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Alice in wonderland themed bar at Bar Alice
Photograph: Supplied/Bar Alice

The best things to do in Sydney this August

You’ll need to stretch your social calendar to squeeze in all the intriguing talks, exciting theatre and big events happening this month

By Olivia Gee

This year has been unexpected (to say the least), but there are certain things we'll hold on to with certainty: like after July comes August, and with the coming of August come the last breaths of the chilly season, as well as a bucketload of activities to keep you occupied all month. Take in the best that the city has to offer – whether you're heading out or staying indoors. 

If you need a moment to gather your thoughts in between the fun, visit one of our favourite spas in Sydney or head out on a wintery getaway to one of our favourite spots around the state

RECOMMENDED: The best cheap eats in Sydney.

The best events in August

dish that appears to be logs with fire
Photograph: Supplied/Nel

1. Once Upon a Time Degustation

Restaurants Nel, Sydney

Slide on your glass slippers and get ready for a feast that will leave you feeling happily ever after. Affordable fine dining favourite Nel has reopened its doors for physically distanced dining and they’re inviting you to be their guest with the return of a Disney-themed degustation. ‘Once Upon a Time’ involves eleven dishes with a nostalgia-inducing creative touch. 

Igloo on harbour
Photograph: Supplied/Pier One

2. Igloos on the Pier

Things to do Pop-up locations Pier One Sydney Harbour, Dawes Point

While we probably won’t see snow in Sydney, you can play pretend at an Antarctic season inside these cosy, extremely fancy igloos. The pop-up experience has been run by hotel Pier One in winters past, and they will again set up multiple structures on their wharf that cater for up to 10 people. 

Fresh produce at Carriageworks Farmers Markets
Photograph: Daniel Boud

3. Carriageworks Farmers Market

Shopping Markets Carriageworks, Eveleigh

Rejoice! After a tumultuous few months, Carriageworks is opening again to the public. It’s imperative that you do not eat before you visit the Farmers Markets. You’ll want to save maximum belly space for your personal version of The Bachelorette where you decide who gets your dollars and what delicious produce gets to come home with you. 

Inside At Bondi Icebergs Dining
Photograph: Anna Kucera

4. Dinner and a Show at Icebergs

Restaurants Icebergs Dining Room and Bar, Bondi Beach

Icebergs Dining Room and Bar is back with a bang, marking its re-entry to the dining scene with a star-spangled lineup of local artists spanning an entire week in a series called 'Dinner and a Show'.  On Saturday, August 1, things kick off for re-opening night with music industry mainstay Stephen Pavlovic, followed by opera darlings Anna Dowsely and JonathanAbernethy, who'll bring the drama of Italian opera and the finesse of French opera to the dining room table. 

Three drag queens pose on stage in brightly coloured dresses
Photograph: Supplied/Universal/Bruno Lozich

5. Premiere: an Immersive Dining Experience

Things to do Universal, Darlinghurst

It’s a little bit fancy, a little bit saucy, and a whole lot of fabulousness. There’s a brand-new dinner and show in town, and it's a Premiere, darling. Oxford Street stalwart Universal is back in business, with a luxe new offering that brings the best of Sydney's most colourful street to the plate. 

People painting on canvas and drinking wine.
Photograph: Supplied

6. Cork and Canvas

Things to do Classes and workshops Cork and Canvas Crows Nest, Crows Nest

The fine artists from Cork and Canvas have been spreading colour all over Sydney with their wine and painting classes. Even while we were all stuck at home, they kept us occupied with creativity kits and on-demand virtual classes – and now as the city opens back up, they’re inviting us back into the studio again. 

three men staring at camera
Photograph: Supplied/Mushroom Media

7. DMA's at the Factory Theatre

Music The Factory Theatre, Marrickville

As livestreams lose the sheen they bounded on to the scene with at the start of lockdown, live and in-person gigs are finally back on the cards. Hot on the heels of the impending release of their latest album on July 10, Australian indie rock crooners the DMA's have announced a series of live concerts to be held at the Factory Theatre. 

Two women laugh as they sculpt clay with wine and cheese on the table
Photograph: Supplied/Clay Sydney

8. Wine and Cheese Ceramic Workshop

Things to do Classes and workshops Multiple venues

Wine time and snacking are tried and tested ways to blow off steam, and a lot can be said for a little art therapy. Throw in the gentle sense of accomplishment of making a beautiful object with a practical use? Muy bueno! Clay Sydney has opened the doors back up and is welcoming in visitors once again for it’s ever popular Wine, Cheese and Clay Nights. 

'Golshahr' by Jomakhan Jafari and Danny Kennedy
Photograph: Jomakhan Jafari and Danny Kennedy

9. A Familiar Place I’ve Never Seen

Art Casula Powerhouse, Casula

Artists Jomakhan Jafari and Danny Kennedy met at Auburn library’s English conversation classes and struck up a friendship that has become an enduring artistic partnership. Their exhibition A Familiar Place I’ve Never Seen marks the re-opening of the Casula Powerhouse. It was the result of a residency at the Peacock Gallery and Auburn Arts Studio in 2012, during which the pair interviewed residents from across the length and breadth of Western Sydney, asking them about their dreams.

a stallholder holds up a cardboard box filled with fruit and vegetables
Photograph: Supplied/Cambridge Markets

10. Cambridge Markets EQ


Every Wednesday and Saturday you can pick up a bag of crunchy carrots, loaf of warm sourdough and an armful of flowers at EQ’s Cambridge Markets. The Entertainment Quarter has been home to a fresh produce and arts and crafts market for 20 years, and in 2018 market experts Madelienne Anderson and Rebecca Fox took over the show. 

Happy Place Live Nation 2020 supplied
Photograph: Live Nation/supplied

11. Happy Place

Things to do Pop-up locations Broadway Shopping Centre, Glebe

If there's something we Sydneysiders could do with a decent dose of right now, it'd be pure, unadulterated joy. The Happy Place, a pop-up exhibit of boldly colourful, immersive environments had its Australian premiere on the rooftop of Broadway Sydney in March. Unfortunately, lockdown restrictions closed down the exhibit on March 17 – but fear not, because it's back now. 

Liverpool Sculpture Walk 2019 supplied
Photograph: Charlotte Curd

12. Liverpool Sculpture Walk

Art Sculpture and installations Casula Parklands Playground, Casula

For almost nine months, Casula Parklands is playing host to a new sculpture walk, featuring eight works from Sculpture by the Sea. Visitors will be able to follow the sculptures along the banks of the Georges River, starting at Casula Powerhouse. 

Wounded Tv art by by Rupert Batheras and Simon Wilson
Photographer: Rupert Betheras

13. Tennant Creek Brio

Art Artspace, Woolloomooloo

Starting life as an art therapy program supporting Aboriginal men facing alcohol and substance addiction, as run by the Anyinginyi Aboriginal Health Organisation, the Tennant Creek Brio (from the Italian word for vivacious life) has taken on a life of its own.  It has become so popular that the Brio boys now live at Nyinkka Nyunyu, Tennant Creek’s dedicated art and culture centre. 

Nude model poses, she faces away from the camera holding a sparkly shawl in the air.
Photograph: Supplied/Camelot Lounge

14. The Camelart Club

Things to do Camelot Lounge, Marrickville

Marrickville’s intimate live music space the Camelot Lounge is opening back up the doors after lockdowns, and in good news for seasoned sketchers and newly minted hobbyists alike, it’s popular weekly life drawing sessions are back on. The Camelart Club kicks back off from Wednesday, July 29, downstairs in the quirky lounge room-like surrounds of Django @ Camelot.

Sabado Gigante
Photograph: Camila Rodrigo

15. Fátima Rodrigo Gonzalez

Art Artspace, Woolloomooloo

Multi-disciplinary Peruvian artist Fátima Rodrigo Gonzalez corrals sculpture, drawing and video work to examine the impact of modernism and colonialism on Latin American art, architecture and pop culture at Artspace. Melding these ideas with an exploration of gender identity, she takes nothing for granted, subverting and queering the status quo.

The Credeaux Canvas at the El Rocco room
Photograph: Supplied

16. The Credeaux Canvas

Theatre Drama El Rocco Room, Potts Point

Sydney’s first “post-lockdown” theatre show is an intimate affair featuring betrayal, a love triangle, an art hoax, queer undertones, and full-frontal nudity. We’ve become accustomed to seeing new theatre online and re-embracing cabaret with dinner and a show, but now up to 24 Sydneysiders can sit down (appropriately spaced, of course) to take in a full-length play in-person.  

Mad Hatter's Tea Party Wonderland
Photograph: Supplied/Wonderland Bar

17. The Mad Hatter's High Tea Party

Things to do The Wonderland Bar, Potts Point

You won’t want to be late for this very important date. The new Alice in Wonderland-themed pop-up bar in Potts Point is playing host to a tea party that any mad hatter would be proud to attend, and of course, you’re invited. 

Bar artwork
Macon Reed, ‘Eulogy For The Dyke Bar’, 2016. Installation and public programs series. Image courtesy: the artist

18. Friendship as a Way of Life

Art UNSW Galleries, Paddington

The notion of ‘family’ has long been a cornerstone of queer identity and a major new exhibition at the UNSW Galleries explores what ‘being together’ means for different queer subcultures – in Australia, internationally and across time. The work of 15 artists (or artist collaborations), along with a series of films, plus material from the Australian Lesbian and Gay Archives, has been compiled for the exhibition by curators José Da Silva and Kelly Doley. 

Justene Williams 'The Unboxers' (still) 2020, from Hyper-link
Photograph: Justene Williams

19. Hyper-linked

Art Digital and interactive Your place, Sydney

Embracing these hybrid times when we’re often online more than we’re out and about, the Art Gallery of New South Wales has launched the mother of all digital galleries, and it’s a kaleidoscopic trip to creative wonderland. Part of their ongoing Together in Art series, Hyper-linked assembles seven exciting contemporary Australian artists pushing the envelope on how we engage with art from wherever we are in the world. 

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