Yep, it definitely feels like spring in Sydney right now and that means only one thing—celebrating with good food and good vibes in the sunshine. That last one is mandatory. From open-air markets to Oktoberfest street parties, film festivals and an RnB party thrown in for good measure, there are plenty of fab activities to do in Sydney this weekend.
Diaries at the ready—let’s do this.
Rooftop Cinema @ Luna Park
Sure Netflix is great, but have you tried Luna Park’s open-air cinema? Complete with noise-cancelling wireless headphones to block out the sounds of the rides (and those people who talk through the entire movie) this rooftop cinema marks the beginning of spring in our books. This weekend’s flicks are Sully, Wonder Woman, and Dunkirk, as well as a throwback to horror classic The Shining. So grab a blanket and a big bucket of popcorn, and then get ready to watch some of your fave films under the stars.
When: Thursday 14 September - Sunday 17 September, 7pm
Where: Luna Park, Sydney
Italian Film Festival
Usually the closest we get to Italian lifestyle is saying “grazi” when we order our third Aperol Spritz on a Friday night or settling in for an afternoon siesta come Sunday. But now, Lavazza is bringing the Italiano to you with a month-long film festival featuring the best of Italian cinema. Now that’s amoré. See top picks from the Venice Film Festival like Indivisble about conjoined twin singers in Napoli and Let yourself go!, a comedic feel-good dolce vita. We recommend travelling to the cinemas by vespa in true Italian style.
When: Tuesday 12 September - Sunday 8 October
Where: Various locations (Chauvel Cinema, Palace Verona, Palace Norton Street)
Just For Laughs
Laughing so hard your stomach hurts technically counts as an ab workout, right? Of course it does, and Just For Laughs is one hell of a workout. Hosted by Tommy Little, this year’s line-up features a bunch of international and local comedians including Sammy J and his puppet Randy, skit-trio Aunty Donna, and ultimate funny lady Cal Wilson. Book here.
When: Thursday 14 September - Saturday 16 September, 7:15pm and 9:30pm
Where: Sydney Opera House
Cost: $50 for 2-shows
Busby’s Pop-Up Bar @ Botanical Gardens
We like to think of ourselves as professionals when it comes to staying just this side of classy drunk and we’ll happily take up that challenge this weekend if it involves gin cocktails and one of Sydney’s best views. Popping up smack bang in the middle of the Botanical Gardens, this gin bar is what dreams are made of. Sip on Bombay Sapphire botanical infused tipples and Tyrrell’s wine while dining on charcuterie boards and picnic boxes, because you so fancy.
When: Thursday 14 September - Sunday 17 September
Where: Victoria Lodge, The Royal Botanical Gardens
Sydney Taiwan Festival
Listen up North-siders, there’s one huge festival coming to your side of the bridge this weekend. This year’s Sydney Taiwan Festival will deliver all the deliciousness straight from Taiwan’s famous street food culture plus traditional dance performances, martial arts and life-changing pork gao bao buns (did we mention the food already?). Details here.
When: Saturday 16 September – Sunday 17 September
Where: Chatswood Mall
Milly Dent @ Saint Cloche
If you’re a sucker for stemless wine glasses or a matte black ceramic plate for your avo toast, chances are you’re going to looooove this one. Sydney ceramicist Milly Dent studied in a pottery village in Japan and she’s brought the art of handcrafted ceramic sculpture to Paddington. Plus us, her stuff is lush AF. From flat monochromatic vases to gold-streaked bowls, this stuff is contemporary art at its best. Head here to have a look for yourself.
When: Thursday 14 September – Sunday 17 September, 10am-5pm
Where: Saint Cloche, Paddington
Thursday 14 September
Old School RnB Thursdays @ Della Hyde
Good tunes and good times are a sure thing at Oxford Street’s old Hollywood glam bar, Della Hyde. This under-ground winner is proving that the only kind of music we need in our lives this Thursday (and every single Thursday) is old school RnB a la Destiny’s Child and TLC. Known for their v on trend millennial pink decor, Della Hyde is the ultimate backdrop to your standard ‘cheers’ boomerang. Plus they’ll be serving up $6 drinks so need we say more?
When: every Thursday, from 5pm
Where: Della Hyde, Darlinghurst
Cost: FREE entry
The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck
It’s truly a fine art to not give a single f*ck and it’s one that we’re always keen to master. This weekend Mark Manson is here to show you how and let us tell you that he’s the author of this far from average self-help book. With the help from The School of Life, he’ll be serving up pessimistic words of wisdom (believe us, it’s a thing). Think all the empowerment of a motivational speaker without any group dancing, walking on hot coals or chakra realignments—now we’re talking. His other sessions sold out, so get your tickets here asap.
When: Thursday 14 September, 7pm-8:30pm
Where: Enmore Theatre
Sounds From The Grounds
This one is for the foodies who know a thing or two about cutting shapes on the D-floor, so uhh, all of us obviously. Step into the fairy-light filled courtyard of The Gardens at The Grounds for their live music series, Sounds From The Grounds where they’ll be serving up all the classics from the BBQ and Soda Barn while treating you to the sweet sounds of Emma Joy, who’s launching her new album on the night. Sound good? We think so too.
When: Thursday 14 September, 7pm
Where: The Grounds of Alexandria
Friday 15 September
Murder At The Museum
Ever watched an episode of Criminal Minds and thought you’d totally solve the crime quicker than they did? Of course you have. Well, now is your time to shine because the Australian Museum is putting on a murder mystery called The Case of The Missing Piece. You’ll be searching for clues and cracking codes all night long which basically means you can finally put those FBI-level Instagram stalker skills to good use. You’re welcome.
When: Friday 15 September, 5:30pm-8:30pm
Where: Australian Museum
Saturday 16 September
Time to pull out your trusty lederhosen and dirndl because it’s that time of year again! Oktoberfest is here so it’s time to head to The Rocks bier tents to raise a stein and prost to another cracking weekend. There’s more to this day than just bier, so after all that yodeling and oom-pah-pah dancing, you’ll be happy to hear that schnittys, pretzels and pork knuckle are all on the menu for oktoberfeasting. Geddit?
When: Saturday 16 September, from 11am
Where: Bavarian Bier Cafe (various locations), Munich Brauhaus Sydney, The Bavarian (various locations)
Cult of Chucky Midnight Screening
Just when you thought you could sleep easy without any nightmares about that creepy killer doll, Chucky is back. The seventh film in the series, Cult of Chucky, will premiere at the Sydney Underground Film Festival for free this weekend and it’s time to get your creep on. And because a deranged murderous doll isn’t spooky enough, they’re showing it at midnight because darker = scarier. Fright night fans, this one’s for you.
When: Midnight, Saturday 17 September
Where: The Factory Theatre, Marrickville
Free Giveaways @ Chargrill Charlie’s Annandale
PSA: Chookas is (finally) coming to the inner west, which means it’s time to celebrate the best way we know how—with freebies. From 12pm – 1pm, Chargrill Charlie’s is giving away free chicken or beef burger and chips combos, or from 5pm – 6pm you can get the most iconic duo of half chicken and chips. It’s a one-day only deal though, so get there ASAP if you love free stuff as much as we do (obvs).
When: Saturday 16 September
Where: Chargrill Charlie’s, Annandale
Sunday 17 September
Blackmores Sydney Running Festival
Prepare to witness the fitness this weekend as Sydney’s iconic harbourside is turned into a running track for the Blackmores Sydney Running Festival. If running 42kms isn’t your idea of a good time, then still head down to be part of the support crew waiting at the finish line at the Opera House steps (BYO pom-poms). Cool down after that impressive run (or all that cheering) with live music, rehydration stations and (wait for it) complimentary massages. Go on, you’ve earned it (or have you?).
When: Sunday 17 September
Where: Circular Quay
Cambridge Spring Markets
Spring has sprung and we are so here for it. Especially if it means more markets with plenty of gourmet food and design stalls (hint: that’s absolutely what it means). With everything from high-end fashion from For Artists Only to pet-accessories from Arlo and Archie and even Black Pantry marshmallows, the Cambridge Spring Markets are a deliciously good excuse to dedicate an entire day to walking around the waterfront in the sunshine. And eating, don’t forget the eating.
When: Sunday 17 September, 10am-3pm
Where: Robertson Park, Watsons Bay
Spring Harvest Festival
Round up your foodie friends because spring time = picnic time. Local vendors are coming together at Australia’s oldest homestead for a day full of cooking demonstrations and workshops. Spring Harvest Festival is back and we’re hungry already. There will even be a Crop Swap so you can swap your own homegrown produce with other fruit and veg and keep those community vibes coming in strong all afternoon. Whether you’ve got a green thumb or a hungry tum, you can consider Sunday sorted.
When: Sunday 17 September, 10:30am-3:30pm
Where: Elizabeth Farm, Rosehill
Indie Spirits Tasting @ Hubert
Craft beers get a whole lot of love, but what about craft spirits? Get ready, because we’re about to throw out a whole lotta love because Restaurant Hubert is putting on a mini festival dedicated to local distilleries and we can’t wait. With over 150 independent spirit makers, you’ll recognise names from the more adventurous cocktail menus around Sydney (assuming you’ve tried them all, right?). Take a sip (or two) of Poor Toms gin, Whipper Snapper moonshine and if you’re feeling brave, Demoiselle Distillery absinthe. Panel discussions will be busting myths around artisanal alcohol and there’ll even be burgers. ‘Nuff said. Book here.
When: Sunday 17 September, 1pm-4pm
Where: Hubert, Sydney
Gin By The Beach At Hotel Steyne
If you know anything about us, then you’ll know that we prefer to start the weekend early, on a Thursday ideally. The guys over at Hotel Steyne agree, so they’ve got Bulldog Gin and tonic mixers every day, plus live entertainment each Thursday night. Our recommendation is that you head to the bar, then settle in to soak up the sea breeze and live tunes. Drink responsibly.
When: Thursdays 7 & 14 September
Where: Hotel Steyne
Just want to hit all of the markets? You need this.
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Della Hyde | Image credit: Nikki To