It’s a glorious long weekend, and yes, it’d be practically criminal not to make the most of it. The last proper hurrah of summer, this Australia Day weekend is all about partying it up in Sydney without lockout laws, celebrating the start of Chinese New Year and critiquing the countdown of the Hottest 100.
We’ve got plenty of parties, exhibitions and festivals for you to choose from—here are the 12 best events happening this weekend in Sydney.
Chin Chin's $39.50 weekend Yum Cha
Launching just in time for Chinese New Year and for all your weekend feasting is Chin Chin’s famous yum cha feast. Back by popular demand, you’ll now get to devour pink dumplings, prawn spring rolls, mud crab scallops with kaffir lime and fried squid with nahm jim dressing. On the side, you'll get to dip into stir-fried gai lan with oyster sauce and mushroom fried rice.
The best part? This huge feast comes in at under $40. Head here to book your spot.
When: All weekend
Where: Chin Chin, Surry Hills
Dodecalis Luminarium Inflated Labyrinth
This weekend is the last chance you’ll have to visit the artsy, adult jumping castle of your dreams. A part of this year’s Sydney Festival, Dodecalis Luminarium by the Architects of Air is an enormous inflatable labyrinth of winding paths, mazes and air-filled domes that are all radiantly lit through translucent fabric. The patterns and colours are inspired by natural forms, geometric solids and Islamic and Gothic architecture. This web of tunnels is awash in light, making this installation other-worldly and Instagrammable as hell. More details are here.
When: Every day (until Sunday 26 January)
Where: Tumbalong Park, Darling Harbour
Yulli's Brews Bonza Bonanza
If you're vibing some live music this weekend, Yulli's Brews is set to be hosting 15 bands across the long weekend. From their enormous garage-like brewery in Alexandria, you'll be treated to the sweet sounds of local acts from the Bonza Records crew like Tuppaware Party, Breizers, Joseph Liddy & The Skeleton Horse, The Van Demons, Rufflefeather, Los Monaros, Shelley's Murder Boys, Liquid Time and many more. Of course, being Yulli's, there'll also be vegan chow and their full suite of epic craft beers. And, being Aus Day, there'll also be a thong-tossing contest too. More info is here.
When: Friday 24 January - Monday 26 January
Where: Yulli's Brews, Alexandria
Cornelia Parker Exhibition
One of London’s ten most exhibited artists this millennium, Cornelia Parker, has firmly positioned herself as one of the greats, ranking alongside the likes of Andy Warhol, David Hockney and Lucian Freud. Parker is known for ambitiously scaled and site-responsive installations and her works are being exhibited at Sydney’s own MCA until February 16.
The retrospective exhibition features more than 40 artworks from across the artist’s incredible career, including large-scale installations, embroideries, works on paper, video works, and a selection of small-scale sculptures and objects. Her installation, War Room, is exemplary of her moving and unexpected work. Picture a canopy of red perforated paper, negatives leftover from the production of millions of paper poppies distributed worldwide for Remembrance Day. You have to see it for yourself! More information is here.
When: Every day (until Sunday16 February)
Where: Museum of Contemporary Art, The Rocks
$6 ESPRESSO MARTINIS at The Dock Yard
The Dock Yard by The Doss House is a pop-up paying tribute to The Rocks’ epic maritime heritage. Nestled within a hidden sandstone courtyard, you’re in for weathered ropes, iron lanterns, lobster cages and, of course, a killer cocktail collection. You’ll get to sip on staples such as old fashioned’s, Negronis and Aperol spritz, or Furphy and Guinness on tap, and tuck into a menu sporting delicious gourmet toasties, hefty ploughman’s boards, cheese and charcuterie. But the cherry on top is definitely the el-cheapo Espresso Martinis. You can grab these between 4pm - 6pm from Thursday through to Sunday for a very nice $6 a pop.
When: Every Thursday to Sunday, 4pm (until February 9)
Where: The Doss House, The Rocks
Thursday 23 January
Sweet Relief: A Bushfire Benefit Gig
With 100 per cent of ticket sales being donated to the NSW Rural Fire Service, WIRES, the Red Cross and the Fire Relief Fund for First Nations Communities, this is a gig you shouldn’t miss. An epic line-up of talent is donating their time to bring you an unforgettable night—we’re talking Cosmo’s Midnight, Winston Surfshirt, Young Franco, Basenji and heaps more local legends.
As well as the ticket sales, 100 per cent of the profits from the sale of Resch’s Draught, Jim Beam, and Young Henrys will be donated, along with a portion of the total bar sales. The artists will also be donating all profits from merch sold, and Moshtix will be chipping in the booking fees. So gather your mates and get ready to dance the night away in support of our beautiful home. Head here for more.
When: Thursday 23 January, 8pm – 1.30am
Where: Oxford Art Factory, Darlinghurst
Feast On Din Tai Fung’s Exclusive Red And Gold Dumplings
From today you’ll be able to celebrate Chinese New Year with Din Tai Fung’s indulgent and limited edition red and gold “Good Fortune Dumpling.” The red coloured jiaozi dumplings are filled with decadent wagyu beef and black truffle. The dumplings are then topped with a delicate dusting of gold leaf. You can head over here for more details.
When: Thursday 23 January - Sunday 9 February
Where: Various Din Tai Fung locations across Sydney
Friday 24 January
Kick off the long weekend with all the house party vibes at Goros. The night is set to be dedicated to delivering all the bangers from the 90s, 00s and 10s and good news, entry is absolutely free. Head here for all the info.
When: Friday 24 January
Where: Goros, Surry Hills
Saturday 25 January
January Long Weekend Hottest 100 beers Carpark Party
Grab the SPF and a couple of your loosest mates for an epic carpark party celebrating the hottest hits and the coolest beers of the previous year. Counting down Triple J’s Hottest 100 hits as well as the GABS top 100 beers of 2019, let’s just say all the records will be broken here. A paddling pool and barbeque will be in full effect too. Head here for more.
When: Saturday 25 January, 12pm - 5pm
Where: Petersham Public House Carpark, Petersham
Simple Things Aus Day Eve Party
We challenge you to find a free “backyard” party better than this. Simple Things are back with more open-air day parties at The Clovelly Hotel. This year to celebrate Australia Day Eve, they are bringing in an all-star lineup of artists on the deck. We’re talking local legend Robbie Lowe, S.A.S.H regular Jake Hough, and from the Crate Diggers, Jimmi Walker. With an extended opening time and the venue raising funds for the bushfires, this is set to be the best Simple Things party yet.
When: Saturday 25 January, from 3pm
Where: Clovelly Hotel, Clovelly
Sunday 26 January
Held on January 26 on the traditional lands of the Gadigal clan, Yabun Festival is the largest one-day gathering designed to recognise the importance of "Always Was, Always Will Be" and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures in Australia. Since 2001 this free event, featuring live music, a bustling market, cultural performances and more, has served as a celebration of indigenous culture on an otherwise contentious day. Plus, you'll want to make sure you get down to witness the pure magic that is Kobie Dee.
When: Sunday 26 January, 11am - 7pm
Where: Victoria Park, Camperdown
Smokin’ Sundays At Endeavor Tap Rooms
Enjoy the summer sun with a good old Sunday session at Endeavour Tap Rooms. Every Sunday this summer, guests can enjoy a paddle, a pint and a platter for $35pp. That’s a tasting paddle of four Endeavour beers of your choice, a pint of your favourite and one of their signature smoked meat platters. To add to the ambience, there will also be Aussie classics to sing along to played live by talented acoustic musicians.
When: Every Sunday, 12pm - 5pm
Where: Endeavour Tap Rooms, The Rocks
Have more time on your hands? Here are all the best new restaurant openings in Sydney.
Image credit: Steven Wooburn, Steven Woodburn, Kim Patrick, Supplied, Emiliano Vittoriosi, Yabun Festival (Kobie Dee)