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The Best Things in Life are Free
Lunar Lanterns in Circular Quay (by City of Sydney)
Sydney's summer fun continues after the Australia Day celebrations throughout the city. Although February is the shortest month of the year, it's still full of free fun. Chinese New Year festivities continue, cricket and soccer/football still excite face-painted fans and art gallery and museum exhibitions host international treasures. If you've had your fill of lamb in January, burn the excess calories with February's free events and activities in Sydney.
Festival Village - Thursdays and Weekends, 10am to 11pm
Recharge on our nation's birthday with eats, beats and treats on the grass. Hyde Park is licensed for the event so you can enjoy a cool wine, beer or cocktail as you listen to cabaret in the Spiegeltent or bend reality in the house of mirrors. Visit the Festival Village website for details.
Yoga in the Park - Saturday and Sunday, 4 – 5 February at 11am
To celebrate the opening of this new green space in the city, enjoy a vinyasa yoga session in the sunlight at the Jessie Street Gardens (next to the Cafe Court and Macquarie Place in Circular Quay). All ages can join in, but bring a mat or towel and sunscreen. Arrive a few minutes early to sign-in and receive special discounts to the surrounding cafes and restaurants. Book your free yoga session here. Visit the Yoga in the Park site for more info.
EXIT - Tuesdays to Saturdays, 10am to 5pm
As millions of people migrate to new homes across the world, French artists have captured the data of their journeys, creating EXIT at the UNSW Galleries, Corner of Oxford Street and Greens Road, Paddington, a dramatic visual representation. You're invited to the Australian premiere to consider the social and economic reasons for these migrations in an immersive, 360-degree exhibition using data transformed into a world map, revolving in space. Visit the UNSW EXIT site for details.
Geotour in the Rocks - throughout February
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.
A Million Things That Make Your Head Spin - throughout February
In the Customs House Atrium, marvel at the cloud of colour, created by American Megan Geckler, famous for colourful art installations. Her latest work dazzles visitors as they ascend into a rainbow of ribbons, transforming the view of each level of our library at Circular Quay as diffused sunlight streams through historic windows. Visit the A Million Things That Make Your Head Spin site for more info.
A Fit Place for Women: NSW Parliament - daily 9am – 5pm
In our state's parliament house on 6 Macquarie St, the significant contribution of women serving NSW in politics is explored. The efforts of politicians, campaigners, protesters and voters are highlighted for the positive changes resulting from civic involvement. After the NSW Womanhood Suffrage League campaigned for women to vote in state elections, historic change continued, as reforms were driven by bold leaders, including Millicent Preston Stanley, the first female in the Legislative Assembly, Catherine Green, one of the first females in the Legislative Council, and Janice Crosio, NSW's first female cabinet minister. Most recently, our first female premier, Kristina Kenneally, has continued the story of Australia's oldest parliament. Visit the NSW Parliament website for exhibition details.
Courtyard Sessions at the Seymour (by Amber Rae Slade)
Chinese Lunar Lanterns - until Sunday 12 February
Hand painted and glittering, 12 giant lunar lanterns are on display throughout Circular Quay, visible by day but best seen from dusk when illumination creates a magical effect. Spot this year's sign of the zodiac, the Rooster, outside the Opera House, with the Tiger, Dragon, Monkey and Sheep, representing taste, warmth, intuition and sensitivity. Visit the Lunar Lanterns website for details.
Through a different lens: Cazneaux - until 5 February
At the Australian National Maritime Museum in Darling Harbour, a literal snapshot of Sydney is exhibited through the unique perspective of renowned photographer, Harold Cazneaux. 100 years ago, during the early decades of the 19th century and the first innovations in use of photography as an artform, Harold saw Sydney Harbour at its most enthralling, as light reflected over the cityscape, creating a particular atmosphere and tone, presented to the public for the first time. Visit the ANMM website for more info. Click here to book.
Living Colour Floral Display - throughout February
Across the Sydney CBD, from Martin Place, Hyde Park, Cathedral Square, the QVB, Town Hall and Castlereagh St to Kings Cross, Taylor Square and Ian Thorpe Aquatic Centre, over 100,000 plants replace the colourful Christmas lights with natural, fragrant blossoms. In floral towers, green walls, planter and hanging baskets, the steel, stone and glass of our working city is given life in the form of marigolds, petunias, echinacea and citrus plants, receiving summer's last bursts of warm as a new season beckons. Visit the City of Sydney website for locations.
Surfboard Design Workshop - fortnightly on Wednesdays and Saturdays, 10am to 4pm
At 157 Curlewis St, Bondi Beach, you can splash your surfboard with a part of your personality, creating digital design, either begun on paper, your smartphone or a during a vivid encounter in the ocean. Book at Disrupt Sports.
Moran Prize Exhibition - 1- 5 February 10am – 5pm
At the Juniper Hall on 250 Oxford St, view the latest finalists and winners in this national competition of portrait and contemporary photography. Megan Seres' winning portrait, Scarlett as a Colonial Girl, is powerful, particularly for the piercing blue eyes of the subject, cutting through the red, oranges and browns of her landscape with a haunted, almost terrified expression. The exhibition also showcases the talents of our next generation of photographers with student entrants. Visit the Moran Prizes site for more info.
Chinese New Year 2017 at Broadway Sydney - until Sunday 12 February
Celebrate the Year of the Rooster at Broadway Shopping Centre in Glebe with free fortune cookies and a live art installation. Visit the Broadway Sydney site for details.
Community Gardening - Thursdays 1pm - 3pm
At the Reg Murphy Community Centre 19 Greenknowe Avenue, Potts Point, get green thumbs as you help create create a delightful indoor community garden, making friends with the locals and relieving the stress of modern life. You'll learn about the best indoor flowers and plants and how to make them thrive with beautiful colours and fragrances.
Music Trivia - Tuesdays 7.30pm
At the The Royal Albert Hotel on 140 Commonwealth St, Surry Hills. Test your Molly Meldrumesque skills with a series of melodic brain teasers, hosted by Pat McKenzie and Jakson Gray. Settle in with a $10 burger for dinner.
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.
Drama Group - Thursdays, 7.30pm to 9pm
At the Pyrmont Community Centre on the corner of John and Mount Streets, join or watch the community theatre as the Pyrmont Players, grown to over 20 performers, practise their craft, supported by set designers, costume makers and stage managers. You can join the fun, either as an actor or in one of the supporting technical roles, creating a new theatre group in Sydney's diverse grassroots culture. Visit the Pyrmont Community Centre website for details.
Fan Dongwang: Icons of Identity - Mondays to Saturdays, 11pm to 5pm until 18 February 2017
Continuing the Chinese New Year themes, the Art Space on 541 Kent Street hosts Dragon, a serial artwork highlighting the beauty of Chinese identity but also the flow of time and influence of the past toward our present and the imagined future. Visit the 541 Art Space site for more info.
Courtyard Sessions - Fridays, 6pm to 9pm
Beneath the trees beside the Seymour Centre in Chippendale, enjoy free music at dusk as our next generation of musical talent, including Amber Rae Slade, Frank Sultana, Buoy and Top of the World perform rock, pop, electronic and jazz music. Beside the stage, a pop-up bar, barbecue and vintage games add to the relaxed atmosphere, ideal for families and pets are welcome. Visit Courtyard Sessions 2017 for the lineup.
Twilight Food Fair - each Friday evening
At Civic Park in North Sydney, unwind after the working week with a picnic, watching the sunset over the city while enjoying international flavours and tunes from the pop-up food stalls and live bands. Visit the Twilight Food Fair website for details.
Indoor Table Tennis - Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, 3pm to 4pm
At the Pyrmont Community Centre on the corner of John and Mount Streets, grab a paddle for a hit and a chat at one of 4 table tennis tables. The games are open for all ages but watch out if Forrest Gump arrives. He's a pro. Visit the Pyrmont Community Centre site for more info.
Movies at the Soda Factory - Mondays, 5pm, movies start at 8pm
On 16 Wentworth Ave, Surry Hills, sample 'classic' American cuisine – hotdogs, hamburgers, fries, thickshakes and popcorn while relaxing in comfy chairs to watch an eclectic mix of movies. On 6 February, watch Spring Breakers, with Hocus Pocus, Oasis: Supersonic and Howl's Moving Castle featuring on following weeks. Visit the Soda Factory site for the menu and program.
Street Food Markets - Saturday 4th, 18th February 4pm – 9pm
Outside the Community Centre on Addison Rd, Marrickville, sample exotic tastes from around the world, prepared using authentic recipes mastered by new migrants and refugees, bringing the cuisine of their former homelands to Australia. In the tradition of Asian street markets, there is also music and craft while books, food, politics and art are discussed in Hut 47. Visit the Addison Road Community Centre FB page for details.
Meditation in the Park - Saturday 18 February
In Camperdown Memorial Park, beside the church on 158 Australia St, join the pop-up session of relaxing meditation, led by a qualified practitioner. Visit the RIGPA Sydney site for more info.
What's in a Surname? - Tuesdays to Fridays, 10am to 6pm, Saturdays, 11am to 4pm until 10 February
Since the 1800s, it was common for Chinese migrants to change their surnames, to avoid social and bureaucratic difficulties. What can their original surnames tell us about their histories? Ken Leanfore has created a photographic essay exploring the stories of the subsequent generations of Chinese-Australians at the Gallery Klei in Albion Place. Visit Ken Leanfore's website for exhibition info.
Wartime Stories - until 5 February - 10am- 5pm
In Kendall Lane, The Rocks, the stories of local women, men and their children are recounted with photographs, diary extracts and personal mementos as they endured World War One. Visit the Wartime Stories website for details.
Lunar Lantern Photo Walk - Thursday 2 February 6.30pm
Bring your smartphone or tablet to the Lunar Lantern exhibition at Circular Quay for a guided walk, learning the secrets of the professionals to capture the captivating colours with your digital photographs. Visit the Apple Store website to book.
Sydney Morning Herald Lunar Markets - until Sunday 5 February
In Pyrmont Bay Park, celebrate the Year of the Rooster with a foodie-inspired festival. Sample Asian cuisine while sweet summer live music flows across the evening markets, food stalls and outdoor bars. Visit the Sydney Morning Herald Lunar Markets site for more info.
Cantonese Opera - Thursday 2 February from 12pm to 4pm
At 10 Dixon St, the Chinese Youth League will host a workshop teaching the skills of classical Chinese dance, song, theatre and martial arts. Visit the Cantonese Youth League website for details.
Chinese Watercolour Workshop - Saturday 4 February 1pm and 2.30pm
Create serene watercolour images, guided by Chinese artist Lan Jiang and inspired by the natural surroundings of the Chinese Garden of Friendship in Pier St. Visit the Darling Harbour site for more info.
Serbian Festival - Saturday 4 February 10am – 8pm
In Darling Harbour, discover the best elements of Serbian culture with in the largest family-friendly festival in the southern hemisphere with folk dancing, music and food, including cevapi (grilled meat), burek (pie with cheese and mushrooms) and Pita od Visanja (Serbian cherry pie). Visit the website for more information.
Bicycle Maintenance - Saturday 4 February 9am - 12pm
Regain your pedal power at the community centre on 220 Miller St, North Sydney as you repair tyre punctures and adjust the gears, brakes and seat height to cycle home successfully. Visit the website to book.
Which free event or activity are you most looking forward to in February 2017?