When the sun goes down and the city lights up, there are still many family friendly activities and events taking place in the city and the suburban areas. From playing with telescopes at the observatory to watching a movie under the stars, from dinner in Chinatown to rugby games, there are some real gems to uncover for fun, entertainment and value for money. Here are our recommendations for things to do and see in Sydney at night for families.
Star watching at the Sydney Observatory
Perched on Observatory Hill in The Rocks, this historic sandstone building is the oldest existing observatory in Australia. Discover the magic of the night sky with your family and enjoy an engaging astronomy experience alongside an Observatory guide during the family twilight tour. Experience the virtual reality 3D Space Theatre or the Planetarium and explore the galaxy like never before! The Sydney Observatory offers a great day and evening for the entire family complete with star gazing, history and harbour views!
Watch a movie under the stars
Treat the whole family to the cinema under the stars. Sydney has many outdoor cinema locations. One of the most spectacular locations is the St. George Open Air Cinema at Mrs. Macquarie’s Point. Imagine sitting in your seat and looking at the movie screen but the Sydney Harbour, bridge and Opera House are in the background! The movie screen is jutting out from the water as well! Centennial Park also offers the Moonlit Cinema. Relax on a blanket in the lush, green grass while you watch your flick. See a Ben & Jerrys Open Air Cinema film at Bondi Beach. Relax on beanbags while you watch you film with the ocean waves crashing in the background.
Night time cruise on the harbour
Take the whole family on a cruise around the harbour and marvel at the city lights! You don’t have to board a fancy dinner cruise with the kids to have a valuable experience. Take the ferry to or from Manly in the evening or during sunset. Admire the lights on the bridge and the illuminated Luna Park and Sydney Opera House. There’s nothing like taking in the spectacular views with the family and you can do so easily on one of Sydney’s ferries!
Dinner in Darling Harbour & Fireworks
After a day of visiting the SEA LIFE Aquarium, Madame Tussauds and Wild Life Zoo, Darling Harbour is the perfect place to spend the evening with your family. There are plenty of family friendly restaurants to enjoy dinner. From Italian to seafood platters, there’s something to satisfy every taste bud! The little ones will love the fact that the Darling Harbour Playground lights up at night for an epic nighttime playground experience. Every Saturday, the Darling Harbour sky will light up with a free firework display! Not to mention, you’ll always find festivals and events on in Darling Harbour!
Visit the Chinatown Night Markets
Feeling hungry and craving a bit of culture and fun for the whole family? Sydney’s Chinatown hosts a colourful mixture of Asian culture, shopping, and authentic food. Admire the oriental architecture, street lanterns, music, and Chinese art. There are a variety of eateries in Chinatown that serve up authentic Asian dishes that are reasonably priced. In addition to restaurants and food stalls, there is also a mix of Asian stores where you can purchase souvenirs for the kids. Market City and Sydney’s famous Paddy’s markets are also located in Chinatown for an evening of fun shopping. Chinatown also hosts a number of events and entertainment throughout the year. Whatever you choose to do, Chinatown is a great night activity for the family.
Feast on Aussie delicacies at Harry’s Café
Nothing says Sydney like enjoying a delicious meat pie. Over 70 years old, Harry’s Café at Woolloomooloo is a special place with lots of history. Take the kids here for a pie with the infamous smashed peas and enjoy eating the messy treat with the city and water view. Ask the staff about the history and how the café originally opened during the 30s and was popular with soldiers and sailors.
Go camping in the national parks
If you love taking your family camping, there are plenty of locations around Sydney to visit. You can rent a camper van for the weekend or you can pack a tent and camp the old-fashioned way. Take the ferry to Cockatoo Island for a unique experience of camping not far from the city. Visit the Bonne Vale Campground in the Royal National Park not far from Bundeena where you can enjoy plenty of walking tracks, good fishing on Jibbon Beach and on the weekends you can hire a kayak and go for a paddle or a swim! This is a great option for families who love the outdoors.
Entertainment Quarter in Moore Park
Take the kids to Entertainment Quarter for an evening full of fun! There’s always something to put a smile on their faces and keep them entertained. EQ’s indoor children’s play center is sure to put a smile on your youngster’s face with jumping castles and kiddie go carts. For an all ages activity visit Plaster Painting and choose from 300 plaster figurines to paint and glaze with glitter. Go bowling at Strike Bowling Bar which also features private karaoke rooms, pool tables, interactive games and a laser skirmish arena. Market days are on Wednesdays and Saturdays and include the Choo Choo Train, Bungy Trampoline, farmyard friends and the pony express!
Ice skating Macquarie Park
Sydney’s iconic Macquarie Ice Rink has been a playground and training facility for all levels of skating from recreational to Olympic Champions. The ice rink is open all year round and is located in Sydney’s largest suburban shopping center. It is Olympic-sized and you can enjoy theme days such as Cheap Mondays or Disco Fridays. On Sundays, the rink is open to the public all day! So after hitting up the shops, satisfy the kids with some fun and take them ice-skating!
Attend live sporting events
It doesn’t matter what season it is Australians love their sport! Take your family to a night game at one of the city’s magnificent arenas and wave your flag in support of the local sporting heroes. Sydney has quite a few teams to choose from in Rugby and the AFL, and a vast game calendar means there’s always an event just around the corner. A right of summer is watching a live cricket game under the lights. As the temperatures get cooler, rugby is back. Bundle up and cheer on your team. Most stadiums have play areas for the little one too.
For more fun and exciting ideas to try when exploring Sydney with the family don’t miss out on iVenture Card’s top recommended and free things to do guides.