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Photograph: Supplied/@hanaandgnocchi

Things to do in Sydney this week

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

Written by
Time Out editors
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The winds are a blowin’ and the streets are a freezin’, and yet, folks, our resilient Sydneytown just keeps turning the goods on, with so much to do, see and taste across all four corners of the Emerald City. This week, the laneways are back and bringing it on with a wintery wine filled party to celebrate the longest night of the year, while all plant-lovers can sink their teeth into the epic one-day-only return of Yum Cha at Yulli's. On top of all this deliciousness, punters can experience an Archie arty Party at the NSW Gallery and hit up the hysterical challenge rooms at the brand-new Hijinx Hotel, thus ensuring that this week is a festive time for absolutely everyone.

Culture vultures should be sure to have a geeze at the best theatre in Sydney and the best art exhibitions, and don't forget to sink your teeth into the best new restaurants and bars in town

Plus, with restrictions gone, the party is back, with dancing, singing and nightclubs all back in action across the city, with there being plenty of mid-week opportunities for you to get down.

Essentially, there is a good time is to be had by all. So, you better go out there and have it. 

The best things to do in Sydney

  • Attractions
  • Theme parks
  • Alexandria

Is bigger really better? The good folks at Fun Lab certainly think so. Two new epic additions to their entertainment hub in Alexandria are bringing the good times on a whole new scale. Right next door to the HiJinx Hotel, the world’s first challenge room venue, and the ever-popular Archie Bros Cirque Electriq, is the nation’s largest indoor mini-golf arena, featuring 27 pun-tastic novelty putt-putt holes spread across three madcap courses. 

 

  • Attractions
  • Theme parks
  • Alexandria

You’ve no doubt heard of smash rooms, splash rooms and escape rooms. Well, now Sydneysiders are the first people in the world to get up close and personal with ‘challenge rooms’. Plucked from the madcap minds of the team at Funlab, the creators of popular mini-golf chain Holey Moley and Sydney’s new augmented reality darts bar La Di Darts, Hijinx Hotel is a brand new concept that pairs silly good times with a competitive edge. 

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  • Theatre
  • Sydney

Part magic show, part mental manipulation masterclass, Wonders is the extraordinary Scott Silven at his most hypnotic – sharing early childhood memories, weaving a colourful narrative and ultimately casting a spell over his awestruck audience. The charming Scotsman – who started studying hypnosis at the tender age of 15, and has since graced the stage of some of the world’s most exclusive theatres – gives a performance of total intrigue, leaving you wondering if he can actually read your mind.

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  • Art
  • Sculpture and installations
  • Eveleigh

Internationally acclaimed Australian artist Mel O’Callaghan is expanding on her continued exploration of the relationship between life and "nonlife" in a new major exhibition at Carriageworks. All is Life is spread across two spaces in the former railway workshops of Carriageworks. In a large, cavernous room, O’Callaghan presents a new performance installation and sound work, titled ‘First Sound, Last Sound’. The installation features two large-scale fully functioning tuning forks that stand at three metres high and are positioned atop a raised stage.

 

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  • 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.

 

  • Bars
  • Sports bars

There's not a lot that'll make the great state of New South Wales down tools and come together faster than the State of Origin series each year. For the first time since 2020, the games will be coming to Sydney, with the June 8 game one going down at our very own Stadium Australia. This is our list of the best pubs with big screens and fresh deals to hit up for the game of the season. 

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  • Art
  • Sculpture and installations
  • Surry Hills

A new exhibition featuring the most comprehensive display of Brett Whiteley’s painted ceramics has opened at the artist's former home, Brett Whiteley Studio in Surry Hills. Over 40 ceramic pieces – dating from the 1970s and 1980s – feature in the exhibition, which examines the connections between the artist’s work across various mediums and the use of the colour blue in his practice.

  • Art
  • Installation
  • Sydney

This year at Hyde Park Barracks, Melbourne-based artist Daniel Crooks has been enlisted along with his new video installation, ‘Boundary Conditions’Presented on a giant monolithic screen hovering in the building’s courtyard, ‘Boundary Conditions’ juxtaposes the past and the present, the virtual and the real. It’s an artwork designed to resonate in our own period of change and uncertainty, manipulating slices of time that are not normally visible.   

 

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  • Theatre
  • Drama
  • Millers Point

In her mainstage debut, emerging playwright Emme Hoy takes inspiration from the irreverent comedy of Fleabag and lush beauty of Pride & Prejudice. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall is a contemporary interpretation of a novel by the youngest and most unruly Bronte sister, Anne, which is considered the first English feminist novel. On that description alone, we’re already clambering for tickets. 

  • Bars
  • Cocktail bars
  • Barangaroo

On Friday, May 27 a secret bar will quietly open its doors for the first time at The Streets of Barangaroo in Sydney. The D.L.M – that's the Department of Legend & Myth FYI – is set to be Sydneysiders' new house of wondery and mystery, where punters can expect cocktails, magic, live music and quirky decor. Expect Japanese fried chicken, a concealed entry way, and an actual magician. 

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  • Theatre
  • Musicals
  • Elizabeth Bay

There is an enduring allure to the legendary story of the notorious bank-robbing lovers Bonnie and Clyde. With love, lust, tragedy, crime and murder, it’s a story that is ripe for the musical theatre treatment – and finally, the Australian professional premiere of Bonnie & Clyde the musical is coming to Hayes Theatre Co from June 17.

 

  • Art
  • Darlinghurst

If you’re not familiar with the work of the great Australian artist Colin Lanceley, now is your chance. The National Art School in Darlinghurst is proudly presenting Earthly Delights, an exploration through the artist’s signature technicolour assemblages and the intense sensory experiences of human life, culture and nature that underpin his work, affirming his vital significance and contribution to Australian contemporary art.

 

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  • Theatre
  • Musicals
  • Haymarket

Do you believe in freedom, beauty, truth and love? Yes? Good.

After a delayed but spectacular run in Melbourne, Moulin Rouge! The Musical is kicking it over to Sydney in 2022 for a run at the Capitol Theatre from May 28. The show has been getting rave reviews. Time Out Melbourne’s reviewer gave it a whopping five stars, saying: “Moulin Rouge! The Musical is every bit the “spectacular spectacular” fans have waited for, bursting onto the stage with the same visual splendour and captivating music that made Baz Luhrmann’s film such a hit.”

  • Art
  • Galleries
  • 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.

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  • Nightlife
  • Newtown

Do you want nothing more than to get down n’ dancing on a Wednesday night? Look no further, we've got you covered. For more than 12 years, Birdcage has been a homing beacon for Sydney's queer women and a safe space for LGBTQIA+ folks to cut a rug. This good time Newotwn pub is open for dancing from 8pm to 2am every Wednesday night, bringing free entry, glitzy fun and an assortment of DJs and drag hosts to spice up your mid-week.

  • Theatre
  • Musicals
  • Darling Harbour

If ever there was a show that could transport you into a sense of childlike wonder and glee, it’s this one. Endearing performances, visually stunning sets and technical trickery and stunts that one-up themselves at every turn, this is a well-oiled machine with a sprinkle of that irresistible Disney magic. From high-flying acrobatics to mystifying special effects, it pulls out all the stops. It's the kind of show where set changes are applauded. 

 

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  • Things to do

Painting pretty pictures while drinking booze is pretty much always a good idea. But, if you add in some glow-in-the-dark action, a splash of neon face-paint, and a hit of UV light, you may find that everything does suddenly escalate to the very next level. Neon Nights is the realisation of this particular dream, with famed Sydney paint n’ sippers Pinot and Picasso launching a Vivid-special series, just in time for our city’s festival of rainbow lights. 

  • Theatre
  • Drama
  • Surry Hills

A popular creative writing lecturer, Jon (Spielman), has an affair with his star 19-year-old student, Annie (Yena). Taking place across three scenes each set five years apart, the play charts the impact of the relationship on both characters’ lives and also asks questions about who gets to tell the story of that relationship. 

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  • Restaurants
  • Woollahra

Sometimes, a Thursday night in winter can be a bit, as they say, ‘bleak’. Deciding what to eat for dinner can feel like Everest (not to be too dramatic, but seriously) and the thought of having to physically cook something warm and nourishing can feel a wee bit much for those of us who would rather lie horizontally whilst listening to dolphin noises in their dark living rooms. For all ye weary folk, we hear you. That’s why the weekly Thursday curry night at the Woollahra Hotel is such a catch.

  • Things to do
  • Macquarie Park

The Macquarie University Astronomical Observatory has just reopened after two whole years, and now, everyone who likes themselves a wee bit of heaven gazin’ has the chance to personally go and see what this whole universe thing is about, up close and personal every Friday and Saturday night, from now until June. You will be able to view planets, binary stars, moons, star clusters and nebulae through the professional in-dome telescopes and range of portable telescopes, with space legends/ Macquarie University’s extremely knowledgeable astronomy staff guiding you each step of the way. 

 

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  • Things to do

Are you ready to chase arty escapades around the city? The Biennale of Sydney has unleashed a packed program for 2022, with over 330 artworks by 89 participants and 400 events, which are showing over three months. The largest contemporary art event of its kind in Australia, as always, the Biennale is free to visit and open to the public. Check out our highlight picks.

  • Things to do
  • Classes and workshops
  • Stanmore

Booze & Blooms is the baby genius of Stanmore-based floral designer and owner of Stardust Flowers, Kate Hayes, who has begun running weekly flower design workshops from her Inner West studio on Thursday nights and Sunday afternoons. These floristry classes are all about teaching you how to design the most beauteous bouquet possible, through coaching you on colour, floral care, what flowers to look for, and how to put all of the finicky little creatures together in a way that's sure to impress. Plus, you get unlimited wine. 

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  • Art
  • Galleries
  • Darling Harbour

While the weather has been unpredictable at best, with winds and rain set to disrupt plans for the foreseeable future, there is one failsafe place you can go to commune with nature in comfort. Sydney is taking temporary custody of the 57th Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition. On loan from London’s Natural History Museum, this world-class collection of mesmerising images is being housed at the Australian National Maritime Museum.

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  • Things to do
  • Potts Point

Located in the notoriously colourful and historic nightlife district of Kings Cross, the Bamboozle Room will transport you to another time and place. Currently on show every Friday, Saturday and Sunday night is Talk and Tease: Comedy Burlesque, a light-hearted variety show that's a bit risqué with plenty of laughs thrown in. The night features a mixture of cheeky and unique burlesque solo acts and stand-up comedy, all presented by a quirky MC.

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  • Things to do
  • Pop-up locations
  • Ultimo

Good news culture fans: Ultimo's magnificent Powerhouse Museum is keeping the doors open after hours for Thursday evening soirées from February and through to June. If you’re feeling adventurous after you knock off work, wander over to the Powerhouse for an event program that’s a little bit educational, a little bit of a party, and very cool all over.

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  • Nightlife
  • Nightlife

Everyone's favourite party circus, basement dwelling Ramblin' Rascals are all grown up and shifting gears. Yes, the debauchery remains, but after nearly a decade of liver-smashing, whiskey shooting and rollicking party intensity, the team is letting some of Sydney's finest musos take charge by putting on gigs every dang week with a revolving line up of local acts, so there's a little something to please everyone. 

 

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  • Museums
  • Natural history
  • Darlinghurst

The Australian Museum is keeping its lights on late till the end of June with a stellar lineup of beats and exhibitions to explore after hours – and general admission is free. Every Thursday you can gain after-dark access to the museum’s fascinating collections and exhibitions. There'll also be a pop-up bar, atmospheric lounge area and live music acts.

  • Health and beauty
  • Spas

After three months under stay-at-home orders, you're probably ready for a post-lockdown pampering, and it just so happens we know just the places that can sort you out. Whether you want to go all-in for transformative results or you're just in the market for a brief spot of me-time, Sydney's palaces of self-rejuvenation have you covered.

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  • Bars
  • Cocktail bars

You’ve got to hand it to Sydney’s bars for digging deep and weathering one hell of a proverbial storm. The resilience that the hospitality industry has shown deserves a standing ovation and with reopenings (and grand openings) on the horizon, there's never been a better time to get out and support the bars, pubs and clubs that are the heartbeat of our town. Make your way down our list.

 

  • Museums
  • History

Sydney is home to some pretty fascinating museums, places where you can learn about ships, time, military history, society, the police force and more. Rain or shine, head out on a journey of discovery at these all-weather-friendly houses of knowledge. You'll learn about fascinating natural histories, scientific endeavours, design innovations and the many surprising stories that have made this city everything it is today.

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  • Sport and fitness
  • Walks

From easy breezy coastal walks to half-day bush hikes and multi-day expeditions, Sydney’s blessed with many different walking paths that’ll suit amblers of all abilities. Take a look at our list of 13 walks in Sydney that’ll take you over dramatic sandstone cliffs, cobbled stone paths, sandy inlets and well-trodden boardwalks.

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