Look, we still haven’t really got a hold of this whole saving thing everyone is yapping on about—you know, because online shopping and all. But, one of the greatest things you can do when you live in one of the most expensive cities in world is treat yourself (the pleasant way). The great news is that our city buzzes whether you’re spending money or not.
Yep, Sydney life hack—find the free things, do the free things. You’re welcome.
Here are 12 awesome free things to do in Sydney this May!
Our favourite light show, Vivid Sydney, returns this week, but this time it’s boasting more than a few colourful installations. Firstly, there’s an awesome light show showcasing Sydney’s evolving tides. As well as this, there’s another at the Royal Botanical Gardens which replicates a massive pixelated human face. It will also feature a series of talks about the creative industry, as well as a design festival at The Rocks. Get amongst!
When: Friday 26 May
Where: Various locations around Sydney
The National (New Australian Art)
Get a little culture at The National 2017: New Australian Art. This is a six-year initiative showcasing a totally unique series. The mixed-medium exhibit, which includes installations and performance, will feature a collection of works from emerging, mid-career and established artists drawn from around the country as well as Aussie artists practising overseas.
When: Until Thursday 18 June
Where: MCA, AGNSW, Carriageworks
The World Press Photo Exhibition 2017
Steer your eyes away from good ol’ Instagram and check out what the heavy-hitters of the photography world have been getting up to at The World Press Photo Exhibition. This is a world-renowned exhibition showcasing visual and digital journalism. Lucky for us, it’ll be exhibited right in the heart of Sydney’s State Library.
When: Starts Saturday 27 May
Where: State Library of NSW
Get amongst the Dirty Thunder comedy nights which are making Sydney that lil’ bit funnier, one show at a time! Whether you’re from the North or East, this comedy scene has something for you—we guarantee you’ll have tears of laughter streaming down your cheeks!
When: Monday and Wednesday Nights, 8.30pm
Where: Coogee Bay Hotel and Hemingway’s, Manly
Surfboard Design Workshops
We may very well be on our way to winter but that doesn’t mean our creativity is dwindling (like, EVER). If you’re feeling beachy and like you need to harness your inner designer, then hello, the Surfboard Design Workshop was definitely made for you. Here you’ll get schooled on how surfboards are designed and then have a turn at designing your own graphics. Book your spot here.
When: Wednesdays and Saturdays, 10am—4pm until Wednesday 31 May
Where: 157 Curlewis Street, Bondi
Sydney Writers Festival
Lucky for your empty pockets (and ours), the Sydney Writers Festival is not only just around the corner but so are its many free (we repeat: FREE) talks as well! You’ll find writers from a variety of backgrounds including novelists, screenwriters, musicians and leading intellectuals. But, if it’s the “free” element that caught your fancy (and we know it is), then you’ll want to hit up events such as the MCA Zine Fair, a festival featuring zines, small press publications and prints and comics or the conversational talk with TV presenter Tracey Spicer about her memoirs.
When: 22 – 28 of May
Where: Walsh Bay, Sydney Harbour
Since mermaiding has been on your bucket list since forever, now’s a seriously good time to check out those Mermaid Classes everyone’s raving about, before the cooler weather really hits and turns us all into hibernating-Netflix-watching souls. Book your free session here.
When: Dates on booking
Where: Various locations around Sydney including Coogee and Wylies Baths
Book Club At The White Rabbit
It’s going to cool off and become book weather in no time at all, so keep one page ahead of the pack and discuss all things books, memoirs, history, current affairs and even cooking at the White Rabbit book club. Plus, whether or not you’ve only skimmed the nominated book or didn’t even attempt to read it, you’re welcome to join (with no judgement whatsoever).
When: Second Sunday of every month
Where: The White Rabbit, Third Floor
Free DJ Workshop
If you’ve ever thought you have an ear for some pretty sick beats (let’s face it, we all have), then you probably have some untapped potential in mixing tunes. Perhaps being a DJ has never (officially) been on the cards for you but that doesn’t necessarily mean you wouldn’t be any good at it. In fact, after a few of these awesome workshops, we have no doubt you might actually consider it.
When: Every Monday and Tuesday until Monday the 8 May, 6 – 8pm
Where: Redfern Community Centre
Head On Photo Festival
Head On, the seriously epic photo exhibition showcases images without the artists’ names or pedigrees! And what does this mean? It means you’ll find an impressive range of works from artists at all different stages in their careers. Check out what’s on around Sydney here.
When: Friday 5 – Sunday 28 May
Where: Various location around Sydney
Monday Movies At Soda Factory
When your cash stash is looking a little too low to renew your Netflix subscription, hit up the Soda Factory. Every Monday night, these guys screen our favourite classics (we’re pretty sure that’s the cure to our Monday-itis). Order the ultimate movie feed—something along the lines of their southern crispy chicken and BBQ pork ribs—and then sit back and watch anything from 10 Things I Hate About You to Moulin Rouge.
Where: Soda Factory, Surry Hills
When: Every Monday night, 8pm
Brazilian Dance Class
Learn to shake it like the pros with free Forro (partner dancing) Brazilian dance classes at the Redfern Community Centre! These classes get majorly packed out and last for an hour so it’s an awesome substitute for your usual fitness regime.
When: Every Tuesday, 6pm – 8.30pm
Where: Redfern Community Centre
If you'd prefer to stay in, check this out.
Image credit: Jason Tong via Flick'r