Sydney is one of Australia’s most visited cities and for travellers planning a trip to this popular capital, finding the best things to do is the main focus, even at night.
So instead of spending your evenings sitting in your hotel room waiting to fall asleep, get out and explore all this buzzing city has to offer under the light of the night sky. While going out for a nice meal or strolling along the water is a good way to spend a low-key evening, there are so many cooler ways to spend your night.
Here we list our top 10 picks for things to do at night because the fun doesn’t stop in Sydney when the sun goes down.
Location: Various locations
If you’re not afraid of a good ghost story then these experiences should be at the top of your wishlist. Sydney has a rich paranormal history thanks to the abandoned buildings dotted around the city. But instead of pushing aside your fear to explore them on your own, you can head out with an experienced guide to learn about some of the city’s most haunted destinations while also looking out for paranormal activity.
Lantern Ghost Tours operates walking tours of some of Sydney’s most haunted places every Friday and Saturday. You’ll be taken on a journey to learn about the city’s unnerving past, showing you a side of Sydney that is often unheard of.
On the other hand, Q Station Tours take you on a tour of the iconic Quarantine Station, one of the most haunted sites in Australia. Only for the brave folk, and reserved only for adults, this tour features eerie stories, stories of paranormal activity on the premises, and if your timing is right, the chance to see some paranormal activity for yourself.
If you think you have the nerves of steel to embark on a ghost tour around Sydney then these two are the way to go.
Location: 100 Market St, Sydney
While this might not be at the top of a local’s list, it should be something everyone visiting or living in Sydney does at least once. From atop Sydney Tower in the heart of the CBD, you’ll be treated to some incredible views of the surrounding region. During the day the tower is filled with tourists admiring the beautiful views and cameras pointing every direction, however, at night is when you’ll want to go up.
Seeing the beautiful Sydney skyline and the neighbouring Sydney Harbour twinkling bright is a sight to behold. While many people will head down to the waterside districts at night, you’ll be one step ahead of the game and head up to take in the sites from a new height.
If simply walking around and taking in the views isn’t a fulfilling enough evening, you can book a table and enjoy a meal at the top of the building. There are two restaurants to choose from atop Sydney Tower; Sydney Tower Buffet and 360 Bar and Dining. The Buffet has a revolving floor and provides you with, you guessed it, all you can eat food on a revolving floor.
For a finer dining experience, 360 Bar and Dining is the place to go for an a la carte meal with an incredible view. Either way, both offer great alternatives to the usual dinner and drinks on the ground floor around the city.
But wait, there’s more! You can take your experience a step further by taking in the views from the same height but on the other side of the glass with the SkyWalk experience. You’ll be harnessed up and led on a journey on a platform encircling the circumference of the top of the tower for some of the most incredible, unhindered views of the surrounding Sydney region.
The best part is, the whole experience can be photographed by the professional photographer walking with you (purchased for an additional fee). SkyWalk operates daily with the last walk departing at 8 pm from October to April and 7 pm from May to September. The tower accepts visitors every day of the year and closes at 9:30 pm with the last entry time being 8:30 pm.
- Infants (0-3yrs): FREE
- Kids (4-15yrs): $17.00
- Adults: $26.50
- Family (2A + 2C): $85.00
If you think you have the nerves of steel to embark on a ghost tour around Sydney then these two are the way to go.
Location: 1 Olympic Dr, Milsons Point
If you’re looking for an evening filled with thrills and adventure then look no further than Luna Park. The giant smiling mouth of the Luna Park entrance is an icon of the city and is home to an unlimited amount of fun. With the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House as its neighbours, you’ll also be treated to some awesome views as your zipped around in a roller coaster.
Luna Park follows a different system to the theme parks located further north in the rival state of Queensland and charges visitors per ride as opposed to general admission. This means you can visit the park and just walk around free of charge soaking in the atmosphere, enjoying the roaming entertainers and grabbing a few sweets to enjoy along the way, or you can purchase an unlimited ride pass and go on all of the rides as many times as you like.
The park is home to a number of awesome thrill and scenic rides including the Devil’s Drop, Space Shuttle, Whirly Wheel, Hair Raiser, Ferris Wheel and Wild Mouse. However, if heights aren’t your thing you can line up for the Dodgem Cars, Mirror Maze or Magic Castle. There is something to suit all ages and thrill-levels at Luna Park and come night time, the park’s atmosphere intensifies, making it one of the most fun and exciting places to be!
The opening times vary throughout the year for the park with the two main differentials being during NSW school holidays and outside of NSW school holidays. If you’re planning to visit during the school term at night the rides operate until 10 pm on Fridays and Saturdays and 6 pm on Sundays, then during school holidays, they’re open until 6 pm Sunday to Thursday and 10pm/11pm Friday and Saturday.
- 130cm+ (Yellow): $48.00
- 106-129cm (Green): $38.00
- 85-105cm (Red): $22.00
7. Grab a bite to eat at Chinatown Night Markets
Location: Dixon St, Haymarket
If food is your weakness then you won’t want to look past the Chinatown Night Markets. Every Friday evening from 4 pm until 11 pm Little Hay Street is turned into a street food mecca with Asian street food vendors setting up shop and cooking up some of the most delicious Asian eats in town.
A popular marketplace with locals and a definite must for all travelling foodies, the Night Market, located in the Chinatown district of the city, sets up shop weekly. Make sure you visit with an empty stomach because once you smell the delicious food being cooked and see it being prepared and cooked in front of your eyes you’ll find yourself lining up and ordering before you know it.
In terms of what type of food you can find here, there’s a wide selection of traditional Asian and Asian-fusion street foods such as takoyaki, sushi, pho, yum cha and more, representing food found in the streets of Hanoi to Hong Kong.
It’s not all about food, however, you’ll also find a number of stalls selling goods such as clothing, shoes, accessories and souvenirs. So even if you’re visiting the markets after dinner, you’ll be drawn in by the various vendors.
Location: Departing Darling Harbour or Circular Quay
Going out to dinner is a popular choice for nighttime activities but why not take things up a notch by having dinner on board a boat as it cruises around Sydney Harbour. You can choose from a cruise aboard an 1800s tall ship with Sydney Harbour Tall Ships, a 6-course dinner on a luxurious vessel with Captain Cook Cruises, a deluxe buffet dinner cruise with Majistic Cruises or a cabaret show and dinner cruise with Sydney Showboats for an entertaining evening.
This is a great way to combine sightseeing, dinner and an enjoyable night out, most of the cruises depart from Darling Harbour or Circular Quay making it easy if you’re staying in the CBD or nearby suburbs. The different dining options are suited to a range of ages, so you’re sure to be able to find something to suit everyone in your travel group.
Cruises depart nightly throughout the week with exact departure times depending on the operator and experience as a whole. Be sure to arrive early for this evening experience so you don’t miss the boat!
5. Learn about (and taste test) craft beer
Location: 201 Clarence Street Sydney
Instead of going out to buy a few jugs of beer and drink the night away, why not combine your love of beer with your thirst to learn and take a beer class. The team at Redoak Restaurant, Bar & Brewery will teach you all you need to know to brew your own cold beer.
This 5-course beer-gustation course; Beer & Food 101, will teach you everything about tasting, pairing and serving beer. Throughout the lesson you’ll be introduced to real craft beer, taught how to judge a beer, taste-test many different beer styles, you’ll also learn to match different types of beer with food and learn about the history of beer and the ingredients for making a good beer.
Though technically this is an afternoon experience, starting at 4 pm, it goes for 150 minutes and you’ll be able to hang around the bar once you’ve finished tasting some of their other great creations.
Classes are very popular and tend to book out, so this is an experience you’ll want to have booked ahead of time (or if you’re lucky you might grab a last minute spot). These lessons take place on the first Saturday of every month with additional dates added sporadically during the month. If you can’t book into a class, never fear, you can still visit Redoak on Clarence Street to taste some of their delicious craft beer creations.
- $99 per person
4. Get cultured with NSW Art Gallery Art After Hours
Location: Art Gallery Rd, Sydney
The NSW Art Gallery is home to some impressive art collections and is one of the must-see attractions for any culture buff visiting or living in Sydney. However, the beautiful art works aren’t only to be admired during the day, thanks to the gallery’s Art After Hours events on Wednesdays, you can visit the gallery until 10 pm.
This mid-week event is a nice instalment to the weekly grind and is a great way to mix up your nightly activities.
In addition to the exhibits being open to the public, the Gallery’s café, restaurant, shop and member’s lounge are all open later into the evening as well, so you can grab a bite to eat or purchase a few souvenirs after you’ve browsed the collections on display.
The gallery houses a number of collections including Australia, Aboriginal, European, Asian and contemporary art and is set within the beautiful green parklands near Sydney Harbour. The prime location makes it easy to get to from the city and surrounding locations, however, the gallery does offer a complimentary shuttle departing every 15 minutes from 7 pm until closing taking visitors to surrounding car parks and all the way to Martin Place.
3. Go stargazing at Sydney Observatory
Location: 1003 Upper Fort St, Millers Point
At night you’re treated to an amazing astronomical display and one of the best ways to admire the twinkling night sky with a tour of Sydney Observatory. Located within the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences, the Observatory offers visitors the chance to take in views of the sky without bright distractions of the city nearby.
The oldest observatory in Sydney, you’ll be able to tour the grounds with an experienced guide to look through the telescopes to spot stars, moons and even neighbouring planets. If you’re visiting Sydney from the 15th of June to the 16th of September then you should definitely pencil a visit to the Observatory into your schedule because you’ll have the chance to see Saturn’s rings clear and up close, and even some of the planet’s 62 moons.
There are two tours conducted each night, the first is at 6:15 pm and is a family friendly 1.5-hour tour welcoming to all ages. This tour gives you access to the Planetarium, telescope viewing sessions (weather permitting) and a dome tour.
The second tour option is at 8:15 pm and runs for a total of 2-hours. This night tour includes all the same aspects but is later in the evening so you might have a better chance of spotting more stars and planets.
- Kids: From $16
- Concession: From $18
- Adult: From $20
- Family (2A + 2C or 1A + 3C): From $60
2. Explore Darling Harbour & Circular Quay
At night time the waterside precincts of Darling Harbour and Circular Quay come alive with diners and explorers, so make sure you make the effort to get down to one of the areas at night. If you’re chasing a nice meal overlooking the water there are plenty of options available on Darling Harbour that will satisfy your cravings and create an enjoyable and relaxing atmosphere for you to socialise your evening away.
If you’re heading towards Circular Quay why not drop in and have a drink at the popular Opera Bar next to the Opera House. There are numerous eateries and bars dotted around the city, so you won’t be hard-pressed to find a suitable establishment for your evening out. However, on weekends they can get quite busy so it’s suggested you do your research about where you want to go and book a table ahead of time to avoid disappointment.
If you’re not looking to eat out and simply just want to stroll along the waterfront, you’ll be treated to an enjoyable evening. As the lights reflect off the water and the moon shines brightly on the waters below, you’ll see some beautiful and relaxing scenes that are enjoyable enough for you to simply find a seat and soak up the beautiful atmosphere.
If you’re visiting in the summer months and are venturing over to or near Darling Harbour you’ll get to see an incredible fireworks display. Held every Saturday at 9 pm from the 31st of December through to the 26th of January, you can grab a seat or a spot on the bridge to watch the impressive fireworks display light up the area. This is completely free of charge and a great way to keep the kids entertained for an evening.
Location: 3 Cumberland St, The Rocks
This is one of the must-do activities for visitors to Sydney from around the country and abroad, and though it is quite expensive, the investment is well worth it once you’ve reached the top. The ultimate sightseeing and adventure combo, this is one of the few bridge climbs in the world that will allow you to climb to the top of an iconic bridge.
Towering high above Sydney, you’ll climb the 1,332 steps from the base of the bridge to the top before stopping to admire the incredible views. You can do the climb during the day or at sunrise but the sunset or twilight climbs trump them all, the reasoning behind this will be evident once you’ve reached the top.
Though it does require a reasonable level of fitness to climb up all of those steps, if you push yourself to get there you won’t be disappointed. During the climb and at the top you’ll be treated to sweeping views of the city and its shining lights. Look down at the Sydney Opera House and back towards the towering lights of the city, all of the views will leave you gobsmacked.
If you’re looking to climb this iconic bridge with the family, just be aware that the minimum age for climbers is 8 years and they must be over 1.2 metres in height for safety reasons.
In addition, if you’re looking for more things to do in Sydney at night time or during the day, be sure to check out our full catalogue for the latest hot deals, new experiences and best selling activities around the city.