From buzzing music festivals to food fests 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
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.
For those who want to escape for a few hours on Christmas Day – be it for a strong coffee, a light lunch, or even a cheeky post-dinner tipple – a handful of cafés, bars and restaurants are keeping their doors open on December 25, for optimum over-indulgence. These are the ones worth visiting.
Blending stunning sandstone interiors with modern Middle Eastern cuisine, newly opened restaurant Tayim is set to shine over the festive season. Located in the Rocks, Tayim forms part of the boutique Harbour Rocks Hotel, and features a mouth-watering menu designed by Israeli-born Head Chef Ran Kimelfeld (ex-Nour). Look forward to an array of traditional regional dishes with a modern twist, each plate packed with flavour, character and soul. Exotic share plates (cooked traditionally on the open grill) are the stars of the show – think 18-hour lamb shoulder with white bean “Masabaha” and fire roasted eggplant with labneh emulsion – whilst smaller plates come in the form of grilled sardine Shakshuka; Wagyu beef cigars and Tayim’s signature hummus. As one of Sydney’s hottest new openings, we recommend that you book in quick.
No. 34 Nurses Walk, The Rocks
For a coffee and brunch fix with a side of fun, head to June’s Shoppe – a quirky new hole-in-the-wall café that serves up coffee, toast and toppers. Devour darling plates of pastries, toast and toppers, topped with the likes of avo, tomato and buffalo mozzarella; banana bread with Nutella; and fried egg with maple bacon, BBQ sauce and red Leicester cheese. Lunches are also worth sticking around for, with their selection of pork belly Banh Mi; poached chicken and slaw; and Wagyu bresola. See you in the queue.
Open Monday Fri – 7am-4pm
60 Carrington St, Wynyard Lane
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
414 Bourke Street, Surry Hills
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
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
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
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
ARTS & CULTURE
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.
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 2019
Pitt Street Mall, Sydney CBD
Carriageworks unveils its most ambitious visual arts project, a major exhibition by acclaimed American artist Nick Cave, presented free to the public 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
Get up close and personal with a breathtaking collection of iconic bronze sculptures by the master of surrealism, Salvador Dali. See his striking artwork in all its ethereal glory at the Billich Gallery, along with original works from Australian surrealist, Charles Billich.
Until 31st January 2019, open daily 9am-7pm
106 George Street, The Rocks
Marvel at nature in its most magical form, with Australian Geographic’s breathtaking photograph collection. Celebrating the natural beauty and heritage of Australia, New Zealand and New Guinea regions, this captivating exhibition showcases a range of professional, emerging and junior photographers, who have artfully captured rare moments of natural beauty through the most enchanting forms. A spectacular display of ethereal landscapes and wildlife as you’ve never seen them before.
Daily from 9:30am-5pm, running until 28t January 2019
Australian Museum, 1 William Street
MARKETS & SHOPPING
Still yet to finish your Christmas shopping? Fret not, we've found some genius gift ideas that offer same-day delivery. Order now and they'll be with you well before Christmas Eve. Panic over. And breathe.
It's officially Christmas, and so it's inevitable we'll most likely hear the clinking of glasses well into the New Year. But for those who want to keep their booze budget to a bare minimum – that's all of us, right? – we’ve enlisted the help of the wine gurus at Vinomofo and Naked Wines, to reveal their favourite purse-friendly drops, along with some handy tips on choosing the perfect bottle for summer. From refreshing Rielsing to spicy Shiraz, they’ve sniffed out the tastiest sips of the season, guaranteed to add an extra-special finishing touch to this year’s Christmas spread. You are welcome.
Want to do something good this Christmas? Take a break from shopping and feasting, and lend a helping hand to those who need it most. Here are some ways you can give back over the festive season.
Whether you bring your man or your best gal, creating a bespoke piece of jewellery is one date night we want to get on board with. In this creative workshop you’ll get to learn the tricks of the trade, before creating your own decorative wax ring to cast in your choice of silver, bronze or gold.
Daily 11am-12:30pm, until 24th December 2018 $95
39 Orwell Street, Potts Point
The North Pole is coming north of Sydney Harbour Bridge, as Mona Vale’s Park House transforms into a hub of festive fun with 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
- Giant Snow Globe
- Santa photos
- Christmas cocktails
Until 27th December
2 Park St, Mona Vale
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
Don your best 80s headgear – Ultimo Community Centre is launching a table tennis serve off, for those who don’t want to take their fitness regime too seriously. There are six tables in total, and games are entirely free. This has team building written all over it.
Daily until 30th December, weekdays 10am-8pm; weekends 10am-4pm
Ultimo Community Center, 40 William Street
Ready to get your dance on? This Sydney staple has a rowdy roster of dance classes that double as full-body workouts. Along with a freestyling class called #JustDance, there’s Bounce DanceFit and Cardio Dance Blast – both heart-pounding, seriously sweaty sessions that combine cardio, balance and muscle conditioning. On Friday nights, you can shake and shimmy your way to the weekend at Crunch’s Dance Party class.
Alexandria, Bankstown, Caringbah, Chatswood, Dee Why, Liverpool, Mortdale, Parramatta, Rockdale, Sydney CBD
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 & NIGHTLIFE
For Boxing Day beach vibes, head to the Island for a fix of festive alfresco fun. The floating bar will be welcoming party revellers on board from 1pm, kicking off the festivities with DJs, boozy tipples and a giant dose of FUN. Can you think of a better way to wind down after Christmas?
26th December, 1pm-8pm (included return water taxis and a welcome drink on arrival)
The Island, Bradley's Head
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
Returning to The Domain on 1 January, Field Day will bring in the New Year with an epic line-up of big beats and raucous revelry. Mixing hip-hop, house, indie, and electronic artists from around the world, Field Day promises to carry on the New Year party vibes well past midnight (if you’re planning on going, you might want to book off the 2 Jan in advance). This year look forward to sets from Duke Dumont, Bonobo, Chvrches, Alice Ivy, Flight Facilities and Migos.
When? 1 January 2019
Where? The Domain, Sydney
How much? Tickets from $155 + booking fee
Still yet to lock in your New Year's Eve 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. Here's our pick of the best.
For a staycation with a difference, the West Hotel’s beautiful botanical-themed room is the ultimate weekend treat. Launching for the summer, the slick new hotel has teamed up with Sydney florists The Hunted Yard and Melbourne-based textile design brand, Bonnie and Neil, to create a magical, floral-inspired boudoir for guests to relax and unwind. Set right in the heart of the CBD, this sumptuous sanctuary is a welcome haven hidden away from the hustle and bustle of the city. A treat for the senses, guests will be treated to a stunning display of blooms suspended from the roof as well as Biology botanical skincare products, and two Archie Rose gin cocktails to wash down with two delicious complimentary bar bites. Tempted much?
The ‘Sleep Amongst Botanics’ package includes:
- Overnight accommodation for two in the Bonnie and Neil-styled Banksia Deluxe Room
- Full breakfast at Solander Dining for two
- Two ‘Summer of Gin’ Archie Rose cocktails and bar snack menu items at Solander Dining
- Biology Skin 2-Step “In the Buff” gift pack
December 2018 to mid-January 2019
Priced from $332 per night
65 Sussex St, Sydney
Thinking of booking a last-minute festive escape? We’ve whittled down some seriously stylish Airbnbs that are still available to book for Christmas and New Year. But you’d better be quick, they’ll be gone before you know it!
Want to escape the city with your closest pals? From the coast to the countryside, we've whittled down 7 gorgeous weekend getaways, sure to suit every type of girl gang.