To help you live your best year ever without breaking the bank, we’ve gone and found one hell of a line-up of totally free events.
On the cards this month, we've got free bubble tea, immersive exhibitions, a coffee tasting, a super-rare opportunity to delve into the costume closet of Opera Australia and, of course, our iconic Mardi Gras Parade. Trust us, no one will know you’re skint on the good stuff.
Here are all the best free things to do in Sydney this February.
Free Bubble Tea At Burwood Chinatown
Nothing says good fortune quite like free artisan bubble tea—so if you count yourself among Sydney's many (many) bubble tea-aholics, you'll want to drop into Burwood Chinatown across Chinese New Year. Here, the festivities will include dragon and lion dances, food trucks, ping pong games, live music, cocktail demos and, yep, literally thousands of free cups of bubble tea to slurp your way into the fortuitous Year of the Rat.
The free bubble tea will be available in set sessions on Friday 31 January and Friday 7 February, from the bubble tea pros at Chatime, Cha Ball, King Tea, Milk Flower, The Burwood Hotel or The Whale Tea.
And, you'll be able to match your bubble tea with snacks and treats from food trucks like Demochi Donut (Sydney's first mochi doughnut), Dirty Bird, Duo Duo Ice Cream and 2 Smokin Arabs. More details are here.
When: Saturday 25 January - Sunday 8 February
Where: Burwood Chinatown, Burwood
Go Behind The Scenes At The Opera
Opera Australia is offering a super-rare treat this February—with a one-off backstage, behind the scenes tour that's totally free. Hosted at Sydney's home of opera, the Sydney Opera House, you'll be able to try on opera costumes, watch a rehearsal, learn to sing an opera chorus, quiz an opera singer, a musician, a conductor and a director in an exclusive on-stage Q&A and watch elaborate stage make-up applied step-by-step by OA make-up artist. Bookings are essential, so head over here.
When: Saturday 23 February, 12pm - 4pm
Where: Joan Sutherland Theatre, Sydney Opera House
Rising Sun Workshop Coffee Tasting With Single O
Kick your weekend into high gear by sipping and slurping your way through Single O's latest coffee offerings. From 8am on Saturday morning at Rising Sun Workshop, you'll be able to sample batch brews and learn about each bean's origin, character, flavour and variety. These guys are Sydney's OG coffee pros, so bring your curliest coffee questions and get ready to get buzzed. More info is here.
When: Saturday 8 February, 8am - 10am
Where: Rising Sun Workshop, Newtown
Daniel Boyd: VIDEO WORKS
Stepping into this piece by Sydney-based Kadjala/Gangalu artist Daniel Boyd is like bathing in a constellation. Boyd’s VIDEO WORKS is an abstracted journey through time and a commentary on the impermanence of our existence. The three video installations, A Darker Shade of Dark #1-4 (2012), History is Made at Night (2013) and Yamani (2018) are projected onto the walls of the galleries and set to a score by Canyons. It's also a part of the Sydney Festival, and also 100 per cent free to see! Check it out here.
When: Every day (until Sunday 1 March)
Where: Carriageworks, Eveleigh
Chatswood Year Of The Rat Festival
Chatswood is pulling out all the stops to ring in the Year of the Rat with their annual Lunar New Year festival. Expect regular lion dances from January 25, as well as exhibitions and markets galore. Their Golden Market will be open every Thursday and Friday during the festival and will be selling celebratory delicacies, flowers and bamboo as well as playing host to lion dances and K-Pop performances. Where It Shines, a beautiful street photography exhibition by Grace Sui, will be on display at the Incinerator Art Space, and David Cubby’s Everyday Dignity collection of portraits will be on show at The Concourse. More info is here.
When: Every day (until Saturday 8 February)
Cosmic Boogie Party
Fulfilling all your house and disco needs, Cafe Lounge is the absolute mecca of late-night boogies. This beauty, which just so happens to be decked out in party flags and foil curtains, hosts a number of free blowouts each month with Tom Penny and Cosmo Jones handling all the anthems you could need to feed your soul from 4pm.
When: Saturday 1 February and Saturday 15 February
Where: Cafe Lounge Sydney, Surry Hills
Cabinet Of Conspiracy
The moon landing, the assassination of JFK and hell, even Megan and Harry throwing the ball back to the monarchy, what’s not to love about conspiracy theories? And the absolute best place to delve into them? Oxford Street’s Universal bar, of course. Your host every Saturday night is absolute know-all Etcetera Etcetera (also known as Oliver Levi-Malouf) who dissects every big question about the world well into the night.
When: Every Saturday, 10.30pm
Where: Universal, Oxford Street
Mardi Gras 2020
If you’re well and truly hitting the save train this February, one of the biggest events in Sydney worth hitting up has to be the iconic Mardi Gras Parade. Don your rainbows, sparkles and best walking shoes because you’re locked to witness 200 groups and floats sail down Oxford Street from 7.30pm with rainbows of good vibes and great tunes spilling into the night. For all the best vantage points and accessibility details, jump over here.
When: Saturday 29 February, 7pm - 10pm
Where: Oxford Street and Flinders Street, Darlinghurst
Need more ideas? These summer exhibitions are also free to see.
Image credit: Hanna Lassen, Daniel Boyd, Andy Cheetham