So you’ve wrapped up another week in the office, you’ve sat through all the traffic jams that you can mentally handle, and all you really need is a fun time out on the town.

The problem is, Sydney doesn’t offer the same diversity of things to do as our cultural rival Melbourne, right?


It turns out that, despite culture wars, impossible to crack real estate and controversial firework displays, Sydney is actually still a pretty great place to get out in – especially if necking beers doesn’t sound like your way to spend a Friday night. Here are eight out-of-the-box ways you can create memories in the harbour-side town.

1) The Bamboozle Room’s Night Cap Dinner Show

Eva Devore in the Night cap, taken by Etienne Reynaud

Magic, circus tricks, comedy, singing and burlesque – what more could you ask for? The ‘Night Cap Dinner Show‘ series, presented by the Bamboozle Room on Friday, Saturday and some Sunday nights is a nostalgic vaudevillian adventure with a little something for everyone, with a ticket also getting you a pretty great feed from the kitchen. Check out all the details here and start planning.

2) Street to Stage Wednesdays at the Soda Factory

This is worth the trip to the venue alone. A tucked away 1950’s styled bar hidden behind a fake vending machine that serves milkshakes with Vodka shots and buckets of fried chicken is a pretty good deal – but add into that a weekly jam night featuring some of the best musicians around and you have one hell of a night.

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Held every Wednesday (the clue is in the name) from 7:30 pm, your favourite local artists will perform live with their own originals and jams for you to get down to. A must-see for music enthusiasts.

3) Skyline Drive-In cinema in Blacktown

Keeping with the nostalgic theme, the Blacktown drive-through might cost you a few $$ in terms of petrol, but once you arrive, it’s hard not to be won over by the experience of pulling up your car, dialling in the radio and watching a film on the big screen with the audio coming through your own car speakers. Plan your ultimate date night here.

4) Camden Valley hot air ballooning

Image result for camden valley air ballooning

Sure, heading up in a hot air balloon might be eerily reminiscent to an episode of The Bachelor or Married At First Sight, but you can’t really beat hanging hundreds of meters in the air in a basket at sunrise. Again, it’s a bit of a drive, but it’s worth it for an unforgettable experience. Check out prices here.

5) Imperial Hotel drag lunch

This Erskinville haunt has been a cultural icon for Sydney’s LGBTQA+ scene for over 30 years, and they show no signs of slowing down when it comes to throwing a great, queer party. The hotel has a diverse lineup of shows, but the real eye-catcher is the ‘drag me to lunch’ weekend events.

Running between 1-3 pm, the hotel offers a plant-based menu with cocktails and drag performances throughout the afternoon. Read up on it here.

6) Try your hand at open mic comedy

Heading back to the humorous side of thing’s, Sydney’s comedy scene is world-renowned, from huge theatre shows to a healthy and hilarious open mic scene around the city. If you fancy a laugh but want to keep things easy on the wallet, the Tudor Hotel in Redfern offers a great weekly open mic night on Thursdays, with performers ranging from first-timers to professionals testing out new material.

You can even get up on the mic and try your own material if you think you have what it takes to be the next Joe Rogan. It’s one of a multitude of gems found throughout the city. Check this definitive guide of open mic nights for more.

7) Wendy’s secret garden

Wendy's Garden Overview Bridge
Wendy’s Garden Overview Bridge

The secret is definitely out about this tucked-away oasis, but that certainly doesn’t make it any less magical. Head to Lavender Bay by the harbour, make a bee-line for the parklands and eventually you’ll stumble upon this tranquil space, with perfect views of the harbour, tucked away amongst native flora and fauna by the water. The perfect detox from the busyness of the city. Get the location for it here.

8) Stay the night in Sydney’s most haunted house

If you’re into the paranormal and like a slice of terror to spice up your evening there are lots of options going around town, but perhaps the most terrifying is Manly’s haunted Q Station. An old quarantine station that’s riddled with horrific tales of hospital deaths, you can actually opt to stay the night at this site – if you’re brave enough. Read up on the details for your night of terror at their website here.