February—the shortest month.
It might only be 28 days long and the last month of summer, but February is still a whole heap of fun. So, make the most of the daylight and the warm weather before the colder months come calling. From markets and pop-up bars to cultural outings and shows, find here a bunch of things to do in February that have nothing (or very little) to do with Valentine’s Day. (Featured image: @photoholgic)
1. Mardi Gras
The theme for Mardi Gras this year is Rise. And rising out of the unprecedented challenges and hardships faced last year by all, this year’s festival will be looking a little different.
The 43rd Mardi Gras Parade, for example, won’t be dancing and singing its way down Oxford Street because this year it has been moved to the SCG and the beloved Mardi Gras Fair Day has been cancelled because it just wouldn’t be the same with organisers needing to implement crowd control regulations—something a little difficult to do for 80,000 people.
Nonetheless, this year’s events will still be everything else you expect from Mardi Gras with comedy shows, film screenings, theatre performances and discussions.
Mardi Gras 2021 kicks off on 19 February and ends 7 March.
2. Markets are best in summer
Markets are a staple of the well-rounded weekend outing. Luckily for Sydneysiders, there’s a whole bunch and range of markets to visit and explore in different parts of the city. From fresh produce to artisanal products and all the food you can pick up and eat as you mosey along, Sydney has it covered.
In light of the times, double-check the market you’re interested in is still on and make sure you practice good hygiene, respect social-distancing measures, and most importantly, stay home if you’re feeling unwell.
3. See the massive flower wall at inBloom
inBloom has been on at The Calyx for some time now, but that’s the part of the point.
Curated by the horticultural team at the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney, inBloom at The Calyx has 20,000 plants and flowers on display resulting in a kaleidoscopic world that evolves and changes as the days pass and the weather changes. If you haven’t visited inBloom yet, this is your chance to see flowers in their best summer outfits before autumn arrives and they change.
You can now also order a High Tea picnic hamper from The Calyx ($70) to enjoy and share with a friend or someone special.
4. Check the Opera House website at 12pm each day for $21 tickets
As part of the Summer in the City initiative by the NSW Government, the Sydney Opera House is selling select tickets to their 2021 program for just $21. That’s musicals, operas, comedy gigs, performances, events, circus shows and shows for kids for just $21.
To get your hands on an Opera House $21 ticket, you need to jump online to the Sydney Opera House website at 12pm each day to find out what shows and performances will be on the following day.
5. Discover the Dark Tales of Sydney’s past
Sydney’s beginnings aren’t so glitz and glam as they are today. They are, in fact, quite dark and ghastly, and they make for some of the most riveting tales to be told under the cover of darkness. On this Dark Tales of Sydney walking tour, you will be taken down shadowy lanes, cobblestoned streets and past haunted pubs and houses as well as the most haunted hotel in Sydney too. There’ll be stories of ghosts, ghouls and gallows as well as the infamous Shark Arm murders where a 3.5-metre tiger shark regurgitated a human arm.
6. Experience a Candlelight Concert
Playing two shows per night from the 15-19 February at 6:30pm and 8:30pm, the Van-Anh Trio will treat attendees to some of Beethoven’s best works.
7. Drink tequila and catch live music on Sundays at Opera Bar
Opera Bar is keeping the good times going with Summer of Tequila with cocktails and live music. But beginning this Sunday, they’ve invited Picnic Social to curate a series of Sunday sessions from 3pm to 10pm showcasing the city’s most talented, emerging and established live acts and DJs. Sundays in February are going to be fire.
8. Magic Mike Live is on stage
The formula for Magic Mike Live is simple: take a troupe of handsome, athletically gifted men, remove their shirts, and have ’em spin, flip, dance, and gyrate to some thumping beats and add an audience full of extremely thirsty men and women.
9. Check out the food and music offerings at Sunset Piazza
Sunset Piazza, right across from Hyde Park, will see Sydneysiders snack on cannolis, sip on Negronis and catch ”live performances spanning pop, cabaret, comedy, hip-hop, indie rock and opera.”
10. Lounge on lawn chairs at The Garden Social
For twenty days this summer, the Royal Botanic Gardens is setting up an outdoor summer bar in The Domain’s Tarpeian Precinct. Unfortunately, those days end on 7 February.
Even still, there are food trucks, G&Ts and the talented musicians of the Conservatorium of Music to tempt you along. There are also the spectacular views on sunny days.
11. Keep an eye on your Dine and Discover vouchers
As part of the $500M ‘Out and About’ scheme, now ‘Dine and Discover NSW’, each adult living and residing in NSW will receive four $25 vouchers to use for dining and entertainment. The NSW government has announced that the trial will be expanded across the CBD, The Rocks, and Broken Hill. It will also include Sydney’s northern beaches when phase two of the trial period begins, which has been slated for February.
As a bonus, these eight venues have said that they will be doubling your vouchers.
12. Gather the crew for a boozy bottomless brunch
Eating is not supposed to be rushed and weekends are meant to be enjoyed, so what better way to do so than by celebrating life and friendships by eating and drinking, and then ordering another round for the table at no extra cost?
13. Explore the harbour from the water
Sydney Harbour has got plenty of water activities you can do to not only pass the time but also experiences that will give you a newfound appreciation or perspective of Sydney. Some might even give you a bit of a workout while you’re at it. And remember, this is the last month of summer and although Sydney’s weather is quite good, getting wet in winter is not all that much fun.
14. Take a free pilates class and drink a gin cocktail (also free)
Gin and Toning, the after-work pilates classes with a complimentary gin cocktail. kicked off last week. If you missed out and are keen on stretching out hump day the right way, then you’re in luck because this pilates-gin combo is happening every Wednesday from now until the end of February.
15. See art after dark at MCA Late
MCA Late, the newest iteration of Lights on Later, is the Museum of Contemporary Art’s dynamic Friday evening program which consolidates the free exhibitions with ”something special” hidden inside the museum. And to make Friday nights at the MCA that little bit more appealing, the MCA has moved Sounds on the Terrace—the free monthly live music night—to the new Friday night slot. First Sounds on the Terrace takes place on 5 February.
16. Go see a movie under the stars while you still can
17. See the Opera House like you’ve never seen it before
The House After Dark sees ”a brand new sensory experience” arrive at the Opera House where guides will lead groups of just ten people on a tour of the previously restricted spaces, revealing the hidden secrets and phantoms that call this Opera House home. Off-limit spaces that you will now have access to include the Old Changing Room Corridor and the Piano Store.
18. And for the days or nights you want to stay at home, there’s always Netflix
On the off chance you’ve burned through all the movies, shows and documentaries on your Netflix to-watch list, the streaming giant has got us covered come February, which is great because another streak of days at 30+ degrees will have us reconsidering our outdoor plans.