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Published December 31st 2017
The Best Things in Life are Free
Openair opera (by Opera Australia)
After enjoying part 1 of the Free Sydney list, bring on more fun in Sydney with these free events and activities in January 2018.
City Street Festival - weekends in January, 11am to 4pm
In the Jessie Street Gardens, marvel at the circus acts, with jugglers, acrobats, magicians and musicians performing live. Play family games with the large chess, Jenga and Connect Four boards setup for bragging rights. Visit the Gateway Sydney Facebook page for details.
British Pop Concert - Thursday 4 January 2018 from 5pm to 1am
As the Barmy Army continues their Aussie invasion, join the festivities at the British pop and rock n' roll party in the Soda Factory at 16 Wentworth Ave, Surry Hills. Dance and singalong to the classics from David Bowie, The Beatles and the Rolling Stones, then go trainspotting with Oasis, Blur, Pulp, The Smiths and The Verve. Visit the Soda Factory website for details.
Opera in the Domain - 13 January, 8pm to 10.30pm
Experience opera in the open air, beneath the stars as operatic stars sing famous arias in the Domain on Art Gallery Rd. Pack a picnic and dress up for a night of high culture without the price tag. During this special evening to begin the 2018 opera season, sopranos, a tenor and a baritone will perform 'Nessun dorma' from Turandot, "The Flower Duet" from Lakmé and "The Toreador's Song" from Carmen, accompanied by the Opera Australia Orchestra. Visit the Opera Australia website for details.
Write your will - Tuesdays, 10am to 11am
If your headache after NYE partying makes you feel old, don't die wondering. Guided by a local solicitor at the Harry Jensen Centre, 17 Argyle St, Millers Point, write or update your will, ensuring your intentions for your estate distribution will be recorded in a legal document. If you're receiving a government pension or support payment, this service is free. Visit the Harry Jensen Centre website for details.
Outdoor Film Festival - 5 - 21 January
Escape into the cinema while lounging on the lush lawns of the Village Green North at Darling Quarter, 25 Harbour St, Sydney. The Little Darlings Night Owls Kids Film Festival features 17 nights of family-friendly entertainment, beginning with live pre-film entertainment as you setup your picnic in front of the main stage. The main show starts at 6.45pm with children's films including Moana, Finding Dory, The Lego Batman Movie and The BFG. On Friday, Saturday and Sunday, the show continues at 8.30pm for adults with recent blockbusters including Arrival, Lion and Wonder Woman. Visit the Night Owls website for details.
Return 4,000 Fish into Sydney Harbour - 5 - 28 January, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, 4pm to 9pm
In 1790, colonists set a new record, catching 4,000 fish in Sydney Harbour in a single day. As Sydney Harbour's water quality continues to improve after centuries as a working harbour, hundreds of fish species now thrive in the blue waters. Celebrate during the Sydney Festival at sunset at Nawi Cove in Barangaroo Reserve. Create your own ice sculpture with seawater and fish moulds, placing the icy fish in a traditional bark canoe. Watch the sculpture melt beside the fire in a symbolic ceremony. Visit the Four Thousand Fish website for details.
Ballet Class - 27 January, 9.30am to 12.30pm
If your child loves to dance, surprise them with a tutu and a ballet workshop in the Kensington Community Centre on 1 Day Lane. The activities begin with toddlers at 9.30am, 3-6 year-olds at 10.30am and 7-9 year-olds at 11.30am. Visit the Tutu Studios website for details.
Parliament House Open Day - 27 January, 9.30am to 12.30pm
As the 'bear pit' is emptied of politicians, we can wander the halls of our Parliament House on 6 Macquarie St, the oldest in Australia, in peace, browsing the library of legislation, artwork and the items preserved from key moments in our state's heritage. Visit the N.S.W. Parliament House website for details.
Badge Making Workshop - 8 - 25 January, weekdays, 11am to 1pm
In the Discovery Museum on Kendall Lane in the Rocks, children of all ages can use the old-fashioned button makers to turn their circular artwork into a shiny badge. During the school holidays, make a fashion statement with a piece of personalised fashion. Visit the The Rocks website for details.
Balance Bike Clinic - weekdays, 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.
Singing Classes - Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 4pm to 5pm
Whether you're on a journey to pop stardom or want to sing your favourite song, the after-school classes at Redfern Community Centre, 29-53 Hugo St are ideal for school students to find their voices as they are guided by an instructor. Phone 0405 027 165 for details.
Boulevard of Light - 1, 2 January, 8.30pm to 1am
When the sun goes down, Sydney's Pitt St Mall lights up to celebrate the season. As the boulevard of fig trees create a natural canopy in Hyde Park, Christmas trees float above Pitt St, connected to a shower of over 80,000 golden lights to create a glowing forest. Visit the City of Sydney Facebook for details.
Energising meditation (by the Redfern Community Centre)
Music Academy - Wednesdays, 6.30pm to 8.30pm
In the Redfern Community Centre, 29-53 Hugo St, learn how handle a Music Production Centre, with lessons to develop skills in finger drumming, sequencing, effects, sampling chops and song presentation. Bring your MPC to join in the melodic fun. Visit the Redfern Community Centre website for details.
Container - every day, 9.30am to 5pm
While Border Force raid cargo containers, seizing massive drug hauls, shipping containers have become a vital piece of our prosperity, allowing global trade and bringing a variety of consumer goods we didn't think we'd need.
Discover the secrets of the ubiquitous metal box at the Australian National Maritime Museum, as we celebrate 70 years since its first voyage. Visit the Container - The Box That Changed The World website for details.
National Portrait Prize - until 17 December, Thursdays and Sundays, 10am to 4pm
The Doug Moran National Portrait Prize is Australia's richest art prize. See all the entries at Juniper Hall, 250 Oxford St, Paddington, including the artwork by 2017 winner, Tim Storrier. Visit the Moran Arts website for details.
Twilight Food Fair - Fridays, 5.30pm to 9pm
Have a night off from the kitchen as you're drawn by the live music into Civic Park at 200 Miller St, North Sydney to sample your favourite international cuisine. Choose from Thai, Malaysian, South American, Chinese, German, Turkish, Italian, Japanese, Indian and Middle Eastern dishes, while children try the free activities during a warm spring evening. Visit the Twilight Food Fair website for details.
Live music - Fridays and Saturdays, 8pm till midnight
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.
Living Colour floral displays - daily
Nature's colours bloom in spring with over 1,000 hanging baskets, floral towers and planter boxes sprouting across Sydney streets, from Martin Place and Customs House to the QVB, Town Hall, Hyde Park and Greens Square. Don't miss the green wall at Kings Cross. Visit the City of Sydney website for details.
Art Play - Wednesdays (except school holidays), 10am to 12pm
Under 5s will love the interactive artwork inside the Room of Lucky Charms, an exhibition with games, books and colourful creations in the Museum of Contemporary Art. Visit the MCA 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.
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.
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.
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.
Tai Chi - Tuesdays, 6pm to 7.15pm
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 19 Greenknowe Ave, Elizabeth Bay. Call 0425 362 121 for details.
Cooking for kids (by the Tramsheds)
Free Monday Night Movies - Mondays, 5pm to 11.45pm
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 continues on January 8 with Howl's Moving Castle, UP on the 15th, Terminator 2 on the 22nd, and Coming To America on the 29th. Visit the Soda Factory 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.
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.
Tudor Comedy - 1 January, 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.
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.
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.
Zumba classes - Mondays (except New Year's Day), 10.30am to 11.15am, Fridays, 10am to 10.45am
Break a sweat with the coolest cardio in town at the Harry Jensen Centre, 17 Argyle St, Millers Point on Mondays at 10.30am and the Ultimo Community Centre on 40 William Henry St on Fridays at 10am. 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 9244 3696 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.
Looking for more free fun in Sydney? Check out part 1 here.
Is there another free activity or event you're looking forward to in January? Please let us know with a comment.