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: 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).

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

Dates open: December 26-29

Price: $39-$119

It's become an annual tradition that producer Simon Painter brings one of his flashy, Vegas-style shows to the Opera House for Christmas. Painter's most popular show The Illusionists was born at the House, and has now been seen around the world and had several seasons on Broadway. The appropriately named The Illusionists: Direct From Broadway is now coming our way. Expect big stunts, magical flying, mindreading and all kinds of illusions. 

William Kentridge AGNSW 2018
Photograph: Christopher Snee, AGNSW

William Kentridge: That Which We Do Not Remember

icon-location-pin Art Gallery of NSW, Sydney

Dates open: December 26-31

Price: Free

Renowned for his arresting stop-motion video installations, William Kentridge is the best-known contemporary artist working in South Africa today. In this exhibition at the Art Gallery of NSW, visitors can trace the development of his career, from his interest in opera and early cinema to his preoccupation with the nexus between art, ideology, history and memory as a witness to South Africa’s apartheid era. 


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.  

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. 

Things to do, Exhibitions

Exhibitionism: The Rolling Stones Exhibit

icon-location-pin International Convention Centre, Darling Harbour

Dates open: December 26-31

Prices: $15-$36.50

This huge exhibition exploring the Rolling Stones’ rise to stardom and their subsequent impact on pop culture, rock’n’roll, fashion and art is an exclusive Sydney event. It will feature more than 500 items from throughout the band’s career, including vintage guitars, lyric books, backstage and touring paraphernalia, album art, and the personal diaries and letters of the Stones themselves.

The Norman Conquests Ensemble 2018
Photograph: Supplied
Theatre, Drama

The Norman Conquests

icon-location-pin Ensemble Theatre, Kirribilli

Dates open: December 27-30

Price: $35-$73

Ensemble Theatre is bringing long-form production The Norman Conquests to fill your holidays with theatre. Written by Alan Ayckbourn in 1973 in less than a fortnight, the three parallel plays follow the unravelling of the romantic but philandering Norman as he deals with his wife Ruth, her sister Annie and his sister-in-law Sarah over one disastrous summer weekend. 

Art, Galleries

Supernatural: Visions of the Future

icon-location-pin White Rabbit, Chippendale

Dates open: December 27-30

Price: Free

The foyer installation at White Rabbit always sets the tone for each exhibition, but the one that greets visitors to Supernatural is a pretty big statement. Hanging high above the gallery are ten life-like nude figures. They have the body of a man, but from the chest up they’re dragonflies. The rest of the exhibition is about the way our world has transformed over the thousands of years that humans have dominated. A bit of a think piece for the holidays, eh?

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