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Three witches in spooky garb hold candles and stand in the middle of Luna Park with the ferris wheel behind them
Photograph: Supplied/Luna Park Sydney

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
&
Alannah Maher
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The end of lockdown is here, and the city is reawakening just in time for the spookiest night of the year. We have you covered for the most smashing monster mashes in town with the best Halloween events in Sydney – if you dare. There is also plenty more fun to have at the hottest new restaurants, the coolest exhibitions, and even on the dancefloor (sort of). Nightclubs are seated affairs, but you are allowed to cut a rug at a pub or bar. We're not sure about the logic of that either, but hey, it's not the weirdest thing to happen in 2021!

While the state has smashed the 80 per cent fully vaxxed milestone and his hurtling towards being 90 per cent double jabbed within the next week or so, the eased restrictions only apply to the fully vaccinated until December 1. So, we've divided what you can get up to into two separate lists: things to do out and about, or things to do at home. If you're not yet vaccinated, or you're playing it extra safe, we have plenty more ways to keep you entertained. 

Check out the latest steps in the state's three-phase plan to exit the pandemic here.

Show your love for your favourite local businesses by voting in the Time Out Bar and Restaurant Revive Awards.

The best things to do *out and about*

  • Film
  • Outdoor cinema
  • Moore Park

Get ready to pull up your car, turn on your radio, open your boot and get cosy for a nostalgic cinematic night out in a Covid Safe environment at the Mov'in Car Drive-In Cinema (oodies optional). Bottomless popcorn is back all season long, so you can refill as much as you want all night, and for the first time, the Mov'in crew is also offering a gut-busting all-you-can-eat pizza deal.

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  • Things to do
  • Fairs and festivals
  • Darlinghurst

Darlinghurst theatre brings you a fling to help you break up with lockdown. Kicking off just in time for spooky season, the immersive fest will transform the Eternity Playhouse into a scalable cultural hub that combines live entertainment with indoor and outdoor dining. Be serenaded by musical stars over dinner, see a live and queer new take on a classic film, throw down with poetry slams, and much more.

 

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  • Clubs
  • House, disco and techno

Dancefloors are back in business – kinda. Nightclubs are permitted to open but their dancefloors must remain off-limits. However, before you get a bad case of the boogie blues, dancing is allowed in hospitality venues such as pubs and bars. Yes, we agree that doesn't make a whole heap of sense, but dem's the rules, for now at least. We've rounded up the best places to cut a rug.

 

It’s been far too long since we sat in a dark movie theatre, losing popcorn to impossible crevices while smearing melted choc-tops liberally across our best out-of-the-house outfits. And we couldn’t be any happier for this gloriously cinematic mess. We're getting you ready to return to the movies by getting you up to scratch on the hottest new releases. Read on for the five of the biggest movies you can catch in Sydney’s cinemas right now.

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  • Things to do

The sunny seasons are upon us and as the balmy spring air banishes the last chilly days of winter, it won't take long for Sydneysiders to flock to all our amazing beaches, parks and public spaces to make the most of our city’s famously fair weather. From forest bathing to stand-up paddleboarding, we've rounded up the best ways to enjoy the great outdoors while maintaining social distancing.

 

  • 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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  • Art
  • Design
  • Ultimo

The mighty Powerhouse Museum in Ultimo is open again, and there are some ripper exhibitions to celebrate. The ubiquitous gum tree gets the artistic celebration it truly deserves with Eucalyptusdom. Drawing on 400+ objects from the museum's vast collection, it explores our changing relationship to the local hardwood, and artists’ many creative uses of the material.

 

  • Restaurants

Sydney is emerging from lockdown, at long last, and as vaccination rates continue to skyrocket, the hospitality sector is more than ready to welcome back double-jabbed punters. You'll no doubt have some favourite haunts you're fanging to get back to, but don't forget to check out pastures new on your next dining adventure. We've rounded up our favourite new Sydney venues to try this month. We hope you're hungry Sydney.

The best things to do *at home*

  • Film
  • Sci-Fi
  • Sydney

The SciFi Film Festival has been bringing Sydney audiences the very best in speculative cinema since 2016, scouring every corner of the planet (and others) for cutting-edge features, documentaries and shorts. This year, they’re boldly going where they have never gone before, presenting a national online program from October 15-31. Fielding 13 features and 67 shorts from 28 countries including Japan, China, Canada, America, Russia, Sweden, Spain and Brazil, it’s an incredible line-up.

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  • Shopping
  • Gifts

If you get a kick out of making purchases from local makers and artists, check out the new online directory from the team behind Sydney's biannual Etsy Made Local markets. You’ll discover gifts that practically scream “Yes, I’m the hip family member living in Sydney. Lockdowns aside, this affords me superior culture and taste” – like handcrafted ceramic wares, chunky statement earrings ripped from an art teacher’s wildest dreams, and socks and apparel emblazoned with quirky Australiana-invoking imagery of Chiko rolls and pink gallahs. 

 

  • Things to do
  • Weird & Wonderful

Keepers have just welcomed five purrfect new African lion cubs into the Taronga family. This is the first time Taronga Zoo has had lion cubs in over 18 years. While the babes are still finding their paws, the public will be able to gain live behind-the-scenes access to watch the cubs grow on what the zoo is calling ‘Cub Cam’. With a small tax-deductible donation of just $7, you can access a 24/7 live stream. There is also plenty more free livestreams and keeper talks to watch on Taronga TV.

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  • Shopping
  • Book stores

It's one of life's simple joys, flicking through the pages of a must-read book. But it doesn’t work so well if you’re doing the household chores. That’s when the joy of listening to an audiobook kicks in. There are millions of brilliant audiobooks on the go, and some of them are even free. Plus there’s the added bonus of hanging out aurally with famous Aussies as they read the books of also famous authors – and even sometimes their own.

 

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  • Restaurants
  • Portuguese

As far as we’re concerned, there's never a bad time to have a Portuguese tart. Burnished, sweet, wobbling custard resting in a nest of crisp puffed pastry layers, the “pastel de nata” as they are known in its homeland, can be tricky to get right. So, when a good one comes along, it’s cause for celebration – especially if said tart can be delivered to your door.

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  • Shopping
  • Homewares

You might as well take the opportunity to make your space really yours. To help you figure out your budget, we've categorised the stores on our list by a metric close to the Time Out heart: booze. You've got your 'goon' budget for objects that won't break the bank, your 'beer' budget that factors in posher craft brews as well as unassuming ales, and the 'Champagne' budget for those seeking out those top-of-the-line, showily upper-market finds. 

 

  • Shopping
  • Homewares

Do you suffer from the black thumb? Don't despair. Pour one out for those succulents you over-watered, and that supposedly drought-resistant bloomer that crumbled to dust on your watch. Marrickville's own foliage whisperer Felicity Keep, the owner and director of PlantGirl, is here to help. Take these tips and order up some foliage friends from the best plant shops and nurseries that deliver in Sydney to brighten up your space this spring.

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