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Published September 29th 2017
The Best Things in Life are Free
The light show begins at sunset (by jmoore990 - Sydney Opera House)
As our record dry spell continues, leave the umbrella at home as you enjoy sunny spring days with Sydney's free events, activities, music, workshops and fun. Revel in the best of Free Sydney with this list of October's free events and activities.
While Vivid is a celebration of light, the 2017 festival was also a hit for foodies, as the Artistry Festival debuted in Sydney. The delicious display of sweet and savoury returns to the Overseas Passenger Terminal in Circular Quay in October, with food trucks cooking juicy burgers and crispy fries and pop-up stalls serving doughnut ice-cream cones, honey butter chips, Nutella tacos, and the slightly disturbing Mr. P, the world's largest emoji, treating festival-goers to scoops of ice-cream from a toilet bowl. Visit the Artistry Festival website for details.
Balance Bike Clinic - until 6 October, 11am to 3pm
Once you've learnt to ride a bike, you'll never forget, but the initial attempts can be awkward, especially when the training wheels are removed. Help your 3 to 8-year-old son, daughter or relative discover the joy of riding a bicycle at these clinics at the Sydney Park Cycling Centre on 416 Sydney Park Rd, Alexandria. Instructors will lead interactive classes to turn 4 wheels into 2. Visit the Sydney Cycleways website for details.
Brain Training - 2, 16 October, 10am to 12.30pm
Marrickville Library is the perfect site for this session of the intellectual fitness club, as you decipher the tricky clues to classic cryptic crossword puzzles. With tips to translate the clues into plausible answers, you'll steadily build your vocabulary while mastering the subtle ways everyday language can sculpted to carry many meanings. Visit the Marrickville Library website for details.
1990s Long Weekend Party - Sunday 1 October, 6pm to 3am
Step back in time at The Soda Factory on 16 Wentworth Avenue, Surry Hills for a 90s party where all the best R&B, hip hop and pop chart toppers will be played loud and long into the night, with plenty of time to master your retro dance steps to the beat of Bobby Brown, R- Kelly, Usher and C&C Music Factory. Score a $100 prize for your best 90s outfit of denim and more denim. Visit the Soda Factory website to book.
Dangerous & Deadly: Sea Life - daily until 8 October, 9.30am to 6pm
As drones patrol our coastline for Jaws, see the sea's scariest predator from the safety of the Sydney Aquarium in Darling Harbour. Learn the fearsome facts about sharks during theatre presentations before grappling with gooey slime in the Coral Cave and peeking inside the What's In A Box? display. Visit the Sydney Aquarium website for details.
Xbox Academy - until 8 October, 10am to 1pm
Video games are now a multi-billion-dollar industry, with e-sport tournaments drawing huge crowds as the best game players earn prize money and sponsorships as their antics hosted on Youtube and live streaming services. Make a career from video games by joining Microsoft and the Academy of Interactive Entertainment at the Flagship Microsoft Store in Westfield Sydney. They'll teach the skills to design and code games for the Xbox and PC. When you graduate from the introductory workshop, pick up your swag of tools to continue creating your blockbuster game. Visit the Microsoft Events website for details.
Little Sydney Lives - until 8 October
In the northern section of Hyde Park, our youngest photographers, ages 3 - 11, are have been snapping Sydney from their youthful, cheeky, creative perspective. Their most imaginative images are on display in this outdoor exhibit. Visit the Art and About website for details.
Holding a Deep Breath for Eco-Anxiety - Mon - Thu 10am to 8pm, Fri 10am to 6pm, Sat 10am to 1pm
At the Japan Foundation, Level 4, Central Park, 28 Broadway, Chippendale, dynamic Japanese artists have collaborated with Aussie landscape painters to create an exhibition to respond to climate change. Feel the distress of evacuees in Final Home before easing your anxiety in the tearoom of empathy. Visit the Japan Foundation website for details.
Balancing on a bicycle? Priceless (by Sydney Cycleways)
Meditation Stations - during library opening hours
October is Mental Health Month and each branch of the City of Sydney Library network will provide guided meditation via iPads with headphones to allow visitors to calm the mind and body. The techniques will ease your anxiety, offering a few moments of peace amid the hectic pace, stress and activity of our modern lives. The minimum session time is only 5 minutes, but you can continue for as long as desired or borrow audiobooks to practise at home (or anywhere) Visit the City of Sydney Libraries website for details.
Badu Gili - Water Light - daily, sunset, 9pm
Missing the lights of Vivid? Enjoy a daily dose of art as the sun sets over the Opera House, with the story of Australia's ancient First Nations portrayed in a spectacular 7-minute light projection. Badu Gili, meaning water light in the language of the Gadigal People, begins at sunset, best enjoyed from atop the Monumental Steps of our Sydney Opera House. Visit the Sydney Opera House website for details.
Spring Walk in the Garden - Daily until 23 October, 7am to 6pm
Enjoy the delightful colours and scents of spring along Australia's oldest horticultural display, hosted in the Royal Botanic Garden. Since 1855, the floral walk has blossomed with a bright combination of Australian and European native flowers, including red poppies, magnolia and marigold and wisteria, to immerse visitors in this uniquely English spring garden in the heart of Sydney. Visit the Spring Walk website for details.
Diefall - Tuesdays, 7.30pm
Roll the dice without losing your shirt in a high stakes casino - choose a friendly boardgame in the Pendle Inn Hotel on 223 Wentworth Ave, Pendle Hill, enjoying a pub dinner and a few drinks as you rack up wins at Monopoly, Snakes and Ladders or Dungeons and Dragons. Visit the Diefall website for details.
Sydney's iconic skyline glows at night, especially during the Vivid Festival, but the light pollution from blaring lightbulbs masks the marvel of space. View the spectacle of comets, stars, nebulae and satellites with 23 award-winning photographs of the night sky at the Sydney Observatory. Visit the Sydney Observatory 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.
Mahjong - Tuesdays, 9.30am to 12.30pm
Once you've beaten Deep Blue, IBM's supercomputer, at chess, try a social game of strategy with a round of mahjong at Marrickville Library. The ancient Chinese board game, originating in the 17th century, is the most popular game in Japan. Be sure to take a break though - extended sessions have caused epileptic seizures as the stress and excitement overwhelms the player. Master the Western version, with joker tiles, at Marrickville, or try the Eastern version at Sydenham Library on Wednesdays at 10.30am. Visit the Marrickville Library 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.
Join the Slow Food Movement at Pannerong Reserve with over 25 stalls offering fresh, quality produce as you chat with the farmers bringing these healthy veg, fruit, nuts, honey and bread to the city. Visit the Rose Bay Farmers Market website 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.
Tai Chi - Wednesdays, 10.30am to 11.30am
Want to try a martial art without duelling with Jackie Chan? Avoid the black eyes and broken bones with Tai Chi, the gentlest form of martial arts, using flowing movements to improve balance, posture, flexibility, core stability and muscle strength. Originating from ancient Chinese philosophy, this safe exercise encourages mindfulness as you connect with nature, promoting a healthy mind and body. Feel the serenity at the Uniting Harris Community Centre, 97 Quarry St, Ultimo. Visit the Fusion Culture Group website 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.
Guitar Lessons - Mondays, 3pm to 4.30pm
In awe of guitarists as they play your favourite rock, country or acoustic hit songs? Learn the skills to join them, either on stage or busking on a street corner, with lessons at the Harry Jensen Centre on 17 Argyle St, Millers Point. You'll be guided by a tutor during an informal 90-minute session with your own guitar or one of the spares at the centre. Call 02 9244 3696 for more info.
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.
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.
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.
Spanish Press Club - Saturday 14, 28 October, 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.
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.
Green Gym - Mondays and Fridays, 10am to 4.30pm
Exercise doesn't need to involve torturous treadmill and weight-lifting sessions. Improve your fitness in one of Sydney's finest parks, Centennial Park, with a team of expert conservation volunteers as you learn the practical steps to maintain the varieties of native and exotic plants. Visit the Green Gym 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.
Looking for more free fun in Sydney? Check out part 2 here.
Have we missed your favourite free activity in October 2017? Please let us know with a comment.