Sydney / Lifestyle / Things to Do in Sydney: Your Ultimate December Guide

Things to Do in Sydney: Your Ultimate December Guide

Planning what to do in Sydney over the Christmas holidays? Our festive guide has got you covered...
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From buzzing music festivals and lively market days to foodie feasts and gorgeous weekends away with the girls, Sydney has plenty to keep you occupied throughout the silly season. So you don’t miss a thing, here are our top picks for things to do throughout the rest of December.

EAT & DRINK

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Grand Sunday Brunch, Sheraton Grand Sydney Hyde Park

Upgrade your average Sunday breakfast to a grand affair. Sheraton's Grand Sunday Brunch begins in The Conservatory Bar with a grazing table full of local artisan cheeses and moreish canapés, paired with free-flowing Jacquart Champagne and cocktails. The indulgent brunch moves to Feast restaurant for a seafood buffet lunch. From prawns and oysters to a fresh sushi bar and carvery, make sure to leave room for the outrageously decadent desserts.

Sundays, 11:30am-3pm

11:30am - 12:30pm (The Conservatory Bar)

12:30pm - 3:00pm (Feast Restaurant)

$195 per person

Level 1, Sheraton Grand Sydney Hyde Park, 161 Elizabeth Street, Sydney

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Frozé Your Way, Untied

This summer, Sydneysiders can step into a tropical paradise in the heart of Barangaroo and cool down with Untied’s ‘Frozé Your Way’. The self-service Frozé Bar offers guests the choice of six refreshingly fruity frozé flavours, allowing them to experiment on their own cocktail with an unlimited number of nostalgic sweets from the showstopping DIY Garnish Wall. Those who are looking to unwind as the sun goes down on Sydney’s Harbour can opt-in for a two-hour bottomless session from Thursday-Sunday for $39pp. 

From $12

Lvl 4/400 Barangaroo Avenue, Barangaroo

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Balanced Brunch, Smirnoff Infusions x Coogee Bay Hotel

Smirnoff Infusions, a new low-calorie spirit-based drink, is celebrating the arrival of summer with a delicious brunch spread at its new blissful pop-up bar at Coogee Bay Hotel. Free for 100 lucky Sydneysiders, the Smirnoff Infusions Balanced Brunch will feature low ABV Smirnoff Infusions cocktails, an inspirational workshop hosted by TV presenter and self-esteem boosting guru Teigan Nash, and a delicious wholesome spread. Those keen to kick start their summer, head to the website to be in with a chance to secure a spot for yourself and a friend.

Sunday 15th December, 10am – 12pm

Free

Smirnoff Infusion Pop-Up Bar, The Garden, Coogee Bay Hotel, 253 Coogee Bay Road, Coogee

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Book in for Christmas Day Lunch

Can’t face hosting Christmas this year? Leave the hard work to someone else and book a table for lunch instead. These restaurants still have spots available for Christmas Day. So, get the gang together, pop open the bubbly and get ready to celebrate the festive season, foodie style.

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Lock in Your Next Sunday Session

When the sun's shining on a Sunday, it’s un-Australian not to make the most of it. We may be a bit biased, but when it comes to Sunday sessions, Sydney has it covered. So, to help you round off the week in style, we bring you the best bars in Sydney for an all-out Sunday session, so there’s nothing standing in between you and a spritz. Apart from Monday morning, of course. 

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The Margarita Mansion (Credit: Jasper Avenue)
The Margarita Mansion, Bungalow 8

Bungalow 8 is giving Sydneysiders a taste of a Mexican paradise with the launch of the Margarita Mansion. Guests will be transported to a Mexican beachside haven with white curtained cabanas, the ideal spot to unwind in and enjoy the waterfront oasis with one of six different natural fruit flavoured frozen margaritas. The Mexican fiesta takeover will serve up flavoured frozen margaritas, bottomless taco brunches, a roaming Guac Cart and live entertainment throughout the summer. 

3 Lime Street, Sydney

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Icebergs Terrace x Ketel One Botanical

Now open, Bondi’s most iconic summertime destination, the Icebergs Terrace, has been transformed into the Icebergs Terrace x Ketel One Botanical, a beautiful oasis to celebrate the launch of the new Ketel One Botanical, a spirit based drink made with vodka distilled with botanicals and infused with natural fruit essences. Serving each Ketel One Botanical varietal as part of a cocktail menu, guests can enjoy; Ketel One Botanical Cucumber & Mint, Ketel One Botanical Grapefruit & Rose, Ketel One Botanical Peach and Orange Blossom. Topped with soda from the unique soda range Icebergs has created especially for the Terrace. 

From now until 31st March, 12:30pm-8pm

Free entry

1 Notts Avenue, Bondi Beach

Spring chicken glass brasserie
glass Brasserie, Minhky Le
Bottomless Sunday Brunch with Luke Mangan

For a Sunday session of the food variety, head to glass Brasserie at Hilton Sydney, where Luke Mangan will be serving up a sumptuous five-course feast alongside two hours of Aperol Spritz and/or French rosé. Tuck into delicious plates of beetroot cured salmon, crab omelette, spring chicken and delicate zucchini flowers followed by a creamy key lime pie. Upgrade your dining experience with fresh Sydney rock oysters or caviar, finished off with an indulgent cheese plate served with truffle honey, quince, fresh grapes and crunchy crisp breads. We're getting hungry just thinking about it. 

Sunday Bottomless Brunch, $75 per person for two-hour seating

$10 CBD parking for Sunday Brunch goers, bookings 11:30am – 3.30pm every Sunday

Level 2, 488 George Street

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Pack a Picnic

Whether you’re looking to score some brownie points or you just love a first-rate alfresco spread, Sydney has no shortage of locations to roll out the picnic rug. Grab the girls or pamper your partner – here are the prettiest (and most romantic) spots in Sydney, for a lunch date with a difference.  

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Host a Friendmas Party

Whether you’re hosting a Christmas get-together before you head home for the main event, or ditching the family for a spectacular feast with friends, you can’t beat a festive gathering with your nearest and dearest. Without nagging parents to worry about, hosting Christmas chez vous can be as creative or as laid-back as you’d like. But if you’re stuck for inspiration, here’s how to host the ultimate Friendmas.

Jimmy Brings Winston Surfshirt Wine
Jimmy Brings
Raise a Glass with Winston Surfshirt

Acclaimed Aussie band Winston Surfshirt have joined forces with Jimmy Brings to launch a rather snazzy Sauvignon Blanc, just in time for summer. 'White Crumble' has been coined "super drinkable, refreshing yet not too sweet", and it comes bursting with notes of honey, apricot and gooseberry. This has laid-back summer vibes written all over it. They're offering limited free delivery for anyone in Sydney or Melbourne (simply download the app and use the code CRUMBLE when you order). Plus, anyone who purchases before 14th December will also be in with a chance of winning an entire case of White Crumble, handdelivered by Winston himself. Best of luck!

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101 Free Burgers, Sunset Diner

To celebrate their first birthday, Avalon's Sunset Diner are serving up their signature burger for free, to the first 101 customers this Sunday. Bringing the community together for a delicious feast, you will also be able to pick up $10 Pampelle Spritzes and $15 Stone and Wood jugs all day, with $2 from the beer jugs going to Australian charity Take 3 For The Sea.

Sunday 15th December, from 11am

Free

41 Old Barrenjoey Road, Avalon Beach


MUSIC & NIGHTLIFE

Pier One Hotel Walsh Bay Sitchu
Photo Credit - Angie Silvy
Jazz on the Pier, Pier One Sydney Harbour

Harbourside hotel Pier One have just launched Jazz On The Pier. Just in time for summer, make your way down to Pier One each Sunday to enjoy hand-crafted cocktails, tasty food truck delights, and an exciting line-up of jazz musicians.

Sundays, 2pm-5pm

Free

11 Hickson Road, Walsh Bay

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Carols in the Domain

The much-loved outdoor concert is back again, for its 36th year. Go early to score a spot, and spend the night singing along to your favourite Christmas songs and carols. 

Saturday 21st December

Free

The Domain

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Seadeck Season 4

Sydney's Seadeck returns to Sydney Harbour for a summer filled with sundrenched weekend parties. In what promises to be another massive season, prepare to boogie all day with spritz in hand.

Saturdays and Sundays, from 2:00pm

From $30 (+BF)

Darling Harbour, Wharf 9, The Promenade, Sydney

Lost Paradise Festival Sydney Sitchu
Lost Paradise

If the thought of spending New Year’s Eve in a nightclub fills you with complete dread, Lost Paradise may be the answer to your party prayers. Held in the beautiful Glenworth Valley, just an hour north of Sydney, Lost Paradise is a hidden wonderland of late-night discos, art installations, heavenly massages, yoga classes, karaoke, bouncy castles, communal dining experiences and impressive pop-up foodie offerings, all hidden away in the depths of the wilderness. Four days of “mind-blowing” fun, this is a New Year’s Eve party to get excited about.

28th December 2019 – 1 January 2020

3-day tickets (including camping) from $389

The Glenworth Valley, NSW

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Follow the Lights

From The Hills District to the Shire, to the Northern Beaches and the Inner West, we’ve found you a street nearby that’s filled with Christmas lights. If you’re down for an epic night of light-prowling, don’t forget to pack your snacks (choc-covered peanuts and fruit mince pies) and prep your route in advance. We recommend a comprehensive North to South approach, making sure to catch each one of these worthy displays on your pilgrimage.

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NYE & NYD Parties

Still yet to lock in your New Year's Eve and New Year’s Day plans? These parties have got you covered. Or, for those who'd prefer to escape the crowds, there are plenty of places set to carry on the party vibes, come New Year's Day. 

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Live Music Around Town

In the mood for some tunes? You’re in luck, because Sydney’s live music scene is strong. There are brilliant venues dotted all over the city and surrounds, from huge theatres and pubs to underground bars. Sit back and soak up the atmosphere at these eight live music venues.

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Falls Festival

This national festival heavy-hitter – a perennial favourite for any festival calendar – will be ringing in the New Year with a bang. A John Farnham power ballad bang, to be precise. The Aussie legend will be belting out ‘You're the Voice’ alongside indie rockers Vampire Weekend, Disclosure, Peking Duk, Banks, Lewis Capaldi and Halsey, among many more. One of the most hotly anticipated music events of the season, Falls Festival promises a melting pot of alternative music with a generous serve of fun.

31st December 2019 – 2nd January 2020

Two-day tickets $276.08; three-day tickets $327.06; four-day tickets $367.84

Byron Bay

MARKETS & SHOPPING

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Last-minute Christmas Gifts

Still yet to finish your Christmas shopping? Fret not, we've found some genius gift ideas that offer online delivery. Order now and they'll be with you well before Christmas Eve. Panic over. And breathe.

Paddington Markets
Paddington Markets
Weekend Market Trail

More than just a place to peruse from time to time, Sydney’s markets are weekend destinations in their own right. From foodies and interior stylists, to eco-warriors and second-hand fashionistas, Sydney has its pick of markets to suit all shopping tastes. Lucky for you, we’ve done the legwork so you can spend less time researching and more time shopping.  These are the markets in Sydney to know about.

MARKERAD, IKEA

The highly-awaited MARKERAD collection, created in collaboration with visionary designer Virgil Abloh, is now available in all IKEA Australia stores. MARKERAD, a short-term collection with extremely limited stock, IKEA Australia have set a purchase limit of one item per customer of each product within the 15-piece range. To get your hands on a piece from the exclusive collection, you are going to have to head instore quickly! 

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JUST OPENED: FAID Store

FAID (Fashion Alliance of Independent Designers) connects independent designers in the fashion, beauty and homewares space with their audiences through both e-tail and retail channels. Jessica Speers, Kathryn Cowle (co-founders of cult fashion brand Cedar & Onyx) and Tessa Boehm (Boehm Intimates) created FAID as a natural progression of support for young Australian designers wanting to disrupt the industry.

79 George Street, The Rocks

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Pick Up Your Christmas Tree

While many Christmas tree farms sit comfortably along the city’s fringe, online ordering and delivery services make the process a breeze regardless of your schedule. To help you out a little, we’ve compiled our top picks for buying, erecting and caring for your tree. You'd better dust off the box of decorations!

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Shop the Sales

For shoppers, Boxing Day is synonymous with sales. Rise, shine and line up for your local Westfield or department store, or bargain-hunt from the comfort of your bed.

FITNESS, SPORT & WELLNESS

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Bootcamp

As the morning chill fades, Sydney's bootcamps are ramped up and ready for action. So grab the girls and practice your burpees  – these are the Sydney bootcamps worth knowing about. 

Get Your Tan On

Whatever the occasion, we've rounded up the best tanning studios in Sydney to ensure you keep that gorgeously bronzed summer sheen all year-round. If you are more of a 'Thursday night tan at home' girl, then check out Le Tan's Uber Stay rangeDesigned to last for 10 days, Uber Stay is genius summer hack for those looking for a tan to last more than one weekend. With products to suit all skin tones, there is no reason for you to get sunburnt this festive season.

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Set Your Year’s Resolutions

New Year's resolutions. Love them or hate them, we all secretly have goals and challenges we want to accomplish or overcome by the year's end. Whether they're health-focused, self-improvement driven or financially motivated, the turn of the New Year delivers the promise of bigger and better things to come. To safeguard your goal-kicking success, we've delved into the most common resolutions and simplified what you need to do to tackle them in 2020.

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Fall in Love with a Good Beach Read

As we prepare for endless summer days, it’s time to revisit (and possibly re-stack) the bookshelf of beach reads. To help revive your novel collection for holiday mode, we’ve curated a list of the best book curators in Sydney. 

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JUST OPENED: SOMA Collection

SOMA Collection is the latest addition to Sydney’s CBD, offering a unique full-service boutique wellness, fitness and spa offering like the city has never seen before. The state-of-the-art designed space, nestled within the iconic Chifley Tower, delivers a new-age of customised luxury that’s challenging the norms of everyday fitness. 

Integrating personal and high-intensity training, SOMA offers 100 studio classes per week including Yin Yoga and boxing, along with spa treatments, beauty therapy, aromatherapy massages and two cutting-edge infrared saunas. Not to mention a concierge service and social events like their Friday afternoon ‘party pump’ followed by networking drinks. Workout hard, play hard!

Ground floor, Chifley Tower, 2 Chifley Square, Sydney

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Hit the Walking Track

Living in Sydney, we’re spoilt for choice when it comes to walking tracks. Whether you want to enjoy the rugged coastline, the harbour foreshore, the hustle and bustle of the city or even bushland, there are plenty of places to go for a wander. They say the best way to learn about a city is to walk it, so lace up those sport shoes and join us on one of Sydney’s best trails. And bring your phone, because you can bet there’s going to be a beautiful backdrop to snap!

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Beautify Your Brows

Eyebrows have come and gone in history (quite literally), but none other have been quite like the lush arches of Brooke Shields. And it’s certainly back in vogue. But for those of us who are not naturally blessed in the brow department, there are thankfully a handful of beauticians who have been trained to pluck, shape and tint to perfection. Here are the best brow bars Sydney has to offer.

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Learn to Surf

It’s only fitting to do it at Sydney’s most iconic beach, Bondi, where Let’s go Surfing runs a two-hour beginner course. It runs classes in Maroubra, too.

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Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race

Make your way down to Darling Harbour to watch the boats set sail for the world-famous yacht race, which finishes up in Tassie. Otherwise, pack a picnic and spot them from Milk Beach (Vaucluse), North Head National Park (Manly) or Headland Park (Mosman).

26th December

TRAVEL

Girls Trip
Book in a Girls’ Trip

Girls' getaway, girls' trip, friend-cation – call it what you will, but the most important part of a girls' weekend, is spending quality time with your nearest and dearest. Whether it’s an annual tradition, an end-of-year reunion or just another trip with your closest pals – we’ve got your summer travel plans sorted. No matter where you choose to go, be it the countryside, the mountains or the beach, here are 7 genius ideas sure to suit every type of girl gang.

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Head to Byron Bay for the Ultimate Coastal Escape

If you're craving a weekend by the coast where you can switch off and unwind, Byron Bay is the place to do it. Our handy guide will help you uncover some of the best that Byron has to offer.  Just don’t be too surprised if you start to find yourself dreaming of a permanent move — you have been warned.

Sydney Harbour
Dan Freeman © Unsplash
Sydney Staycation

We may be biased, but Sydney really does have it all: a sparkling harbour, postcard-perfect beaches, a thriving food and cultural scene, and big-city sophistication. While you could spend a lifetime exploring every nook, cranny and cove, it’s best to stick to the CBD. To help you curate your itinerary, we've put together an insider’s guide to spending two fun-filled days in Sydney.

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Hit the Road

Forget planes and trains, the open road is the only way to explore Australia’s breathtaking landscapes. Wind your way through windswept beaches or brave it through bushland on the dirt tracks of the outback, Australia has plenty of open roads just waiting to be explored. So crank up the stereo, put your foot down and set off on one of these bucket list Australian adventures. 

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kevalier park, berry
Gather Your Friends for an Epic Group Holiday

When you’re planning a group getaway, there are two paths to take. You choose your destination first, and accommodation second, or pick the perfect place and work backwards. From coast to country, NSW has a holiday house and a scene to suit everyone. Whether you’re keen to retreat to the rolling hills of the Southern Highlands or Hunter Valley or wake up to waves crashing in the South Coast or Byron Bay, we’ve found just the place to stay. These are our top group getaways across NSW.

ARTS & CULTURE

Love Actually
Get Your Festive Film Fix

Nothing gets you in the festive mood like a good old Christmas flick. From cult classics to cute romantic comedies laced with holiday cheer; we've handpicked the best movies to binge on over the festive season, and the cinemas you can catch them in. If Kevin McAllister and Buddy the Elf can’t get you in the Yuletide spirit, quite frankly, we don’t know what will. 

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Boulevarde of Light

Pitt Street Mall will turn into a canopy of twinkling lights and Christmas lights. During the week there will be carols on Thursday, Saturday and Sunday nights between 6-8pm.

Until 1st January 2020

Free

Pitt Street Mall, Sydney CBD

MCA Collection: Today Tomorrow Yesterday
MCA Collection: Today Tomorrow Yesterday

The MCA is home to the biggest – and most beautiful – collection of Australian contemporary art. While exhibitions come and go, the gallery has a ‘hang’ of carefully curated artworks that stay on display. Before this, the last time the hang got a shake-up was back in 2012 (MCA Collection: Volume One), so there are plenty of fresh works to feast your eyes on. The collection showcases 40 of the country’s best artists from the 1960s to now, but don’t expect to talk a walk through history. The works aren’t in chronological order. Instead, they draw from the Aboriginal concept of time, which is circular and believes that the past, present and future are connected.

From now till 29th March 2020

Free

Museum of Contemporary Art, 140 George Street, The Rocks

Moonlight Cinema
Moonlight Cinema
Moonlight Cinema

Kicking off at the end of November, Moonlight Cinema will be back in full force until March. Picnic-lovers, wine-guzzlers and movie buffs unite annually in Centennial Park for films beneath the stars. A casual affair, bring your own basket of goodies, picnic blanket and even a bottle of wine. (Yes, BYO wine!) Otherwise get in early, snap up a beanbag and order movie snacks from the food trucks. Heaven.

28th November 2019 29th March 2020

Centennial Park, corner Carrington Drive and Broome Avenue, Paddington

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School of Rock: The Musical

Based on the hit movie, School of Rock: The Musical is a show for the whole family. Centred around rock-wannabee and prep school stowaway Dewey Finn, Andrew Lloyd Weber's musical is every bit as witty, fun and rocking as the movie. Get your tickets fast as seats are limited.

From 8th November

Tickets from $69.90

Capitol Theatre, 13 Campbell Street, Haymarket

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Photo credit- NASA
Apollo 11

Named after the space expedition that was the first to successfully land astronauts on the Moon in 1969, upcoming exhibition Apollo 11 will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Moon landing. With more than 200 objects, Apollo 11 explores this historical moment, its influence on the fields of science and design, and the role Australia played in transmitting man’s first steps on the Moon.

From now until 30th June 2020

Free

Powerhouse Museum, 500 Harris Street, Ultimo

Sydney

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