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The best things to do when it rains in Sydney

Don't despair! You don't need the sun to have fun in Sydney. Here are our favourite rainy day activities

Written by
Time Out editors

Note: Sydney is out of lockdown, but rules and restrictions still apply. Check out the latest steps in the state's three-phase plan to exit the pandemic here. Always check ahead to make sure that any venues you wish to visit are open and if pre-booking is required.

Just because the skies are falling, doesn't mean you have to sit around doing nothing. We've picked out the best things to do in Sydney when it rains, from movie marathons and indoor climbing centres to our favourite pubs with fireplaces and cheap and cheerful eateries.

Wondering why we've been having such a soggy year? We investigated.

Don't let the rain get you down. Here are our top etiquette tips for being a good Sydneysider when the heavens open.

Rainy day activities in Sydney

  • Bars
  • Cocktail bars

There's a lot of good reasons to head down rather than up when you're feeling parched. Underground it's always party o'clock, because even if it's 2pm, it feels like after dark. Drinking below street level is also deliciously climate controlled so in a torrential downpour, your best bet is posting up in one of Sydney's best booze cellars.

  • Things to do
  • Games and hobbies

When it's too wet to go for a jog in the park, there are ways to work up a sweat indoors. Purpose-built climbing gyms are popping up all over this fine city – so grab a buddy and get climbing.

  • Sport and fitness
  • Pools

When you're already wet, does it matter? These ocean pools can be beautiful in rain, and you'll have them all to yourself when you dive in for an exhilarating dip. Fair warning though – stay well clear when the winds pick up, or if the weather turns stormy. 

  • Film

Even as the world becomes filled with screens and accessing movies becomes as easy as looking at your phone, Sydney's top cinemas are thriving, because Sydneysiders love the communal experience of watching a film. So what are the best cinemas in Sydney? We've ranked them according to the quality of film selection, the architecture and the overall pleasure of the experience.

Find a pub with a fireplace
  • Bars
  • Pubs

Cold and wet? Curl up in front of the flames – preferably wood, but we'll take gas if that's what's on offer – with a pint of beer and lose whole evenings in the comfort of your local, staying warm and dry all winter long. 

  • Art
  • Galleries

Sydney is busting at the seams with great art galleries – from major institutions like the Art Gallery of NSW and the Museum of Contemporary Art, to incredible privately-owned but publically accessible (and free!) galleries like White Rabbit.

  • Shopping
  • Book stores

There are few greater pleasures in life than visiting a quality bookshop. No matter the weather, they're a port in a storm where anyone and everyone is welcome. Not all bookshops are created equal though, so we’ve put together our pick of Sydney’s best, from the dusty to the designer. 

Treat yo' self to a spa day
  • Health and beauty
  • Spas

Whether you want hardcore results, or just a bit of chill time, Sydney's best spas have you covered. So book it, bring a magazine and prepare to bliss out.

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