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60 Totally Fantastic Things To Do In Sydney This January

Ria Lawrence Ria Lawrence - Staff Writer

january-in-sydney

Here it is, Sydney — the first month of the new year. 2021 was a strange and uncertain year by all accounts with a huge chunk of it spent indoors in lockdown. All the more reason to step out and enjoy what the city has to offer this year. Luckily for us, January promises a great time for all. If you’re in the process of lining up plans for the month, sit tight — we’ve got a pretty comprehensive list to make your January in Sydney one for the books.

1. The dazzling Nature Illuminated experience finally arrives in Sydney this month

january-in-sydney

Sydney has a new immersive experience to add to its bumper arts calendar with Fever Originals bringing to town its stunning Nature Illuminated: Life of the Seasons event. Although originally slated to premiere in mid-2021, it was affected by lockdown measures across the state, but now new dates have been set and we cannot wait for this sparkling display of light and colour to arrive.

Sydney’s Chinese Garden of Friendship will be transformed into a wonderland with theatrical lighting reflecting the four seasons of the year, interactive forest sprites that keep a watchful eye over nature and an augmented reality treasure hunt that will explore the flora and fauna of this fabled realm.

Tickets to the botanical extravaganza are on sale now.

2. The Sydney Festival is back with over 100 concerts, art installations, theatre and more

sydney-festival
Image: Supplied by Sydney Festival

From January 6-30, Sydney is set to burst into a kaleidoscope of colour and activity and help us shake off the monotony of the last few months. And they’re pulling all the stops this year.

Set to be the first Sydney Festival programmed by new art director Olivia Ansell, you can look forward to illuminated art installations, glittering musicals, live performances and so much more. This year round, the highly-anticipated festival is set to expand to areas such as Mosman, Penrith, Cronulla, Manly and Bankstown, apart from its traditional CBD and Parramatta bases.

3. Head over to this massive six-day festival on at the Cahill Expressway

elevate-sydney
Image: Destination NSW

Sydney’s Cahill Expressway is set to undergo a major transformation to make way for Elevate Sydney. On for six days from January 1 to January 6, the festival will be set against the glittering backdrop of the Sydney harbour.

Of the many events planned, perhaps the most exciting is the Elevate Skyshow which will feature 500 choreographer drones over Sydney cove, creating a hypnotic pattern in the sky. There are over 180 performers set to take the stage by storm over the six-day festival. The line-up includes global sensation Tones and I, electronic duo Electric Fields and Australia’s beloved The Wiggles.

4. Catch acclaimed musical comedy The Wedding Singer in its Sydney debut this January

the wedding singer musical comedy actors on stage dancing

Before The Wedding Singer: The Musical Comedy returns to Melbourne for an encore season, the 80s extravaganza based on the ever-popular film starring Adam Sandler will light up Sydney’s State Theatre in January for a limited run of shows.

Tickets are on sale now, but if its track record of selling out shows in Melbourne, on Broadway and across the UK is anything to go by, you’re going to have to snap up your seats quick. Otherwise, you run the risk of missing out.

Get your tickets here.

5. Get your tickets for the supersized King Street Carnival featuring over 60 acts 

january-in-sydney
Image: Supplied

From Crawl to Carnival, the Inner West has upsized its live music and art offering and transformed it into a behemoth three-day open-air festival with some of the country’s top musical talent and best up-and-comers. Three dedicated outdoor stages will host more than 60 acts and two dance parties at the King Street Carnival, which despite exploding in size will still throw up free entertainment in Newtown, Enmore and Erskineville.

Heads up: King Street Carnival is accepting Discover NSW Vouchers! You can redeem yours through the Fever website.

6. Check out Moonlight Cinema’s stacked movie lineup for January

moonlight-cinema-summer
Image: Supplied/ Moonlight Cinema

There’s something about watching our favourite classics under the stars that just doesn’t get old. This year, we’re especially eager to head out and thanks to the iconic Moonlight Cinema, we have enough incentive to dust off our shoes and take a break from the couch.

As for the epic January lineup there is heaps to look forward to. From Daniel Craig’s final outing as James Bond in No Time to Die to Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story on January 24.

7. Hit the road with one of these unique collect and cook Farmgate Experiences 

december-in-sydney
Image: Supplied

Skip the supermarket and head out to the country to pick up ingredients for your roast dinner with Farmgate Experiences. Meet the growers, farmers and producers of the ingredients you’ll need to make a delicious dinner. There’s even wine or cider to collect on your adventure.

8. Take in a live show with the ultimate 90s rock tribute band 

royale with cheese performing on stage

If you’re looking to revive the 90s and relive distant memories rocking out to some of the greatest rock, pop, pop-punk and grunge hits of the decade, then you’re going to need to make note of this live music gig. Australia’s premier cover band Royale With Cheese will be amping up the distortion, plucking heavy basslines and belting out your favourite introspective lyrics for a night heavy on nostalgia and good times.

Use your Discover voucher to see Royale With Cheese perform live in Sydney.

9. Get lost in this immersive 360-degree pop-up cinema experience 

this-week
Image credit: Supplied by Wonderdome

Promising a virtual reality experience without the goggles, the Wonderdome is set to take Sydney by storm by blending immersive visuals and cutting-edge technology to create a transformative multisensory experience.

The dome will use 12 projectors and a surround sound system so they don’t use the word ‘immersive’ loosely.

10-19. Welcome 2022 with one of these unique NSW glamping experiences 

january-in-sydney
Image credit: Supplied/ Sierra Escape

If setting up a tent, not having a shower for days, dealing with spiders and preparing food on an open fire is not really your thing, we suggest you give these glamping experiences a shot.

🏕️ Glenayr Farm
🌞 Roar and Snore
🏕️ The Cove
🌞 Faraway Domes
🏕️ Turon Gates Mountain Retreat
🌞 Sierra Escape
🏕️ Tandara Glamping
🌞 Bubble Tent Australia
🏕️ Zoofari Lodge
🌞South Coast Retreat

20. Watch your favourite show at the newly refurbished Theatre Royal Sydney

december-in-sydney
Image: Pierre Toussaint. Supplied/ Theatre Royal Sydney

After shutting its doors in 2016, the Theatre Royal finally reopened in December, after undergoing a massive refurbishment. Two exciting Broadway productions kicked off its latest program — Jagged Little Pill which will be followed by the highly acclaimed Girl from the North Country this month, featuring songs by Bob Dylan.

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21. The Southern Hemisphere’s largest Christmas lights display is still on at the Hunter Valley

christmas-light-displays
Image: Supplied by Hunter Valley Gardens

Christmas might be over, but we’re not over it. Thankfully, Hunter Valley Gardens is still hosting their magical Christmas Lights Spectacular till the end of this month.

Get ready to be whisked away to a magical place with over 3 million dazzling lights on display. Open until January 2022, the immersive light displays are spread over 14 hectares of gardens.

22. Get down to Low 302 for gin, jazz and burlesque events this summer 

january-in-sydney
Image: Supplied/ Low 302

Low 302 is one of Sydney’s hidden gems, but this summer the bar is making itself known with a number of special events including live musicburlesque shows and cabaret nights complete with comedy, bottomless drinks and dinner. If you want to get down or see a show from some of the best in Australia’s entertainment industry, then Low 302 needs to be in your plans for fun this summer.

23. Snap up some tickets for Hamilton as it enters the final leg in its Sydney tour 

january-in-sydney
Photo: @murphymade. Courtesy of @hamiltonwestend.

When Hamilton opened in Sydney a few months ago, it completely dominated the live theatre scene in the city. And if you were concerned about the steep prices back then, now would be a great time to take advantage of the sale. You can book your tickets here.

24. Messina is throwing an epic all-day breakfast party at The Rocks 

breakfast-of-champions
Image: Supplied/ Messina

Messina is bringing a new, all-day breakfast pop up to town and it promises to take your breakfast game up a notch or two. On from January 2-6, the event, aptly dubbed Breakfast of Champions, will feature some of your favourite breakfast inspired scoops including the limited edition Cinnie French toast.

The huge breakfast party includes the Cinnie French toast which is a classic French toast with a twist. Coated in cornflake crumbs and filled with delightful cinnamon butter, the toast is then topped with fior di latte (milk) gelato and a delicious vanilla cheesecake glaze.

25. Dust off 2021 at this super cool 80’s resort-style rooftop bar in the Inner West

January-in-sydney
Image: Supplied/ Philter Brewing

There’s a new kid on the block courtesy of Philter Brewing. Sydney’s much loved brewers kept themselves busy during lockdown with this labour of love which opened its doors in Marrickville late last year. Taking inspiration from elements of 80s garden bars and Palm Springs, the bar aptly named Marrickville Springs is quite the happy respite in the heart of the city.

26-39. Make the most of summer with these 14 excellent rooftop bars

Rooftop bars ooze instant cool. They help us escape the hustle and bustle of the streets without having to leave the city. They also dose us up on vitamin D, expose us to fresh air, and help us feel like we’re on top of the world — even if we’re only a couple storeys up.

🥂 Sweethearts Rooftop,
Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel,
🥂 Manly Greenhouse
Bridgeview Hotel
🥂 Coogee Pavilion
SoCal
🥂 Webster’s Bar
The Old Clare Hotel
🥂 The Rooftop
Ching-a-Lings
🥂 The Taphouse
Level Seven
🥂 Smoke
Corridor

40. Prefer staying in? Here’s everything dropping on Netflix Australia this January

Image credit: Mollie Sivaram via Unsplash

The holidays are officially over but Netflix isn’t showing any signs of slowing down. After dropping the second seasons of fan favourites like Emily in Paris and The Witcher last month, the streaming service is bringing a new mystery series, a post-apocalyptic film and several other binge-worthy titles to our screens. On offer is also the highly anticipated season 4 of Ozark and The Woman in the House Across the Street from the Girl in the Window (an actual movie that could be satire or a thriller, either way we can’t wait to watch it).

41. The mesmerising Candlelight Concerts are on to dazzle you this whole month 

this-week

If so far you have missed out on experiencing the magical atmosphere of the Candlelight music concerts in Sydney, then you’re in luck as more tickets and shows have become available including more candlelit tribute concerts.

Really, we can’t think of a better way to spend an evening than with a magical night of music unfolding before you. Sit back, relax and be enchanted by the music and dance of a candlelight concert.

42. Watch your favourite movies under the stars every Wednesday at this cosy outdoor cinema 

laneway-cinema
Image source: The Rocks

January in Sydney means heaps of alfresco events. Also making the list is a super charming outdoor cinema at The Rocks — Laneway Cinema. Complete with heaps of food offerings and fairy lights galore, this event takes place in the beautiful cobblestone laneway of Atherden Street.

43. Head to these venues that are doubling your Dine & Discover vouchers this Summer

Free money is always good money, but doubling up on your free money is better than good — it’s great.

Once you receive your new Dine voucher, take it to any one of these venues and they will match what you spend on food.

44. Check out this brand new café by the co-founder of The Grounds 

the-goodsline
Image: Supplied/ The Goodsline

Brunch fiends will be excited to know that former co-founder of The Grounds Jack Hanna, has officially re-launched The Goodsline café.

The Grounds has become a force to reckon with over the years and an inimitable name in the hospitality industry in Sydney. So needless to say, when one of the co-founders brings a new café to town, you can expect it to be an experience in and of itself. Brunch fiends will be excited to know that former co-founder of The Grounds Jack Hanna, has officially re-launched The Goodsline café.

45. Take in these intimate and unique musical performances through the Live At Yours’ Series

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Image: Supplied/Live at Yours

Australia, and Sydney in particular, has no shortage of talented, award-winning and world-renowned musicians. However, artists have found this past year tough with venue restrictions, event postponements and cancellations. But Live At Yours found a way for the show to go on. They have now scheduled more of these city-wide performances to help you make it a memorable December in Sydney.

46-60. Head to Sydney’s prettiest cafes for dreamy summer dates 

I love a good café and I love it even more when it’s pretty. Despite a year of lockdowns and uncertainty, cafés continue to push the envelope with super creative menu offerings, fun twists to classic dishes, aesthetics to die for, elaborate neon and floral mash ups, and coffee — lots of seriously great coffee. When it comes to Instagram-worthy cafes, we’re spoilt for choice down here in Sydney. Here’s a lowdown of some of our favourites that more than deserve a spot on your feed.

🌸 Celsius Coffee Co
Cuppa Flower
🌸 Two Sis & Co.
Social Hideout
🌸 The Boathouse, Palm Beach
Speedos
🌸 Flower Child
The Grounds of Alexandria
🌸 Armchair Collective 
Concrete Jungle Café
🌸 Parlour Cucina
The Botanica Vaucluse 
🌸 Café Monstera 
The Mayflower 
🌸 Skittle Lane

Things To Do