Sydney Events in January

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Some of the best Sydney events happen as soon as the New Year settles in. The first month of the year is packed with entertainment, culture and things to do in the city.

And that's how it should be.

It is summer, it is the holiday season and it is beach time.

So... lots of fun.

But if you want more than just the beach and the sun, here's a glimpse into some of the things to do in Sydney during January:

  • the summer festival
  • Australia Day
  • outdoor movies
  • more movies under the stars with the Flickerfest
  • tennis games

Sydney Festival 2017

Celebrating its 41st year in 2017, the biggest festival of the city is on for three weeks and comes with both free and ticketed big events. 

the temporary stage in the Domain, Sydney

The popular stage in the Domain hosting many outdoor Sydney events

The free ones include the traditional weekend night concerts in the Domain. In 2017 they are:

  • Sydney Symphony Orchestra with a potpourri of the best music played in the Domain over the years - on 14 January
  • Opera under the stars on 21 January. Listen to the stunning music and enjoy the outdoor environment.

The festival opens on 7 January and ends on 29 January and has a huge variety of events including circus, theatre, dance, music, cabaret, opera, installations, family programs, various performances and artists.

The festival is dedicated to circus, with Parramatta becoming the circus city for 10 days between 12 and 22 of January. Workshops, talks, trapeze demonstrations, films will delight audiences of all ages.

Enjoy free entertainment and an impressive music program for four weekends, between 7 and 28 Januaty at Darling Harbour's Sky Terrace in Pyrmont. There's more music and party-ing at the Famous Spiegeltent in Hyde Park.

In addition there are many shows, talks, theatrical performance, exhibitions. The Festival makes January the best time to be in Sydney.

Sydney Events - Australia Day

On 26 January, crowds gather in the City and the Harbour to celebrate. The event starts with an Aboriginal ceremony and continues with music, dance, cultural shows at various museums and lots of entertainment.

Colorful old ferries race in the harbour Ferrython from Circular Quay to Shark Island. There are boat parades and a sailing regatta before spectacular fireworks in the Darling Harbour conclude the day.

Open Air Movies

Feel like watching the latest movie or a box office success while looking at the Harbour Bridge?

You can, if you bought tickets for St.George Open Air Cinema at Mrs Macquaries Point, in the Royal Botanic Gardens. The outdoor film program in the harbour runs from 7 January to 22 February 2017.

open air cinema, screen on the water

Sydney events - open air giant screen in the harbour

But wait, there's more...Other outdoor screenings are:

  • The Moonlight Cinema event is back to Centennial Park with more open air movies till 2 April 2017.  
  • Sunset Cinema at the North Sydney Oval with new releases and some classics from 19      January to 18 March.
  • Ben & Jerry open air cinemas, near Bondi Pavilion at the famous beach, from 19 January to 26 February.

Flickerfest 2017

Bondi Beach hosts the 25th edition of the international short film festival between 6 - 15 January 2017 held at the Bondi Pavilion.

Sydney events - Apia International tennis

Come 8 January and up until 14 January, you can watch your favourite tennis stars playing in Sydney, in preparation for the famous Australian Open in Melbourne.

The New South Wales Open tournament known as Apia International Sydney takes place at the Sydney Olympic Park tennis centre. 

And on 9 January the FAST4 Tennis features Raphael Nadal and Kei Nishikori playing against Nick Kyrgios and Bernard Tomic at the ICC Sydney Theatre of the newest convention and exhibition centre in Darling Harbour.

January events over the years

Sydney festival

Below are some images of various Sydney festival events in prior years.

giant inflatable duck

The giant rubber duck in front of Imax, Darling Harbour during the 2013 festival

Designed by Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman the huge, yellow duck brought lots of fun and crowds. It also graced the Parramatta opening party in 2014.

In the past years we got used to Beck's Festival Bar, near the Hyde Park Barracks Museum as the place to be if you want to listen to various bands, or party with friends.

But now the places to be are the Sky Terrace and the Festival Village in Hyde Park.

The Festival Village, which has food and beverage stalls, sets the mood with various events, some free, others not: DJs during lunch time and late at night, story telling and workshops. (In 2014 it also had a jumping castle built as a replica of the famous Stonehenge.)

Wednesday after hours at NSW Art Gallery

Every Wednesday afternoon the NSW Art Gallery is staying open until late for various events that include exhibitions, entertainment, movie screenings, cultural talks.

The events hosted during the four Wednesdays of January 2015 were associated with the Pop to Popism exhbition.

nsw art gallery pop to posism exhibition january 2015

There were guided tours of the exhibition, celebrity talks with authors, designers or fashionistas who offer highlights of the pop era: vintage lifestyle, the hippy movement, feminism, retro fashion and all things politics of the time.

There was live music from the 1950s to the 1980s. You could just sip your wine and listen to the beat or jump on the dance floor and show your best moves.

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