Sydney is one of Australia’s most popular cities to visit and explore. There is so much to experience, from relaxing on Bondi Beach to exploring Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park during the day. But what about at night?
You’ll be pleased to discover there are unique and exciting things to do after dark involving adventure, culture, fun, relaxation and entertainment all over the city. So start with these 20 things to do in Sydney at night to whet your appetite for one of the world’s most beautiful cities.
- Sydney At Night
- 20 Things To Do In Sydney At Night
- 1- Climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge
- 2- Dinner and a Show at the Sydney Opera House
- 3- Go to the Sydney Observatory
- 4- Explore the Chinatown Night Market
- 5- See Badu Gili light up the Opera House
- 6- Stay the Night at Cockatoo Island
- 7- Have Fun at Luna Park Sydney
- 8- Ghost Tour at Q Station
- 9- Wander Around Circular Quay
- 10- Go to an Outdoor Cinema
- 11- Watch a Game at the SCG
- 12- See a Performance at the Bangarra Dance Theatre
- 13- Roar and Snore at Taronga Zoo Sydney
- 14- Night Flight over Sydney
- 15- Cruise the Sydney Harbour
- 16- Go to a Bespoke Cocktail Bar
- 17- Visit Darling Harbour
- 18- Watch a Musical
- 19- Explore The Rocks
- 20- Experience Vivid Sydney
- 20 Things To Do In Sydney At Night
Sydney At Night
20 Things To Do In Sydney At Night
1- Climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge
Built-in 1923, the Sydney Harbour Bridge is one of Australia’s most iconic landmarks.
It spans the width of the Sydney Harbour and has fantastic views of the city and Sydney Opera House.
Bridge Climb Sydney offers adventurers the chance to climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge, and depending on the time of year, it’s possible to do this at night, where you’ll get 360-degree views of the city lights.
One of the most exciting times to do a night climb of the bridge is during the Sydney Vivid festival, as many of the large-scale light exhibits are visible from the top.
Bridge Climb Sydney is at 3 Cumberland St, The Rocks NSW.
2- Dinner and a Show at the Sydney Opera House
Another of Australia’s most iconic landmarks, the Sydney Opera House, has been operating since it opened in 1973.
It hosts around 40 different performing arts events every week, including musicals, operas, ballets, concerts, dance performances, and theatre shows.
You can book in to see a night-time show and pair that with dinner at the award-winning onsite restaurant, Bennelong.
Housed inside one of the Opera House’s sails, the restaurant is named in memory of a historic Indigenous Australian man, Bennelong, who was of the Wongal People.
The talented chefs create seasonal menus that are specifically designed to showcase the very best of Australian produce.
3- Go to the Sydney Observatory
The Sydney Observatory is over 150 years old and sits upon Miller’s Point, with some parts of the grounds having spectacular views of the Sydney skyline.
The Observatory offers a 90-minute night-time tour that includes looking through their high powered telescopes at the stars, Moon, a nebula and, depending on the conditions, other planets.
You’ll also get to visit the planetarium to hear more about outer space.
It’s a great chance to learn about the constellations of the Southern Hemisphere sky, including the Southern Cross, which features on the Australian flag and in the Australian national anthem.
The Sydney Observatory is at 1003 Upper Fort St, Millers Point NSW 2000.
4- Explore the Chinatown Night Market
Australia is a multicultural country, with many of its citizens being first- or second-generation immigrants.
This diverse mix of cultures has led to many significant events, restaurants and markets. For example, the Sydney Chinatown Night Market is a multicultural market popular with locals and tourists.
On Friday nights, the market hosts over 50 stalls that are either run by people with Asian heritage or that celebrate Asian culture.
The food stalls are grouped in “Little Eat Street” and sell a range of Asian dishes, including sushi, yum cha, takoyaki, teppanyaki and pho.
The Chinatown Night Market is every Friday (4 pm to 11 pm) at Dixon Street, Sydney.
5- See Badu Gili light up the Opera House
‘Badu gilli’ translates to ‘water light’ and are words from the language of the Gadigal people, the traditional custodians of the land at Bennelong Point, where the Sydney Opera House is.
Badu Gilli: Wonder Women is an art show created in collaboration with the Art Gallery of New South Wales, which celebrates the work of six female First Nations artists.
Their work and stories are projected up onto the sails of the Sydney Opera House every night at 9 pm, 9.30 pm and 10 pm.
It’s free to watch and an excellent way to end the night after having dinner at one of the area’s many restaurants.
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6- Stay the Night at Cockatoo Island
Cockatoo Island is upriver from the Sydney Harbour Bridge and is a fabulous UNESCO World Heritage site on the harbour to spend the night in Sydney.
European settlers initially used the island to house convicts who reoffended in the colonies before turning convict labour into a shipyard.
Today the island is open to tourists, with many historic sites being preserved.
While you can explore the island yourself, there are some exciting night tours, including the Dark Past Tour (all ages) and the Ghost Tour (18+).
If you want to stay overnight, you can choose to go for an inclusive glamping experience or stay in one of the available apartments, some of which date back to the early 1900s.
Cockatoo Island is a short trip by ferry from Circular Quay or Barangaroo.
7- Have Fun at Luna Park Sydney
Luna Park Sydney is a historic amusement park that sits on the banks of Lavender Bar near the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
It was originally built in 1935 when Coney Island-style theme parks grew popular.
Known for its iconic entryway, Luna Park is filled with thrilling rides, sideshow games and dining establishments.
It also has a Coney Island section dedicated to old-fashioned amusement park attractions.
Depending on the night, it can be open as late as 9 pm, making it a fantastic place to drop in if you’re looking for something fun to do that doesn’t need a booking.
Luna Park is at 1 Olympic Drive, Milsons Point NSW, 2061.
8- Ghost Tour at Q Station
From the early 1830s until 1984, any ships arriving into Sydney that were believed to have a contagious disease aboard were stopped at Manly, north of the Sydney CBD.
Everyone aboard was offloaded and placed in mandatory quarantine at the Q Station.
Today you can visit the Q Station and go on one of their night-time ghost tours, including the Ghostly Encounters tour and Paranormal Investigation tour.
Before your tour starts, you could have dinner at the Boilerhouse Kitchen & Bar or Views Restaurant, and if you’re up for a ghostly adventure, stay the night in one of the heritage style rooms.
Q Station is at 1 North Head Scenic Drive, Manly NSW.
9- Wander Around Circular Quay
Circular Quay is a bustling transportation hub between the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge.
You can stroll along the water’s edge, taking in views of these iconic landmarks, as well as Luna Park and the Sydney skyline.
For a fantastic view, book a table or have a drink at Cafe Sydney, Opera Bar or Hyde Hacienda.
If fine dining is more your preference, Circular Quay is home to Australia’s most celebrated restaurants, including Bennelong, Quay and Aria.
10- Go to an Outdoor Cinema
Summer in Sydney is characterised by hot days and balmy nights.
Rather than sitting inside an air-conditioned movie theatre, you can spend a night enjoying the latest flicks at an outdoor cinema.
There are lots of outdoor cinemas around the city to choose from.
At Moonlight Cinema in Centennial Park and Sunset Cinema on the North Sydney Oval, you can rent a bean bag or bring a chair or picnic blanket to sit on.
For a more premium experience, the Westpac Open Air Cinema overlooks the Sydney Harbour and has a restaurant and bar alongside the grandstand seats.
For something completely different, the Mov’in Boat cinema in Darling Harbour allows some viewers the chance to sit in a waterside cabana or bob in a rowboat while watching the film.
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11- Watch a Game at the SCG
If you’re a sporting fan, watch a night-time game at the Sydney Cricket Ground, usually just called the SCG.
It is the home ground for state and national sports teams, including the Australian Men’s Cricket Team and the Sydney Swans (AFL).
Throughout summer, the calendar is dominated by cricket games, including Test cricket, One Day International matches and Twenty20 cricket.
The focus is AFL, a uniquely Australian ball sport, and rugby in winter.
The Sydney Cricket Ground is at Driver Ave, Moore Park NSW 2021.
12- See a Performance at the Bangarra Dance Theatre
The leading First Nations dance company in the country, Bangarra, is based out of Sydney.
Founded in 1989, the company presents stories based on the culture of Australia’s first people, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, using a dynamic dance style that merges contemporary movement with traditional culture.
The talented dancers all have Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander heritage, which they are proud to share.
You’d need to check their program to see when they are performing in Sydney, as they also do shows in a range of venues domestically as well as internationally.
Bangarra Dance Theatre is at Wharf 4/5, 15 Hickson Rd, Dawes Point NSW 2000.
13- Roar and Snore at Taronga Zoo Sydney
Taronga Zoo Sydney is the most prominent zoo in the city, being home to over 4000 animals from more than 350 different species.
It has a strong conservation program, rehabilitates injured wildlife, and an active breed and release program.
If you want to experience the zoo at night, you can take advantage of their Roar and Snore offer.
After canapes and drinks overlooking the Sydney Harbour, your experience starts, including a night safari, getting up close with some of the animals and joining in on feeding time.
Dinner, breakfast and zoo entry for the next day are included, and you’ll spend the night sleeping in a safari-style tent, listening to the sounds of the animals.
Taronga Zoo is at Bradleys Head Rd, Mosman NSW 2088.
14- Night Flight over Sydney
If you love the sight of the city night lights, then why not see them from the air?
Leaving from Sydney Airport, you can go on a private 25-minute helicopter flight over Sydney.
The route gives you views of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Sydney Opera House, Manly and the Sydney CBD.
You’ll be able to talk to the pilot and your fellow passengers using a headset, and it’s possible to take a small camera aboard to capture the moment.
With Sydney Heli Tours, the tour includes a photo opportunity in front of their Eurocopter EC135 helicopter and complimentary refreshments before and after the flight.
15- Cruise the Sydney Harbour
As well as daytime cruises, many of the companies operating on the Sydney Harbour also run nighttime cruises.
Sydney Showboats offer a three-course gourmet dinner and live cabaret show, while the Magistic Dinner cruise has a delicious buffet menu, fully licensed bar and three large outdoor decks.
For a more premium experience, the Boutique Cruise offers an all-inclusive experience with a seasonal three-course gourmet menu and premium NSW wines.
For something different, you could try the Sydney Tall Ships cruise, the Vagabond Retro boat party, or the Vagabond Latino cruise.
16- Go to a Bespoke Cocktail Bar
Australia’s cocktail and bar scene has undergone a revolution in the last decade, with a range of small bars with bespoke menus and premium ingredients popping up around the country.
Some of the most well-known cocktail bars include Cantina Ok!, Maybe Sammy, PS40, Earl’s Juke Joint and Ramblin’ Rascal Tavern.
If you like whisky, you could try The Baxter Inn, for an impressive tiki bar, head to Jacoby’s, and if you’re a gin lover, you might appreciate the drinks at Four Pillars Gin Lab, Poor Toms Gin Hall or Archie Rose Distilling Co.
17- Visit Darling Harbour
The Darling Harbour is along the river and is a key shopping and entertainment precinct.
You can experiment with the Luminous, the world’s largest interactive light display, walk across the Pyrmont Bridge for great views of the harbour at night, or watch the Saturday night fireworks.
If you want to enjoy dinner and a drink, head to Helm Bar, Cafe Del Mar or Bungalow 8.
If that leads to a bigger night out, then a trip to The Loft, Cargo Bar, Home Bar Sydney or Pontoon might be the way to go.
18- Watch a Musical
If you enjoy watching the performing arts, you may want to spend a night at a musical.
Sydney has many different musical theatre venues that host international and domestic shows, including the Sydney Lyric, Capitol Theatre, Theatre Royal, Sydney Opera House and Hayes Theatre Co.
You can check online to see which shows are coming up soon and secure yourself some tickets.
Some of Australia’s most iconic musicals are Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, Muriel’s Wedding, The Boy from Oz, Bran Nue Dae and Strictly Ballroom.
19- Explore The Rocks
The Rocks is an atmospheric neighbourhood in Sydney and one of the city’s oldest.
It sits along the Sydney Harbour foreshore, with great views of the Sydney Opera House.
Learn more about the area’s history by joining the Rocks Free Walking tour at 6 pm or pay for a Rocks Ghost Tour, which usually starts at 7.45 pm.
The Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) opens until 9 pm on a Friday, so it’s a great chance to pair a trip to the museum with dinner at a fine dining establishment such as William Blue Dining, 6HEAD or Pony Dining The Rocks.
The area also has some great pubs and bars, including The Argyle, Fortune of War, The Glenmore Hotel, The Doss House and The Mercantile Hotel.
20- Experience Vivid Sydney
Vivid Sydney is an annual festival that celebrates light, music, and ideas.
It features outdoor light displays and projections, musical performances, and public speeches and debates with famous creative thinkers.
It goes for around three weeks, usually starting in late May and finishing in mid-June.
The light sculptures and projections that convert buildings and landmarks into pieces of art are a centrepiece of the festival, meaning it is ideally suited to people looking for something to do after dark.
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