrait of Guy Warren at 100’, and Yolŋu painter and printmaker Nyapanyapa Yunupiŋu’s Wynne Prize-winner, ‘Garak – night sky’. Also, look out for Sulm
UPDATE, June 28: As of June 26, the Greater Sydney region including the Central Coast, the Blue Mountains and Wollongong is under a compulsory two-week lockdown until 11.59pm on July 9. Many events in Sydney have therefore been cancelled or postponed until after this period. The list of Japanese-born, Melbourne-based artist Kiki Ando’s accomplishments is impressive. Fusing traditional practices like Butoh dance, hand-crafted ceramics and the ancient art of Kamiko – creating beautiful, wearable paper clothing – with contemporary sensibilities and expressive live performance, she's also an accomplished filmmaker with a flair for animation. You’ll be able to soak up all of this awesome at her latest exhibition. Hosted by the Japan Foundation, Sydney, and showing from July 9 to September 25, Highest Mountain and Deepest Bay promises to be an exhilarating look at an incredible career. Showing over 60 works, it includes her latest animation, Rare Deep Sea Fish Develop My Unique Personality. Her multi-disciplinary craft has also been influenced by time spent in Berlin, where she collaborated with electronic pop band Private Posh Club, and she's worked in puppetry and prop design for East Timorese film project Studio 3. In other words, there’s a lot to get excited about. Ando will travel to Sydney for opening night on Friday, July 9 at 6pm, where you’ll be able to see her perform live, set to the beat of electronic and ambient star Ai Yamamoto. The kids can get involved too, with a p
Bar Pho has been a staple of the weekly produce and snack fare for the past eight years, and the warming basil, beef and star anise-spiked stock makes a solid argument for passing on the usual bacon and egg breakfast. This stall along with Fritter House (try the lion’s share with chipolatas, sour cream, two big corn fritters, bacon and salsa) and the Raclette Shack (oozy cheese-topped potatoes are always a great idea at 10am) make the markets an excellent brunching destination. Grab some grub, BYO picnic mat and sprawl out on the lawn before making your way to the produce section. In summer there’s juicy pineapples, bright peaches and greenery aplenty from Kurrawong Organics, and Mayfarm Flowers always have a great selection of native and tropical blooms to brighten up your home. You’ll also regularly find SOL Cups peddling reusable coffee cups, AB Cheese bringing all the dairy goods, organic nut butters from Chunky Dave and hand carved wood pieces from Byron Bay Chopping Boards. There’s also doggy ‘parking’, live acoustic music and pop-up yoga classes on the lawn. In inclement weather the markets still go ahead, but often with reduced stalls. They also don’t open until 9am, so if you’re an early bird, pop across to the beach first for a walk or swim. The Farmers Market is every Saturday, followed by the less produce-driven Bondi Markets in the same location on Sundays. Find more best markets in Sydney.
Every year since 2017, the Sydney Opera House’s gleaming sails have been transformed by light and sound into a celebration of the lore and artistry of First Nations people. During Badu Gili – which means ‘water light’ in Gadigal language – mesmerising projections undulate on the world-famous canvas, showcasing the work of Indigenous artists. This year’s theme is 'Wonder Women'. Overseen by Coby Edgar, the Art Gallery of New South Wales’s curator of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art, the dazzling array showcases the work and stories of six female First Nations artists, Marlene Gilson, Kaylene Whiskey, Sally Mulda, Judith Inkamala, Marlene Rubuntja and the late Aunty Elaine Russell. The traditional owners of Bennelong Point, the site of the Opera House, know it as Tubowgule, or ‘where the knowledge waters meet’. The glimmering spot has been a gathering place for community, ceremony and storytelling for thousands of years, long before the harbourside icon was erected. You’ll be able to watch the mesmerising, six-minute long animated light show daily from April 23 until the end of the year, kicking off at sunset, or around about 5.30pm, but check the Opera House website for more details. It’s funded by the NSW Government through the Culture Up Late initiative. Want more First Nations art? Check out Hayley Millar Baker's There We Were All in One Place.