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10 things to do in Sydney during summer holidays

Sydney Luxury Cruise, SydneyCredit: Destination NSW

Sydney Luxury Cruises operates on Sydney Harbour exploring the harbour beaches, waterfront mansions and icons.

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10 things to do in Sydney during summer holidays

Sydney Luxury Cruise, Sydney Credit: Destination NSW

Sydney Luxury Cruises operates on Sydney Harbour exploring the harbour beaches, waterfront mansions and icons.

#feelnsw #newsouthwales

Hashtags #feelnsw #newsouthwales

The city is buzzing – days are long, nights are warm and vibes are high in Sydney during summer. Embrace the very best the city has to offer at the tail end of the year, welcoming new adventures and creating memories with your favourite people. Here are 10 ways to make the most of late December and early January in Sydney.

1. Play outside ’til dark
There’s magic afoot when the sun sets and city lights twinkle to life. Settle in for a night with Sydney’s shimmering skyline at harbourside rooftop bars such as Barangaroo House, Henry Deane or The Glenmore. In the city centre, enjoy urban views at The Rook, Old Mate’s Place or Aster, or visit the Ivy's Pool Club for resort-style glamour. As a sunshiny day turns into a glittery night, settle in for sweeping city views at Mosman’s The Fernery or The Butler in Potts Point.

2. Go shopping
Sydney’s creative flair spans food to fashion, and is eclectic, eccentric and always authentic. Explore artisan markets in The Rocks, Glebe, Paddington and Kirribilli, or if you prefer perusing markets of the fresh produce kind, Carriageworks, Marrickville, Camden and Sutherland’s options are your best bet.

Beyond markets, head to Glenmore Road in Paddington (and the shops east and west of it on Oxford Street) for a plethora of Australian designer boutiques; King Street in Newtown for second-hand fashion; and Birkenhead Point for Sydney’s largest brand outlet.

Aster Bar Credit: InterContinental Sydney

Aster Bar, InterContinental Sydney

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Aster Bar Credit: InterContinental Sydney

Aster Bar, InterContinental Sydney

#feelnewsydney

King Street, Newtown Credit: Destination NSW

Young people walking down King Street in Newtown

#feelnewsydney

King Street, Newtown Credit: Destination NSW

Young people walking down King Street in Newtown

#feelnewsydney

3. Upgrade your family barbecue
Polish up your grilling skills at one of Sydney’s cooking schools or leave the sizzling to Darling Harbour’s masters at Waterfront Grill and Hurricanes. If you are seeking something a little more fancy, try Rockpool Bar & Grill in the heart of the CBD, where premium cuts are enhanced by fire and charcoal. Alternatively, gather around one of the city’s many free electric barbecues, such as those at Bicentennial Park at Sydney Olympic Park, and let the kids choose their own adventure as they play in the surroundings.

4. Dance ’til the sun comes up
Whatever gets you grooving, Sydney’s summer nights are made for moving. Dance to a genre-bending mix of music with Sydney Festival’s line-up or throw shapes all New Year’s Day in the Domain at Field Day. Sydney’s iconic nightclubs shouldn’t be forgotten – Sydney’s best dancefloors crank up the electro, house, techno and EDM tunes to move you all night long. The Imperial, The Burdekin, Home and Oxford Art Factory are well worth a boogie.

Bicentennial Park, Sydney Olympic Park Credit: Destination NSW

Family enjoying a picnic at Bicentennial Park in Sydney Olympic Park, Homebush

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Bicentennial Park, Sydney Olympic Park Credit: Destination NSW

Family enjoying a picnic at Bicentennial Park in Sydney Olympic Park, Homebush

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The Imperial Erskineville Credit: Destination NSW

Club event at The Imperial Erskineville in Sydney's inner west.

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The Imperial Erskineville Credit: Destination NSW

Club event at The Imperial Erskineville in Sydney's inner west.

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5. Learn about Sydney from a First Nations perspective
Summer’s the season for new discoveries, and throughout Sydney, 65,000-year-old cultural gems are hidden in plain sight. Marvel at ancient Aboriginal rock engravings at Grotto Point; learn from First Nations storytellers in The Rocks, Barangaroo Reserve, and the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney; embrace a new outlook on the Burrawa Aboriginal Climb Experience; or refresh your perspective of January 26 at Yabun Festival, a one-day festival celebrating Aboriginal culture in the Inner West.

6. Make new friends
Nothing brings people together like seeing their team win, and Sydney’s sporting events will have you cheering all summer long. Join likeminded fans at the Sydney Cricket Ground for the Big Bash League or head to Sydney Olympic Park to catch the Sydney Kings in action. Prefer to stay indoors? Trade the stadium for a legendary sports bars such as the Coogee Bay Hotel, the Courthouse Hotel or The Henson.

Aboriginal Cultural Tours, Barangaroo Reserve Credit: Destination NSW

Woman learning about Aboriginal culture on a tour with Aboriginal Cultural Tours, Barangaroo Reserve.

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Aboriginal Cultural Tours, Barangaroo Reserve Credit: Destination NSW

Woman learning about Aboriginal culture on a tour with Aboriginal Cultural Tours, Barangaroo Reserve.

#feelnewsydney

Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney Credit: Destination NSW

Friends walking into the Sydney Cricket Ground to watch a game of cricket

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Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney Credit: Destination NSW

Friends walking into the Sydney Cricket Ground to watch a game of cricket

#feelnewsydney

7. Picnic in style
Picnics in Sydney are almost always accompanied by an incredible backdrop. Snack under the stars with an outdoor flick at the Moonlight Cinema in Centennial Park, park up at Mrs Macquarie's Point for harbourside snacks and Sydney Opera House views, or roll out your rug in one of Sydney’s many gardens and parks.

8. Light up the darkness
By day, Sydney’s summery skies shine every shade of blue; by night, fireworks illuminate them in technicolour. Catch Sydney’s world-famous fireworks on New Year’s Eve and feel the excitement of new beginnings as rainbows explode all over the city. Between celebrations, take in nature’s own light show with stargazing experiences in Campbelltown and Werrington, or catch the moon rise over Long Reef, Cape Solander or Malabar.

Moonlight Cinema, Centennial Parklands, Sydney Credit: Centennial Parklands

Centennial Park - outdoor cinema at its best. Belvedere Amphitheatre, Centennial Park, Sydney.

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Moonlight Cinema, Centennial Parklands, Sydney Credit: Centennial Parklands

Centennial Park - outdoor cinema at its best. Belvedere Amphitheatre, Centennial Park, Sydney.

#feelnewsydney

Lawn With A View, New Years Eve, Royal Botanic Garden Sydney Credit: Destination NSW

Art installation at the Lawn With A View event on New Years Eve in the Royal Botanic Gardens

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Lawn With A View, New Years Eve, Royal Botanic Garden Sydney Credit: Destination NSW

Art installation at the Lawn With A View event on New Years Eve in the Royal Botanic Gardens

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9. Toast the year ahead
Whether you’re ringing in the New Year or catching up with friends, Sydney’s bars are always a highlight. Wander between waterholes in the YCK Laneways, or head to Marrickville where you’ll find a dense collection of craft breweries and distilleries. Hours roll by in the blink of an eye as you nosh and banter in late-night eateries across Chinatown and Haymarket, or reconnect with mates in the cosy bars of Chippendale, Redfern and Surry Hills.

10. … then break your New Year’s resolutions
Good intentions are one thing, but Sydney’s food scene is another thing entirely – the city is teeming with enough fine dining options to make the incoming year your tastiest yet. Treat yourself to a world-class experience at some of the city’s most revered restaurants such as Quay, Sixpenny, Pilu at Freshwater, Fred’s, and Saint Peter. Prefer to keep things snacky? Head to Chinatown for the Emperors Garden’s legendary cream puffs, Black Star Pastry for an Instagram-famous cake or indulge your sweet tooth at Donut Papi in Marrickville.

Be sure to check business websites and/or social media for up-to-date opening hours and information ahead of your visit.

Black Star Pastry, Rosebery Credit: Destination NSW

Street view of Black Star Pastry, Rosebery.

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Black Star Pastry, Rosebery Credit: Destination NSW

Street view of Black Star Pastry, Rosebery.

#feelnewsydney

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