Although Sydney gets a lot of flak for its nightlife, the city does have a pretty cool vibe after hours. If you’re a nightowl, chances are you’ve been disappointed with the lack of things to do in the city that definitely loves to sleep. In recent years, changes have been implemented to make Sydney into a more 24/7 city and while they’re coming slowly, there’s a lot you can do to enjoy Sydney in the interim. As for us, we love the city day or night and if you know where to look, you’ll find heaps of fun late-night activities in Sydney. Here are some of our very favourite.
1. Go pub-hopping across The Rocks
The Rocks is always truly brimming with activity late at night. Thanks in huge part to the many charming pubs that remain open in and around the area, well into the night. Some of our favourites: The Glenmore Hotel, The Royal George and 3 Wise Monkeys.
2. Explore all the glowing installations at Darling Square
Darling Square is an absolute delight at night especially it’s many nooks and bylanes that our lit-up by light installations and artworks. Most famous of all is ‘City Lights’ a luminous art installation by Brendan van Hek at Hay Street. Another installation ‘In Between Two Worlds’ by Jason Wing is a neon-fuelled installation in a hidden laneway of Chinatown.
3. Walk across the Harbour Bridge
This isn’t necessarily a night-time activity but the views from the bridge look a lot different at night. Especially the glittering skyline in the background and the Opera House standing tall on the harbour.
4. Catch a show at the Opera House
This one’s a no brainer. If you’re after a night-time activity that captures the soul of Sydney, visit the House at night and make sure you stay back to explore Circular Quay minus the crowds.
5. Grab some nibbles and drinks at Pancakes on the Rocks
Pancakes on the Rocks is a Sydney icon and known for their many sweet and savoury pancakes, ribs and brekkie options. Better yet, The Rocks’ location is open 24/7 and it’s almost always filled with a buzzing atmosphere and friendly people even at 4am in the morning.
Walking tours are a great way to explore Sydney’s past and what life used to look like in the bygone eras. We recommend the Sydney Razor Gang True Crime Tour for a bit of history and a lot of spookiness.
Get your tickets here.
7. Catch dinner and a burlesque show
There are a number of unique theatres around the city that provide ample opportunity to add a bit of pizazz to your late nights. Read more about how to make the most of your evening at this fiery show at The Magician’s Cabaret.
8. Explore the Chinatown Night Markets
Chinatown Markets has something for everyone. Whether you’re looking for authentic Australian souvenirs, local brands or some seriously amazing Asian food, this is the hot spot to head to. It’s open every Friday from 4pm-11pm.
Late night gallery visits are a vibe. And lucky for us, many of Sydney’s most popular art gallery are catering to culture vultures seeking their fix at night. Right MCA to the AGNSW, you can discover new and old exhibitions late at night.
10. Grab a drink at Mary’s Newtown
Mary’s is a popular fixture on the late night scene in Sydney and has remained so for as long as we can remember. Known for their delicious burgers and craft beers, the bar embodies a classic rock ‘n’ roll vibe and the general aesthetic is as hectic as it gets but in the best way possible.
11. Stay overnight at Taronga Zoo
Roar and Snore at Taronga Zoo Sydney is a classic Sydney bucket list. Allowing you to camp in safari tents in the heart of Australia’s most beloved zoo, you can have close encounters with the animals while taking in stunning views of the city and the harbour.
On every Thursday night until June 30, a number of eclectic events take over the Powerhouse Museum including talks, music performances, exhibitions, screenings and workshops.
We love us a Candlelight Concert. What’s better than enjoying classical music by candlelight in some of our favourite venues around town? Even better, there is a great variety to choose from, take your pick here.
14. Get all the city views from the Pyrmont Bridge Hotel
The Pyrmont Bridge Hotel is another 24/7 hotel sitting comfortably between Darling Harbour and The Star. Serving classic bar grub and drinks, head to the rooftop terrace for all the views and vibes.
15. Laugh it out at a comedy club
There are a number of comedy clubs around the city that’ll have you in stitches with their unique brand of Aussie humour. Here are some of our favourites you should definitely check out.
16. Take a stroll across Circular Quay
This one truly never gets old. You’ll find a lot of your very favourite Sydney icons in and around Circular Quay and they take on a life of their own at night. Be it the Opera House or the Harbour Bridge, the historic laneways of The Rocks or the Royal Botanic Gardens — Circular Quay is the main access point to them all.
17. Visit the Sydney Observatory
This heritage-listed meteorological station and astronomical observatory is a must-do activity for star gazers. See the city skyline from one of Australia’s most iconic sites while the world sleeps.
True Romance is a new 88-seat bar and restaurant with Tarantino-inspired artwork and all the fun vibes in the heart of Newtown. Their USP lies in their unique menu that offers Australian classics with a zesty Indian twist and all the Tarantino memorabilia you can imagine.