Sydney is brimming with exciting outdoor activities not only during the day. Come nightfall, the mesmerizing street and building lights reflect on the shimmering Sydney Harbour, brightening up the cityscape. Make every second count as you seek a memorable night with these nine diverse and unique activities in Sydney.
Up for a night out with friends or with a special someone? Well, you gotta know the best places to explore. Here are our top picks of the city’s bars and clubs.
1. Bar or club crawl on Oxford Street
Head to the liveliest part of Sydney, Oxford Street, also known as the main gay street in the city. Hosting the famous LGBT Mardi Gras Parade every year, Oxford Street also boasts a shopping strip, pulsing bars and nightclubs for shoppers and party-lovers alike.
Mingle with the locals at Ching-a-Lings, swing with some dope hip-hop music with amazing cocktails at Big Poppa’s, or have some world-class craft beers at the laid-back Bitter Phew. To boogie all night, head to the intimate Oxford Art Factory for the best live underground music. Or, go for some eye-opening drag performance at Arq, to which even Lady Gaga paid a visit.
2. Drink in the river view at by the harbour
Sydney abounds with rooftop bars thanks to the sunny and warm weather. What can beat the combination of a breathtaking harbour night view, killer cocktails, and cozy ambiance?
There are several rooftop bars dotted around the city, but pick those by the harbour for the incredible views as a bonus. Go to Cafe del Mar at Darling Harbour, where Spanish Isle of Ibiza clash with modern Sydney. It serves finger-licking Mediterranean cuisine, stunning water views and atmospheric music in the background. Bungalow 8, which is nearby Cafe de Mar, offers tropical flavored cocktails, wines or beers on tap. Late at night, you can dive into the music at the dance floor till sunrise.
If you’re up for some special dining experiences at night in Sydney, then consider these options to satisfy your taste buds.
3. Fine dining on a dinner cruise
Throw your worries miles away by enjoying the scenic sunset or night views on the waterway. Dine and drink while illuminated landmarks by the river slowly glide pass you up close right outside the boat’s huge glass windows. This is a classic experience to tick off your to-do box while visiting Sydney.
After you head onboard, you’ll be led to your reserved candle-lit table. Choose a main course (Australian beef tenderloin, oven roasted chicken, trout or ravioli) which will be served with exquisite appetizers and dessert. Oh, and your wine glass will never be left empty. How great is that?
4. Get lost in Chinatown’s night markets
Have a sneak peek of the multicultural side of Sydney as you stroll down the Friday night market in Chinatown, along Dixon Street. There’re tons of things to try, from the best yum cha restaurants in the city to lamb skewers and piping hot takoyaki, mouthwatering BBQ and Japanese pancakes.
Besides street food, scope out stalls for clothing, jewelry, arts and crafts designed by Asian students and artists. The market is open from 4pm to 11pm on Fridays.
5. Sydney Tower buffet
Catch a birds-eye revolving view of Sydney at the top of the Sydney Tower while you dig into a buffet spread. While the view from Sydney Tower is great during the day, at night, it becomes even more sensational with all the glittering city lights.
The buffet is not cheap, but you’ll get over 55 dishes—like sushi, seafood, pasta, nachos, and Australian specialties such as Kangaroo rump, to name a few. Find a special occasion to celebrate and take home a piece of Sydney’s night view with you.
For the cultured:
Instead of partying all night, here are some cultural activities you can be part of in the evenings.
6. NSW Art Gallery after hours
If you’re craving for arts but your day is jam-packed with visiting other attractions, come to NSW Art Gallery at night. The gallery is one of the largest public galleries in Australia. It is home to collections of Aboriginal art, European and Asian historical treasures, as well as contemporary art from local and international artists.
Every Wednesday, the closing time of the exhibitions are postponed until 10pm. Several talks, workshops and film screenings will take place in the evenings too.
7. Moonlight Cinema
When summer arrives for Sydney, join in and catch the biggest blockbusters or cult classic films underneath the stars at Moonlight Cinema. From now till Mar 31, a series of screenings will take place at Centennial Park. Prepare picnic snacks and drinks (or let the licenced bar and catering there take care of that), rent a bean bed, and simply enjoy the movie on the park meadow.
Love the sea and the stars? Sydney may be the biggest city in Australia, but you can still get close to nature, even at night.
8. Brave through the waves at Twilight Sailing
Even if you’re not an adept sailor, you can still pretend you are one with a fun bout of yacht racing. Be part of the crew for the exhilarating twilight yacht race on Sydney Harbour. The crew will instruct you on how you can help out. Or you can just chill and watch everything as it happens around you. After the race, you’ll be rewarded with beer or wine on the deck as you catch the sunset.
If competition is not your thing, opt for a slow-sailing Twilight Cruise. Taste organic wines and gourmet cheeses while you sail past the city under the beautiful twilight.
9. Go stargazing at the Sydney Observatory
Are you curious to learn more about the constellations of the southern sky? Longing to unlock a few mysteries of the universe? Join the night tour of the Sydney Observatory that’s guided by experienced astronomers. You’ll have a precious opportunity to use the telescope and observe the stars and other heavenly bodies closely. You’ll also get to visit the Planetarium and the dome to gain more knowledge about astronomy.
Before or after the tour, you can also stop at the Observatory Hill Park to overlook the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
A version of this article first appeared on KKday.