Can the promise of indoor fun really make up for a lack of Sydney sun? Give these rainy day options a try, and you’ll soon find out.
Ok, so we admit it. While Sydney is a sunny beacon of beautiful beaches, picturesque coastal walks and epic outdoor dining and drinking spots most of the year, there is the odd occasion where the skies open up and the rain sets in.
But why let a little bit of water wash away your fun? You need not limit yourself to holing up in your room to binge on Netflix. In a city with a tonne of spectacular indoor spaces, there are wet weather activities literally on every corner just waiting to be discovered and enjoyed!
And we’re here to give you the inside scoop on where they are, what they are and how to make the most of a rainy day with these insider tips.
1. Be guided by your stomach on a foodie trail
When a rainy day forces you inside, you have the perfect excuse to indulge and experience the delicious creations to offer. Our neighborhood of Pyrmont alone is a bubbling pot of foodie experiences just waiting to be devoured, from the street-style tacos of Nativo Mexican Taqueria to tasty Mediterranean dishes with a Sydney Harbor view at Rumilicious on Jones Bay Wharf.
You’ll find freshly-baked golden croissants and an Egyptian breakfast to go at artisan PiOiK Bakery run by locals Shady and Rose, while one of Sydney’s best brunch experiences awaits at Quick Brown Fox Eatery with indoor (and out door when the sun is shiny ) café-style seating tucked into an 1850s sandstone cottage.
Or while away a few hours with a pub meal and drinks at some of Sydney’s oldest pubs . For something extra special, treat yourself to an unforgettable degustation at LuMi restaurant , overlooking the water but well and truly shielded from it.
And if you’re staying with us, you need not leave the building, with piping hot coffee, signature cocktails and delicious snacks conveniently waiting at our ground-floor Wayfarer’s Bar & Cafe.
2. Get creative in the kitchen
Get your MasterChef skills in check with a cooking class at the Sydney Seafood School, located within the Sydney Fish Market here in Pyrmont. With promise of how to whip up everything from the perfect seafood BBQ to a showstopper paella, this one’s known to foodie-obsessed locals but it’s a treat for visitors too. So with seafood secrets spilling fast and class spots booking up quick – especially those with celebrity chefs holding court – it pays to plan ahead for this one. Then the only thing getting w(h)et with this one will be your appetite.
3. Hit up the indy theatres
Sydney is home to a troupe of terrific theaters showcasing world-class performances, like Sydney Lyric Theatre, the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Theatre Company . However, as great as they are, we already knew about them, right?
What you may not know is that the city’s local, independent theatre scene is also something to behold. From Kirribilli’s Ensemble Theatre running classic performances to the Griffin Theatre Company in Kings Cross showing exclusive first-glance local acts, the smaller theaters make for a unique addition to any Sydney trip. Seeing a show at one of these is the perfect way to spend a rainy day.
Or you could double a show with a meal and try the Magician’s Cabaret. Combining delicious French cuisine, enchanting theatre and authentic Parisian shows, it’s magic, mystery and a show all in one at Pyrmont’s Jones Bay Wharf.
4. Take a swing with mini golf
There’s no better way to inject some fun into a rainy day than with a round of mini golf. And with nostalgic 80’s and 90’s throwbacks, Holey Moley Darlinghurst takes the traditional mini golf putt around to a whole new level of fun. Paired with a bar, food and private karaoke rooms for hire, you can tick a lot of boxes here under the one roof, all while staying dry.
5. Get creative at a masterclass
Sydney is home to a vibrant creative scene and there’s plenty of weird and wonderful workshops to save for a rainy day. Whether you’re looking to have a dabble in pottery or booze it up with a prosecco and paint classes, workshops are a great way To bring friends together or meet new people along the way, while waiting for clear skies. Check out Darlinghurst’s ‘paint and sip’ classes at Champainting where you can unleash the inner artist inside with a little help from a glass of pinot or a sip of bubbly.
6. Sing your heart out at karaoke
Looking to let off some steam, rockstar style? Sing your heart out at Haymarket’s D1 Karaoke and drown out that evening rain! With over 4,000 songs to choose from and 6 languagesto switch between, there really is a song for Everyone’s star moment. Open from 5pm to 5am, you can book yourself a room and even add in a catering package, ensuring you won’t go hungry or thirsty while you churn through your favorite tunes.
7. Unleash your inner child
It’s all about the water, but you’ll be hidden from the rain and wet entirely, Sea Life Sydney aquarium is your golden ticket day of fun to look forward to in any weather. With sharks and rays, turtles and exotic fish, and mesmerising vertical floor-to-ceiling tube aquariums when neon-lit jellyfish bob up and down (we could watch that for hours), this one’s not just for the kids.
Or hop on the ferry from Pyrmont Wharf for a short shuttle across the harbor to Sydney’s famous Luna Park, which sports a number of indoor attractions from the slides and mirror maze of Coney Island to the cars of Dodgem City, you can keep your hair dry while it stands on end from all the thrills. Feeling extra brave? Don a jacket and enjoy the thrill of the outdoor rides with a splash of light rain! They continue running unless it’s high winds or a pretty serious storm.
8. Try your hand at axe throwing
Fancy unleashing your inner warrior while trying something new? Try your hand at axe throwing at Kiss My Axe in Alexandria and feel heroic while perfecting your throw. Catering to small or large groups, you can book in to learn the basics, perfect your bullseye skills and be coached through a tournament against your friends. With a food and bar on-site, there’s time to round off the experience with a cold beer or pizza package to go. Head over for Two for Tuesday or a date night deal, and forget about the rain while you sip and sling the afternoon away!
9. Uncover hidden culture hubs
You’ve heard the run-if-the-mill rainy day suggestion of hitting up a museum or gallery… we get it, you’ve been there, done that at the known ones in Sydney already: the Art Gallery of NSW, the MCA, the Maritime Museum and the Powerhouse Museum.
But, look again and you’ll find the lesser known museums that your average ChatGPT travel plan won’t. From the Rocks Discovery Museum‘s fascinating insights into the history of the local cobblestoned precinct, the Sydney Heritage Fleet with its impressively huge vessels, or the Powerhouse Museum with its array of interesting exhibitions, there’s shelter from the rain and history in bucketloads. Walk away dry and with a timeless pub quick edge. It’s even free!
Or if you’re into buses, and let’s face it who isn’t, take a trip to the Sydney Bus Museum in Leichhardt, just a short 10 minute car trip or bus ride from Pyrmont. Here you’ll find an interactive collection of vintage buses, but take note, it’s only open a few times a month so be sure to check your date.
Looking to get artsy? Try White Rabbit Gallery , and its celebration of contemporary Chinese artwork. Tucked between the terraced houses of Chippendale, it’s a locals best-kept secret with a cozy street-level teahouse.
10. Get your brolly out and get out there!
POV: you’re geared up with your plan to explore Sydney, and it starts raining. You could just get your big pants on, get yourself a big brolly and some sensible shoes, and launch yourself out into the streets anyway! What’s a little water, after all? You can still explore markets, shops, parks and waterside walks, armed with a hand-warming hot chocolate to keep you fueled up. Don’t know what a “brolly” is? Ask our friendly team and they will not only tell you, but they may also lend you one of ours.
Need a place to stay?
Tuck yourself in neatly among Sydney’s best attractions with a stay at Aiden Darling Harbour, the city’s newest compact boutique hotel. Convenience meets artistic flare and luxe features like hand-painted murals, Dyson hair dryers and free-flowing Moda sparkling water, on-site restaurant and bar, and one of Sydney’s best hotel breakfasts.