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Makers & Shakers Market
Photograph: Supplied | Makers & Shakers Market

41 things to do in Sydney this weekend

All the best ways to make the most of your Friday to Monday

Winnie Stubbs
Edited by
Winnie Stubbs
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Sydney’s events schedule is popping off this weekend to keep spirits high as winter officially sets in. For creatives and art fiends, the Makers and Shakers Market is taking over White Bay Cruise Terminal – with a free shuttle bus running all weekend connecting visitors to the nearby Biennale exhibition at the incredible White Bay Power Station. Beer lovers can head to Darling Harbour, where they’ll find Australia's biggest craft beer festival, and cheese fans can beeline for The Rocks, where you’ll find a three day celebration of cheese worth skipping lunch for. If you’re keen for something more up-tempo, make your way to Chippendale, where’ you’ll find the second of a series of laneway parties from the Plate It Forward team. Plus, of course, there’s Vivid – you can check out our full guide to sparkly season over here. Keen to head out of town? These are the best day trips from Sydney. Scroll on for our full list of everything you can get up to in Sydney this weekend.

Want a quiet spot to swim? Check out Sydney's best secret swimming spots.

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The best things to do this weekend

  • Things to do
  • Sydney

If you’ve ever heard talk of secret tunnels and winding labyrinths from World War II that lie forgotten beneath Sydney city, you’re not alone. Well, it turns out, the rumours are true. And the best bit? We can see them with our own eyes – illuminated by a wild light show, laser beams and electronic music. Yes. This is real life. After a successful debut last year, ‘Dark Spectrum’ has taken this historical subterranean network again as part of Vivid Sydney 2024. (Check out our ultimate guide to Vivid 2024 over here.) The entrance to this secret tunnel is hidden in plain sight in one of Sydney’s busiest train station thoroughfares. If you’ve ever grabbed something from the Wynyard Coles, you may not have ever paid too much attention to the emergency access door that’s situated right next to it. Unbeknownst to most of us, this nondescript door has long been the entrance to a series of secret tunnels that lie beneath Wynyard Station. For the last century, these tunnels were the abandoned relics of a city engineer’s grand plans to build a train line between Mosman and the Northern Beaches, but (as it is with many things), this plan fell to the wayside, and into decades of obscurity.  Running until June 15, this wild and immersive light show will take visitors through 1km of the tunnel system, where they will be taken through eight underground rooms that will each be decked out in a vibrant variety of lights, robots, animations and laser shows that have to be seen to be believed. 

  • Art
  • Digital and interactive
  • Sydney

Winter in Sydney can be pretty darn sparkly, with major thanks to Vivid – the annual multidisciplinary festival that lights up the city for a few weeks every year. One particularly glittery feature of the Vivid Sydney 2024 program is Lightscape – an immersive light show that is illuminating the Royal Botanic Garden until June 15. (Lightscape is a paid-entry event, and we reckon the ticket price is well worth it, but if you're looking for free things to do at Vivid, head over here.)Originally created by a group of artists more than a decade ago, Lightscape has transformed spaces around the world into sell-out immersive experiences. And though some Sydneysiders were up in arms about having to pay to access the Botanic Garden (generally a free-to-access public space) during last year's season, once you’ve experienced Lightscape in the flesh, you’ll understand the reasoning. As the sun begins to set over Sydney Harbour, you'll wander under larger-than-life flowers, and tree canopies will come alive with light. Follow the 1.8km illuminated trail as your surroundings morph from one luminous delight into another. Food and drinks are available to purchase along the route, or you can hold out and head to one of the many excellent restaurants that Circular Quay has to offer. Tickets start at $30 for adults ($18 for kids aged 3-12), and the entrance for Lightscape is located at the Queen Elizabeth II Gates, which are right next to the Sydney Opera House forecourt. You can book your tick

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  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Theatre
  • Drama
  • Sydney

Arthur Miller’s Pulitzer-winning 1949 play has lost none of its potency in the last 75 years. Indeed, in our current terrible moment of economic anxiety, the heaviest weight on Willy Loman’s back – the need to make his mortgage payments even as he’s rendered obsolete – will be familiar to many audience members, although perhaps one step removed. Director Neil Armfield anchors this production in the period of the play’s genesis, but the themes remain timeless – beautifully and excruciatingly so. Anthony LaPaglia is our Willy Loman, making his Sydney stage debut at the Theatre Royal in the role that earned him standing ovations when this production debuted in Melbourne. Weighed down by years, responsibilities, and his own bulk, LaPagia’s Loman prowls the stage muttering, half lost in memories, pinning all his hopes on the illusory successes of his adult sons: wastrel womaniser Happy (Ben O’Toole) and former golden boy Biff (Josh Helman), high school football star turned frustrated drifter. Willy’s wife, the long-suffering Linda (Alison Whyte) dutifully dithers around her husband and boys, until she too fractures under the weight of Willy’s unrealised ambitions.  LaPaglia makes for an incredibly obstinate and frustratingly obtuse Willy, his crippling insecurities masked by a thick armour cast from bluster and bravado. Yes, it’s all about the American Dream and the failures thereof – but it’s worth noting that the American Dream has always been America’s chief export, and we’ve a

  • Things to do
  • Food and drink
  • The Rocks

The only thing better than a tonne of French cheese is a tonne of French cheese that’s free. And that's exactly what you will find at Bon Fromage – a three-day cheese festival presented by the French Dairy Interbranch Organisation in conjunction with the European Union to celebrate the beauty of French cheese. The delicious, stinky fest will be taking place from Friday, May 31 to Sunday, June 2, at the Overseas Passenger Terminal's Cargo Hall in Circular Quay. Over the weekend, cheese lovers will be able to taste some of France’s finest cheeses from a 30-metre tasting table with more than 14 varieties. Plus, fromage-admirers can take part in a series of complimentary masterclasses and demonstrations from Sydney’s best cheesemongers, with topics ranging from drinks pairings to comparative tastings and cheese history.  You’ll be able to feast on melted raclette, creamy Camembert and nutty, soft Comté, along with a whole host of others, on top of getting the chance to sample cheesy street food from a variety of food stalls on site. Think: The French Cob Loaf, Lobster House, French Kiss Creperie, Orleans Moules Frites, along with a whole lot of other cheese-centered excellence.  There will be bars across the space to ensure you have the perfect bevvy pairing for your cheesy snacks – and, of course, there will be kilos of French cheese available in the stinky market for purchase. At night, the venue will become a French disco. Francophile fromage fans can get down to a live DJ, wi

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  • Art
  • price 0 of 4
  • Sydney

Are you ready to chase artistic escapades around the city? The Biennale of Sydney is back for its 24th edition from March 9 to June 10, 2024. Whether you’re a dedicated arts fanatic or a casual culture buff, you’ll find something to inspire and provoke you along this epic art trail. The largest contemporary art event of its kind in Australia, the Biennale is taking over six different locations with awe-inspiring installations and intriguing exhibitions. Titled Ten Thousand Suns, this year the festival explores a multiplicity of global cultures, taking on a transgressive spirit as it leans into the origins of Carnivale. As always, the Biennale is free for everyone to visit for a total of 16 weeks.   Of all the locations, White Bay Power Station is absolutely the main character of the Biennale’s 50th year anniversary (and 24th iteration – it takes place every second year). This is the first time the revitalised industrial site will officially open its doors to the public in more than 100 years – and what they’ve accomplished is pretty spectacular. Years of accumulated pigeon poop has been cleared out of the enormous factory spaces, making way for art installations that tower multiple storeys high, and more works hidden in various nooks and crannies. Pop-up bars and brand new bathrooms also set the stage for a packed program of live performances and music curated by Phoenix Central Park. Think of White Bay as a replacement for the role that Cockatoo Island has played in Sydney’s

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Theatre
  • Musicals
  • Darling Harbour

This is it, we have found the yassification of Shakespeare. Fuelled by a playlist of certified pop hits, this jukebox romp billed as “the greatest love story ever remixed” poses a simple but provocative question: What if, instead of joining Romeo in eternal slumber, Juliet decided to live? A contagiously joyous musical spectacular, & Juliet has finally landed at Sydney’s Lyric Theatre after being met with critical acclaim on Broadway and the West End, not to mention the rapturously received Australian debut in Melbourne.  Filled with sing-a-long-able chart-topping bangers made famous by the likes of Britney Spears, The Backstreet Boys, Katy Perry and more from the songbook of Grammy-winning Swedish songwriter/producer Max Martin, the Aussie cast is overflowing with talent in this feel-good, flashy production. & Juliet is Shakespeare remixed for the girls, the gays and the theys... [but does it] really cut it as the feminist reclamation that we are promised? Will you be entertained? Absolutely. Does & Juliet set a new standard for jukebox musicals? Yes. Will you see one of the most diverse and charismatic casts of triple-threats ever assembled on an Australian stage? Heck yeah. Does the story deliver on the feminist retribution we are promised? Not quite. “What if Juliet didn’t kill herself?” Anne Hathaway (played by the enthralling Amy Lehpamer) posits to her husband, William Shakespeare (the ever-charming Rob Mills). “She’s only ever had one boyfriend, and frankly, the endi

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  • Things to do
  • Food and drink
  • Darling Harbour

What do you get when you combine a neon-lit bar that looks like it’s been plucked straight out of Tokyo with five Japanese master magicians? Enter Maho Magic Bar. Part show, part bar. And 100 per cent awe-inspiring.A dazzling 60-minute immersive experience where you can enjoy a drink and a show (but not as you know it), Maho Magic Bar thrilled Sydneysiders when it popped up last year as a part of Sydney Festival. Now, it's returning to the Emerald City – popping up in a specially decorated neon-lit space at Pyrmont Bay Park with limited sessions until June 16.Created by Broad Encounters, the folks behind the award-winning immersive show A Midnight Visit, Maho Magic Bar features an impressive pop-up bar and entertainment venue, inspired by Japan’s electric nightlife scene. Bring along friends, order some drinks – a fun cocktail; sake from three different regions; whisky or shochu perhaps – and get comfortable as you sit back and watch as Maho’s sleight-of-hand superstars delight and surprise with extraordinary magic shows right in front of you, at your table. Think multi-sensory, interactive and just plain jaw-dropping. So, who will be showing you their tricks at Maho Magic Bar? Well, there’s Shirayuri, whose captivating tricks come with a storytelling twist; Kaori Kitazawa, the princess of illusion who’s carving her own space in the industry that’s traditionally ruled by men; renowned infamous daredevil, Sarito, whose repertoire includes needles and gaffer tape; the graceful

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  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Theatre
  • Musicals
  • Haymarket

Few musical references are as iconic as those from Grease. A simple "rama lama lama" or "a wop ba-ba lu-bop a wop bam boom!" may invoke joyful nostalgia, transporting you back to the first time you witnessed John Travolta's gyrating hips or “our” Olivia Newton-John's sweet Sandy smile. For me, it takes me back to my own high school musical experience. With my Pink Lady jacket and Pink Lady sunglasses, the Grease stage is where I first forged my life-long love affair with musical theatre and the passionate community that came with it. That is what musicals are forged on: passion – and this production of Grease: the Musical at Sydney’s Capitol Theatre has an infectious amount of it. Before the 1978 film adaptation cemented Grease’s place in the global pop culture consciousness, this show set in the working-class youth subculture of 1950s Chicago was first staged in 1971. Like any rebellious teen tale, Grease tapped into the angst of young people of the time; it had a '50s style and a '70s attitude. Everyone wanted to be as cool as Kenickie (played here with delectable zeal by Keanu Gonzalez, who has also appeared in Hamilton and West Side Story), as bold as Rizzo (the eye-catching triple threat Mackenzie Dunn, as seen in Hairspray), or as sweet as the nervous Doody (Tom Davis). There were definitely elements of my high school production that built my confidence, brought me out of my shell, and changed my perspective – but the plot wasn't one of them. The musical numbers were jo

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  • Things to do
  • Fairs and festivals
  • Sydney

Just as winter begins to rear its head in the Emerald City, the annual festival of lights, music, ideas and more rolls around: lighting up the city with a multidisciplinary program that gets bigger and brighter every season. Vivid Sydney 2024 is no exception, with a glittering program of lights, music, food and ideas that’s not only sparkly, but surprisingly subversive. Inspired by the theme of Humanity, Vivid Sydney 2024 will use art and experience to interrogate and expand our understanding of the human condition. From Friday, May 24 until Saturday, June 15 2024, expect the city to be transformed into a glittering wonderland of art, inspiration and ideas – with Vivid’s signature light displays acting as a vehicle to usher in a boundary-pushing series of events. This year’s program features thought-provoking discussions, insightful film screenings, immersive street kitchens, interactive artworks and so much more. While many events on the Vivid Sydney 2024 lights program are yet to be announced, we’re happy to confirm that firm favourites from previous years will be back and better than ever. These include the immersive illuminated walk through Sydney’s Botanic Gardens, the spectacular experience hidden in the abandoned tunnels beneath Wynyard Station, and the incredible drone show that lit up the sky above Sydney last year with mesmerising moving images. Plus, the artwork of Julia Gutman (one of Time Out Sydney's Future Shapers for 2024) will be projected onto the sails of t

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Theatre
  • Drama
  • Woolloomooloo

What’s in a name? Quite a lot, if you’re the first named character in the title of a play. Particularly when almost every other legend written about you has you named second, or not at all. This is the plight of Isolde, an Irish princess, star of many stories, but most notably Wagner’s influential opera Tristan und Isolde. Her legend is centuries old, one of the most famous involving a love potion – and now, Sport for Jove brings it to the beloved basement stage at the Old Fitz Theatre in the form of a play written (and crucially, named Isolde and Tristan) by German playwright Esther Vilar, and translated by Udo Borgert and Laura Ginters. The original legend features Tristan, a prince of Cornwall, and Isolde, the princess of Ireland, whose countries are at war. After Tristan defeats the Irish giant Morholt (the Irish King’s brother-in-law) he is tasked with traveling to Ireland to bring Isolde back to marry his uncle, the King of Cornwall. However on the journey, Tristan and Isolde fall madly into forbidden love, thanks to a love potion. Deception, punishment, and death ensue.  Vilar’s play not only switches the names, but also some of the details, and turns the legend from a sweeping and dramatic warning against being “consumed” by love into something pointier, and more complex. It’s certainly not your regular medieval romance, or even your regular opera… clever, biting, and appropriately eerie. Damien Ryan (Artistic Director of Sport for Jove) directs this production, setti

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