December events in Sydney

In the summertime, Sydney's where we'll be
Visitors enjoying the fare at the Christmas Fare
Photograph: James Horan
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As we race towards the 2018 finish line, it’s time to get on top of all the Christmas action in the city and plan for the best New Year’s Eve parties possible. Kids will be using all that sugar strength from advent calendars to gear up for school holidays, but luckily there’s plenty of fun summer activities like outdoor cinemas and massive open air Christmas markets.

It’s also perfect weather to tick off your top picks on the city's list of fab attractions, check out Sydney’s best rooftop bars, or get sweaty at these unusual fitness classesGo for gold! 

December's best events

1
Paul Kelly in the ocean
Photograph: Supplied
Music, Pop

Paul Kelly

icon-location-pin The Domain, Sydney
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He’s the kind of poet Australians from all walks of life can relate to, spinning yarns about family, love, tragedy and 747s. Paul Kelly will bring all this and more to the Domain, re-launching his Making Gravy concert. A troupe of Aussie artists will sing along with classics like ‘To Her Door’ and share their own hits, too. 

2
People look at a preserved human specimen.
Photograph: Kate Gilbert
Things to do, Exhibitions

Body Worlds Vital

icon-location-pin Sydney Town Hall, Sydney
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After farewelling the wildly popular but controversial Real Bodies exhibition, Sydney's human biology fans will get another entrancing, disturbing and educational exhibition with Body Worlds Vital. This separate exhibit features over 150 preserved human cadavers and anatomical specimens, and has toured more than 130 countries worldwide. 

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Christina Bianco O Come All Ye Divas Sydney Opera House 2018
Photograph: Supplied
Theatre

Christina Bianco: O Come All Ye Divas

icon-location-pin Sydney Opera House, Sydney
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In 2013, Christina Bianco uploaded a video of herself performing Bonnie Tyler's 'Total Eclipse of the Heart' as 18 different divas. The YouTube clip soon went vial, and now she's bringing all her favourite divas back to Sydney for a Christmas show.

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Pitt Street Mall with Christmas lights.
Photograph: Damian Sha
Things to do, Fairs and festivals

Christmas in the City

icon-location-pin Around Sydney, Sydney
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Christmas in the City parades a whole program of free festive events around town in the lead up to the big day. You’ll have the chance to see choirs of carolers, family-friendly concerts, visit festive food pop-ups and catch a glimpse of Saint Nick.

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5
Models wearing Yevu clothing for lookbook at Yevu Pop-up shop
Shopping, Fashion

Yevu Pop-up Shop

icon-location-pin 17 Oxford Street, Paddington
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Sydneysider Anna Robertson heads up socially responsible fashion label Yevu, which operates out of Accra in Ghana. Every year, Robertson opens up a pop-up shop in Sydney to sell the latest range of limited edition wrap dresses, playsuits, jumpsuits, shorts and menswear. Yevu’s temporary store is back from December 7 for ten days.

6
Musician Radical Son
Photograph: Supplied
Music, Funk, soul and disco

Radical Son

icon-location-pin Sydney Opera House, Sydney
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Soul singer, rapper and spoken word artist Radical Son is bringing his effortless vocals to the Sydney Opera House as part of a series of First Nations music events. The series brings contemporary artists into the intimate space to celebrate the vibrancy and rich culture of Australia’s First Nations peoples. 

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Art, Galleries

Primavera

icon-location-pin Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA), The Rocks
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Every year, the MCA invites an artist or curator to take the reins of its Primavera exhibition, a showcase for artists under 35. In 2018, the exhibition is being curated by their own assistant curator Megan Robson, who has pulled together eight artists to ask: why is identity important today? 

8
Visitors enjoying the fare at the Christmas Fare
Shopping, Markets

Christmas Fare

icon-location-pin Hyde Park Barracks Museum, Sydney
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[Sponsored] The annual Hyde Park Barracks fare brings together 40 local food producers, makers and artisan retailers for an evening market just before Christmas. Shop for pickles, smoked meats and artisan teas – all with some food and drink in hand – as you wander around the courtyard. 

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9
Kitty Flanagan poses for a press shot for her new show 'Smashing'
Photograph: Supplied
Comedy, Stand Up

Kitty Flanagan: Smashing

icon-location-pin Sydney Opera House, Sydney
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Ask yourself honestly, in your heart of hearts: are you good at sex? Kitty Flanagan believes she isn’t. Longtime fans will be surprised to hear the comedian’s new show, Smashing, will focus on her sex life, as she’s stayed well away from the topic in the past. 

10
Rose Riot
Photograph: Supplied
Theatre

Rose Riot

icon-location-pin Multiple venues
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[Sponsored] Go back to theatre's outdoor origins and be part of this season of two epic adaptations dubbed ‘Rose Riot’. The Hollow Crown and The Wars of the Roses will bring together and reimagine several of Shakespeare’s works, with the first combining the stories of Richard II, Henry IV and Henry V, and the second mixing Henry VI and Richard III

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11
Person with flowers at Kings Cross Market
Photograph: Gilbert Walden
Shopping, Markets

Kings Cross Flower Market

icon-location-pin Fitzroy Gardens, Elizabeth Bay
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Flower markets are no longer solely the domain of local retailers willing to roll out of bed before 3am to pick out the best of the bunch. The Kings Cross Flower Markets will offer Sydneysiders an accessible place to purchase fresh-cut blooms from 9.30am-2.30pm every Sunday.

12
Band members stand in front of a yellow wall.
Photograph: Supplied
Kids, Music events

Small Fry Rock

icon-location-pin Giant Dwarf, Redfern
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This family-friendly concert has everything that ex-party parents are craving: great live music, a good atmosphere for kids, a place to stock up on food and, most importantly, a bar. And it’s a great opportunity to introduce your littluns to Sydney’s thriving live music scene. 

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13
A wide shot of the crowd sitting down in front of the large scre
Photograph: Moonlight Cinema
Film, Outdoor cinema

Moonlight Cinema

icon-location-pin Centennial Park, Centennial Park
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There's nothing quite like a film under the stars in the beautiful surrounds at Belvedere Amphitheatre in Centennial Park. Settle back with friends and family for a movie and as always, the Moonlight Cinema food truck and bar can supply you with comestibles, but you're welcome to BYO food and drinks. 

14
Star Wars Identities: The Exhibition
Museums, Science

Star Wars Identities: The Exhibition

icon-location-pin Powerhouse Museum, Ultimo
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Ever wondered which Star Wars character you most resemble? Luke, Leia, Solo, Rey, Finn, Chewie, Vader or Yoda? In this new exhibition you’ll be invited to a galaxy far, far away to create your own Star Wars identity, using specialist technology and Star Wars costumes, models, props and artwork. 

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15
Textile artwork.
Image: Chloe Boudib
Art, Design

Designing Bright Futures

icon-location-pin Australian Design Centre, Darlinghurst
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With a focus on up-and-coming designers, this vibrant exhibition brings together textile, jewellery, graphic, object, interactive and spatial designers in a visual mixing bowl that celebrates the optimism and ambitions of a generation of creatives.

16
Guy Sebastian and his wife on stage with microphones.
Photograph: Bronwyn Keller
Things to do, Fairs and festivals

Carols in the Crescent

icon-location-pin Parramatta Park, Parramatta
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Parramatta Park is the newest location for Christmas cheer in the west. This free, all-ages event will include all the family favourites – food stalls, carol sing-alongs, rides for the kids, and the all important Santa appearance. Oh, and Guy Sebastian will be on the mic.

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17
Woman sculpts clay in busy studio.
Photograph: Supplied
Things to do, Markets

The Makers’ Nest Design Market

icon-location-pin The Tramsheds, Forest Lodge
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The bi-annual design market is returning to the Tramsheds just in time for Christmas. Check out locally-made artisan products including fashion accessories, jewellery, ceramics and artworks. The revamped tramway depot will be hosting the diverse range of around 50 pop-up stalls. 

18
The Illusionists: Direct From Broadway Sydney Opera House 2018
Photograph: Supplied
Theatre, Circuses

The Illusionists: Direct From Broadway

icon-location-pin Sydney Opera House, Sydney
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Simon Painter's most popular franchise by far, The Illusionists, will return to its birthplace at the Opera House after several seasons on Broadway with the appropriately titled The Illusionists: Direct From Broadway. Expect big stunts, magical flying, mindreading and all kinds of illusions.

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19
Fresh produce in boxes at a market
Photograph: Time Out
Shopping, Markets

Erskineville Farmers’ Market

icon-location-pin Erskineville Public School, Erskineville
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This brand new farmers' market will be setting up at Erskineville Public School every Saturday from 9am-2pm starting in December, offering a place to buy fresh produce and locally made treats. Food will be the clear focus, and we’ll be getting the goods from Sydney favourites like Brickfields bakery, the ploughers from Pocket City Farm, and the cheese artisans from Kristen Allan Cheesemaker. 

20
People running through a soapy foam wall.
Photograph: Supplied
Sport and fitness, Running

The 5K Foam Fest

icon-location-pin Sydney International Equestrian Centre, Horsley Park
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This obstacle course asks runners to face off against giant inflatable water slides, bouncy castles, mud pits, cargo climbs and a seemingly never ending sea of foam. It’s the first time the sudsy set-up has made its way from Canada to Sydney’s shores, and it’s proving so popular that they hosting two days of races this December.

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21
American Express Openair Cinemas Bondi
Photograph: Supplied
Film, Outdoor cinema

American Express Openair Cinemas Pyrmont

icon-location-pin Around Pyrmont, Pyrmont
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[Sponsored] Screening 15 fresh new releases, golden oldies and critically acclaimed alternative films, American Express Openair Cinemas offers movie fanatics much more than the average cinematic experience. The new location of Metcalfe Park, Pyrmont will be taken over by a packed program of live entertainment, dining, music and dog dates.

22
Drag queens pose in Christmas outfits.
Photograph: Supplied
Bars, Gay bars

Carols by Disco Light

icon-location-pin The Imperial Hotel, Erskineville
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Sydney’s home of queer culture, nightlife and entertainment, the Imperial Hotel, is hosting a glittery evening of Christmas carols, and it’s completely free. The front bar will be taken over by festive folk for one hour of song on December 23 from 6pm. 

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23
Nick Cave "Until"
Photograph: James Prinz
Art, Installation

Nick Cave: UNTIL

icon-location-pin Carriageworks, Eveleigh
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American artist Nick Cave – not to be confused with the Australian singer-songwriter – is bringing 16,000 wind spinners, 24 chandeliers, ten miles of crystals, thousands of ceramic birds and one crocodile to Sydney. Cave’s Until is a mammoth new installation work coming to Carriageworks.

24
Jim Jefferies - The Night Talker 2018
Photograph: Supplied
Comedy, Stand Up

Jim Jefferies

icon-location-pin International Convention Centre, Darling Harbour
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Sydney-born Jim Jefferies has become one of the most popular comedians in the world, thanks to a series of Netflix specials and his own late night Comedy Central talk show. Despite those successes, he's come under fire for material that's been called misogynistic. But Jefferies insists he's reformed, and has vowed to ditch the sexist jokes in The Night Talker, his first arena tour. 

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25
Aspects of Love Hayes Theatre 2018
Photograph: Chris Parker
Theatre, Musicals

Aspects of Love

icon-location-pin Hayes Theatre Co, Elizabeth Bay
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Aspects of Love is an intimate piece focusing on the relationship between an actress called Rose and a young student Alex, who becomes obsessed with her while travelling through France. It's based on a David Garnett novella of the same name and takes place across 17 years. 

26
La Boheme 2017 Opera Australia production still feat cast photographer credit Prudence Upton
Photograph: Prudence Upton
Theatre

La bohème

icon-location-pin Sydney Opera House, Sydney
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Some love La bohème, some loathe it – but  whatever your view, we know you're here for the romance, sex, tragedy and comedy, plus the sizzle of Weimar Germany (cue topless club girls, red-curtained cabarets and bedazzling frocks).

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27
People playing with science beakers.
Photograph: Ben King
Things to do, Games and hobbies

The Lock In

icon-location-pin The Wanderer, Surry Hills
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You’ve been flung back in time to 1988 Indiana and your mystery-solving skills are required to investigate the disappearance of local residents, and what’s going on at the local shady government facility. This is the premise of the Lock In, which blends theatre, puzzles and cocktails to create a role-playing adventure similar to an escape room.

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Mov'in Bed Outdoor Cinema
Photograph: Supplied
Film, Outdoor cinema

Mov'in Bed Outdoor Bed Cinema

icon-location-pin The Entertainment Quarter, Moore Park
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[Sponsored] Crawl under the blankets with a glass of wine and settle in for another season of movies at the Entertainment Quarter in the Showring. You can snuggle into an inflatable bed, eat, drink and watch a great movie while you take advantage of free popcorn refils.

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29
Man sits and looks down camera.
Photograph: Supplied
Things to do, Exhibitions

Akira Isogawa

icon-location-pin Powerhouse Museum, Ultimo
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He's recognised as one of the country’s most respected designers, and Akira Isogawa has made a name for himself as a pioneer of modern Australian and Asian fusion fashion. In this exclusive Powerhouse Museum exhibition, visitors can explore Isogawa’s creative impulses, cultural influences and design background. 

30
A Cheery Soul
Theatre, Drama

A Cheery Soul

icon-location-pin Sydney Opera House, Sydney
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Patrick White saw through all of our empty social kindness decades ago. His 1963 play A Cheery Soul, set in a fictional 1950s Sydney suburb that’s all repression and politeness, blows up all the myths we might have then possessed about the ways we treat each other. 

Time Out says
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31
Things to do, Exhibitions

Exhibitionism: The Rolling Stones Exhibit

icon-location-pin International Convention Centre, Darling Harbour
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This huge exhibition explores the Rolling Stones’ rise to stardom and their subsequent impact on pop culture, rock’n’roll, fashion and art. It will showcase more than 500 items from throughout the band’s career, including vintage guitars, lyric books, album art, and the personal diaries and letters of the Stones themselves. 

It's the biggest party of the year

Aerial shot of Sydney Harbour as the fireworks go off on New Year's Eve
Photograph: Destination NSW
Things to do, Fireworks

New Year's Eve in Sydney

Sydney's NYE celebrations are world famous, and for good reason. But no one likes crowds. Here's how to have a good time, including knowing where to pee and when to kick-on, on December 31.

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