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Things to do in Sydney on December 25 if you don't celebrate Christmas

While the majority of Sydneysiders are at home celebrating Christmas, take advantage of their absence
Collins Beach Flat
Photograph: Coral Chum

The Flying Spaghetti Monster has no birthday. Mawlid is either donezo or on the horizon. Hanukkah is a distant memory at this point, and the summer solstice is old news. Yep, it's December 25, and it's #NotMyChristmas. Without family obligations, what does one do on a day when almost everything is closed? Well, my non-Christian compatriot, follow us on a journey through an almost-abandoned city. Almost, but not quite... 

Non-Christmas activities open on December 25


Watch Star Wars unaccosted

The Event Cinemas in the city and Macquarie will be open on December 25 and showing all Last Jedi all the time. Many of the sweaty teens that would otherwise make it a stressful viewing experience will be stuck at home with their families.

Time Out says

Head to the zoo

icon-location-pin Mosman
Somebody's got to take care of the animals no matter what day it is, which means Taronga is open on Christmas Day. Over giraffes (you monster)? Well, you can also check out seals and sharks at Sea Life Aquarium, which is open till 7pm.
Anna Kucera
Restaurants, Chinese

Eat all the dumplings

Don't celebrate Christmas? Do celebrate it but don't dig turkey? Luckily some of Sydney's best yum cha restaurants will be dishing up all the dumplings your heart could desire this Christmas Day.

Wentworth Falls
Photograph: David Iliff
Attractions, Parks and gardens

Hunt down a waterfall

Sure, it's not as Insta-perfect as swimming under a waterfall on New Year's Day, but nature doesn't close for Christmas, and these waterfalls won't stop flowing.

Pouring coffee at Rolling Penny
Photograph: Anna Kucera
Restaurants, Cafés

Pretend like it's any other day

Sure, almost everything is shut on Xmas Day. Lucky for you, we've rounded up a few cafés and restaurants that are open, so you can just be your regular, caffeinated self.
Bars, Pubs

Go grab a drink

Nothing says "Thank god this isn't my holiday" like watching people who've been trapped with their families all day desperately trying to drink the pain away. Meanwhile, you can sip a mojito and just enjoy the feeling of total relaxation. 

And for the next day...

Museums, Science

Star Wars Identities: The Exhibition

icon-location-pin Powerhouse Museum, Ultimo

Dates open: December 26-31

Price: $23-$36

Have you ever wondered which Star Wars character you most resemble? In this new exhibition you’ll be invited to journey to a galaxy far, far away to create your own Star Wars identity, using interative technology and rooms of Star Wars costumes, models, props and artwork. Sydney’s Powerhouse Museum has secured the Australian premiere of the expo, which includes 200 objects from the movie series, including 12 new items to the exhibition.

Things to do, Exhibitions

Plants with Bite

icon-location-pin The Calyx, Sydney

Dates open: December 25-31

Price: Free

Budding horticulturalists who like plants with attitude should head to the Royal Botanical Gardens these holidays for a free exhibition of carnivorous greenery. The Calyx will be filled with 25,000 of the world’s hungriest, most clever plants. The kids will love watching as the venus fly trap lures unsuspecting insects with nectar and snaps them up in its jaws, where they’ll spend their final days being slowly digested. 


Luna Park Sydney

icon-location-pin Milsons Point

Dates open: December 26-30

Price: $23-$51

Whether you’re trying to keep the kids entertained or you just want to relive the excitement of going down a roller coaster, Luna Park is the perfect amusement park for all ages. There’s plenty of time for repeat rides on the Wild Mouse, soaking up history in Coney Island or spinning on the Rotor until you vomit (although we don’t recommend ending your night that way).

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

Dates open: December 25-31

Price: $14.59-$30

There's nothing quite like a film under the stars in the beautiful surrounds at 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, too. This summer's programming has the usual mix of acclaimed Oscar hopefuls, kids' favourites and retro screenings to satisfy the nostalgic urges. 


Taronga Zoo

icon-location-pin Mosman

Dates open: December 26-30

Price: $23.40-$46

Taronga Zoo is open every day for the rest of the year, so why not head to Mosman for a day amongst the animals? Whether you’re a lover of mammals, reptiles or birds, there’s plenty to see, do and learn. Hang out with zebras at African Safari, or spend your time in a dark cave with snakes and crocodiles at Reptile World. Head to the free-flight bird show or sign up for an animal encounter with a koala, giraffe, penguin or owl.  

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

Body Worlds Vital

icon-location-pin Sydney Town Hall, Sydney

Dates open: Demeber 27-31

Price: $18-$32

In September, Sydney waved an awkward farewell to the wildly popular but controversial Real Bodies exhibition, as 20 perfectly preserved human cadavers and 200 anatomical specimens were packed away. Now, fans of human biology will get another entrancing, disturbing and educational exhibition with Body Worlds Vital. This separate exhibit, created by Gunther von Hagens in 1995, has toured more than 130 countries worldwide. 

Museums, Natural history

Whales | Tohora

icon-location-pin Australian Museum, Darlinghurst

Dates open: December 26-31

Price: $0-$27

In an exhibition created by the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, you can size up to the skeleton of an 18-metre bull sperm whale, walk through the heart of a blue whale and familiarise yourself with the whale-riding stories of Māori culture. The exhibition combines science, storytelling and technology to help us learn more about our relationship to these marvellous mammals. 



icon-location-pin The Rocks

Dates open: December 25-30

Price: $138-$383

If you’re a Sydneysider and you’re yet to climb the Harbour Bridge, now is as good a time as ever. Climbs are pricier during this season but, if you happen to have a bit of spare cash left over from Christmas, we can’t think of a better way to spend it. Stand atop the Harbour Bridge and view Sydney like never before – observe the iconic white sails of the Opera House, the silhouette of the Blue Mountains and the endless ocean that flows beyond the east.

Sea Life Sydney Aquarium Penguin Expedition
Photograph: Brett Stevens

Sea Life Sydney Aquarium

icon-location-pin Darling Harbour

Dates open: December 25-31

Price: $35-$51

Head to Sea Life Sydney Aquarium’s newest exhibition Penguin Expedition. Museumgoers can board a raft that takes them through the exhibition where they’ll witness a bunch of adorable King and Gentoo penguins. You'll see the penguins as they swim in the pool and, if you’re lucky, catch a glimpse of the little fellas being fed. There are, of course, a bunch of other animals to see at the aquarium including dugongs, sharks and rays.

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

Kings Cross Flower Market

icon-location-pin Fitzroy Gardens, Elizabeth Bay

Dates open: December 30

Price: Free

You can't start a new year without fresh flowers, so the Kings Cross Flower Markets will offer Sydneysiders an accessible place to purchase fresh-cut blooms. They’ll open from 9.30am-2.30pm on Sunday, meaning you can still get competitive petals without losing your weekend sleep-in. The floral factory will set up around the Alamein Fountain, offering indoor plants, garden varieties, cacti, succulents, herbs and glorious bouquets.

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