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Three women sit on a pile of snow and throw it up in the air while laugjing
Photograph: Supplied

The best things to do in Sydney in July

Frolic through midwinter with all the best events happening in Sydney this month

Written by
Time Out editors
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Winter is well and truly underway in Sydney, and there are heaps of reasons to get into the spirit of the season. There's the festive magic with Christmas in July, bountiful snowy peaks to explore, and plentiful excuses to bust out our most extravagant coats for purposeful striding around town.

Along with all the pre-existing perks of getting to live in Sydney during winter (eg: reasonably mild-ish temperatures, shimmering coastlines and wattle explosions), there is also an entire host of cold-weather activities and adventures happening across every corner of the city. Rug up and get down with all the winter fun, Sydneysiders.

Want something to do, right now? Check out our list of everything happening in Sydney today. 

July's best events

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Theatre
  • Musicals
  • Sydney

If teen-fangirl spirit had a smell, it would be the effervescent sparkle of theatrical fog machines and neon pink glitter, mixed with a sprinkle of high school toilets and a heady rush of youthfully charged chemical love. Walking into the Sydney Opera House’s fresh production of the hit pop-musical Fangirls, this smell hits you with the concrete weight of an unrequited internet crush. Hard, fast, and painfully, perfectly overwhelming.  On paper, Fangirls is easy to overlook. A poptastic original Aussie musical about three teenage girls who are maniacally obsessed with a boyband’s adolescent British lead with perfect hair and a dazzling cosmetic smile (a thinly veiled nod to Harry Styles) doesn’t sound like something that everyone might want to rush out and see. But when I say (to be fair, as a former fangirl) that this musical made me feel reborn, I am not being dramatic. This production made me feel, as the main gals squeal repeatedly – like, literally dead. In the most incredible and sparkly way possible.  Written and created by award-winning Australian songwriter, screenwriter and playwright Yve Blake and directed by Paige Rattray (Death of a Salesman, Triple X), this insane extravaganza of pop-stars and the teen girls (and boys, and others) who love them has been a hit everywhere since its release in 2019. A Belvoir and Queensland Theatre co-production in association with Australian Theatre for Young People (ATYP), Fangirls returned in 2021 for a national tour. Now, in 20

  • Things to do
  • Fairs and festivals
  • Sydney

YCK Laneways, the nightlife hub found between York, Clarence and Kent Streets, is switching on a brand new festival from August 1-31 that’s all about showcasing female and non-binary talent in arts and culture. The precinct’s surfeit of top bars – including PS40, Sammy Jnr, the Barber Shop, Burrow Bar, the Duke of Clarence, the Swinging Cat, Uncle Ming's, Jolene's, Prince of York, Santa Catarina, Grandma's and Papa Gede’s – will be thronging with over 50 events platforming artists, DJs, jazz musicians, singers and creatives in exciting and unexpected experiences. Most events are generously free, though bookings are recommended. Program highlights include Pho the Girls Social at Since I Left You, a night of good vibes steered by Pho the Girls, a female and non-binary DJ collective who are diversifying the decks and having a blast doing it. Over at Temperance Lane restaurant Esteban, Sydney-born artist Nanami Cowdroy will showcase her stunning skills in live art sessions. Dig into sophisticated Mexican food and sip on mezcal cocktails as you watch Cowdroy create sweeping monochromatic drawings. For more late-night hijinks head to Stitch Bar, where irresistibly glamorous international showgirl Porcelain Alice – a former Miss Burlesque NSW – will tear through the venue with an act best described as ‘sideshow supermodel with a dash of danger’. To keep the festival vibes going throughout the month, YCK venues will also be shaking up limited edition Bacardi-Martini cocktails inspire

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  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Theatre
  • Musicals
  • Sydney

Update, Jul 25 2022: the return Sydney season of Alanis Morisette’s rip roaring rockin' musical will end early. The producers said in a statement: "Despite glowing reviews, rapturous audiences and the tenacity, talent and commitment of our company, due to the combination of the new covid wave and uncertain operating conditions, we have made the difficult decision to close the Sydney run on 14 August and suspend the planned tour." "We will continue to tell the Jagged Little Pill story – with the North American tour commencing in August, and productions planned in the UK and Asia — and remain committed to finding a way to bring this vibrant and vitalizing musical back to the Australian stage. We want to thank our company for their courage, talent and brilliance, and the audiences who have experienced Jagged over the past six months.” All ticket holders for performances after August 14 will be contacted by their point of purchase. Read on for our four-star review:  While it is, on paper, a jukebox musical in the same vein as Mamma Mia! or We Will Rock You, the red-raw, heart-on-her-sleeve lyrics from Alanis Morisette’s generation-defining album allow for a far richer narrative to emerge in Jagged Little Pill. It tells the story of an American family coming apart at the seams, and weaves in a tapestry of urgent social issues. But it's also a show about the hope that springs from facing such challenges, and that’s surely something to cling onto. All the hits of the Canadian singer

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Theatre
  • Musicals
  • Haymarket

Moulin Rouge! The Musical has finally made its dazzling debut in Sydney, and everyone's invited. The costumes are glittering masterpieces, the staging is the most sumptuous and marvellous you’re ever likely to see, the dance numbers are dynamic and technically flawless, and each and every performer is worth their weight in diamonds. From the moment you enter the theatre, the scene is set. The neoclassical interior of the Capitol Theatre has been transformed into Paris’ most exciting burlesque club, the Moulin Rouge, with red velvet drapes and chandeliers leaping out from the stage, which is flanked by a customary red windmill and a humongous blue elephant. It is well worth taking your seat early for this show, as the ensemble seductively linger around the theatre and wind around go-go dancer cages to set the sultry mood. The show opens with a bang, as a troupe of “Lady M’s” – aka Nini, Chocolat, Babydoll and Arabia (Samantha Dodemaide, Ruva Ngwenya, Christopher Scalzo and Olivia Vásquez) – performs ‘Welcome to the Moulin Rouge’, the famous medley featuring the movie’s biggest hit song, ‘Lady Marmalade’. It’s not hard to see why this production took out no less than ten Tony Awards in 2021. The first Australian-produced musical to open on Broadway, Moulin Rouge! also became the first Australian-produced show to win a Tony for best musical, beating Jagged Little Pill and Tina: The Tina Turner Musical. The show’s arrival in Sydney is also a homecoming of sorts; it is of course

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  • Things to do
  • price 0 of 4
  • The Rocks

Earth to all intergalactic beings currently living in Sydney (or, just those passing through to the next dimension) – the Museum of Contemporary Art is putting on a new exhibition full of ghosts, gaming, gods, queer club culture, ancient ceremonies, mythological beings and dreaming machines. And frankly, whether you’re an extraterrestrial or not, you’re invited.  Ultra Unreal will be submerging the MCA from July 22 to October 2, and will be all about exploring how ancient mythologies can be used to reveal the complexities of current realities and new worlds. This totally free exhibition will feature the diverse work of six artists and collectives with practices linked to nightlife ecosystems from all over the world. This multi-sensory exhibit takes over multiple levels of the MCA with installations, performances, augmented reality works, film screenings and artist-led events.  To really kick this celestial wilderness off, the MCA will host an epic two-day art and music event from Friday, July 22 to Saturday, July 23, with the gallery set to get taken over by radical art pieces and live performances that are all about nailing home Ultra Unreal’s core vibe of fantastically provocative. On Friday, July 22, you can head to the gallery at 6.15pm for Slaughterhouse 21, a 30-minute performance by Tokyo-based artist Saeborg, which will feature strange inflatable characters doing strange, inflatable character kind of things. On Friday night, you’ll be able to catch several subversive

  • Art
  • Galleries
  • price 0 of 4
  • Sydney

Australia’s favourite portrait prize is back for 2022, and as always it's a delight to see which famous faces have made it into the mix of painterly interpretations. This year over 800 paintings were submitted, and you can peruse the top 52 at the Art Gallery of New South Wales until August 28, when they ship off around the country. This year Koori artist Blak Douglas took out the top gong, the $100,000 Archibald Prize, for a painting of his good friend and fellow artist Karla Dickens, depicted looking grumpy and holding leaking buckets as she stands in muddy water during the recent devastating floods in her hometown of Lismore in northern New South Wales.  The much-anticipated Packing Room Prize, which is judged by the Art Gallery staff who receive, unpack and hang the entries, was awarded this year to Sydney-based artist Claus Stangl for his impressive 3D-style painting of beloved New Zealander writer, director, actor (and everyone’s crush) Taika Waititi. A highly commended honour was awarded this year to Sydney artist Jude Rae for her portrait of scientist, engineer and inventor Dr Saul Griffith. Rae is also a finalist in this year’s Wynne Prize with her landscape The white fig (Ficus cirens), Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney. Other notable portraits this year include a colourful depiction of Shane Jenek standing shoulder to shoulder with his drag alter-ego Courtney Act, a realistic painting of actor Hugh Jackman posed with his wife Deborra-Lee Furness, a cheeky lounging nude

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  • Museums
  • Haymarket

Sydney’s newest cultural institution is a designated space for the stories and contributions of Chinese Australians. The creators of MOCA, the Museum of Chinese in Australia, are encouraging visitors to throw out everything you thought you knew about museums, and step into a space that brings past, present and future together in one place.  Ahead of its grand reopening in 2023, you can check out an interactive pop-up experience at the museum space in Haymarket. Learn the story behind how MOCA came to fruition and the unifying meaning behind its purpose. The Stories of Home exhibition features prominent Chinese Australians from Sydney, who share their experiences of growing up at the intersection of two cultures, and recommendations for the best places to discover around Chinatown. “We are not a traditional museum. We tell the stories of the past alongside the contemporary with a view to better understanding/influencing the future,” sayes Tony Stephens, MOCA’s executive director. “The Stories of Home project is the embodiment of this approach. Crowd-sourced and democratic, we invite the public to contribute their story of home so we can all better understand the beauty in our differences as well as our similarities.”  From Incu’s Brian and Vincent Wu to artist Louise Zhang, visitors can immerse themselves in the stories of everyday Chinese Australians who carry the legacy of their ancestors, root themselves in the present, and pave the way for future generations. MOCA also ext

  • Bars
  • Pub dining
  • Darlinghurst

A rooftop might not be the cosiest venue when the mercury plummets, but the East Village Sydney is having a crack at keeping their lofty drinking spot popular in the colder months with this pretty-in-pink makeover. From Thursday, June 2 the rooftop terrace will be adorned in fairy lights, rosy lighting and a forest of baby’s breath to give it that musk stick meets Elle Woods appeal, but… winter themed. They’re calling the set-up Winter Garden, and while the colouring might not make a whole lot of sense, they sure will be capturing the ‘millennial pink’ crowd. The themed menu, on the other hand, is ticking all the boxes by going heavy on the winter-friendly snacks from Alpine regions. Think sizzling bratwurst and four-cheese fondue spiked with Luxardo Maraschino liqueur – yep, they’re even making the pot of cheese pink. The team will also be pouring special warming drinks like spiced mulled wine and cider, mead from the Barossa Valley, and a smoked Ron Zacapa 23 rum Old Fashioned, an Alpine Sour and a Winter Spritz to keep you warm on the inside. The blushing bash will run until late August so you've got plenty of time to rug up and paint the town red, er, pink. The cold is well and truly here. Why not warm up in front of a fire place at one of these Sydney pubs?

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  • Film
  • Film festivals
  • Randwick

With a distinctive Art Deco design restored to its former 1930s glory and an impressive sound system, the Ritz is one of the finest cinemas in all of Sydney. This Randwick landmark is celebrating its 85th birthday in 2022, and the movie maniacs at the Ritz are marking the occasion by screening 85 iconic films in 85 days.  From the original A Star is Born (1937) to the first Australian screening of The Green Knight (2021), the cinema’s biggest retro program ever has a film from every year of the Ritz’s storied history. Select sessions will screen in 35mm, 70mm and 4K formats and it all kicks off from July 24 to October 16. It all kicks off with a birthday party involving a gala screening of a new 4K restoration of  the original A Star is Born (1937) on Sunday, July 24, which was released the same year the Ritz opened. Festivities will include speeches, entertainment, food and drinks, and the chance to explore the Ritz’s new renovations with a Champagne in hand.  This gargantuan film series then continues until October 16, and other selections include John Waters’ notorious Pink Flamingos (1972) starring legendary drag queen Divine, that timeless critique on news media Network (1976), classic horrors including Silence of the Lambs (1991), and round up your friends of Dorothy for The Wizard of Oz (1939).  In honour of this heritage-listed cinema’s momentous anniversary, the Ritz has also undergone a massive surrealist-inspired renovation and will be adding three new screens to t

  • Bars
  • Wine bars
  • Surry Hills

This winter, Surry Hills' favourite vino oasis, the Winery, has transformed into a groovy Bohemian glamping wonderland, so you can warm up in style. Mulled wine in hand, you and your besties can cosy up in these pretty canvas tents complete with glittering fairy lights, grazing menus and comfy cushions all winter long. The beautiful bit though, is that this is the best part of camping: tasty snacks, delicious drinks and no uncomfortable overnight stay. For $69 per person, you'll be treated to a four-course shared feast featuring the likes of light and creamy burrata, wild mushroom croquettes, crisp tofu and salt and pepper calamari, butternut pumpkin and goats cheese ravioli, truffled steak frites, and tiramisu to finish. For an extra (totally worth it) $39 you'll get a matching drinks package with mulled wine on arrival, awesome Australian wines, and an Espresso Martini to perk up at the end of your stay. Two-hour sessions can be booked every day from noon until 9pm at the Winery website here. Can't get enough winter wonder? Check out this pretty pink rooftop to keep away the chill.

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