Best things to do in Sydney this weekend (19th-21st Feb)

It’s the freakin’ weekend, the second last of summer for this year as a matter of fact, and Sydney’s vibrant weekend culture isn’t fading one bit with the start of the big Mardi Gras festival as well as the big rally planned for Keep Sydney Open. There are plenty of delicious, fun, and interesting things to do around Sydney from Friday to Sunday this week so get across our top picks:

Mardi Gras Fair Day (Sunday)

The traditional free entry fair day kicks off a series of events around Sydney during this year’s Mardi Gras (centered around the big parade on March 5th) in Victoria Park. Over 80,000 people are expected to be celebrating the LGBTQI community on the day, with thousands from local businesses, organisations, social groups, and more set to host stalls, activities, and performances for all-ages. Various food and drink stalls will be set up around the park, and there’s some pet fashion shows throughout the day. Gold coin donations are welcome and encouraged.

Victoria Park
Parramatta Rd & City Road, Camperdown

Keep Sydney Open (Sunday)

Located in Belmore Park on Sunday, many across Sydney will come together with local musician and speakers for a special public rally in response to the increasing amounts of discontent caused by the State Government’s excessively restrictive and soul-destroying lockout laws. The effect these laws are having on businesses around Sydney’s CBD continues to be felt so those passionate about the issue will be on hand to express themselves as the rally begins at 12:30pm and then heads into the CBD shortly after 1pm.

Featuring at the rally will be free performances from local artists (including Art vs Science and Royal Headache), talks from the likes of Izzi Manfredi (The Preatures), Dave Faulkner (Hoodoo Gurus), Bernard Keane (Political Editor at Crikey), and Tyson Koh (of Keep Sydney Open). There will also be a mock funeral held at Bar Century, a venue that is soon to become the latest victim of these lockout laws; the funeral will mourn the various small business, jobs, and venues that have been lost because of #CasinoMike. For more information click HERE.

On the agenda for the rally:

  • Lockout exemptions for licensed premises that are predominantly live music venues
  • An end to the new license freeze for predominantly live music venues and small bars.
  • The lifting of restrictions on retail hours
  • Late-night public transport
  • The introduction of a Night Mayor (similar to Berlin and Amsterdam)
  • An invitation from the government to discuss next steps in partnership with those whose livelihoods depend on the music and cultural industries thriving in Sydney.
  • Police to work with and not against the responsible venues who provide safe nights out in a global city.

After the Rally, Applejack Hospitality will be hosting an afterparty of sorts, dubbed the “Keep Sydney Open Soiree” at their Oxford Street small bar Della Hyde (where Phoenix used to be) in order to celebrate what they hope will be a very successful day for the industry. Featuring will be some exclusive cocktails like the Last Word Lock Out ($12) with Gin, chartreuse, maraschino, and lime. A range of $5 drinks will also be available including Jameson and Dry and Kingfisher Beers. For more information click HERE.

Belmore Park
191 Hay Street, Haymarket NSW

Della Hyde
34-36 Oxford St, Darlinghurst

Swimming Pool Open Day Continues (Saturday)

City of Sydney’s free swimming pool open day is coming to an end soon with the close of summer but until then this is a good chance to head along to some of the best public pools in the city and cool off should the sun remain unforgiving like it has been this past week. This week the free-entry pool in questions is the great Cook and Phillip Park Pool, at the very easy to get to corner of William and College streets near Hyde Park. It’s open from 7am to 8pm and entry is free on the Saturday. For more information click HERE.

Cook and Phillip Park Pool
Corner of William and College Streets, Sydney

Ananas’ Champagne & Lobster Brunch Buffet (Sunday)

French restaurant Ananas Bar & Brasserie in The Rocks (part of the Argyle precinct to be exact) will be bringing back their hugely popular champagne brunch series this Sunday, and the focus is on Atlantic Lobster this time around. There will be a buffet full of lobster dishes like lobster risotto and lobster mac’n’cheese as well as some others thrown in for good measure. A bottomless 2-hour champagne package is also available for purchased in addition to a ticket. For more information click HERE.

Ananas Bar & Brasserie
18 Argyle St, The Rocks

Guilty Pleasures (Friday)

As part of the current March Into Merivale festival staged at Merivale venues across Sydney, a new nightlife concept will be coming to ivy and Pailings. Straight from the UK, the party dubbed “Guilty Pleasures” will be on every Friday, recreating the big, bold, and brazen activities of the renowned overseas party with confesstional booths, crowd-karaoke, dancers, a Chandon Unplanned house band, and more. The party’s founder, Sean Rowley, will be there as part of the DJ lineup to fill the space with disco, pop, R&B, and other assorted bangers to go with the theatrical atmosphere which has been designed around depravity and 100% shame-free fun. It’s every Friday from 8pm starting from tonight. For more information click HERE.

1/330 George St, Sydney

Summer Dance (Sunday)

The excellent Summer Dance at Darlinghurst’s National Art School continues this weekend, taking place on Sunday with international acts Hunee (NL), and Mark E (UK) who will be playing alongside Adi Toohey, Future Classic champ Touch Sensitive, and Lovebombs. Toohey’s even made a promo mix to get ya’ll pumped HERE. For more information click HERE.

National Art School
Forbes St & Burton Street, Darlinghurst

Day For Night: 24 hrs at Carriageworks (Saturday & Sunday)

Day For Night: 24 hrs is one of the most exciting cultural events as part of this year’s Mardi Gras. Taking place at Carriageworks over two days will be two consecutive 12-hour parties which feature a whole range of art, activities, and entertainment aimed at bringing in some of Australia’s and the world’s leading queer artists to reimagine gender, sexuality, and the body. There will be lectures, performances, installations, and music featuring at each event including sets from legends Stereogamous and Paul Mac. For more information head over to Performance Space.

245 Wilson St, Eveleigh

Automata’s co.lab Series (Saturday)

Chippendale treasure Automata is still considered a fairly new restaurant but it’s already got the following of an established culinary giant and this weekend the team will be launching their ‘co.lab’ series, designed towards exploring some of the best food and drink talent from around the world. For their first event, London’s Typing Room will be stepping into the kitchen as Chef Lee Westcott comes to collaborate with Automata over a 6 course lunch menu with snacks. It’s priced well at $100 with a beverage pairing option available for $60. More information can be found HERE and bookings can be made on +61 2 8277 8555

5 Kensington St, Chippendale.

General Pants Bowl-a-Rama (Saturday & Sunday)

It’s Australasia’s largest skating event and it will be returning to Bondi Skate Park this weekend with a fresh new, showcasing a program packed with some of the most legendary riders in the world including Tony Hawk and local heroes Steve Caballero and Omar Hassan. The event will have more space this year with a new 1250 seat stadium, able to fit up to 5000 fans over the two days. Junior AM jams have been added to existing Masters, Pro, and open skates. More information and tickets can be found HERE.

Bondi Skate Park
Queen Elizabeth Dr, Bondi Beach

Free Dubai-inspired Messina (Friday, Saturday & Sunday)

Dubai is one of the most mystical and impressive cities in the world, and local gelato heroes Messina have been feeling the cities vibes lately as they have created some exclusive Dubai-inspired flavours being offered from a “Flavours of Dubai” ice cream cart on 5 of Westfield Bondi Junction all weekend until Sunday. Flavours include a Desert Oasis with honey, rosewater, and a sweet pastry flavour, and The Pistachio Palm with saffron and pistachio praline.

Westfield Bondi Junction
500 Oxford St, Bondi Junction


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Chris Singh

Chris Singh is an Editor-At-Large at the AU review, loves writing about travel and hospitality, and is partial to a perfectly textured octopus. You can reach him on Instagram: @chrisdsingh.

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