While Sydney may be one of the sightseeing gems of the Australian tourism industry, the weather plays a huge part in limiting the number of activities to take part in when visiting the city – as far as things to do in Sydney on a rainy day go, making plans to get up and out of your apartment during wet weather can sometimes feel like a chore.
While there are a huge number of attractions and activities on offer in Sydney that range from zoos, to harbour cruises, to hot air ballooning, rainfall can immediately put a dampening on any plans you have – and as Aussies, we are often spoiled by our sunshine and have a low tolerance for rainy days in general.
Thus we’ve put together a list of the top things on offer in Sydney for rainy weather sessions in response to frequent questions from our customers that will provide you with plenty of entertainment – while hopefully keeping both your spirits and your bodies – high and dry.
10. Visit the Powerhouse Museum
Location: 500 Harris Street, Ultimo
Explore the interactive side of arts and science with the range of exhibitions at the Powerhouse Museum. The museum focuses on challenging the creative and curious with their range of collections from art and fashion to architecture and engineering.
There are 12 permanent exhibitions on display as well as travelling exhibitions that are showcased for months at a time. Some of the permanent displays include Experimentations, which explores interesting aspects of our world, Nuclear Matters exploring nuclear science and power, and Transport, showcasing vehicles that have shaped the world we live in.
The museum focuses on challenging the creative and curious with their range of collections from art and fashion to architecture and engineering.
Travelling exhibitions have included Collette Dinnigan: Unlaced, an exclusive exhibit exploring the praised work of Collette Dinnigan, and The Art of the Brick: DC Comics, showcasing various DC superheroes made out of hundreds of thousands of LEGO pieces.
The rain can’t ruin your day when the Powerhouse Museum is open! Immerse yourself in the world of science as you explore and experiment various exhibitions on display.
Powerhouse Museum is open daily from 10am to 5pm, with Adult admission costing $15, Concessions $8 and children 16 years and under entering for free.
9. Read and sip at Sappho Books, Cafe & Wine Bar
Location: 51 Glebe Point Road, Glebe
Relax and unwind over a coffee, glass of wine and a good book at Sappho Books, Cafe and Wine Bar. One of Sydney’s favourite second-hand bookstores, you will get lost in the rows of shelves holding over 30,000 titles.
Sappho has a wide range of books spread over three floors including Art, Literature, Foreign Language and Modern Fiction to name a few. They also hold a lot of hard to find books that other bookstores might have forgotten about. If you have a pile of unwanted books or records sitting at home, Sappho will kindly take them off your hands.
One of Sydney’s favourite second-hand bookstores, you will get lost in the rows of shelves holding over 30,000 titles.
After you’ve browsed the bookshelves and picked out a few good reads, make your way through to the courtyard. By day the courtyard is buzzing with coffee lovers and the smell of fresh beans but by night, it transforms into a vibrant wine bar!
Sappho also has a list of events on the calendar including live music and poetry nights for your enjoyment as well as a music studio for those wanting an edgy rehearsal space.
8. Catch a film at Golden Age Cinebar
Location: Paramount House, 80 Commonwealth Street, Surry Hills
Nestled in the old Hollywood Quarter in Surry Hills, Golden Age has restored and reinvented the historic Paramount House. The Late Deco style building was built in 1940 and boasts history, class and culture.
Set in the former screening room of Paramount Pictures, Golden age has brought together the past, present and future to make a screening in this theatre a unique event. You can escape the rain and enter the world of art-deco cinema at Golden Age Cinebar.
Set in the former screening room of Paramount Pictures, Golden age has brought together the past, present and future to make a screening in this theatre a unique event.
The cinebar focuses on independent films showcasing creepies, cheapies, classics, cults as well as new releases while guests enjoy a nice drink from the built in bar. The bar is also open to the public before, during and after all films until late, with live entertainment featuring some of Australia’s most talented performers on the Golden Stage.
This is cinema experience like no other, movie buffs can experience the old age feel of the cinema and get a taste of the old life while enjoying a good film and a great drink.
7. Get creative at Work-Shop
Location: Cnr Cleveland & Everleigh Street, Redfern
Unleash your creative self at Work-Shop’s range of life skills and alternative art classes. There are 417 creatives teaching 1,037 classes in 345 programs, the range of classes have previously attracted more than 30,000 people.
Work-Shop collaborates with local artists and industry experts to bring you a range of classes to help you succeed in life, embrace your creativity or just learn a new skill. The qualified teachers are there to help you through these short courses and get the most out of the class.
Work-Shop collaborates with local artists and industry experts to bring you a range of classes to help you succeed in life, embrace your creativity or just learn a new skill.
Programs feature 3D printing, personal development, gardening, music and stencil art with a list of classes including Laughter Yoga, Terrariums, Introduction to Street Art, First Home Buyers and Knitting 101 to name a few.
So when the rain is ruining your day don’t waste it, head into Work-Shop and sign up for one of the many classes set to improve your skill set and widen your horizons. These are creative classes perfect for those curious minds wanting a little more.
Prices depend on the type of class, most supply all of the ingredients and items needed to complete the chosen course, letting you walk away with your new creation.
Check their website for individual class costs
6. Jump at Sky Zone
Location: 75 O’Riordan Street, Alexandria
What better way to spend a rainy day then by raising your pulse and jumping around on wall to wall trampolines?! Jump away from the rainy day outside with a day spent immersed in the fun Sky Zone world. There is a range of activities and programs to try at the Alexandria location, and soon to be Miranda location.
If you’re feeling a little competitive, challenge your friend to race you to the top of Sky Climb. Exclusive to the Alexandria Sky Zone, this new high pursuit climb is perfect for novice climbers to experience scalers. The on hand experts are there to guide you and help you climb up the wall, challenging yourself and your opponents.
Jump away from the rainy day outside with a day spent immersed in the fun Sky Zone world.
If a round of competitive dodgeball is your thing, sign up for the weekly knockout tournament. All you need is a team of five and a team name to put you in the running. The tournament runs every Wednesday and entry in the tournament gives you free jumping on the night. The winner of the championship wins a list of prizes, including $1000 cash and $500 worth of Sky Zone vouchers.
If the rain has killed your exercise vibe, fear not, because Sky Zone also offers Skyfit classes. The perfect way to work out indoors with the chance to burn up to 1000 calories in an hour. Your work out routine doesn’t need to be weather dependent with this class, offering a range of classes to suit all fitness types.
- General jumping from $16
- Sky Climb from $18
5. Visit Government House
Location: Royal Botanic Gardens/Macquarie Street, Sydney, NSW
While the neighbouring (and highly popular) Botanic Gardens might be a no-go during wet weather periods, Sydney’s Government House provides a cultural and architectural alternative that is located within walking distance.
A standing testament to the Gothic architectural style, the building is comprised of various rooms that feature an amazing collection of 19th and 20th century interior decorations and furnishings that showcase the high degree of craftsmanship the era is renowned for.
The building is comprised of various rooms that feature an amazing collection of 19th and 20th century interior decorations and furnishings that showcase the high degree of craftsmanship the era is renowned for.
Upstairs rooms have been used as lodgings for such worldwide dignitaries as Queen Elizabeth, the Australian Governor and various visiting members of foreign royal families and heads of state, tours are held regularly by highly knowledgable and educated guides. Walk the halls, admire the paintings, appreciate the work that went into its construction – and, best of all, it’s entirely free – but be sure to book ahead as places in the tours are limited and tend to fill up quickly.
4. iFLY Indoor Skydiving
Location: Building 207, 122 Lang Road, Moore Park, Sydney, NSW
Another one of the newest additions to the range of modern indoor attractions in Sydney, iFLY serves to fulfil all the dreams of flying for those who may never want to actually, you know, jump out of a perfectly good plane. Located in Penrith, Sydney’s branch of the now global iFLY utilises some truly powerful force of air to defy gravity and push participants up into the air – all within the safety of a glass wind tunnel.
Participants undergo a safety briefing and some basic instruction, then don a purpose-designed aerodynamic jumpsuit and helmet before entering the tunnel proper and feeling the awesome sensation of being suspended in mid-air. Once acquainted with the initial balance, you’ll soon get a sense of how to master the different free-fall methods that allow you to progress through the different “levels” of skill and experience.
iFLY serves to fulfill all the dreams of flying for those who may never want to actually, you know, jump out of a perfectly good plane.
It’s truly both fun and a sensation like no other, and in many ways serves as a great taste test for full-blown skydiving, as well as a thoroughly enjoyable experience in its own right. Those looking to take part in an iFLY session have a number of different package options available ranging all the way from shorter and cheaper introductory packages up to extended and advanced multi-session bundles that represent better overall value for those planning repeat visits.
A true tip of the cap must also be given to the highly skilled and helpful staff who are both friendly as well as highly skilled and helpful in allaying any nerves or fears for first-time participants. For those who are curious but not sure about committing to a session, visiting the iFLY complex serves as an entertaining way to pass some time on a rainy day in Sydney in itself, as you’ll be able to watch other participants putting technology to the test!
iFLY is open each day from 9am to 10pm.
3. Sydney Aquarium and SEA LIFE Manly
Location: Sydney Aquarium – 1 Wheat Road, Sydney, NSW; SEA LIFE Manly – W Esplanade, Manly, NSW
Just because water may be cascading down from above doesn’t mean you can’t also enjoy viewing it from underneath! These two world-class aquarium and oceanariums, Sydney Aquarium and Oceanworld Manly (now known as Manly SEA LIFE Sanctuary), offer completely under-cover attractions that make for an enjoyable day out for both adults and families alike.
Located within fairly close proximity of one another, with Sydney Aquarium being situated near Circular Quay and Oceanworld Manly further to the north alongside Manly Cove, both venues are easily accessible by public transport meaning that getting from A to B without getting saturated is a definite possibility.
Just because water may be cascading down from above doesn’t mean you can’t also enjoy viewing it from underneath!
Both venues contain thousands of tropical, cold, fresh, and saltwater fish, mammals and myriad other impressive creatures on display, with the ability to walk both through and under the various river and ocean settings, feeling and seeing the marine life swim beside and over you. A great day surrounded by water – without being covered in it!
- Adults $36
- Adults $22.50
2. The Australian Museum
Location: 6 College Street, Sydney, NSW
The first, originally established museum in Australia, Sydney’s Australian Museum was established back in 1827 and has built up a strong reputation over time in the fields of both natural history and indigenous studies.
The museum aims to cater towards children as much as adults and thus features numerous interactive elements that encourage participation rather than just static observation while aiming to educate along the way.
The museum aims to cater for children and adults and features numerous interactive elements that encourage participation.
The museum is segregated into different sections that showcase various exhibits, with several being free and others requiring an entry payment. With exhibits that range from galleries of dinosaurs to extinct native Australian animals, to stuffed specimens of animals and an extensive number of bird and mineral displays, the Australian Museum covers every essential aspect that one might expect from a world-class facility.
Well maintained, comprehensive, and interesting, the Australian Museum is a great way to while away time on a rainy day in Sydney.
- FREE for general access
- Temporary exhibits charge a fee
1. The Art Gallery of New South Wales
Location: 1 Art Gallery Rd, Sydney, NSW
One of the leading Australian museums of art, the Art Gallery of New South Wales in Sydney is a staple destination for those visiting who are looking for a taste of culture and acts as a great option for something to do on those rainy days.
Comprised of five different levels, each presenting a diverse range of art and artistic styles, the gallery features a permanent collection that includes pieces of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art, Colonial and 20th Century European-influenced Australian art, galleries featuring tributes to old European masters, as well as Asian Galleries and sections dedicated to contemporary works.
Temporary exhibitions also make regular appearances at the gallery, so be sure to check in advance for the latest exhibits currently on display.
Best of all, the gallery is open every day of the week from 10am to 5pm, with admission also being free, making it a highly flexible option for those days when the weather takes an unexpected turn for the worse and previous plans may need to be cancelled.
Various temporary exhibitions also make regular appearances at the gallery in addition to the permanent fixtures, so be sure to check in advance for the latest exhibits currently on display. Lastly, the Art Gallery of New South Wales also contains a restaurant within, saving you from having to head back outside to brave the elements when heading to grab lunch.
In addition, if you’re looking for all the top things to see and do in and around Sydney including activities, attractions and more, be sure to check out our main Experiences section to browse and book online!