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Published November 24th 2016
The Best Things in Life are Free
(by Darling Harbour)
Christmas in Sydney is a glorious time. Invigorating sunshine, school holidays, towering Christmas trees blazing with a rainbow of lights and sizzling barbecues are welcome treats to end the year. If the last-minute scramble for Christmas drinks, gifts and seafood has decimated your debit card, crushed your credit and pulverised your Paywave, you can still enjoy these free activities and events.
Until Christmas – David Jones Christmas windows at Elizabeth Street store are a Christmas institution, with many visitors travelling specially into the city to share the themed scenes with their children and reminisce fondly on previous displays.
Each Thursday afternoon Until 15 December – Check Mate at Ultimo Library. Roll the dice and play your favourite board games, including Scrabble, Monopoly, Operation, Boggle and Trivial Pursuit. Ideal for children over 6 as develop maths and literacy skills and inspire teamwork and problem solving while having fun without a digital device or batteries.
Weekdays 8am – 12am, Saturdays from 10am, Sundays from 11am – A Million Things to Make Your Head Spin will fill the atrium of our Customs House in Circular Quay with a hyper-coloured cloud of art, glowing as sunlight streams through the historic building's windows. Once entered the rainbow of ribbons, climb the stairs for unique views on every floor.
Christmas in Sydney is celebrated throughout December with a gigantic glowing tree in Martin Place, Santa's visit to the QVB, Cadbury Joy deliveries, a giant Santa built in the Rocks with crates, the boulevard of light in Pitt St Mall and carollers spreading musical joy throughout the CBD.
Snooker in Redfern – Practise snooker trick shots with your friends, snapping balls across the green velvet tables but keep watch for the Aussie pool sharks resembling Paul Newman and Tom Cruise as they relive Color of Money movie scenes. Grab a cue on weekdays until 3.30pm at Ron Williams Community Centre on 5-11 Kepos Street, Redfern.
Until 2 December – Day of the Dead at 413 King St, Newtown is a Mexican tradition, originated by the Aztecs to honour deceased family and friends. In 2016, a photographic exhibition of Aguascalientes in Mexico will be one of the highlights.
Each Friday evening except 23, 30 December – Twlight Food Fair at Civic Park in North Sydney. Unwind after the working week with a picnic in the park, watching the sunset over the city while enjoying international flavours and tunes from the pop-up food stalls and live bands.
(by NSW Art Gallery)
Manifesto at the Art Gallery of NSW. The German artist Julian Rosefeldt teams with Cate Blanchett to visually interpret our most provocative writing. The video exhibition probes the power of these texts and their desperation in our contemporary world.
Christmas at Darling Harbour. Celebrate the peace, love and joy of the season with Christmas carols serenading shoppers and diners in the precinct while spectacluar light shows shimmer across the harbour's waters, stretching to Pyrmont Bridge. End your evening beneath a colourful night sky above Cockle Bay for 12 nights of fireworks at 9pm from the 13th – 24th.
(by Q2 Dance)
Saturday 3rd December 9am – 11am - Free dance workshop for preschoolers at 105 Parramatta Rd, Camperdown. Children from 3 – 6 can try a range of dance styles, including hip-hop, ballet and jazz. Playfully moving across imaginary oceans, distant galaxies and noisy rainforests, they'll discover new styles of dance and be enchanted by musical rhythms.
(by Josh Bobenstone)
Until 4th December - In The Time of Hope. As the American President, Barack Obama, leaves the White House, Josh Bobenstone has created a photographic exhibition reflecting on his term and the change to Los Angeles society. Hosted at the Black Eye Gallery in Darlinghurst, his art captures the natural beauty of Californian landscapes, contrasted with the fading landmarks of its most famous cities.
Mondays at 3.00pm - Guitar for beginners at the Harry Jensen Centre on 17 Argyle St, Millers Point. Elvis, Kasey Chambers, B.B. King and Joan Jett have made the guitar the coolest instrument in any band. Tick the 'play guitar' entry on your bucket list with these small classes, guided by a tutor to help you play simple chords and strummed melodies. Bring your guitar if you've taken the plunge, otherwise grab one of their small supply of spares. Call 02 9244 3696 to book.
Monday Movies at The Soda Factory in Surry Hills. Catch your favourite classic movies while enjoying popular US 'cuisine', including hot dogs, burgers, fries and popcorn with milkshakes and sodas. Pulp Fiction plays on Dec 5, Love Actually on Dec 12 and Home Alone on Dec 19.
Mondays and Sundays 7.30pm - Free beginner dance class at 316 Marrickville Rd, Marrickville. Learn the waltz, samba and cha-cha to dominate the dance floor at upcoming Christmas and New Year parties. Book here.
Sunday 18th, Wednesday 28th, Friday 30th 11am - 12pm – Learn to Code at the Apple Store in Bondi Junction. Osmo, the iPad game, uses a mix of touch-screen functions and physical blocks to teach computer programming. In the game, you'll control a blobby white creature named Awbie as it shakes trees to snack on strawberries. As it eats the digital fruits, you'll develop problem solving and logic skills.