A rainy day doesn’t need to be boring!
Sydney is a beautiful, outdoor-loving city, at its twinkly-Harbour best when bathed in sunshine. Perhaps that is why it always comes as a shock when the wet weather rolls in and Sydneysiders are filled with gloom. But a rainy day does not have to mean moping about at home or binging on Netflix. There are a great deal of things to see, do and enjoy around town. We’ve compiled 15 of our favourites. So pull out the gumboots and brolly, and splash to it.
Eat some cheesy comestibles at The Stinking Bishops, Newtown
Named after a rather pungent-smelling Gloucestershire washed-rind cheese, Newtown cheesemonger and restaurant The Stinking Bishops boasts a menu of over 40 hand selected artisanal cheeses from all around the world. With prices starting at $22 for two cheeses, and cured meat boards starting at $22, as well as a fine collection of wine, beer and whisky, rainy days will quickly fall out of mind.
See a Play at the Belvoir Theatre, Surry Hills
To see the next Geoffrey Rush, Cate Blanchett and Richard Roxburgh in action, step out of the wet and into one of Australia’s most loved playhouses to experience innovative and varied theatre at it’s best. The Belvoir Theatre has been going strong for over 30 years, and has fostered the talents of many renowned actors, writers and directors. Everything from Shakepeare’s Hamlet to satirical musical Keating!, absurdist play Waiting for Godot to the modern adaptation of the 1884 Norwegian drama The Wild Duck has been performed within its walls. Tickets start at $40.
Feast on Yum Cha, various locations
Whether you’ve just been stood up by a Tinder date, received a bad customer rating on Uber, or simply wore all white in a rainstorm, there are very few problems that a good ol’yum cha session of dim sum can’t fix. And while it is hard to choose one restaurant for the top spot, Marigold, Golden Unicorn Chinese Restaurant and Kam Fook are much-loved.
Throw an Axe at Maniax, St Peters
Life maybe too short to hold a grudge, but it sure is easy to begrudge a never ending downpour. So if the precipitation is getting you down and out, ‘bury the hatchet’ by grabbing your best mates and heading down Maniax where you can channel that anger into some axe throwing, target practice. To book, there is a minimum group size of 8 people with a cost of $55 per person. This entails a coaching session by an axe throwing pro, followed by practice and then a double elimination battle.
Learn to Cook at Salt Meats Cheese, Bondi Junction
There is something uniquely comforting about tucking into a large bowl of hot, fresh pasta. All troubles are at bay, including the flooded basement and soaked clothes on the line. A rainy day then is a great time to up your Mediterranean cuisine-game. Gourmet Italian providore, Salt Meats Cheese conducts cooking classes through out the year, and teach the art of everything from pasta and ravioli, mozzarella and pizza making. Classes start at $69.
Visit an Underground Bar, various locations
Subterranean and water tight, many of the jewels of the Sydney small bar crown are perfect for getting down and dry. For cocktails with charm, it’s hard to pass up CBD darling Grasshopper or the opulent hotel lobby-inspired Della Hyde. For something a little bit stiffer, the award-winning Baxter Inn ever impresses with its prohibition-era vibes and collection of 500 whiskies, as does the Caribbean-themed, rum bar Lobo Plantation, and whisky and cognac cavern, Ramblin’ Rascal Tavern.
Immerse Yourself in Art at White Rabbit, Chippendale
Just a stone’s throw from Central Station is culture juggernaut, White Rabbit. This boutique art gallery celebrates the best of contemporary Chinese art and does so through by showcasing two new exhibitions a year. Admission is free, and since opening in 2009, White Rabbit has gained a reputation for displaying bold, stimulating and experimental art. This should be incentive enough to seek shelter from the rain under its heavily-cultured roof, however a further reason is its ground-floor Tea House that serves a wide range of Chinese and Taiwanese teas as well as handmade dumplings and scones.
Watch a Movie at Golden Age Cinema and Bar, Surry Hills
Cosy up in front of the silver screen and in retro-Hollywood style at the Golden Age Cinema and Bar. This heritage-listed venue was built in the 1940s as the screening room for Paramount Pictures building. Those days have since long gone, and three years ago, this glam, old dame was refurbished and given a new lease of life. This gem of an independent cinema prides itself in its vibrant and varied program. So when the next storm billows in, expect ‘classics, cults, creepies, cheapies and the best new film releases’. Tickets are $20.
Learn a New Skill at Work-Shop, various locations
Don’t let a spot of rain to stop you from having a bit of fun and learning a new talent. The creative collective Work-Shop has an astonishing program of short courses held all across Sydney that aim to broaden horizons and teach participants new life skills. So whether your curiosity is music or welding, mindfulness or fine line illustration, doughnut making or mushroom foraging, get learning and unleashing.
Reach New Heights at Sydney Indoor Climbing Gym, St Peters, Villawood
Australia’s biggest climbing centres, the Sydney Indoor Climbing Gyms at St Peters and Villawood are a great opportunity to get hot and bothered with a workout. Following a $5 once off joining fee and a casual entry fee of $27, that includes a harness, you’re able to get involved in the 350 roped routes, 120 leadable, 160 top ropes, as well as the 200 metre square bouldering wall. Scaling walls of an average height of 14 metres, many are taller, you’ll quickly forget about the rain outside. Maybe just don’t look down!
Enjoy Dinner, Drinks and the View at Hotel Palisade, Millers Point
Scale a different set of heights at Hotel Palisade. This gorgeous, historic venue was built in 1915, and once had the auspicious title of being the tallest building in Sydney. Perched above Barangaroo, the uninhibited, 360 degree view from the cocktail lounge and rooftop bar Henry Deane is the perfect vantage point from which to watch the weather gods assemble over our beautiful city. So kick back on the elegant pink couches with a beverage or two, and if all this rain watching is getting you hungry, grab a few bite-sized nibbles or head downstairs to the ground-floor pub for a heartier feed. If the weather doesn’t clear up, it’ll be more than tempting to stay the night in one of the eight boutique hotel rooms.
Listen to live blues or jazz at Downtown Bar, Darlinghurst
You’ll be as snug as bug in a heritage farmhouse when you visit the sandstone-enclaved Downtown Bar. Truly the cosiest bar in Sydney, it is the ideal venue in which to stay warm and dry while waiting out an unwelcome cloudburst, particularly as there is live jazz and blues every Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday nights. To find it, simply head past the hanging plants, twin fireplaces and Scandi-inspired tables of Darlinghurst restaurant The Commons and head down the stairs.
Treat yo self with a day spa, various locations
The weather may be running havoc outside but that doesn’t mean you can’t disrobe in the name of relaxation, rejuvenation and some long-overdue pampering. Treatments, weird and wonderful include deep tissue and hot rock massage, hydro-microdermabrasion and facial peels, body scrubs and wraps, manicures and pedicures, waxing and spray tans, you’ll be asking how’s the serenity in no time. SpaQ, CHI, the Spa and Endota Spa are ripe for the indulgence.
Be Enchanted by High Tea at Vaucluse House Tearooms
Surrounding yourself with history and high tea are a surefire way to enjoy a showery day. The art-deco tea rooms of picturesque Vaucluse House take in the view of 10 hectares of gardens and grounds above Sydney Harbour. High tea starts at $55 per person and is an elegantly epic affair. Expect freshly baked scones with clotted cream and berry preserve, charming chicken sandwiches, pumpkin and spinach tarts with smoked creme fraiche, and elderflower cheesecake filled doughnuts. The tea selection reflects the Chamellia Organic Tea range, and for something a little stronger to wash those rainy problems away, the Sparkling High Tea includes with a glass of Australian bubbly.
Snuggle up at the Lord Dudley, eat pies and play boardgames
Sometimes, the best thing about being British is being able to snuggle in front of a roaring fireplace when the weather turns foul. Fortunately, the Lord Dudley in Woollahra allows you to channel your inner Brit without the twenty-nine hour commute. The Lord Dud has five rooms, each a little cosier than the last, not to mention an outdoor and undercover area where locals and their faithful puppies chew the fat and bemoan the weather. The plates are bigger than your face and heaped twice as high with pub favourites like juicy steak, slow-cooked lamb, salmon with prawns and the inimitable pork pie. The staff are incredibly tolerant of noisy groups, so grab your buddies, steal that coveted booth in front of the fire and watch the game on the big screen.
Feature image: imoviequotes.com
Bonus ideas…just in case you need a few more
Get bowled over at ten pin bowling, various locations
Grab a few mates and release your inner Lebowski next time thunder starts to strike. The ancient game of ten pin bowling can be played all over the city, but you can’t go wrong with Strike Bowling, Manhattan Superbowl or AMF Bowling.
Surround yourself with water without getting we at the Sea Life Sydney Aquarium
Believe it or not, you can be surrounded by water while staying perfectly dry. The Sydney Aquarium in Darling Harbour boasts almost two million litres of water in the Oceanarium – you don’t have to dive off the reef to see Australia’s marine life up close and personal. From Crabzilla (the biggest crab in the world) to the Mermaid Lagoon to the too-cute-to-be-true penguins, the Aquarium has something for everyone. To skip the queue in the rain pre-purchase your tickets through viator.com. If you’re watching the seals have their lunch and get a tad peckish visit Aqua Café for a little comfort food and Aqua Snacks.
Let’s Go Surfing is the alternative for those who thought the first four on this list were soft options. This Bondi Beach surf school doesn’t cancel classes because the sprinklers turn on, in fact, some of the best waves come with the rain. You’re going to get wet anyway, so take advantage of the emptier beach and improve your skills with the dedicated and fully qualified staff. All you have to bring is your enthusiasm, and Let’s Go Surfing will provide the rest (including a wetsuit, so you won’t freeze). Give the rain the finger as you surf your dream wave! Yeeeewwwww!