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Published January 28th 2018
The Best Things in Life are Free
Chinese New Year Fireworks (by the City of Sydney)
In February, we return to work and school but while holidays end, the feast of free activities continues. Enjoy February's treats as Sydney celebrates the Chinese New Year with free events, activities, music, workshops and fun. Revel in the best of Free Sydney with this list of February's free events and activities.
To celebrate the Year of the Dog, especially significant for those born in 1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006 and 2018, a series of events will occur throughout Sydney, beginning with a fireworks display on Sydney Harbour at 8.15pm.
Giant lunar lanterns will light up the evening along the Harbour's boardwalk and community groups will perform traditional and Chinese song and dance in elegant costumes on the Bligh & Barney Reserve at 112 George St on the Rocks.
Experience the spiritual solace of evensong in St Andrew's Cathedral as the choir of boys and men sing psalms, collects and an anthem in a traditional church service in the glorious surrounds of Australia's oldest cathedral. Visit the St Andrew's Cathedral website for details.
Fitness Sessions - daily, 6am to 10pm
Sooth the symptoms of mental illness with a goal-orientated program of exercise at three of Sydney's best fitness and aquatic centres.
If you've been diagnosed with a mental health condition, ask for a referral from your GP to begin these free workout sessions in the pool and gymnasium, guided by a qualified personal trainer.
To get started, a 60-day complimentary membership is included for access to the Cook Phillip Park Aquatic and Fitness Centre, Ian Thorpe Aquatic Centre or Victoria Park Pool. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
Tonightly with Tom Ballard - Studio Audience - 1, 5, 6 February, 6.30pm
See yourself on iview after giggling through an episode of Tonightly at the ABC Studio on 700 Harris St, Ultimo. Tackle the hot-button pop culture issues during the recording with host Tom Ballard and his guests, Greta Lee-Jackson (SkitBox), Greg Larsen (Fancy Boy) and Bridie Connell (Whose Line Is It Anyway? Australia).
Tom's new year's resolution is to eat less cheese. Test his resolve by bringing a carton of Camembert. Visit the Eventbrite website to book.
Open Mic Comedy - Mondays, 8pm to 10pm
On the top floor Newtown Hotel on 174 King St, the Cactus Juice is flowing as 20 comedians compete for guffaws, performing without the safety net of pre-recorded television and movie studios or the 7-second delay of radio.
Snorting laughter is encouraged as these jokesters pour their hilarious hearts out, seeking smiles instead of sympathy.
If your own antics leave your friends in stitches, you can signup to join the posse of pranksters. Visit the Facebook page for details.
Marketing Workshop - 6, 20 February, 6pm to 8pm
Learn how to raise your profile and increase your profits in these fortnightly workshops focused on marketing best practice.
In the basement of 1 Buckingham St, Surry Hills, instructor-led sessions will cover the strategies for high return, low-cost campaigns, the steps to begin your 2018 marketing plan and opportunities to network with other local entrepreneurs.
The ukulele, a mini guitar, always brings smiles when the cheerful tunes are strummed by musicians in floral shirts. If your New Year's resolution is to learn to play a musical instrument, choose the easy-to-play ukulele at the Pyrmont Community Centre on the corner of John and Mount St. Musos of all skill levels are welcome at the classes in the Pyrmont Uke Club.
Philatelic Club - Tuesdays and Saturdays, 9am to 3.45pm
Everyone loves receiving mail and the postage stamp is part of the experience. Jumpstart your stamp collecting hobby after browsing the exhibits in the philatelic library at 17 Brisbane St, Surry Hills.
At the centre, numerous stamp collecting clubs meet to share their latest finds, from exotic foreign to historic Aussie stamps.
Sheng Zhen Gong Meditation - Fridays, 10am to 11.30am
Sheng Zhen Gong blends meditation to soothe the mind with gentle, graceful movements to relax the body.
People of all fitness and skill levels are welcome at these guided sessions at the Redfern Community Centre 29-53 Hugo St, to experience unconditional love and end a hectic week in serenity. Phone 02 9288 5713 for details.
City Farming - 3 February, 10am to 11.30am
Get your hands dirty while working in nature at our city's working farm on 52 Barwon Park Road, St Peters. During the 90-minute session, you'll tend the gardens, watering, weeding and propagating new plants, a cloning method for flowers.
Culture Under Attack - weekdays 10am to 7pm, weekends 11am to 4pm
The worst horrors of war are inflicted on people, but another target is our shared culture, as religion, art and literature are destroyed.
Recent attacks by ISIS, and the theft of artefacts during the Arab Spring in Egypt, have highlighted the risk to our shared heritage, the story of us.
At Customs House, the consequences of this loss, and the people protecting this heritage, are featured with exhibits from the conflicts in Europe during WWII, Timbuktu as the city's unique manuscripts were burned, and Palmyra, Syria, as ISIS destroyed religious monuments.
Colour Fields - Wednesdays to Sundays until 18 February, 4pm to 9pm
Sydney's Vivid festival brightens cool winters with artistic projections but the pop-up bar in the Museum of Contemporary Art at Circular Quay celebrates summer with a curtain of light.
Bathe in a kaleidoscope as you sip cool drinks, watching the harbour glow with the setting sun. Visit the MCA website for details.
Co-working Workshops - Mondays, 9am to 5pm
At the start of the working week, grow your start-up business with other entrepreneurs as you collaborate and network in the Juanita Nielsen Community Centre on 31 Nicholson St, Woolloomooloo.
Learn the intricacies of socially conscious business, marketing, sales, branding, SEO and web design. Visit the Juanita Nielsen Community Centre website for details.
Coffee Tasting - Saturdays until 24 February, 2pm to 3pm
What makes the perfect cup of coffee? Learn the secrets from professional coffee tasters at Roastville Coffee on 157 Victoria Rd, Marrickville.
You'll enhance your appreciation with the skills to evaluate the aroma and flavours of a variety of coffees. Book your ticket at Eventbrite.
Chinese Year of the Dog Lunar Lantern (by the City of Sydney)
Boot Camp - Mondays (except New Years Day), 6.30pm to 7.30pm
While Rocky downed raw eggs and ran upstairs to boost his fitness, you can achieve the same six-pack abs without the aftertaste in a boot camp in Sydney Park, on 404 Sydney Park Rd, Erskineville.
Guided by an instructor, you'll jump, crawl and break a sweat in an hour of boot camp exercise where smiles replace shouting. Visit the Run Jump Crawl website to book.
Sewing Sessions - Wednesdays, 2pm to 4pm
Stitch scarves, sweaters, socks or any other knitted item with this sewing group. Adjust your wardrobe with the onsite sewing machine, as you learn new sewing and craft skills to refashion fabrics into ab-fab outfits.
Join the sewing group at the Harry Jensen Centre, 17 Argyle Street, Millers Point. Phone 02 9244 3696 for details.
Badu Gili - Water Light - daily at sunset and 7pm
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.
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.
Rose Bay Farmers Market - Tuesdays, 8am to 2pm
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.
Dragon Boat Racing - Tuesdays and Thursdays, 6.15pm to 8pm, Saturdays, 8.45am 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 - Tuesdays, 10am to 11.45am
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 Ultimo Community Centre on 40 William Henry St. Visit the Ultimo Community Centre 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, 2pm to 3.30pm
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.
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 an invigorating workout, relax and chat with a tea or coffee at the café. Visit the Achilles Sydney website to book.
Green Gym - Mondays, 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.
Looking for more free fun in Sydney? Check out part 2 here.
Have we missed your favourite free activity in February 2018? Please let us know with a comment.