101 fun things to do indoors in Sydney

It's pouring with rain, but that doesn’t mean you have to stay at home
Anna_Kucera_MakerSpace_14.jpg
Photograph: Anna Kucera
By Time Out editors |
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Get out and undercover with our guide to fun things to do in Sydney, from entertainment parks to sport and fitness, classes and talks and cultural venues that are warm and dry all year round. Because fresh air is overrated...

Classes and workshops

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Work-Shop Sydney
Things to do, Classes and workshops

Make your own perfume...

icon-location-pin Chippendale

And master many other hobbies at Work-Shop. They’ve got evening andweekend classes in cheesemaking, Japanese bookbinding, blending your own gin and stuffing your own dead animals (Taxidermy 101).

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Things to do, Classes and workshops

Make something handy

icon-location-pin Marrickville

Marrickville is home to a huge warehouse where you can hire a workbench and finally finish that DIY project. They also run workshops in metal work, leather work, floristry, ceramics, textiles and wood work.

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Shopping, Supermarkets

Be a better home cook

icon-location-pin Rozelle
Food delivery company the Cook’s Grocer are running weekly cooking classes to help the kitchen shy pick up tips and techniques to give you the confidence to prepare healthy weeknight meals.
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Shopping, Designer

DIY your home

icon-location-pin Rosebery

Interiors store Koskela runs workshops in embroidery, screen printing, jewellery making, carving and kintsugi – the Japanese art of mending broken ceramics. Various times. $100-320.

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Vegetables and green foods
Photograph: Supplied
Things to do, Classes and workshops

Learn to achieve mindfulness...

icon-location-pin Manly
And many other things besides. This new workshop space in Manly offers courses in quitting sugar, social media tricks, charcoal drawing and AirBnBing your home. Each weekend or evening class is a couple of hours long and they’re presented by local artists, makers, psychologists and nutritionists.
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Generic dance
Things to do

Spice up your life

icon-location-pin Glebe

Swap Netflix for Tuesday night salsa at Latin Dance Australia. Grab a partner and bring your best moves to the beginners’ classes at the start of the week.

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Apple Store: Sydney
Shopping, Technology and electronics

Go to a free talk at the Apple Store

icon-location-pin Sydney

The big apple on George Street regularly runs free talks and masterclasses from all sorts of people. They’ve held a class on street style photography with the man behind Men in this Town and a fashion illustration class inspired by Fashion Week. You don’t even need to own an iPhone to attend.

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Australian Writers' Centre
Things to do, Classes and workshops

Pen an awardwinning novel

icon-location-pin Milsons Point

If you’ve got an idea for a story, you can start putting words on the page with the help of the Australian Writers’ Centre. They run courses in creative writing, blogging and more.

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Laneway Learning workshop - A Bad Dancers’ Guide to the Dance Floor
Photograph: Anna Kucera

Enroll in a cheap creative class

Laneway Learning classes include boosting your confidence, updating your personal style and figuring out fermented vegetables – but they all have one thing in common, they’re cheap. Classes start from $14 and they take place in cafes, community centres and pubs. From $14.

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Australian Centre for Photography
Art, Galleries

Pick up new photography skills

icon-location-pin Paddington

There’s a lot more to taking a beautiful photograph than just pointing your iPhone at something. Find a digital camera and sign up for the five-week Camera Craft 1 course at the Australian Centre for Photography (ACP). The course start with the basics and covers focal length and ISO through to long exposures and working with black and white.

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Restaurants

Learn to rock the dance floor

icon-location-pin Newtown
Miss Peaches runs Wednesday night swing classes and Thursday night rock’n’roll classes that are open to beginners. Already know a few steps? Take the advanced classes, which start at 7.30pm on the same nights.
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Boy holding sound microphone on film set
Photograph: Supplied
Things to do, Educational venues

Make the next Tropfest winning short film

icon-location-pin Moore Park

The Australian Film, Television and Radio School (AFTRS) runs short courses in screenwriting, documentary filming, radio presenting and assistant directing. You don’t need any prior knowledge or skills to apply. Various times. From $160.

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Zine making at Rizzeria
Photograph: Supplied

Print your own zine

The Rizzeria is a non-profit collective of designers, artists, zine-makers, animators and creative entrepreneurs. They have a two-colour Risograph press which people can use and they run workshops in illustration, printing, bookbinding and hand-lettering. 143 Norton St, Leichhardt 2040. Thu-Sun 11am-4pm. $22-$160.
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Generic women learning

Learn a new language

Sydney Community College offers short courses in Arabic, Cantonese, German, Italian, Japanese, Russian and Vietnamese – plus many other languages. 2A Gordon St, Rozelle 2039. 02 8752 7555. Various times. From $299.

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A margherita in a take away cardboard box at The Pizza Box
Restaurants, Pizza

Take a pizza masterclass

icon-location-pin Alexandria

Italian providore Salt Meats Cheese has a cooking school where they run two-hour pizza making classes or three-hour pasta and ravioli classes. Various times. $89-99.

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Sydney Seafood School
Restaurants

Learn to cook like a chef

icon-location-pin Pyrmont

Sydney Seafood School has upcoming classes from Dan Hong (Mr Wong), Mark Best (Marque), Mark Jensen (Red Lantern), Luke Twemlow (Victor Churchill), Phil Wood (Rockpool), Nelly Robinson (Nel) and Brent Savage (Monopole). Various times. $90-220. 

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Generic soft cheese
Photograph: Creative Commons

Make your own soft cheese

You’ll make your own ricotta, mascarpone, feta, quark, yogurt and even a Camembert that you’ll take home to mature until it’s ready to eat. It’s easier than you think. Narrabri Art Gallery, 66 Dangar St, Narrabri 2390. 02 6656 2335. Various times. $200.

Inner kid

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People on trampolines at Sky Zone
Photograph: Anna Kucera
Sport and fitness, Gyms

Take a leap of faith

icon-location-pin Alexandria

Sydney’s indoor trampoline park has multiple zones, so you can bounce off the walls, from side to side and into a pit of giant foam squares if you want to. Once you’re tired of jumping, they’ve got indoor climbing walls, dodgeball games and something called the Leap of Faith too. 

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Generic Mayan stone carving
Photograph: Kim Alaniz
Things to do, Games and hobbies

Find the Mayan treasure

icon-location-pin Haymarket

Your first challenge is to find the new escape room venue Break the Code, hidden down a laneway in Haymarket. Your second challenge is to assemble a crackpot team of Indiana Jones wannabes who don’t mind being locked in a room together for 60 minutes as you stumble through physical and mind-bending puzzles.

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Child in a laser maze
Photograph: Supplied
Things to do

Get lost in a laser beam maze

icon-location-pin Alexandria

Attractivity entertainment centre has laser beam mazes, an arcade shooting gallery and dodgem cars – all under one roof. Plus, ten pin bowling and climbing ropes! They offer a three-hour ‘All U Can Play’ card for $49.99.

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City Amusements
Things to do

Go bumper to bumper in the city

icon-location-pin Haymarket

City Amusements at Market City has a dodgem track where you can bump and grind until 10.30pm on weekends. Bonus: there’s a laser tag course and you can hit the Market City food court if you work up a hunger. 

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Lady with children at Sydney Observatory
Photograph: Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences
Museums

Observe the night sky

icon-location-pin Millers Point

Taking a night tour of Sydney Observatory will make you feel small again. The museum is open to the public throughout the year and each twilight tour includes marvelling at constellations in the planetarium and looking through the telescope in the historic domed tower.

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Timezone
Things to do

Enter the Timezone

icon-location-pin Sydney

Whether for killing time before a movie or just de-stressing after a long day at the hive, Timezone is as fun as we remember it: smack a croc, shoot some hoops and... oh...yes... play some air hockey! Put your coins down and hole up for the winter.

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Macquarie Ice Rink
Sport and fitness

Go indoor ice skating

icon-location-pin Macquarie Park

Break the ice and head to the Macquarie Ice Rink to glide into winter (without getting frostbite). There are multiple sessions a day as well as a Friday disco night and private lessons available.

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Strike Bowling Bar: Entertainment Quarter
Bars, Pubs

Play unlimited bowling and pool

icon-location-pin Moore Park

Make the Monday blues melt away with the best package on the worst day of the week. Switch back and forth from unlimited bowling, laser tag and pool on Monday nights for $20.

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Laser skirmish at Kingpin Bowling
Photograph: Supplied
Sport and fitness

Shoot lasers at strangers

icon-location-pin Sydney

Up to 40 people can play laser skirmish in any one game in Darling Harbour’s entertainment hub, which means you can rock up in the middle of a rain storm with one friend and still have a blast battling it out with the kids.

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Monster Skatepark
Sport and fitness

Ollie off an indoor street course

icon-location-pin Sydney Olympic Park

Monster Skatepark is one of the best equipped parks in Australia, with an indoor street course as well as outdoor ramps. There are sessions for BMXing, skateboarding, girls only and scooters. If you’re a little rusty, you can hire helmets and pads at the park. 

After dark

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The colourful crew from Heaps Gay jump on the trampolines at Sky Zone
Photograph: Daniel Boud
Clubs, Gay clubs

Go Heaps Gay

Whether you’re gay, straight or somewhere in between, you’ll have a heaps good time at one of Sydney’s favourite queer and inclusive parties. Expect Vogueing on the dancefloor. 

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Bars, Craft beer

See live music every week

icon-location-pin Newtown

Head upstairs at the Bank Hotel and you’ll find Waywards – an intersection for frequent gig goers, indie kids and musos alike.

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Plan B
Clubs

Plan B Dance Classes

icon-location-pin Sydney

Amrita Hepi has quite the following for her frequent dance classes at Plan B. She likes to emulate pop divas like Beyonce and Rihanna, and the routines are always beginner-friendly.

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Clubs

Go bowling at the Standard Bowl

icon-location-pin Darlinghurst

Fuel up at Johnny Wongs before heading up the next flight of stairs to face off in a bowling match. The lanes and balls are funsized, it’s always free and there’s DJs to keep you dancing between strikes.

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Museums

Stay up for MAASive Lates

icon-location-pin Ultimo

These semi-regular adults-only parties at the Powerhouse present a program of music, performance and interactive activities themed around one of the exhibitions.

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Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA)
Museums

Prop up the MCA Art Bar

icon-location-pin The Rocks

Party like/with an artist at this monthly social, curated by a different artist each edition. Entry gets you late-night exhibition access, art-ivities, performance, party tunes – and a terrace bar with killer views. Last Fri of the month 7-11pm. $15-$20.

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Bars

Settle in for free Monday night movies

icon-location-pin Surry Hills

Cure the Monday blues with hot dogs and feelgood films on the big screen. The Soda Factory screens movies such as Sister Act, My Best Friend’s Wedding and Stand By Me every Monday night from 8pm.

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Three cocktails on the bar at The Cliff Dive. The third cocktail
Bars, Cocktail bars

‘Swim’ at the Cliff Dive

icon-location-pin Darlinghurst

Whether you want to get down to grime and hip hop at the regular Swim Club parties, or feel like having a nostalgic night at the Naughty Noughties, you’ll be sure to have plenty of reasons to dance under the club’s sea of fake fishes.

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Cafe Lounge
Bars

Go see comedy at Café Lounge

icon-location-pin Surry Hills

This Surry Hills stalwart delivers the goods to those in need of a LOL fix, two nights a week. The Short and Sharp Sundays and Comedy Lounge Mondays see local laughpeddlers dish out snappy stand-up, alongside happy hour drink specials.

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Bars, Craft beer

Play pub trivia at the Lord Raglan

icon-location-pin Alexandria

Not only does each team get a chance to pick the category, but you spin a wheel to determine how many points a question is worth and in later rounds teams lose points for wrong answers. You can go from a front-runner to the back of the pack pretty quickly, which keeps you on your toes. Add a plate of nachos and a pint of craft beer to the mix and everyone’s a winner.

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Food tablelay at Courthouse Hotel
Bars, Pubs

Smash pinball at the Courthouse Hotel

icon-location-pin Newtown

This beloved Newtown boozer is famous for its expansive beer garden, but if it’s wetter than Davy Jones’ locker this is still an excellent place to loiter thanks to their dedicated pinball room. Gather all your gold coins, order a jug of Young Henrys or Stone and Wood and bask in the colourful glow of the eight pinnies that will put your reflexes to the ultimate test.

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Shopping, Book stores

Warm yourself at the Bonfire at Desire

icon-location-pin Manly

Desire Books hosts a monthly openmic night of poetry, jokes, music, films and lectures. Everyone gets five minutes to showcase their talents. Last Tue of month, 7.30pm. Free.

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Generic microphone public speaking
Photograph: Creative Commons

Get political

Sick of people who don’t push the pedestrian crossing buttons? Why the fuck did they cut the trees down on Anzac Parade? Whatever the bee in your bonnet is, SocioPolitico give you the chance to wax lyrical about whatever you want… Ten ranters go at it for two minutes, no experience required. Rant on, friends.

Indoor adventure

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Things to do

Chuck an axe

icon-location-pin St Peters

Keen to lob a hatchet at a wooden target? Head to this warehouse in St Peters to perfect your throw. Whether your style is two hands over the head or a one-armed power hurl, you’ll release a lot of stress with every axe that sticks to the board.

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iFLY
Things to do, Sports

Sky dive – without jumping out of a plane

icon-location-pin Penrith

Penrith’s indoor skydiving centre is used as a training camp for professional divers and the local military. It has a powerful windtunnel that means you can learn to hold a good posture, turn from left to right and skyrocket to the top with your instructor.

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Manly Sea Life Sanctuary
Museums

Dive into a shark tank

icon-location-pin Manly

Get closer to sharks, without entering the ocean. You can swim with sharks and other marine life without a cage at Manly Sea Life Sanctuary. You can even feed the animals too.

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Sydney Trapeze School
Sport and fitness

Swing through the sky

icon-location-pin St Peters

Sydney Trapeze School runs classes and workshops including aerial, juggling jumping stilts, acrobatics, trampoline, tight-rope walking and flying trapeze. It’s also the only indoor trapeze school in Sydney, a short walking distance from St Peters train station.

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Sydney Indoor Climbing Gym
Sport and fitness

Find your inner Spider-Man

icon-location-pin St Peters

You’ll get a workout while you learn the best strategies for indoor rock climbing. Sign up for a fun five-session course at two convenient locations. Warning: racing to the top gets addictive.

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Spitfire Paintball
Things to do, Sports

Enjoy paintball without the mess

icon-location-pin Concord West

Nothing is more satisfying than blasting your friend with harmless ammunition. Now you can play paintball without the paint and without going outside. ‘Reballs’ are soft rubber paintballs, meaning you can catch the train home without looking like a cartoon artist, and they shoot straighter as well. And it all happens under cover, so rain never stops play.

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Two men flying a plane
Photograph: Supplied
Things to do, Sports

Fly a plane

icon-location-pin Alexandria

Have your own Top Gun moment and write cheques your body can cash at Jet Flight Simulator Sydney. You take complete control of an aircraft within the safe confines of a warehouse in Alexandria. Simply select which airport you’d like to fly from – there are 22,000 on the list.

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Generic go kart

Unleash your speed demon

There are a number of indoor go karting tracks around Sydney. This one near Campbelltown is spread over an acre and it has a fleet of European Sodi go karts that you can race around the shot-blasted concrete track – great for tyre grip. Ultimate Karting Sydney. 1300 859 219. Mon 10am-5pm; Tue-Sat 10am-10pm; Sun 10am-6pm. $28-$110.
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Camera

Abseil indoors

At the Edge Rockclimbing Centre you can rap jump – that’s abseil forwards – down an 18-metre tower. You control the speed of your face first fall/run so you can fuel up on adrenaline in a two-hour session. 9/10 Hudson Ave, Castle Hill 2154. 02 9899 8228. www.edgerockclimbing.com.au. Mon-Fri noon-10pm; Sat, Sun 9am-6pm. $55-$69.

Cultural stuff

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Sydney Opera House
Theatre

Take a tour of Sydney Opera House

icon-location-pin Sydney

Visit the Opera House – but not as you’ve seen it before. Go behind-the-scenes and uncover the glamorous life of the performers that grace the famous stage. Tickets include a cooked breakfast. 7-9.30am. $165.

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State Library of NSW
Things to do, Exhibitions

Go to the State Library

icon-location-pin Sydney

Visit the Library’s permanent collections or unwind in one of their many research and study spaces.

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Macquarie Lighthouse
Things to do

Take a tour of Macquarie Lightstation

icon-location-pin Vaucluse

Take in the city’s views from the top of Australia’s oldest operating lighthouse. Learn the history of this 19th-century building on a guided tour or visit the grounds free of charge.

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Madame Tussauds
Museums

Rub shoulders with celebrities

icon-location-pin Darling Harbour

Visit Madame Tussauds Wax Museum and play an interactive game of Wii tennis with Lleyton Hewitt, duet with Taylor Swift, or take a selfie with Ryan Gosling.

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Australian Museum
Museums, History

Explore Aussie natural history

icon-location-pin Darlinghurst

Learn about Australia’s flora and fauna, meet dinosaurs or better understand Earth’s many minerals. Take a look inside Trailblazers – an exhibition on Australia’s greatest living explorers

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107projects-03.jpg
Art, Installation

Watch a silent movie at 107 Projects

icon-location-pin Redfern

Free and open to the public, Silent Film Sundays at 107 Projects are a great opportunity to see black-and-white films that you wouldn’t see at mainstream cinemas.

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Susannah Place Museum
Museums, History

Tour the Susannah Place Museum

icon-location-pin The Rocks

Located inside typically colonial ‘two up, two down’ terrace house, this Museum is accessible to the public through daily guided tours only.

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Museums, History

Visit the Museum of Sydney

icon-location-pin Sydney

Located on the site of Sydney’s original Government House, this museum offers a mix of permanent exhibits, nostalgic memorabilia and changing exhibitions that explore the city’s history from settlement through to now.

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Art, Galleries

Watch a classic movie in the Domain Theatre

icon-location-pin Sydney

Did you know the Art Gallery of New South Wales screens free movies on Wednesdays and Sundays? You can watch Hollywood greats like Cabaret and Vertigo,or foreign language or Australian classics.

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White Rabbit
Art, Galleries

Visit White Rabbit Gallery

icon-location-pin Chippendale

This state-of-the-art, four-floor temple to post-millennial Chinese art hosts Judith Neilson’s epic collection, a shop and a tea house that serves dumplings.

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2 Danks Street
Art, Galleries

Seek out a creative arts complex

icon-location-pin Waterloo

In a traditionally industrial but increasingly residential inner-city suburb, 2 Danks Street is a former warehouse with nine galleries featuring Australian and international contemporary art.

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Campbelltown Arts Centre
Art, Galleries

Spend a day at Campbelltown Arts Centre

icon-location-pin Campbelltown

When it’s too cold and wet to enjoy the Japanese garden, go inside for the gallery’s exhibitions, or sign up for one of the weekly ceramics and embroidery workshops.

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Museums, History

Take a tour of Hyde Park Barracks

icon-location-pin Sydney

This UNESCO World Heritage site has been a home to male convicts, a hostel for orphan girls, a female immigration depot and an asylum. Tours are free with admission and are available in many languages.

Indoor fitness

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Things to do, Classes and workshops

Salute to the projected sun

icon-location-pin Surry Hills

There’s no chanting, no meditation and no Sanskrit at this yoga studio. Classes are set to music and there’s a screen projecting videos of landscapes, animals, sunsets and beaches – so even if it’s pouring outside, it’s warm and tranquil inside.

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Things to do

Cycle up a mountain

icon-location-pin Sydney

You can cycle through the cliffs of Southern France or the harsh terrain of Arizona, all without leaving the CBD. Scenic Cycle is like a spin class but with beautiful locations projected on a screen.

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Couple fighting
Photograph: Willie B. Thomas
Sport and fitness, Self-defence

Kick butt

icon-location-pin Surry Hills

Unlike many martial arts that have a strong spiritual component, Krav Maga is all about the practical self-defence. You’ll learn to get out of a choke hold, a seated choke hold, how to free yourself from someone dragging you across the room by your neck and how to throw off someone trying to choke you while you’re fighting a secondary opponent.

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All Sorts Indoor Sports
Sport and fitness

Go for a lunchtime game of badminton

icon-location-pin Alexandria

Play a social badminton game at All Sorts Indoor Sports. It’s open to individuals and teams, with racquet and shuttlecock hire available if you haven’t got your own gear.

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Sydney Dance Company
Theatre

Pirouette like a pro

icon-location-pin Dawes Point

Whether you want to learn how to fondue (that’s ballet talk for bending, sinking or melting on one leg), high kick or get low, Sydney Dance Company is your one-stopshop for dance classes. There’s absolute beginner right through to advanced.

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Women in a yoga class
Photograph: Katie Fergus
Sport and fitness, Yoga, pilates and meditation

Retreat to child’s pose

icon-location-pin Potts Point

Baby, it’s cold outside – so get into the heated chambers of this Potts Point yoga studio and stretch like a cat against a hot radiator. They’ve got two studios warmed to 27 degrees and 37 degrees and classes include Hot Mat Pilates and Slow Hot Flow yoga.

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Ian Thorpe Aquatic Centre
Sport and fitness, Pools

Take an indoor dip

icon-location-pin Ultimo

Just because it’s too cold for the beach doesn’t mean that you can’t swim! Go for gold with the Swim, Steam and Sauna package at the Ian Thorpe Aquatic Centre.

Quiet activities

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Golden Age Cinema
Film, Special screenings

Go solo to the Golden Age Cinema

icon-location-pin Surry Hills

This 56-seat Art Deco cinema is a world away from the sticky popcorn covered seats of the multiplex cinemas. Get away from the crowds for an afternoon screening of the latest releases, classic picks or an indie film that isn’t showing anywhere else.

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Parents accompany children in a play area
Photograph: Anna Kucera
Bars

Play board games at Coogee Pavilion

icon-location-pin Coogee

Visit the ground floor of Coogee Pavilion and discover a games arena suitable for all ages. Play giant Scrabble, ping-pong or play petanque (boules).

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Restaurants

Spend the morning coffee cupping at Reuben Hills

icon-location-pin Surry Hills

Want to know more about coffee but don’t have a cent to spare? Reuben Hills do free cupping sessions every Saturday in their special lab above the cafО. There are no bookings and they can only fit 15 people, so get in early to secure a seat.

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City Recital Hall
Music, Classical and opera

Listen to classical music at City Recital Hall

icon-location-pin Sydney

Beautiful acoustics and a diverse all-year program of classical, choral, baroque and chamber music make this a great place to take time out and contemplate the bigger things in life – or just tune out with a soundtrack.

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Aesop: Paddington
Shopping

Give your face a treat

icon-location-pin Paddington

Take your pick of Aesop’s six signature facial treatments at the Paddington store. They cater to all skin types using their own suite of products.

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House of Yoga
Sport and fitness, Yoga, pilates and meditation

Have a go at Antigravity yoga

icon-location-pin Redfern
Antigravity yoga combines traditional yoga poses, pilates, dance and aerial arts to form a challenging workout that involves being suspended in a trapeze-like hammock.
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Kinokuniya Sydney
Shopping, Book stores

Lose an hour in Kinokuniya

icon-location-pin Sydney

Prowl the lengthy aisles at Kinokuniya bookstore in the CBD, where you can while away an entire day exploring the shelves. They’ve got some wonderful art titles in store, plus did you know that Black Star Pastry have set up shop inside? So you can have your cake and eat it too.

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Floatation tank Beyond Rest

Zen out in a flotation tank

Immerse yourself in a cocoon-like sensory deprivation tank. Filled with lukewarm water and mixed with 600kgs of Epsom salts, the relaxation pods create a weightless environment, which encourages deep relaxation. Daily 7am-11pm. From $49.

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Brett Whiteley Studio
Art, Galleries

Explore the workplace and home of Brett Whiteley

icon-location-pin Surry Hills

Miraculously, the studio of Australia’s great expressionist has been kept the way it was when he died of a heroin overdose in 1992. Browse Whiteley’s books and records and see the unfinished painting he was working on.

Find more things to do in Sydney

Find more ideas for rainy days

A generic image of a man sitting at a bench with an umbrella whi
Photograph: Andreas Andersson
Things to do

Things to do when it rains in Sydney

Just because the skies are falling, doesn't mean you have to sit around doing nothing...  We may be a city that struggles when the heavens part but look hard enough and there's a bunch of fun to be had in a downpour. The key is staying out of it with these great rainy day activities.