Classes and workshops
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The free karaoke rooms at Goros often fill out on Friday and Saturday nights, but while you’re waiting there’s plenty of arcade games (and drinks and snacks) to keep you busy.
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.
Head upstairs at the Bank Hotel and you’ll find Waywards – an intersection for frequent gig goers, indie kids and musos alike.
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.
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.
These semi-regular adults-only parties at the Powerhouse present a program of music, performance and interactive activities themed around one of the exhibitions.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Visit the Library’s permanent collections or unwind in one of their many research and study spaces.
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.
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.
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.
Discover the MCA’s collection with free guided tours running daily or explore the museum’s temporary exhibitions.
Visit the old Eveleigh Rail Yards and discover a multi-arts centre dedicated to showcasing and developing creative work.
Located inside typically colonial ‘two up, two down’ terrace house, this Museum is accessible to the public through daily guided tours only.
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.
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.
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.
This restored Art Deco theatre shows old favourites like Chariots of Fire, Dirty Dancing and Reservoir Dogs, plus the so-bad-it’s-amazing The Room.
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.
If you are looking for a fright in the night then this extreme ghost tour is for you (ages 18+ only). Not advised for anyone with a fear of deadly infectious diseases.
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.
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.
Visit this multi-disciplinary arts centre and enjoy an exhibition, participate in a workshop, watch some theatre, live music or a film.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Visit the steam room or sauna before going in for a treatment, such as a full body scrub or a rejuvenating facial.
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.
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).
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.
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.
Learn to meditate, overcome anxiety or practice Tantra – the quick path to enlightenment.
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.
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.
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.
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 ideas for rainy days
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.