The Coolest Things to Do in Sydney This December
The Pool at Pier One, Chandon x Seafolly
Sunrise on the Steps
Cellar Door at Sea, Taylors Wine
The 5k Foam Fest
From open-air cinemas and buzzing music festivals to pop up cellar doors and festive Christmas markets, 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 in December.
EAT & DRINK
Four Seasons’ very moody, dimly-lit bar known as Grain is a frequented watering hole near Circular Quay. Based beside the entrance of the hotel, the humble bar boasts a delicious Oyster and Champagne night every Tuesday. Dine on $1.50 oysters and sip on $15 flutes of Louis Roederer from 5pm-9pm.
199 George Street, Sydney
To dine for a great cause, head to Lot. One Restaurant in Potts Point on Sunday 9th December to 'Eat the 12 Days of Christmas'. Featuring 12 degustation courses based on the famous Christmas Carol – with matching wines and cocktails – $5 from every ticket sold will go to Youth Off The Streets charity.
Sunday 9th December, 12pm-3pm
22 Rockwall Crescent, Potts Point
Over the warmer months, Woolloomooloo hangout The Tilbury is a buzzing hive of activity. Book into the restaurant at The Tilbury Hotel during December and everyone in your booking will receive a complimentary Aperol Spritz. Kicking off from Sunday, December 9, The Tilbury will be offering a selection of cocktails at just $10 each, every Sunday. From Aperol and lotus blossom to Tom Collins and margarita, there is plenty of reasons for Sunday sundowners at The Tilbury.
Complimentary Spritz- Available lunch and dinner until 31st December.
$10 Spritz Sundays- Available all day Sunday from any of the bars in the venue, throughout summer.
12 – 18 Nicholson Street, Woolloomooloo
Pier One Sydney Harbour have reopened their wildly popular summer pop-up ‘The Pool’, Sydney Harbour’s first ever plunge pool under the bridge. This Summer, The Pool is back with a tropical new look in collaboration with Chandon x Seafolly. Perched on the hotel’s private pontoon in Walsh Bay, you will be available to book for private pool parties or the ultimate summer hangout for events of up to 30 people, taking a dip alongside the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge at sunset from only $50 per person. Guests will have access to luxury pool toys, including paddle boards and a lifeguard and waitstaff. The food and beverage menu includes lavish grazing platters featuring homemade dips, charcuterie and Aussie retro classics created by The Kerrigan smokehouse, matched to bubbles by Chandon and a selection of mouth-watering cocktails.
Available until 28th February 2019 (Advance bookings are required – Exclusive Use Only), 1pm – 4pm or 5pm – 8pm
$1,500 minimum spend ($500 set hire fee)
11 Hickson Road Walsh Bay
On Sunday 9th December, the best pizza in New York and Los Angeles will be served in Surry Hills, when Firedoor and Roberta’s host a pop-up party to celebrate the last Fireside collaborative event of the year. Well known for their Neapolitan-style pizza and thoughtful array of market-driven pastas and salads, Roberta’s is a Brooklyn institution, often dubbed America’s most famous pizza with a cult celebrity following; think Beyonce and Jay-Z.
Sunday 9th December, from 1pm
23 – 33 Mary Street, Surry Hills
For a luxe pre-Christmas outing, Handpicked Wines are hosting a caviar masterclass at their Urban Cellar Door in partnership with Lisa Downs from Simon Johnson. As the importer of Australia’s largest range of premium caviar, Lisa will take guests through an exploration of the history of caviar, an insight into how it's sourced, why it's loved, and why caviar is the ultimate in fine food. For $250, each masterclass will involve tastings of three different types of caviar paired with premium Handpicked wines and a shot of Beluga vodka, canapés and a caviar spoon and key to take home.
Wednesday 19th December, from 6pm
50 Kensington Street, Chippendale
Following a successful winter run of the Paddo Inn Gravy Day, British-born Head Chef, Mark Holland isn't quite ready to say goodbye to his legendary Sunday Roast, so it's kicking on. Mark was born and raised in Yorkshire, home of the famous Yorkshire pudding, so when you're craving an authentic Sunday feast, this is about as real as it comes. For all the homesick Brits and people who crave roast potatoes all year round, the traditional English roast will be offering up roast beef with all the trimmings every Sunday from 12pm for just $24 in the front bar. Think Riverine Sirloin beef served with crispy roast potatoes, Yorkshire pudding, red wine jus, kale and honey-mustard root vegetables. Or for just $35pp, you can make it a feast and enjoy a full share-style family roast (with none of the hassle of sweating it out in the kitchen).
Every Sunday from 12pm
38 Oxford Street, Paddington
They're coupling up, cheating on meat and spicing up the kitchen with dishes from all over the Indian subcontinent. For one night only, Christine Manfield and Jessi Singh will be bringing the heat to Don't Tell Aunty with an exclusive vegetarian dinner collaboration. Featuring several signature dishes from their collective bag of tricks, the vibrant and flavoursome feast will feature a line up of shared vegetarian dishes including Singh's General Tso’s cauliflower and Manfield's Tamarind Eggplant. This is one rendezvous you won't want to miss.
Thursday 13th December, from 5pm
414 Bourke Street, Surry Hills
Saturday 15th December, 12:30pm- 2:30pm
2/14 Darling Drive, Sydney
With its beautiful waterfront setting and delicious menu, take a seat at Angelo’s beautiful new bar this Summer and delight in a medley of Seafood and Spritz. Key picks available on the brand new bar menu are locally sourced Sydney rock oysters, a light and crisp calamari served with preserved lemon aioli and a rich scallop crudo with red and yellow pepper, lime and nasturtium. We suggest pairing with a Campari spritz with hints of fennel and lemon or an Aperol spritz to make this combination the ultimate Summer delight.
Daily from 12pm- 10pm
Angelo’s Cabarita, Prince Edward Park, Philips Street
South Australian family winery, Taylors Wines, is helping wine lovers chill this summer with the perfect glass of vino on a world-first floating Cellar Door. For one weekend only, the award-winning Clare Valley winery will host what is set to become one of its most memorable tasting experiences aboard a custom-built glass-lined tasting room set upon a floating barge in the middle of the harbour. Flaunting some of their most recognised wines, Taylors will show the lucky few who get a spot how important temperature is to enjoying a wine at its best
7th-9th December, with 60-minute tasting sessions from 11am - 9pm.
Sydney Harbour - water taxi will transport to and from the cellar door from Man O’War Steps
End the working week with a free BBQ in The Argyle’s summery cobblestone courtyard. Every Friday, from 5pm to 7pm, guests can take advantage of complimentary chicken skewers, mini burgers and hotdogs with any drink purchase. This includes any drink from the happy hour menu, which features $5 Pimms cups, Aperol spritz, Sailor Jerry rum cocktails, espresso martinis and house beer, wine and spirits.
Every Friday, 5pm-7pm
Free (with drink purchase)
18 Argyle St, The Rocks
Surry Hill’s favourite laneway wine bar, The Winery, has launched a pour-your-own Prosecco fountain just in time for summer. Every Friday, Saturday and Sunday afternoon until the end of the year, Sydneysiders can lie back on brightly-coloured picnic blankets, feast on delicious picnic spreads and indulge in bottomless bubbles poured straight from the mouth of a giant lion fountain. The Prosecco Picnic weekend offers a lush retreat to wile away a balmy afternoon. The $79 package includes two hours of bottomless prosecco and a delectable spread of picnic fare.
Until 30th December
285A Crown St, Surry Hills
Every Sunday night from now on, Don't Tell Aunty will be opening the doors and hosting a local night at its Surry Hills venue – $25 for all you can eat curry and rice. And when they say all you can eat, they mean it! Most tables are reserved for walk-ins so just head on over when the evening hunger pangs (or hangover pangs) kick in.
Every Sunday Evening from 25 November onwards
414 Bourke Street, Surry Hills
Rosetta’s Inner City terrace has been transformed into a tropical paradise with a Tanqueray takeover, popping up until Saturday 15th December. A bright, Tanqueray-inspired mural features across the restaurant’s alfresco bar, while lush greenery hangs from a flowing fountain. An exclusive Tanqueray cocktail menu is on offer and includes G&Ts of grapefruit and thyme, lime and parsley, and mandarin and dill, while a Sevilla negroni features Tanqueray Seville gin, Campari and vermouth. Also on the books is a Long Lunch series every Saturday from 12pm. Highlights from the seasonal lunch menu include fusilli with zucchini, pine nuts, mint and stracchino; roast spring lamb with peperonata; grilled market fish with salmoriglio; and a traditional dessert is known as torta di Verona. The Long Lunch series is $70pp and includes a spritz on arrival. An additional two-hour beverage package also includes Aperol spritz, prosecco, wine and beer for $99pp.
Tanqueray takeover- Until Saturday 15th December
Long Lunch Series- Every Saturday from 12pm
118 Harrington Street, The Rocks
Throughout spring and summer, a Summer of Gin bar menu inspired by Archie Rose will be served at West Hotel's Solander Dining and Bar. The menu showcases bite-sized bar food infused with gin and native botanical rubs, and paired cocktails using Archie Rose gins. Guests will be able to enjoy the Summer of Gin menu daily, and on Friday nights there will be live music in the bar’s lush open-air “jungle” atrium.
65 Sussex Street Sydney
Pizza fans prepare to rejoice – ReccoLab, Rozelle are serving up unlimited slices of traditional woodfired pizzas every Tuesday for just $20. The ‘Giro Pizza’ (translation: all you can eat) will include a selection of handmade creations cooked the famous Neapolitan way, so expect the perfect combo of soft and crispy dough, bubbling mozzarella and all the Italian toppings. Plus, for an additional $10, you can throw in an Aperol on the side. Buon appetite.
Every Tuesday from 5pm
$20 bottomless pizza, $10 Aperol Spritz
ARTS & CULTURE
Hear the awe-inspiring story of the world’s youngest Nobel Peace Prize winner in her own words at this one-night-only talk. The now iconic story of a 15-year-old targeted by the Taliban, has won the hearts of an entire generation and Malala, now an Oxford University student, continues to fight for girls’ and education rights around the world.
Monday 10th December
Tickets from $99
International Convention Centre, Sydney
Kicking off on November 29th, Moonlight Cinema will be back in full force until March 31st. 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.
Until March 31st 2019
Centennial Park, corner Carrington Drive and Broome Avenue, Paddington
This summer the MCA will be showcasing a retrospective on internationally renowned photographer David Goldblatt. Known for his captivating imagery captured through the rise and fall of apartheid, this is the largest display of the South African photographers work. With his artistry spanning seven decades, the exhibition will showcase his early work, through to his last project before his death in June 2018.
Until 29 March, 2020
Museum of Contemporary Art
Carriageworks unveils its most ambitious visual arts project, a major exhibition by acclaimed American artist Nick Cave, presented free to the public from 23 November 2018 until 3 March 2019. NICK CAVE: UNTIL marks Carriageworks’ most substantial presentation of work by a solo artist and Nick Cave’s largest exhibition to date. A play on the phrase ‘innocent until proven guilty’, or in this case ‘guilty until proven innocent’, Cave offers us an immersive exhibition that addresses issues of race relations, gender politics and gun violence in America, and the resonance of these matters in communities around the world.
Until 3rd March 2019
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.
Until 29th March, 2020
Museum of Contemporary Art
MARKETS & FESTIVALS
Christmas is nearly here, and to celebrate the upcoming silly season Tramsheds is lighting up the precinct to transform into Sydney’s very own European Christmas hall. Fairy lights will drape the space, with the scent of cinnamon dispersed throughout to truly make Christmas come to life. Every Wednesday night and Saturday the Christmas Artisan Markets will fill the precinct with pop-up vendors like Annie Makes Cakes, Arthur Ave, Claycups, Petal Met Sugar and Typoflora. Over the course of December, Tramsheds will also be hosting a spectrum of festive workshops including, Bubbles, Burrata and Boccocini making, Christmas Wreath creation, and Gingerbread decorating.
Christmas Artisan Markets- Wednesday night, 4pm-9pm and Saturdays, 9am-3pm
Bubbles, Burrata and Boccocini Making with Omnom Cheese- 4th, 11th and 18th December, 6pm-7.30pm
Christmas Wreath Making with Blume Flower School- 6th-8th December
Gingerbread Decorating with Petal Met Sugar-12th December, from 4pm
1 Dalgal Way, Forest Lodge
The North Pole is coming north of Sydney Harbour Bridge this week, as Mona Vale’s Park House launches a month of festive fun at its dazzling Christmas Village. The venue’s outdoor food and drink precinct is the official home of Christmas this year from 28th November to 27th December with twinkling lights, Christmas trees galore and a calendar of activities celebrating the most wonderful time of the year. The festive oasis is open seven days a week with advent calendar highlights including:
- Christmas Night Markets- Friday 7th and 14th December
- Giant Snow Globe
- Santa photos
- Christmas cocktails
28th November- 27th December
2 Park St, Mona Vale
Featuring over 200 designers, 10 of Sydney’s hottest food and drink brands, free kids activities, live art and more, The Big Design Market returns to Sydney’s Royal Hall of Industries just in time for festive season shopping. The 2018 stallholder line-up includes a carefully curated assembly of the best local creative talent, with a distinct focus on sustainability.
$2 (Kids under 12- free)
Royal Hall of Industries
For one evening only, Sydney Living Museums is hosting Christmas Fare at the Hyde Park Barracks Museum. Step through the gates for an evening of festive shopping and entertainment with a star-studded line-up of 40+ stalls featuring Sydney’s finest artisan producers, makers and ready-to-eat gourmet food vendors.
Thursday 13th December, 4pm-9pm
Queens Square, Macquarie Street, Sydney
Kings Cross Flower Markets
Save yourself a trip to the flower market at 3am with this floral summer pop-up. Setting up shop around the fountain near Macleay Street, the Kings Cross Flower Market will give East-Sydneysiders a chance to get fresh blooms, cacti, succulents, pot plants and greenery each Sunday.
Every Sunday, 9:30am-2:30pm
Every Friday The Rocks plays host to a tantilising food fair, that brings together the sights, scents and sounds of street food around the world. Lovingly prepared by talented providores – from biltong and gozleme to artisan chocolate and Venuzuelan arepas – there are too many delectable dishes to taste test. But of course, you can give it a good try.
WELLNESS & FITNESS
The 5k Foam Fest is a gigantic obstacle course that combines fitness, foam and huge serving of fun. With over 20 different obstacles to tackle, along with inflatable water slides, mud pits and rope courses, you'll be geared up for a guaranteed day of fun, and a lot of silliness. Post-race, take a shower, pick up some lunch from the festival village, and listen to the live DJs spinning tunes.
Sydney International Equestrian Centre- Saxony Road, Horsely Park
Sunrise yoga classes return to the Sydney Opera House’s world-famous steps this spring thanks to Principal Partner Samsung, offering Sydneysiders the opportunity to find focus for their day beneath the iconic sails. Back by popular demand, Samsung Powers Sunrise on the Steps yoga classes are to take place on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, catering to beginners and yoga enthusiasts alike, under the guidance of Barefoot Yoga founder Crawf Weir.
Saturdays, 7:30am and 9am
Sydney Opera House
To start your day with a spring in your step, Pullman Quay will be opening the doors to seasoned yogis with their newly launched early morning Zen Sessions. A soothing combo of yoga and meditation, Zen Sessions are hosted in luxe areas of the hotel such as their renowned bar Hacienda or on the pool deck, so you can stretch out with breath-taking views of Sydney Harbour. Classes focus on either dynamic flow or slow yoga and are open to all levels and abilities.
Monday, Wednesday, Friday, 7-8am
61 Macquarie St, Sydney
MUSIC & FESTIVALS
Young Henry’s brewery have created a special cocktail, to toast the official start of summer. The Lagertia mixes together tequila, Cointreau, the citrusy hops of Young Henrys Natural Lager, and fresh lime juice, to be served only at MCA’s summer late night series, Sounds on the Terrace. To compliment this thirst-quenching cocktail, the MCA Café will serve Mexican Tostadas to match. See local Sydney acts play live against one of Sydney’s best harbour backdrops, including the likes of NOT A BOYS NAME, Fiction Writer, Ben Panucci, Froyo and China Beach.
Wednesday 5th December, open until 9pm
140 George Street, The Rocks
Wednesday 19th December, from 7pm
2/14 Darling Drive, Sydney
This national festival heavy-hitter – a perennial favourite for any festival calendar – will be ringing in the New Year with a bang. A ‘Toto’ power ballad bang, to be precise. The legendary 80s rockers will be belting out ‘Africa’ alongside indie rockers Interpol, Chvrches, Anderson .Paak & The Free Nationals, Vance Park and Flight Facilities, 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.
29-31 December 2018, Marion Bay; 31 December 2018 – 2 January 2019 Byron Bay; 5-6 January 2019 Fremantle
Two-day tickets $275.60; three-day tickets $326.58
Marion Bay Tasmania; Byron Bay NSW; Fremantle WA
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. Acts on this year’s bill include Peking Duck, M.I.A, The Kooks, Bicep and Foals. And fancy dress is mandatory. Dust off those headdresses, girls.
Can’t face camping? Go off grid and stay in the luxe teepee Glamping Village. With concierge, luxury toilets and showers, a breakfast café, cocktail bar, grooming parlour and a complimentary porter-trolley service to transport your bags to your beautifully prepped boudoir – think double beds, Moroccan textiles and pretty lanterns-galore – believe us, it’ll be worth the splurge.
28 December 2018 – 1 January 2019
4-day tickets (including camping) From $409
Glenworth Valley, NSW