23 September 2015
As the sunset casts a radiance over Sydney Harbour the city begins to stir afresh, turning on a wonderful display of night lights and intimate bar scenes, as well as a vibrant calendar of arts events and dining experiences. Here are five great after dark activities to get you closer to the source of Sydney’s heartbeat.
One of the best ways to experience Sydney at night is on foot. And with the establishment of Barangaroo Reserve you can now walk from Circular Quay to Darling Harbour almost entirely along the water’s edge. Set off from the Sydney Opera House, and on to Circular Quay past the Overseas Passenger Terminal. Follow the shoreline around to the Sydney Harbour Bridge, and on to the historic wharves of Walsh Bay – a great place to stop for dinner or a drink. From there you can follow Towns Place to the beginning of Barangaroo Reserve, where you can walk all the way around the flourishing green headland and on to Darling Harbour.
Often well hidden, the bars of Sydney city’s north west (around York, Clarence, Kent and George Street) offer some of Sydney’s best speak-easy experiences. Explore some outstanding treasures, with the likes of speakeasy-style The Baxter Inn, pocket-sized Grandma’s Bar, the unassuming Papa Gedes and the exotic Lobo Plantation – all serving high-calibre cocktails as well as stand-out local wines and beers. For an insider’s look at the small bar scene, sign up for a CBD Hidden Bars Tour. Many of these hidden venues are waiting to be discovered down a laneway, beyond a secret staircase or behind a nondescript door.
Every Wednesday until 10.00pm, the Art Gallery of NSW (AGNSW) hosts an incredible range of free talks, guided tours, film screenings, music, performances and special events. The whole gallery stays open until 10.00pm, so you can explore the AGNSW’s collections and exhibitions until late. From 7.00pm, the gallery provides a free courtesy bus running every 15 minutes from the gallery to Martin Place. This is a superb opportunity to delve into the Gallery’s immense world of creativity and wonder.
Shops in Sydney are usually open until 9.00pm on Thursday nights, which gives you a chance to explore Sydney’s multiplicity of retail and boutique stores to your heart’s content. Head to the city centre and check out Pitt Street Mall, the historic Strand and the beautiful Queen Victoria Building (QVB). All are linked by underground arcades overflowing with specialty stores. For sophisticated designer threads, head up Oxford Street to nearby Paddington, home to some of Sydney’s most well-known boutiques.
One of Sydney’s most popular markets takes place every Friday night in Chinatown. From 4.00pm to 11.00pm each Friday, the restaurant-lined pedestrian-only street of Dixon Street is transformed into a buzzing night market known as ‘Little East Street’. You’ll find street food from Japan, Hong Kong, Korea, Thailand and Vietnam. A must-visit for a Friday night snack, or, if you’d prefer, settle in at a nearby restaurant and soak up the atmosphere.