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The Best Things in Life are Free
Practise Pedal Power (by Sydney Cycleways)
As the days grow short in July, make the most of the free events, activities, music, workshops and fun to banish winter's chills. Grab a hot coffee and revel in the best of Free Sydney with this list of July's free events and activities.
Balance Bike Clinic - 11am to 3pm, Saturday 1 July
Children aged 3 - 8 will love this interactive class at the Sydney Park Cycling Centre, 410-416 Sydney Park Rd, Alexandria. Help your child find their pedal power in a safe, instructor-guided session. Visit the Sydney Cycleways website for details.
Newtown Market - Saturdays, 10am to 4pm
Meet your friends at a local market, browsing the stalls for collectible music and books, vintage clothes and unique treasures. Find beautiful second-hand stuff at bargain prices, hosted at and supporting the Newtown Neighbourhood Centre, 1 Bedford St, Newtown. Visit the Newtown Neighbourhood Centre website for details.
Live Jazz - Sundays, 3pm to 6pm
In the swanky bar of the Hotel Centennial, 88 Oxford St, Woollahra, enjoy the swinging sounds and vivacious vocals of smooth jazz and blues, led by songstress, Glynis Trail-Nash and joined by special guests throughout our coolest season. Visit the Hotel Centennial website for details.
Thinkers and Dreamers - Wednesdays to Fridays, 11am to 6pm, Saturdays, 11am to 5pm until 8 July
10 of our most exciting contemporary artists have created a series of 3D works to capture the sensations in their artistic studios, akin to treasure troves inside a Tardis. See their "wordless novels", the result of long hours pondering the future and reflecting on the past, at the Stanley Street Gallery, Darlinghurst. Visit the Stanley Street Gallery website for details.
Breathing Buildings - Mondays to Thursdays, 10am to 8pm, Fridays, 10am to 6pm, Saturdays, 10am to 1pm until 28 July
Artist and architect Ainslie Murray has created an exhibition of moving images and installations based on the works of renowned Japanese architect Kengo Kuma. Kuma is currently designing our new Civic Centre in Darling Harbour and in this exhibition, his sensitive use of natural materials and the poignant method of connecting the inner spaces of a building with the outer world are explored. The exhibition, at The Japan Foundation, Level 4, Central Park, 28 Broadway, Chippendale, also features the ethereal quality of light blossoming in Murray's art on powdered glass. Visit The Japan Foundation website for details.
All About Flowers - Every day, 10am to 4pm, until 30 July
Marvel at the glorious colours in a free floral display featuring the exotic Moth Orchids, Begonias, Hydrangeas and Garvineas. The indoor exhibition features Australia's largest green wall, stretching 50 metres long and 6 metres tall, crafted as a homage to the masterpieces of Impressionism in a living watercolour painting. Enter the natural wonder at The Calyx, The Royal Botanic Garden, Mrs Macquaries Road, Sydney. Visit the Royal Botanic Garden website for details.
National 2017: New Australian Art - 9am to 6pm until 16 July
Be captivated by the best of our latest contemporary art, curated from a selection of works from emerging, mid-career and established artists using mediums from painting, video, sculpture to installation, drawing and performance. Hosted at the Art Gallery of NSW, there are also exhibitions in the heart of other cultural precincts in Carriageworks and the Museum of Contemporary Art. Visit the National website for details.
Art at Home@735 Invitational - Thursdays and Weekends, 2pm to 5pm until 9 July
At the gallery in 735 Bourke St, Redfern, portraits, still life and landscapes by 30 artists, including Brett Whiteley, will be exhibited, with photography responding to their works from Andre Kertesz, Bill Henson and Max Dupain. Paintings have also been created to respond to significant photographs, including Jacques-Henri Lartigue's 40 Rue Cortambert, France, taken in 1903. Visit the Home@735 website for details.
Gaze at the colourful blossoms in Australia's largest living wall (by the Royal Botanic Garden)
Race to a Mixed Reality - Thur 6 July 6pm to 8pm
Prepare for Augmented and Virtual Realities (AR / VR). What will this new Mixed Reality, blending the immersive and real-world integrating technology with the physical reality, bring? Chat with experts at a forum at Vivant, L16, 55 Market St, Sydney, guest starring Saxon Dixon, an artist with Rockstar Games, Bachir El Khoury, an AR instructor, and Scott O'Brien, an AR integrator bringing the tech tools to businesses from McDonalds, Cirque Du Soleil and Sony. Visit the Eventbrite website to book.
Chinatown Markets - Fridays, 4pm to 11pm
Snake your way through lanterns and lights in Little Hay and Dixon Sts, Haymarket, browsing the quaint market stalls while sampling Asian dishes including yum cha, teppanyaki, takoyaki, sushi, Szechuan, pho, roti and bibimbap. Visit the Chinatown Markets website for details.
Bone Appetit Doggy Degustation - 9am - 4pm, 1, 2 July
Brunch with your four-legged friend at Centennial Park, with a specially designed dog-friendly menu and complimentary human-friendly meal. Phone 0450 133 482 for details.
Paddington Markets - Saturdays, 10am to 4pm
Open since 1973, the markets at 395 Oxford St, Paddington are packed with the fashion, accessories, soaps, candles and artwork created by local designers and craftspeople. Many of these designer items are unique to the Paddo Markets, a community-based initiative with an international food court, fresh bread and pastries, handmade chocolate and hot coffee. Visit the Paddington Markets website for details.
Sustainable Farmers Market - Saturdays, 8am to 1pm
Savor a weekend alfresco breakfast with fresh coffee while grabbing your groceries, including organic vegetables, fruit, grass-fed beef, fresh flowers, sourdough breads and sweet pastries, olive oil, honey, preserves and fermented foods. Support local farmers and sustainable practices while treating yourself to healthy produce. Visit the Sydney Sustainable Markets website for details.
Sheng Zhen Gong - Fridays, 10am to 11.30am until 7 July
Calm the mind, relax the body, remove energy blockages and open the heart with a graceful series of flowing physical moves. Find balance at the Redfern Community Centre, 29-53 Hugo St, Redfern. Phone 9288 5713 for details.
More Live Jazz - Sundays, 6pm to 9pm
Continue the party after the Hotel Centennial set with a session at Moya's on 101 Regent St, Redfern. Chill out with live jazz by The Squares. Visit the Moya's website for details.
Haggle for a Chinese treasure (by Chinatown Markets)
Heartfulness Meditation] - Sundays, 11am to 12pm
George from Seinfeld shouted Serenity Now to relax, but meditation is a surer path to peace. At the Ultimo Community Centre, 40 William Henry St, join an hour of meditation designed to integrate the practice into your daily life amid feelings of compassion, kindness, love and inner contentment. Visit the Heartfulness website for details.
Morning Running Group - Sundays, 8am to 10am
People with disabilities can still enjoy the benefits of exercise, either walking or running, with assistance from volunteer guides on these sessions at the steps of the Art Gallery of NSW. After invigorating workout, relax and chat with a tea or coffee at the café. Visit the Achilles Sydney website to book.
Line Dancing - Mondays, 2.45pm to 4pm
Learn the basic steps of line dancing, boot skooting and bopping to Achy Breaky Heart and other 'classic' country songs at the Pyrmont Community Centre on the crn John and Mount Sts. Visit the Pyrmont Community Centre website for details.
Adult Capoeira class - Thursdays, 6pm to 7.30pm
While Dancing with the Stars appeals to the oldies, and the thrills of Parkour can be bruising, Capoeira, the Afro-Brazilian practice with fascinating origins in the 16th century, blends dance, acrobatics and martial arts. The guided sessions at 103 Foveaux St, Surry Hills will foster the best aspects of martial arts - confidence, focus, discipline and respect, while enjoying the playful rhythmic dance and graceful acrobatics. Visit the Capoeira Topazio website for details.
Royal Botanic Garden Guided Walk - daily, 10.30am and 1pm on weekdays
Explore 30 hectares of lush green gardens in the heart of Sydney, discovering the historical and floral highlights of our Royal Botanic Garden with a learned guide on a 90-min tour. Join the tour at the info booth in the garden shop. Visit the Royal Botanic Garden website for details.
Geotour in the Rocks
The sport of orienteering, where participants use a physical map and compass to find hidden treasure via waypoints, has been revolutionised in the 21st century with geocaching. In the Rocks, you can use your smartphone's smarts, connecting with GPS (Global Positioning Satellites) to find hidden containers or 'caches'. If successful, you'll discover colourful interpretations of our history created by local contemporary artists. Download the Geocaching app, choose a geocache from The Rocks website and sign the logbook once you've succeeded. You can also find plenty more geocaches throughout NSW at the Geocaching website. Visit the Geotour in the Rocks website for details.
In the Ultimo Community Centre at 40 William Henry Street, grab a paddle for a hit and a chat at one of 6 table tennis tables. The games are open for all ages but watch out if Forrest Gump arrives. He's a pro. Visit the Ultimo Community Centre site for more info.
Tudor Comedy - Mondays and Thursdays, 7.30pm to 10.30pm
At the Tudor Hotel, 90 Pitt St, Redfern, follow the laughter (or the heckling) to find the show, hosting a mix of seasoned comedians and new talents eager to test their jokes, skits, gags, satire and dry wit. Stay for drinks, dinner and the show or take the mic to try your latest knock knock jokes on an unsuspecting audience. Visit the Tudor Comedy FB page for details.
Tai Chi - Thursdays, 10am to 11am
Since the 16th century, Tai Chi has been practised to find a gentle harmony in mind and body. Enjoy increased flexibility in body, peace in mind and serenity in spirit, guided by an experienced instructor in a session suitable for all physical levels. Join the session at the Cliff Noble Community Centre, cnr Renwick and Suttor Streets, Alexandria.
Live music - Fridays and Saturdays, 8pm till midnight, until 29 July
In the exclusive James Cook Room on level 5 of the Sofitel Sydney Wentworth at 61/101 Phillip St, Sydney, enjoy an enchanting evening of soulful music with singer songwriter Kylie Stephens, a popular contestant on The Voice, in the piano bar. Visit the Sofitel Sydney website for details.
Fusion Magic Club - Fridays, 2pm to 5pm
Before you master Harry Houdini's straitjacket escape act, learn the art of magic, illusion, storytelling and stagecraft with the multicultural Fusion Magic Club. Guided by Thor Blomfield, or should that be Thor Blomfield the Magnificent?, you'll have time between lessons to practise before experiencing the thrill of performing in front of an audience. The magic begins at the Cliff Noble Community Centre on the Corner of Renwick and Suttor Streets, Alexandria. Phone 02 8512 8000 for details.
Dragon Boat Racing - Tuesdays, 6.15pm to 8pm, Saturdays, 8.45am to 10am, Sundays, 8.45pm to 10am
Meet at the dock at 2 Bank St, Pyrmont for a paddle-powered adventure with the Sydney Tsunami Dragon Boat Club. At these complimentary sessions, you'll learn how to power majestic boats in a sport originating over 2,000 years ago in China to encourage life-giving rain. Visit the Sydney Tsunami website for details.
Double Bay Market - Thursdays, 10am to 2pm
Rain or shine at Guilfoyle Avenue, Double Bay, browse the stalls of gourmet food, organic produce, flowers, gifts and arts and crafts. Visit the Organic Market Foods website for details.
Sydney Speak Easy Group - 6pm - 8pm 25 July
During America's Prohibition Era, the speakeasy served alcohol as Eliot Ness battled Al Capone/Robert de Niro. In 21st century Sydney, the Speak Easy Group at 8/66 Goulburn St is a welcoming place for women to practise the skills to communicate confidently in any situation, whether a social chat, corporate meeting, speech or the ultimate presentation, a TED talk. Visit the Penguin Club website for details.
Karate - Tuesdays, 6.30pm
After you've mastered DIY with the tips for self-defence inspired home maintenance from the Karate Kid, learn more about karate in a free introduction session at the Redfern Dojo at 638 Elizabeth St. Suitable for women and men at any skill or fitness level, the lessons will deepen your knowledge of Japanese culture with principles to strengthen the body and the mind. Visit the Australian Kei Shin Kan Karate website for details.
Thinkers and Dreamers contemporary art (by Stanley Street Gallery)
Zumba classes - Tuesdays, 1pm to 2pm
Break a sweat with the coolest cardio in town at the Reg Murphy Community Centre, 19 Greenknowe Ave, Potts Point. Zumba is the 21st century phenomenon in fitness, an aerobic all-body-workout with dynamic choreographed dance. Each class will boost your balance, stamina, coordination, flexibility and strength. Phone 02 8374 6310 for details.
Joynton Park Market - Fridays and Saturdays, 9am to 3pm
At the dog friendly Joynton Park on Gadigal Ave, Zetland, browse the art and craft displays for prints, homemade cards, jewellery and scented candles after you enjoy brunch, organic tea or hot coffee from the food stalls. Visit the Joynton Park Market website for details.
Spanish Press Club - Saturdays, 12.45pm to 1.30pm
Tired of the same old news? Get a Spanish spin on the day's events with a session discussing the news and current affairs about Spain and in Spanish. Hosted at the Instituto Cervantes on Sussex Street, Sydney, you'll gain an insight into Spanish culture while learning a new language. Visit the Instituto Cervantes Sydney website for details.
Free Monday Night Movies - 8pm
At the Soda Factory on 16 Wentworth Avenue, Surry Hills, settle in with free popcorn, $5 snacks and $5 drinks until 7pm to see a classic film each Monday. The program begins on July 3 with the surprise superhero hit, Guardians of the Galaxy, continuing on July 10 with the coming-of-age high school classic, The Breakfast Club, July 17 with Four Weddings & a Funeral as Hugh Grant and Andie McDowell add romance to Rowan Atkinson's comedy cameo. Watch the watchers on July 24 with The Truman Show, starring Jim Carrey and Ed Harris. Finish with Lindsay Lohan on July 31 in Mean Girls. Visit the Soda Factory website for details.
Forró - Brazilian dance class - Tuesdays, 6pm to 8.30pm
If the lively dance moves during the opening ceremony of the Brazilian Olympic Games in 2016 captivated you, lace up your dance shoes at the Redfern Community Centre, 29-53 Hugo St. You'll glide across the floor with your favourite friend for Forró, the art of Brazilian dance for partners. The sessions are perfect for beginners, with a backdrop of energetic Brazilian beats. You can also dance outdoors on Saturday at Victoria Park, Camperdown, from 3pm to 5pm. Visit the Sydney Forró website for details.
Bicycle Polo - Wednesdays, 6.30pm to 9pm
Unless you're a British Royal or a Packer, it's difficult to gallop onto the polo field. Skip the stables and jump on a 2-wheeler for a round of bicycle polo. Guided by coaches during these co-ed sessions at the cnr Power Ave & Park Rd, Alexandria, you'll learn the rules and basic skills, with all equipment provided, including bike, mallet and balls, in a sport which develops your cycling, fitness and balance skills. You can also bring your own bike, with experts helping to tune it. Visit the Newbie Bike Polo Facebook page for details.
Be. Live the City. - Weekdays, 8am to 11pm, Saturdays, 10am to 11pm, Sundays, 10am to 5pm
In Customs House on 31 Alfred St, question your sense of reality in an audio visual exhibition merging Sydney's history via recorded stories and nostalgic photographs with our present time. As you delve into the past, you'll help create a future for Sydney which builds on these personal moments in time. Visit the Sydney Customs House website for details.
Kids Capoeira class - Wednesdays, 5.15pm to 6pm
While Dancing with the Stars appeals to the oldies, and acrobatic teens trying Parkour are nerve-racking for parents, Capoeira, the Afro-Brazilian practice with fascinating origins in the 16th century, blends dance, acrobatics and martial arts. The guided sessions at 103 Foveaux St, Surry Hills will foster the best aspects of martial arts - confidence, focus, discipline and respect, while enjoying the playful rhythmic dance and graceful acrobatics. Visit the Capoeira Topazio website for details.
Sewing Club - Wednesdays, 2pm to 4pm
The latest designer fashions modelled during exclusive fashion shows all begin with an imaginative creator, a needle and thread. Master the sewing skill to mend your own clothes or transform your forgotten fashions into chic outfits. During the casual sessions at the Harry Jensen Centre on 17 Argyle Street, Millers Point, you learn to sew seams, alter hems, operate a sewing machine, knit scarves for the needy or knit your own colourful creation. Call 02 9244 3696 for details.
Social gardening project - Wednesdays, 4pm to 7.30pm
At the Ultimo Community Centre on 40 William Henry St, discover the fresh, delicious results from your own sustainable vegetable and herb garden. Join the project with other locals as you select plants then reap the rewards while learning to prune, water, feed and fertilise your new crop. Call the Ultimo Community Centre on (02) 9298 3111 for details.
Shadows are Cast by Things and People - Tuesdays to Saturdays, 10am to 6pm, until 8 July
At the ACP Project Space Gallery on 72 Oxford St, Darlinghurst, Aussie, American and Russian photographic artists have created an immersive and thrilling exhibition inspired by true crime. Their work blends fiction and realism to offer poetic insights, political intrigue and social questions stretching beyond the typical procedural narrative. Visit the ACP website for details.
Have we missed your favourite free activity in July 2017? Please let us know with a comment.