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A shot of Bella the dog wearing a top hat at Papa Gede's
Photograph: Anna Kucera

50 fun things to do indoors in Sydney

It's raining, it's pouring, but Sydney's not boring. Here are a heap of ideas of where to go when it's cold and wet outside.

Rebecca Russo
Maxim Boon
Written by
Rebecca Russo
&
Maxim Boon
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Sydney: the city of blue skies, alfresco living and fabulous times in the great outdoors, right? Well, hold on a second. The Harbour City is not always a great place for fun in the sun, as this summer's persistent rains have proven.

When the weather takes a turn for the worse, you don't need to hunker down at home. Why not take shelter in style with our guide to the most fun things to do indoors in Sydney? Whether you're in search of a crafternoon, a cultural adventure, or a cocktail with a view, there's something for everyone on our list of venues where you can stay warm and dry, all year round.

Or why not wait out the rain in one of Sydney's most luxurious staycation locations.

101 things to do indoors in Sydney

  • Things to do
  • Games and hobbies
  • Alexandria

This little pocket of Alexandria is the perfect place to hide out on a rainy day. You’ve got indoor warehouses for climbing, boozing and bouldering, like Sky Zone, Rocks Brewery and 9 Degrees – plus an arcade of retro games, bowling and laser tag inside Archie Brothers Cirque Electriq.

  • Things to do
  • 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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  • Things to do
  • Classes and workshops
  • Surry Hills

If you've always wanted to have a crack at painting, but you’ve never had the courage to sign up for a class, now is the time to take the plunge with Cork & Chroma. This Surry Hills studio runs daily beginners’ painting sessions, fuelled by a healthy serve of wine. 

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  • Museums
  • Science
  • Kensington
  • price 1 of 4

Hypochondriacs and WebMD enthusiasts, this one’s for you. For a stunning confrontation with your own mortality, pay a visit to this specialist museum housed within the University of New South Wales. In its possession are 2,000 specimens of human disease, obtained from the organs and tissue of autopsied patients who’ve generously given their bodies to science.

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  • Things to do
  • Sydney

The grand old dame of libraries is the oldest in the country – stepping inside you can almost feel the weight of all the words that have been read between its walls. The studious, and those seeking respite from the bustle of the outside world, can ensconce themselves in the high-domed, light-filled Mitchell Reading Room.

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Observe the night sky at Sydney Observatory
  • Museums
  • 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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  • Restaurants
  • Sydney
  • price 1 of 4

There are three pages of tea on offer at this QVB classic. That’s a whopping 35 teas including their ‘splendid Earl Grey’ blend and a stand-your-spoon-up-in-it assam bari. Sitt up nice and straight on your little velour chair and pick at dainties off the three-tier tray.

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Explore the depths of the Powerhouse Museum
  • Museums
  • Ultimo

The Powerhouse is the largest museum in Australia, with a collection of 385,000 objects, 22 permanent and five temporary display spaces, and more than 250 interactive exhibits. It covers science, technology, creativity, decorative arts and Australian popular culture – there's truly something for everyone. 

Swing through the sky at Sydney Trapeze School
  • Sport and fitness
  • 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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  • Museums
  • History
  • Leichhardt

It’s all aboard for a one-way trip to public transport geekery at the Sydney Bus Museum, which has a huge collection of vintage buses kept at the hundred-year-old Leichhardt Tramshed. You’ll be able to poke around everything from the 1924 Ruggles, a cute, boxy little thing for only 22 people, all the way up to those stuffy white-and-blue Mercedes-Benz buses.

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  • Things to do
  • Games and hobbies
  • Darling Harbour

The narrow entrance to Strike King Street Wharf is somewhat akin to the bowling lanes that are the star of the venue, but there’s a lot more on offer here than pins and spares. There are also five schmick karaoke rooms, three escape rooms and a bright new Japanese pop-art aesthetic.

  • Museums
  • Darling Harbour

For a city whose history has always been entwined with its harbour, the sea and water travel, it comes as no surprise that this museum is one of the finest when it comes to maritime treasures. Enter the world of underwater warfare at the National Maritime Museum. Explore the last of the big gun destroyers, board a submarine and learn the difference between port and starboard.

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  • Sport and fitness
  • Self-defence
  • 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.

Ollie off an indoor street course at Monster Skatepark
  • Sport and fitness
  • 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. 

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  • Bars
  • Erskineville
  • price 1 of 4

The epicentre of drag in Sydney, famously featured in the opening scenes of The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, is also a great place to sit down for a spot of dinner. Best of all, your meal will come with one of the most fabulous nights of entertainment from some of Sydney's best kings, queens and in-betweens.

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  • Health and beauty
  • Spas
  • Bondi Beach

Within the walls of this light-filled, stone-walled space on Curlewis Street, you'll find a stylish ‘wellness space’ that brings together the elements of fire and ice. Sweat it out in a private, light-wood-panelled sauna for an hour, and then immerse yourself in a shallow ice bath with water set to exactly six degrees for a cooling contrast.

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  • Sport and fitness
  • Surry Hills

This trend-setting Surry Hills spin studio is all about the atmosphere and techo beats. Under the guidance of your 'cycologist' (fitness instructor, natch), you'll be led through a high-powered choreographed spin workout set to techno, pop and RnB tunes – basically anything made to groove to. It's kind of like a rave, except you'll feel fantastic after.

  • Sport and fitness
  • Yoga, pilates and meditation
  • Castle Hill

Outside of their standard yoga and Pilates classes, AerialFit offers brave yogis the chance to get creative in an unusual practice, hanging from hoops, silk fabrics and even a trapeze. They run six different suspended classes, each with a fresh twist of circus, dance and endurance.

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  • Attractions
  • Theme parks
  • Mascot

Do battle against the undead, travel to far-flung corners of the galaxy, and live your best robot life in the distant future – all without ever leaving Mascot. This next-gen VR arena features cutting-edge tech which allows you to roam freely through virtual worlds, without any pesky wires or annoying tethers getting in the way. 

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  • Attractions
  • Theme parks
  • Newtown

Head along to Sydney’s mini golf bar Holey Moley. They’re punny and playful, with holes called ‘Baby’s Got Pac’ and ‘Smells Like Tee Spirit’. They’re serving up snacks like pork belly bao, sweet potato fries, and panko prawn on lettuce cup. They’ve got super sweet cocktails too, like the lolly-filled ‘Sugar Caddy’ and chocolatey ‘Happy Gilmoreo’.

When the sun is shining...

  • Things to do

There’s something irresistibly romantic about getting outside and gathering nature’s bounty with your own bare hands. The fruit is guaranteed to be fresher and sweeter, and the journey will be more gratifying with the knowledge that you’re supporting our region’s hardworking farmers.

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