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Crowd walks through interactive outdoor art installation
Photograph: Supplied/Nox Night Sculpture Walk

Things to do in Sydney this week

Wondering what to do in the city? Our list will guide you in the right direction

By Alannah Maher and Maxim Boon
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Autumn is no time to hibernate in Sydney. There's plenty to fill your days. For example, the Sydney Comedy Festival is back in business, filling venues across the city with IRL LOLs. Broadway hit Hamilton is also open with rave reviews (including ours). But you should be aware that the rules of going out have changed again, so make sure you read up on the latest restrictions and wear a mask on public transport.

It's also prime time to support local businesses and explore Sydney's neighbourhoods, and we're helping you to do that with our neighbourhood guides. Discover hidden gems in neighbourhoods including the so-hot-right-now Marrickville, which cracked the top 10 of Time Out's coolest neighbourhoods worldwide.

Things to do in Sydney this week

Emily Havea and Maggie McKenna in Sydney Theatre Company’s Fun Home , 2021
Photograph: STC/Prudence Upton

1. Settle in for STC's tragicomic musical 'Fun Home'

Theatre Musicals Roslyn Packer Theatre, Millers Point

After conquering Broadway and the West End, the Tony Award-winning musical based on the memoir of American lesbian cartoonist Alison Bechdel has finally arrived on a Sydney stage – care of STC in a co-production with MTC. And it is every bit the spectacular, life-affirming and tragic masterpiece that critics in New York and London have raved about.

 

NOX Night Sculpture Walk, Randwick Environment Park, Saturday 16
Anna Warr

2. Explore this illuminated after dark sculpture walk

Things to do Exhibitions Randwick Environment Park, Randwick

While we countdown the days until Vivid in August, another outdoor festival is lighting up after dark. Artists from UNSW Art and Design will be putting on a spectacular weekend exhibition in Randwick Environment Park. This jazzy pop-up gallery is best viewed after dark, with all the sculpture works on the 1.5km loop through the park being illuminated by renewable energy sources.

 

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Drag queen Hannah Conda sips cocktail
Photograph: Supplied/Prince of York

3. Slurp oysters with a drag queen at this bottomless brunch

Things to do Prince of York, Sydney

Looking for something a little different for your next weekend catch up or special celebration? Head underground at CBD party bar the Prince of York on a Saturday afternoon. Head past the exposed brick and geometric prints and you’ll find a fancy, boozy daytime dining event amongst the low lighting, lush velvety couches and scattered disco balls of bar-within-a-bar, Pamela’s – complete with drag queens.

 

Comedian Nat's What I Reckon poses in front of red graffitied wall
Photograph: Sydney Comedy Festival/Julie Gee

4. Get in on the joke at the Sydney Comedy Festival

Comedy Comedy festival

Get ready for the rib-tickling of your life, because Sydney Comedy Festival is rolling into town with the ROFLs once more. As ever, there's a jam-packed line-up of funny folks on offer. We've cherry-picked the finest funny people headed to town, so you know exactly who's down to clown. 

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A man in hat and pink waistcoat rained on with with bank notes
Photograph: Supplied/SAFF

5. Get a taste of the South African Film Festival

Film Film festivals Multiple venues

We’re pumped for the return of the South African Film Festival (SAFF). For the most part, the fest will unspool online, so you can watch a bunch of brilliant features, shorts and documentaries exploring the fraught history and rich culture of the nation from the comfort of your own sofa. Each night, a new film will drop at 4pm and be available to stream for 24 hours.

 

People sitting inside at Redfern Surf Club
Photograph: Supplied/Patrick Stevenson

6. Catch a gig at a quirky Redfern bar

Music Redfern Surf Club, Alexandria

One of Redfern’s coolest bars will soon be pumping to the beat of a new gig series, curated in partnership with FBi Radio. It's the first time Redfern Surf Club has hosted live music, but co-owners Yannick Maslard and Jade New are no strangers to Sydney’s music scene, having previously worked at Oxford Art Factory and the Future Music Festival respectively.

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Leichardt Town Hall with purple and video projections on its facade at night.
Photograph: Supplied/ Daniel Kukec

7. Get amongst comedy and community at this Inner West festival

Things to do Leichhardt Town Hall, Leichhardt

Inner West Fest – Gulgadya is a series of fab events and activations that celebrate local businesses and residents through art, film and culture. Popping up around the precinct from May 14 to 23, this festival covers everything from local First Nations culture to internationally-acclaimed comedians.

 

People with easels create scribbly drawings, they hold wine glasses, the Sydney Harbour Bridge is in the background.
Photograph: Supplied/Pier One

8. Get creative with classes, talks and tipples by the bridge

Things to do Classes and workshops Pier One Sydney Harbour, Dawes Point

If getting hands on with creative activities, picking up a new hobby and spending some time in the salty sea air down by the harbour all sounds like something you’d be into – then you oughta pick up what they’re putting down at the Creative Hub, an intimate “creativity festival” from Pier One Sydney Harbour.

 

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Punters enjoy a drink at Shirt Bar Barangaroo
Photograph: Supplied/Shirt Bar

9. Celebrate a decade of Sydney's only tailor-whisky bar hybrid

Things to do Fairs and festivals Shirt Bar Barangaroo, Barangaroo

To celebrate the milestone of its first decade in business, Shirt Bar is putting on a ten-day festival celebrating its two great loves: world-class tailoring and top-quality Scottish whisky. The Barangaroo business fuses a bespoke tailoring business, a whisky bar and an espresso joint.

A bagel filled with cured beef, pickles and mustard
Photograph: Supplied/Stanley's

10. Try London's late night snack of choice

Restaurants Stanley's, Darlinghurst

After a smash-hit success pop-up in 2020, the dough purveyors of Salt Beef Beigel are back for another round. Hailing from London's famous Brick Lane, freshly filled salt beef bagels are the city's late night snack of choice. Think moist, slow-cooked, cured salt beef (or ‘corned beef’, or ‘silverside’) carved from the slab and layered onto a boiled then baked bagel with zesty mustard and pickles. 

 

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A textural tapestry predominantly in pink  on show in Martin Place
Photograph: Supplied/I Came To See

11. Check out exciting pop-up outdoor art galleries

Art Public art Multiple venues

Things are a little up in the air right now, but appreciating art outdoors remains a safe bet. Which is why we’ve been loving Sydney’s first open-air art fair for emerging artists, which has popped up in Martin Place this week. Unlike most galleries or museums, I Came to See is open 24/7. 

 

People sitting inside bar drinking at Bulletin Place
Photograph: Anna Kucera

12. Have a tipple at this new pop-up tiny bar

Bars Bulletin Place, Circular Quay

Tiny bars have captured Sydney's heart recently. The latest small-statured venue to join this mix? A tiny Spritz bar setting up shop in the terrace of renowned booze den Bulletin Place in Sydney's CBD, known as Belsazar Place.

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Drag queen performs in evil queen costume
Photograph: Supplied/Premiere Sydney

13. Be enchanted by this drag dinner show on Oxford Street

Things to do Universal, Darlinghurst

The immersive dinner and a show experience that took Oxford Street by storm after the city was released from lockdown is back. Some Sydney drag superstars are all set to drop a glass slipper on the pink mile and take a big bite out of an apple from a sketchy stranger with their latest outing. 

 

A musical duo on stage at Since I Left You
Photograph: Supplied/Since I Left You

14. Get amongst this festival in Sydney's new laneway entertainment zone

Bars Cocktail bars Around Sydney, Sydney

YCK Laneways is the new city precinct that is home to 10 of the best small bars in Sydney, all clustered around York, Clarence and Kent Streets. To celebrate the inauguration of this exciting entertainment zone, a six-week program of events, the YCK Laneways Block Party, will take place across the bars and laneways, bringing fun, culture and delicious drinks.

 

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Anita Hegh in dark smocks in Belvoir's A Room of One's Own
Photograph: Supplied/Daniel Boud

15. Find out why Belvoir brought back this Virginia Woolf classic

Theatre Drama Belvoir St Theatre, Surry Hills

Anita Hegh stars in Carissa Licciardello and Tom Wright’s adaptation of Woolf’s feminist polemic A Room of One’s Own. One of the first shows to hit stages after lockdowns, it’s hard to think of a play better adapted for these unusual times. 

 

Three people look into a tall glass cabinet that contains taxidermy monkeys of different varieties.
Photograph: Anna Kucera

16. Explore the Australian Museum after dark with DJs

Museums Natural history Australian Museum, Darlinghurst

Sydney's natural history museum is keeping its lights on till the end of June with a stellar lineup of  beats and exhibitions to explore after hours, and general admission is free. Every Thursday the museum will grant access to its fascinating collections. There'll also be a pop-up bar, atmospheric lounge area and live music from DJs.

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Bowl of ramen
Photograph: Supplied/Butter

17. Try the new experimental chef's takes on ramen at Butter

News Restaurants

Fried chicken and sneaker palace Butter has already racked up a cult following – one which is about to be amped the hell up. Instead of just one kind of ramen, their OG fried chicken, the Sydney eatery is rallying a bunch of Australia's best chefs to line up six-limited edition versions. Each one will be available in limited numbers each day for a month-long reign at the Surry Hills, Parramatta and Chatswood stores. 

 

a person stands in front of a suspended wall of LED lighting like a starfield
Photograph: White Rabbit | 'Miniature', 2015, LuxuryLogico

18. Light up your life at this bedazzling exhibition

Art Installation White Rabbit, Chippendale

Oh starry, starry night – we have been utterly transfixed by the blinding glow of lush exhibition Lumen. Currently on show at White Rabbit Gallery, if you haven’t had a looksee as yet, then prepare to be dazzled. The magnetic collection brings together glimmering works from more than 25 artists from China and Taiwan.

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Two people sit at table, they are building terrariums.
Photograph: Supplied/Little Succers

19. Visit this new permanent build-your-own terrarium studio

Things to do Classes and workshops Neutral Bay

For those born without the gift of a green thumb, Little Succers' build-your-own-terrarium business is a godsend. After operating out of a pop-up store in Surry Hills for two years, founder Tara Shelton has launched a permanent studio in Neutral Bay.

 

Jason Arrow and the cast of Hamilton
Photograph: Supplied/Daniel Boud

20. See Broadway megahit Hamilton

Theatre Musicals Sydney Lyric Theatre, Darling Harbour

The world's biggest musical opened to rapturous audiences at the Sydney Lyric Theatre. The curtain has lifted on an all Australian or Kiwi ensemble for Lin Manuel Miranda's Hamilton. General tickets for the hip-hop/showtune fusion mega-hit are on sale now. But get in quick, because they’re the theatrical equivalent of toilet paper at the height of the crisis. IN DEMAND.

 

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In a black and white photo a woman and three children are at the beach, they are in the water with a floatie device
Photograph: Supplied/#057 Untitled.Showa

21. Help to solve the mystery of this found photo collection

Art Central Park Mall, Chippendale

With her latest project, Untitled.Showa, Japanese Australian artist and writer Mayu Kanamori has taken on the role of detective – and she’s calling on the public for help. Kanamori discovered a collection of over 300 beautiful, tiny hand-printed black and white vintage photographs from Japan in country Australia – and nobody knows how they got here.

 

People sitting outside under glass building in a tree-lined terrace area
Photograph:Suuplied/Kitti Gould

22. Check out the buzzing, new South Eveleigh food precinct

News Restaurants

What do you get when you rally together some of the city's finest makers, chefs and cocktail-shakers and drop them into one industrial hub? You get South Eveleigh: once a collection of old railway sheds, now a regenerated, buzzing dining and drinking destination. There's a hot new 'no waste' cocktail bar, ramen, Kylie Kwong's newest venture, and more.

 

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Three plates of avocado dishes side by side
Photograph: Supplied/Cuckoo Callay

23. Try this menu geared to avocado-lover's dreams

News Restaurants

Cuckoo Callay cafés in Surry Hills and Newtown are set to be home to a two-month-long festival called 'Kiss My Hass 2020'. The event features an entire menu dedicated to the Hass avocado. There's a classic avo on toast with olives, mozzarella and sundried tomatoes, toastadas piled on with smashed avo, and a zesty salmon and citrus-tossed ceviche.

 

MCA-goers take in the swirling beauty of Betty Kuntiwa Pumani's Antara
Photograph: Anna Kucera | Antara, 2020, Betty Kuntiwa Pumani

24. Explore this exciting biennial art event across multiple venues

Art

While the Biennale of Sydney might be all about international artists making local waves, The National is all about our local contemporary artists and the waves they’re making here and around the world. This year showcases 39 artists, collectives and collaborations across Art Gallery of New South Wales (AGNSW), Carriageworks and the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA).

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Two birds close up
Photograph: Evie Easterbrook/Supplied

25. See world-class wildlife photography

Art Galleries Australian National Maritime Museum, Darling Harbour

Sydney is taking temporary custody of the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition (WPY) again this year. On loan from London’s Natural History Museum, this world-class collection of mesmerising images will be housed at the Australian National Maritime Museum from April through to October. 

 

Shirtless dancers perform in Magic Mike Live Australia
Photograph: Magic Mike Live/Peter Brew-Bevan

26. Surrender to the smooth moves of Magic Mike Live

Theatre Musicals The Entertainment Quarter, Moore Park

Be prepared for a woke update of the classic male strip show. Channing Tatum's Magic Mike Live hands the power over to its audience, using a clever red herring to center the female gaze.

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A vintage toy
Photograph: Supplied

27. Get wound up at this creepy new escape room

Things to do Games and hobbies St Peters

The incredibly exciting new game by the Cipher Room team, in a brand new warehouse location, has raised the bar on local escape room challenges. The concept is an old toy shop whose owner has vanished. Yes, you guessed it: there are creepy dolls and clowns galore.

Esteban music
Photograph: Supplied/Steven Woodburn

28. Experience the buzz of Mexico's streets in the CBD

Things to do Esteban, Sydney

Just as eateries and bars across the city and the surrounding suburbs are making the most of the new outdoor dining zones, CBD Mexican eatery Esteban is jumping on the outdoor vibes train too, with its new program of live, late Latin music in the crook of its laneway home. On Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays for three months, there's a rolling program from samba bands to salsa solos.

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A silver, engraved war amulet on purple thread from 1800s Persia
Photograph: Supplied/Powerhouse Museum

29. Check out this celebration of Persian art

Art Design Powerhouse Museum, Ultimo

The Powerhouse Museum will mark Nowrouz – that's Persian New Year if you didn't know – on March 19 with a new exhibition, Iranzamin. It’s the museum’s first dedicated survey of their Persian arts and crafts collection, presenting more than 100 rarely seen gems.

Sarabi poses in costume at the Bearded Tit
Photograph: Anna Kucera | Sarabi

30. Discover all the ways to experience drag in Sydney

Things to do

From bingo and trivia to cabaret and dinner shows. There’s always a lot of makeup and a lot of fabulousness going on, but the art of drag takes on many forms and styles – and in Sydney, there are so many ways for you to experience it. 

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Jemma Rix as Elsa in Frozen the Musical
Photograph: Lisa Tomasetti

31. Let it go at Frozen the musical

Theatre Musicals Capitol Theatre, Haymarket

Following in the footsteps of global megahits Aladdin and The Lion King, Disney's frosty fable Frozen is the latest story to tread the boards. This IRL retelling of the beloved film stands apart from the movie in some beautifully touching ways. 

A couple enjoys a tequila cocktail at Opera bar with the Harbour Bridge in the background
Photograph: Supplied/Steven Woodburn

32. Chill out with DJs and cocktails at Opera Bar

Bars Cocktail bars Opera Bar, Sydney

Who doesn’t love a smooth Sunday session down by Sydney’s beautiful harbour? Now you can bliss out to the best DJs in town while you unwind by the water’s edge as Picnic Social returns to Opera Bar. All you have to do is get a group of buddies (or treat yourself) and settle into the iconic Opera House from 3pm to 10pm every weekend.

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Two hikers trek through dense forrest on the Grand Canyon Walking Track in the Blue Mountains
Photograph: Destination NSW

33. Get back to nature with the best bushwalks in the Blue Mountains

Attractions Parks and gardens

Just two hours west of Sydney's bustling urban heart, this vast, largely untouched wilderness, spanning some 11,400 square kilometres, is crisscrossed with walking trails that take in some of the most spectacular corners of the region. From forested canyons to towering rocks and majestic waterfalls, you’ll find them all on the top bushwalks in the Blue Mountains.

Fresh produce at Carriageworks Farmers Markets
Photograph: Daniel Boud

34. Check out one of the best markets in Sydney

Shopping Markets

To market, to market? Whether it’s the promise of brekky pho or the racks of vintage threads that gets you out of bed in the morning, these are the markets that we've been itching to get back to, with their local produce, creative wares and delicious snacks.

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Aerial shot of museum building
Photograph: Chau Chak Wing Museum/Brett Boardman

35. Check out the best museums in Sydney

Museums History

Sydney is home to some pretty fascinating museums, places where you can learn about ships, time, military history, the police force and more. Head out on a journey of discovery as you learn about fascinating natural histories, scientific endeavours, design innovations and the many surprising stories that have made this city everything it is today.

Jacaranda tress at the Royal Botanic Gardens.
Photograph: Destination NSW

36. Get some fresh air at one of Sydney's best parks

Attractions Parks and gardens

Whether you're looking to go for a run, walk your dog, have a sedate picnic or just take a break from your four walls, these are the parks to visit. They have sprawling open spaces, free barbecues and shaded spots to while away an afternoon or simply catch a break at lunchtime.

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Bar 83
Photograph: Supplied/Robert Walsh

37. Check out Sydney's new sky high revolving bar

Bars Sydney

The vibe of the top-to-bottom refurbishment of Sydney Tower’s top floor, now home to the loftiest cocktail lounge in the city, is not so much a nod to the ‘60s as it is a full-throated power ballad to the kitschest, campest, most swinging design trends of the age. Sitting 83 storeys above street level, Bar 83's transformation is something to see.

Person walking through park at Paddington Reservoir Gardens
Photograph: Cassandra Hannagan

38. Check out the best public gardens to visit in and around Sydney

Attractions

You might think that the difference between a park and garden is just a matter of semantics, but in truth, they’re different spaces. Parks are all about activity and versatility – they can become whatever we need them to be. Gardens on the other hand offer carefully curated experiences.

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Cakes and wine High tea at Langham Hotel
Photograph: Supplied

39. Pass the scones at one of Sydney's best high teas

Restaurants Tea rooms

Do you love cucumber sandwiches with the crusts cut off, scones with jam and cream and tiered plates of petit fours? Sydney is obsessed with high tea, and with good reason – we know how to bake a good scone. Once you pair them with beautiful harbour views, like at the Mosman Barracks, or cultivated gardens at historic Vaucluse House, and throw in a cheeky glass of Champagne – you've got yourself an aspirational afternoon of leisure.

Mrs Macquarie's Chair
Photograph: Destination NSW

40. Soak up the scenery at the nine most beautiful lookouts near Sydney

Things to do

For a sizable chunk of 2020, the nicest view most of us could hope for was the one through our living room window. So, since we’re allowed to roam free across the state once more, we reckon it’s about time you levelled-up your vista. Just cop an eyeful of these breathtaking sights in and around Sydney, then start planning your next day trip to behold them IRL.

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Two women laugh as they sculpt clay with wine and cheese on the table
Photograph: Supplied/Clay Sydney

42. Get your hands dirty at this ceramics studio

Things to do Enmore

Clay Sydney’s new Enmore studio offers chilled-out one-off workshops suitable for total beginners as well as short courses covering wheel-throwing, hand-building, firing and glazing techniques for the clay-curious. If you fancy learning the basics while throwing back a bevvie, the wine and clay night might just be up your alley. 

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Easy hikes in Sydney
Photograph: Destination NSW

43. Take a stroll with the best easy day hikes near Sydney

Sport and fitness Walks

There are plenty of opportunities near Sydney for novice hikers to experience the great outdoors without trekking too far from civilisation. In the national parks that sit on the city’s fringes, you'll find several wonderful hikes that are perfect for those who prefer a relaxed amble to a major expedition.

Hilltops region
Photograph: Destination NSW

44. Plan a trip to the most underrated holiday destinations in NSW

Travel

International borders look set to remain sealed until at least next year and restrictions on interstate travel are still in effect for much of the country. Fortunately, there's a wealth of great getaway options right here in New South Wales ready and waiting to receive eager holidaymakers. 

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BridgeClimb 01
Photograph: Supplied

45. Scale the Sydney Harbour Bridge

Things to do The Rocks

Yes, you have to wear an unflattering grey jumpsuit – but if climbing the fourth-longest single-span steel arch bridge in the world is a should-see for out-of-towners and visiting celebrities, then it’s an absolute can’t-miss for locals.  

Two blue chairs in front of white wall
Photograph: Supplied/Raes on Wategos

46. Get fancy with the most luxurious accommodation in NSW

Hotels

Sometimes you just want to exchange your everyday for an alternate reality where plush robes come hand-laundered to your door. We have rounded up some of the most luxurious hotels in NSW for you to escape the rigours of modern life with on a truly indulgent vacay. 

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People walking along Coast Track Royal National Park
Photograph: David Finnegan

47. Start planning your next day trip

Travel Short getaways

Follow your traveller's instinct and get away for a day to one of our best day trips from the city – featuring quaint villages, seaside hangouts and mountain escapes. Around a two-hour drive or a scenic train ride away, you'll find yourself rambling through eucalyptus gums, gazing out over gorgeous ocean cliffs, or watching the world go by in a sleepy village. 

Discover hidden gems around Sydney

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