Last updated: February 14, 2024
Dive into Sydney’s best indoor activities! From artful escapes to thrilling go-kart races, discover how to make the most of a rainy day.
Sydney boasts a climate that’s close to ideal, featuring mild winters and comfortably warm summer days. However, the city’s sunny reputation is regularly clouded by rain, with an average of 100 rainy days annually and an annual rainfall exceeding 1200 mm.
So, how do Sydneysiders, known for their love of the outdoors, adapt to these wetter days? The answer lies in the city’s vibrant array of indoor activities.
Dive in to discover how you can enjoy the Harbour City, rain or shine!
1. See the Opera House From Inside
Since its opening in 1973, the Sydney Opera House has not only established itself as a top attraction for visitors to Sydney, but also stands as an iconic masterpiece of 20th-century architecture.
Renowned for its unique design and cultural significance, this landmark now serves as a bustling centre for the performing arts, drawing audiences from around the globe. It houses multiple theatres, rehearsal studios, expansive halls, and various restaurants, bars, and souvenir shops.
A great way to learn more about the Opera House is by doing a tour. For example, this hour-long guided tour takes you underneath the world-famous sails and along the 300 corridors of the Opera House.
Or, this intimate backstage tour goes behind the scenes, inside the orchestra pit and dressing rooms, complemented with unique insider stories.
2. Do a Pottery Class
Did you know that rainy weather sparks creativity in people? So why not make the most of that Sydney rainy day and learn how to create pottery with an authentic pottery workshop?
A pottery class under the professional guidance of a skilled teacher is lots of fun, and you may even be able to walk away with a couple of great new additions to your kitchen.
Various pottery classes are organised all over Sydney, often run by independent craftspeople and schools, so you can find one that’s close to you or easy to get to.
Top pottery classes in Sydney:
3. Discover Sydney’s Art
Sydney, often celebrated as Australia’s premier city for culture, boasts a diverse range of art galleries and museums, as well as exhibitions and events.
Nestled in an art deco gem at Circular Quay, the Museum of Contemporary Art stands out for its commitment to showcasing contemporary works from Australian and international artists. Offering free admission, this vibrant cultural hub regularly hosts special exhibitions and workshops, making it an essential visit for art enthusiasts.
Another must-visit is the Art Gallery of NSW, Sydney’s most important public gallery and one of the largest in Australia. Set within a grand classical building near the Domain, the gallery is home to a significant collection of Australian and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art.
Check out this list of Sydney Art Galleries for more ideas to spend a rainy afternoon exploring Sydney’s art culture.
4. Do a Cooking Class
Whether you’re an aspiring chef eager to refine your culinary skills or a complete novice looking to step into the kitchen for the first time, a cooking class will teach you excellent new skills that will serve you for a lifetime.
Sydney’s culinary scene is vibrant and diverse, offering a great range of cooking classes to suit every taste and interest.
From mastering the art of vegetarian dishes and Italian classics to exploring the secrets behind American BBQ and Chinese dumplings, there is a class for everyone!
Top cooking classes in Sydney:
5. Find Your Way Out of an Escape Room
Why would anyone like to have themselves locked up in a room, only to escape by solving various puzzles with the clock ticking? Well, because it’s seriously entertaining!
Based on a very simple concept, escape rooms are a great way to spend a rainy afternoon, using your social, teamwork, and problem-solving skills to unlock the door back to freedom.
Read our guide to the best escape rooms in Sydney and make a booking for a fun experience with your mates.
6. Do a Yum Cha Session
Yum cha is the Cantonese brunch tradition involving dumplings, Chinese tea, and even more dumplings.
Luckily, Sydney has fully embraced this unique dining experience, and we can now choose from many yum cha restaurants across the city.
One of the most popular yum cha establishments in Sydney is Palace on Castlereagh St, opened six days per week for yum cha lunch and dinner. Another good option is East Phoenix, located in Zetland’s East Village Shopping Centre.
Read our guide to the best yum cha restaurants in Sydney for more ideas to spend a rainy afternoon indulging in dumplings.
7. Play Indoor Mini Golf
If you’re looking for an indoor activity that is fun for both kids and adults, indoor mini golf, otherwise known as putt-putt golf, will not disappoint. The only drawback of this game is that time flies way too fast.
Mini golf is often done outdoors, but there are also several indoor mini golf locations in Sydney. Holey Moley has pop-themed mini-golf venues in Darlinghurst, North Strathfield, Castle Hill and Newtown, which also include cocktail bars.
Read our guide to the best mini golf courses in Sydney for a list of top venues.
8. Visit the Hyde Park Barracks
One of our favourite museums in Sydney that is also still a bit of a hidden gem is the Hyde Park Barracks on Macquarie Street.
The impressive, heritage-listed Hyde Park Barracks building once served as accommodation for convicts who were transported to New South Wales to help grow the colony. In later years, the barracks served as a women’s immigration depot, law courts, and government offices.
The museum offers a great insight into the colony’s history and its impact on Aboriginal people. Hyde Park Barracks is open daily from 10 am until 6 pm, with free entry.
9. Catch a Movie Vintage Style
On a rainy day, the classic choice of catching the latest Hollywood blockbuster, popcorn in hand, always has its charm. But why not upgrade your movie experience by visiting a theatre that breathes history, with art deco facades, cozy bars, and plush seats with soft cushions?
Such theatres, relics of a bygone era yet alive with today’s cinematic adventures, offer an ambience that elevates the simple act of watching a movie into a memorable experience.
Also known as Cremorne Orpheum Theatre, the Hayden Orpheum Picture Palace on Military Road is a heritage-listed cinema where watching a movie turns into a wonderful night out.
Built in 1937 and now heritage-listed, Ritz Cinemas in Randwick is another art deco style cinema steeped in rich history and tradition.
10. Go Indoor Ice Skating
Visit one of the various Sydney ice skating rinks and experience the true winter spirit close to home. Ice skating is fun for the whole family, and Sydney offers a great selection of indoor and outdoor ice-skating rinks.
For many of us, ice skating might be a completely new experience. It’s hard at first, but after a few practice runs, you’ll know why this sport is so addictive.
Visiting an ice skating rink is also a great idea for a romantic date. Not only will you be having loads of fun together, but you will also get the chance to show off your fantastic ice skating skills.
Read our guide to the best indoor and outdoor ice skating rinks in Sydney.
11. Play a Game of Indoor Laser Tag
Laser skirmish is as much fun for adults as it is for children, with a handful of professional laser tag arenas scattered across Sydney.
You can bring your own group of mates for a game of laser tag or otherwise team up with random others on the spot.
Most arenas feature state-of-the-art laser tag technology, unique props, and great sound effects, making them the ideal indoor hideaway spot for those rainy afternoons.
12. Go Jumping on Trampolines
Jumping on a trampoline is a fun way to unleash energy and embrace a sense of freedom, appealing to the young and the young at heart alike.
Check out Flip Out in Caringbah, an indoor trampoline park home to more than 2,000 square metres worth of trampolines, in addition to various bounce pyramids, foam pits, and more.
Or perhaps try Ultimate Sydney, where you can find a large trampoline zone and a trampoline foam pit for some serious jumping action.
Read our guide to the best indoor trampoline parks in Sydney for more options.
13. Visit the National Maritime Museum
Opened in 1991 as part of the redevelopment of Darling Harbour, the Australian National Maritime Museum (ANMM) is now Australia’s national centre for maritime collections, research, exhibitions and archaeology.
Besides the free, permanent galleries, the ANMM hosts an ever-changing program of temporary exhibitions and a fleet of historic craft at its wharves in Sydney’s Darling Harbour.
The National Maritime Museum is a fun and educational museum that caters to all ages and is an excellent way to spend a rainy Sunday afternoon.
Read our guide to the best free museums in Sydney for more great options.
14. Go Ten Pin Bowling
On a rainy day in Sydney, ten-pin bowling offers a classic blend of fun, social interaction, and a hint of competition. But why stop there?
Elevate your indoor adventure by combining bowling with laser skirmish. Venues like Strike Bowling and Kingpin Bowling house both activities under one roof, providing an exciting day out.
Imagine the thrill of dodging laser beams in a high-energy skirmish, then rolling strikes on the bowling lanes, all without stepping outside.
15. Climb a Wall
With indoor rock climbing venues and purpose-built bouldering gyms popping up across the city, it’s safe to say that Sydney has a love affair with climbing walls of all sorts.
And for good reasons, because indoor rock climbing is adventurous and social, it requires skill, and is a great way to get your workout in. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned pro, rock climbing is for everyone.
Popular climbing gyms in Sydney are 9 Degrees in Alexandria, Nomad Bouldering in Annandale, and Sydney Indoor Climbing Gym in St Peters.
Read our guide to the best indoor rock climbing and bouldering gyms in Sydney for a complete list of venues.
16. Find Your Zen in a Spa
What better way to spend a rainy day than relaxing, rejuvenating, and pampering at a spa with a friend?
Massages, body scrubs, and sauna sessions work every day of the year for most people, but there’s something about the rain that triggers our natural desire to relax.
Check out this list of luxurious day spa experiences in Sydney, catering for different budgets.
17. Go Racing in Karts
Rounding off our list of indoor activities in Sydney for a rainy day is a thrilling option that promises an adrenaline-packed experience: indoor go-kart racing!
Go-karting offers a blend of intense fun and a dynamic workout, appealing to thrill-seekers of all ages. Prepare to immerse yourself in the rush and, yes, work up a sweat in the most exhilarating way possible.
Popular go-karting venues in Sydney are Extreme Indoor Go-Karting in Villawood, Ultimate Karting Sydney near Campbelltown, and Hyper Karting in the Entertainment Quarter, a new track that uses electric go-karts with zero emissions or fumes.
Read our guide to the best go-karting tracks in Sydney for more venues.
Top things to do in Sydney at night.