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Colourful flowers of Jonima Florist
Photograph: Supplied/ The Rocks

The best things to do in Sydney in September

We're here to help your social life blossom in the first month of spring

Maxim Boon
Maya Skidmore
Written by
Maxim Boon
Written by
Maya Skidmore
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Throw off your doonas and discard your scarves: spring has sprung in Sydney. September not only heralds the arrival of warmer spring weather, but much like the trees and flowers waking up from the winter snooze, life is returning to the city – and we're here for it. 

Shake off those winter cobwebs and go in search of gorgeous spring flowers around Sydney and the state, wander through one of the city’s colourful weekend markets, take a refreshing dip in one of Sydney’s best ocean pools, or if you really want to give yourself a thorough spring airing, bust out the birthday suit at one of Sydney's finest nude beaches.

Stay fresh and brighten up your mind at a new theatre show and art exhibition, follow it up with a bottomless brunch, then soak up the fluttery sunshine in a lush beer garden –  or up high at a dreamy rooftop bar.

It's also the perfect time of year to give your home, garden or balcony a glow-up with some leafy additions, so head to these top plant nurseries where you can pick up a few new fronds.

Stay in a spring state of mind and head to one of these gorgeous camping spots near Sydney, and then go in search of wildflowers on one of the best (and easiest) day hikes in Sydney

September's best events

Carriageworks Farmers Market
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  • Markets
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  • Eveleigh

It’s imperative that you do not eat before you visit the Carriageworks 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. Maybe you like something soupy and savoury first thing? In that case head to Bar Pho for a traditional Vietnamese start to the day. On the veggie train? Hit up Keppos St Kitchen for a falafel breakfast, or head to Food Farm for a classic bacon and egg roll.Once the hounds of your hunger have been quieted it’s time to prepare for your next meal, or seven. Stock up on artisan cheese from Leaning Oak, smoked salmon from Brilliant Foods and Sydney’s favourite sourdough from AP Bakery and brunch is sorted. You can spend a whole lot of money if you want to here, but equally you could just grab a kombucha on tap from Herbs of Life and find a chair for some of the best dog-watching in the city.   Hungry for more? Look at our list of the best markets in Sydney – produce or otherwise. 

  • Things to do
  • Milsons Point

Considering that when Luna Park opened in 1935, the only other major attraction in Sydney was the Sydney Cricket Ground, the Art Deco amusement park has long been a significant site for the city – an important destination for escapism, especially considering it opened during the Depression. Although new rides have cropped up over the years, the heritage-listed park has retained a lot of its original features – which is why there’s been much hype since Luna Park announced that it would be opening a brand-new, first-of-its kind, high-tech attraction to appeal to new audiences and reignite Sydney’s love for the park. An immersive experience created right here by a bunch of talented Sydney creatives and technicians.  On December 22, Luna Park swings open the doors to a high-tech ‘Magic Box’ inside Luna Park’s existing 3,000 square metre Big Top building – a venue for the park’s first immersive adventure, ‘Dream Circus’. Time Out got a sneak peek at Dream Circus before opening day, and we have to say, it’s hard to sum up in a few sentences what you’re in for. It’s part-3D movie, where actors take you on an adventure through the circus, to the seaside, underwater and into magical dream-like states. It’s part-musical, except that the action envelops you on three sides of the room, as well as the floor and ceiling. It’s a little like a Van Gogh Alive or Frida Kahlo multi-sensory exhibition, except that rather than images being projected onto flat wall and floor surfaces, the set is b

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  • Shopping
  • Markets
  • Willoughby

Spend a leisurely Sunday morning in France without the jet lag at these fabulous French markets in Sydney’s north. Le Marché is the only fortnightly French market in the whole of Australia, popping up every second and fourth Sunday of each month at Laurelbank Cottage in Willoughby. Here, you can say bonjour to more than 45 talented Frenchies selling everything from raclette and rillettes to choux buns and Champagne.   Start your morning in Le Marché’s culinary corner, which channels the vibes of a mini French supermarket. Fill your reusable baskets with farm-fresh eggs, truffles, saucisson, duck confit and of course, all the French cheeses your heart desires. Thirsty? Take a detour to sample fine French wines and locally brewed gin, or skip straight to the Champagne bar for a bubbly start to your day.  Experience the lively spirit of a French village market by chatting with Le Marché’s passionate line-up of artisans selling striped Breton t-shirts, colourful berets, linen tablecloths, straw baskets and more. Take a leisurely browse through the stalls, and when it's time to refuel, hit up the hot food stalls serving everything from buttery escargots and boeuf bourguignon to raclette and truffle-infused rotisserie chicken. Seal the deal on your market rendezvous with a flaky croissant, creamy eclair or delicate choux bun. Bring a taste of the markets home too by buying a freshly baked baguette or colourful box of bite-sized macarons.  RECOMMENDED: Hungry for more? Look at our

Paddington Markets
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  • Markets
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  • Paddington

Every Saturday, more than 100 stalls line the grounds of Paddington Uniting Church and the neighbouring public school selling Australian-made fashion, handmade crockery and metal costume jewellery. The market has been operating on the same day since 1973, and the all-weather event is a profitable fundraiser for the church. Many of the stallholders return week on week, like the elderly Japanese couple selling Bonsai trees and the Spanish shoemakers selling espadrilles. It’s predominantly an art, clothing and design market – and alongside the kitsch bric-à-brac and Australiana-print tea towels you’ll find straw hats from local milliners and soft Tunisian-made ‘Turkish’ towels from young Eastern Suburb entrepreneurs. Antique, vinyl and vintage stalls are few and far between, but leather satchels, beach photography prints and patterned baby rompers are two a penny. On a hot day locals gather at the shaded tables and stools by the snack stalls. Turkish women hand roll yufka dough at the gözleme tent and vegetables are blitzed in a blender at the fresh juice stand. Chin’s Laksa stall, proudly MSG and gluten free, is a popular choice – as are the vegan cookies and sourdough scones on offer at the bakery stalls. It has a bohemian flair compared to its Oxford Street location and customers joyfully take up fortune readings, as well as reiki and Japanese massage. It’s an oddball mix, but one that works strangely well in an area known for its designer boutiques and gentrified pubs. Ou

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Rozelle Collectors Market
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  • Rozelle

A new wardrobe doesn’t have to mean popping tags on hundreds of dollars worth of swag, especially when you’re shopping at this long-standing secondhand market in Rozelle. The schoolyard of the Rozelle Public School has been a hive of weekend crate digging for more than 20 years, and while some stalls have almost earned long service leave, there are always newcomers keen to swap their good and chattel for some cold hard cash.The market runs on Saturdays from 9am to 3pm, and you can find bargains for less than you’d spend on a coffee – it’s all about the chase. Don’t be afraid to dig down into the tables of tops and skirts, T-shirt piles and racks of leather jackets. And if you don’t need vintage boots, a floral dress or a designer bargain, stroll through stalls selling antiques, cut glass crystal, old suitcases, DVDs, furniture and bric-a-brac. When you’re completely overstimulated head to the top right corner of the market where a handful of food stalls sell Himalayan fare, fresh juices squeezed on demand, gozleme, and dim sum. Because it’s a school there are no soft drinks sold on site, but a watermelon and rockmelon juice should sort out any dusty heads, and if nothing in the second-hand market grabs your attention, you can always grab a plant from the garden stall on your way out.   Want to know about markets in other parts of Sydney? Here's our guide.

Markets at Glebe
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  • Markets
  • Glebe

You’ll find massive variety among the 200 stalls that take over Glebe Public School each Saturday morning, but it’s the fashion ones that attract most visitors. There are rows upon rows of eccentric and colourful vintage clothes, alongside hand-crafted jewellery, accessories and new clothing designed by locals. There are vintage stalls scattered all around the market, but the smaller section just off Derby Lane at the back of the school is a goldmine and a slightly quieter place to scour through racks and try things on.  Even if you’re not searching for a new wardrobe, the Markets at Glebe is a great place to grab some lunch and relax on the school lawns where live musicians serenade the crowd. The lane of food stalls – just opposite the lawn – has old market favourites, as well as more high-end offerings. Want to market all day long? Hop, skip and jump over to Rozelle for some more treasures.

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Manly Markets
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  • Manly

Off the main drag, but still central enough to attract the tourists, Manly’s weekend markets brings together organic food stalls with souvenir sellers that makes for an easy one-stop-shop for a bite to eat and a quick browse before you hit the beach. Sydney Road has market stalls on either side, which can get stiflingly busy in summer sunshine. On a Sunday morning you’ll find Patrick’s Farm and Rita’s Farm proudly selling certified organic produce from the Hawkesbury and Wallacia. You can pick up Hass avocados, lush green veggies like broccoli, leeks, fennel and spinach, plus earthy Dutch cream potatoes and butternut, and boxes of free range eggs.  Alongside the two main produce stalls at the church end of the street, there are fresh-cut flowers for sale, as well as a variety of stalls peddling coffee, baked goods and fresh breads.  Though the food stalls pack up around 2pm, the bulk of the market’s clothing and gift stalls are there till 5pm. The range is hit-and-miss, from backpacker chic yak wool cardigans, natural skincare products and silver jewellery to the truly excellent retro haul at the tent occupied by Redfern’s Queen Justine Vintage. In the market for a loud Hawaiian shirt? You’re in luck. Looking for an acid wash denim mini? They’ll have heaps.  At the end of the day, this seaside locale is a perfectly breezy place to search for obscure and handmade gifts on a sunny weekend morning, with the beach a very sweet 50 metre walk away.   

  • Things to do
  • Walks and tours

Summer is all about getting outside and enjoying the sunshine – but when day turns to night, balmy weather makes for the perfect conditions to keep exploring long after the sun sets. By day, Jervis Bay is home to some of the most beautiful (and clearest water) beaches in NSW (heck, the world), but in the evening she’s just as glorious, thanks to less light pollution than in Sydney. If you’d like to dig your toes into the sand and marvel at the canopy of lights in the sky, then a guided stargazing tour in Jervis Bay should go to the top of your summertime activities list. Astrophysicist Dimitri Douchin, along with Caroline Boulom, invite you on a 90-minute experience that will open your eyes to the wonders of the universe right on the water's edge. Sounds magical, right? (They're the same people who run Blue Mountains Stargazing – and Dimitri sure knows his stuff, considering he's a TED speaker with a PhD in astrophysics. He’s a big thinker with a breadth of knowledge about how the world out there works, so we can’t think a better star-expert to take you on this very special journey.) You’ll get a chance to peep at the moon, Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Venus and The Orion Nebula through a telescope – and you might even spot a shooting star if you cross your fingers and toes. You might even witness the bioluminescence phenomenon, where a chemical reaction lights up the sealife, making their bodies glisten a shiny blue light. All participants who embark on the Jervis Bar stargazing t

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  • Things to do
  • Markets
  • Moore Park

Sydney Vegan Market brings together tons of stalls selling 100 per cent plant-based savoury bites, sweet treats, beverages, home and beauty products, educational and charity stalls and more.  A day at Sydney Vegan Market is about more than shopping and eating – but there is a certain magic conjured in the air when a crowd of people with dietary restrictions realise they can eat abolsutely everything around them. Start the morning mindfully and set your intention with a free yoga session, and catch sets from local music talents on the solar-powered mainstage as you peruse the stalls with a coffee or chai in hand and engage with education and activism. Pack your picnic blanket, there is heaps of green space to spread out on to assess your purchases and tuck in to your snacks. Of course, one of the biggest draws is the dogs of Sydney Vegan Market. The pup game is so strong that it has warranted its own Instagram account.  The market is committed to protecting planet Earth and is a single-use plastics free event. Don’t forget to BYO your (clean) containers and cups. Vendors supply food and drink using bio-plastic and cardboard packaging, which can all go straight into on-site composting bins.  The market is held on the third Sunday of every month at the Entertainment Quarter, Moore Park. Stay up to date with event announcements by following SVM on Instagram. If you want to find out more about Sydney Vegan Market, check out our Time Out Future Shapers profile on the markets' form

Art After Hours
  • Art
  • Paintings
  • Sydney

Every Wednesday evening, the Art Gallery of NSW welcomes you into its hallowed halls and throws the ultimate in absolutely free mid-week social and cultural events. Until 10pm, Art After Hours offers a regular program of live music, lectures and celebrity talks, drawing workshops, film screenings, gallery tours and other events – and, of course, nocturnal access to its latest exhibitions.  The program is usually themed around the exhibitions currently showing at the gallery, and you can join guided tours around the gallery at 5.30pm. Plus, a free courtesy bus runs every 20 minutes from 7pm until closing from the gallery to various city locations that are all close to public transport – so, no matter where you need to go, they have you covered.  Head to Art After Hours to jazz up your Wednesday night, and to inject a liberal splash of arty delight into your week, and your life.  Want more high culture? Check out our list of the best art exhibitions on across Sydney right now.

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