Where to go and what to see during the summer break in 2023

Start planning your month of fun in the sun in our beautiful city! Here is a selection of some of the highlights worth checking out in Sydney January with the family.

 Sydney Festival

From the streets to the beaches, there’s plenty to see during the annual Sydney Festival. It includes a mixture of free and ticketed events such as theatre, music, dance, visual art and in-between places of live performance.

Check out the whole schedule here: https://www.sydneyfestival.org.au/explore

Among the highlights:

Frida Kahlo: Life of an Icon interactive exhibition

sydney in january
Image: Sydney Festival

Wander through the works of the Spanish artist Frida Kahlo, showcasing her collection in 360 degree projections and virtual reality.

Bring the family because there are also opportunities to create your own flower crowns, turn your drawings into Frida-esque artwork and immortalise yourself through a souvenir illustrated photo, all accompanied by fresh arrangements of traditional Mexican music and live performance.

January 4 – March 7, 2023
The Cutaway at Barangaroo Reserve
1 Merriman Street, Barangaroo
Tickets $39 – $45
Book tickets at https://www.sydneyfestival.org.au/events/frida-kahlo-life-of-an-icon

Cupid’s Koi Garden

Image: ENESS Facebook

The kids will love this installation of a colourful magical marine world in Darling Harbour. Cupid’s Koi Garden is a six-metre-tall immersive water-play experience, featuring the world’s first inflatable fountain. At night, it becomes a wonderland of light and colour with gushing bubblers and a trickling soundtrack. And best of all its free!

5 – 29 January
Tumbalong Park
11 Harbour St, Sydney

 Brickwrecks Lego Exhibition

Image: Maritime Museum

Discover the stories of famous shipwrecks using LEGO®  models! Led by Ryan ‘The Brickman’ McNaught’s LEGO®, there are also real shipwreck objects, hands-on interactives and audio visual experiences that bring to life incredible shipwreck stories.

Take the kids to try try different archaeology techniques, learn more about the Titanic sinking, clean oil pollution from a penguin and, of course, build your own LEGO® models.

Australian National Maritime Museum
2 Murray St, Pyrmont
Adults $20
Children under 15 $12
Children under 4 Free

 Hide The Dog

Told through puppetry and special effects, this is a play that tells the story of two best friends playing in the bush in in Tasmania when they stumble upon the world’s very last Tasmanian Tiger.

On the run from hunters, they decide to set sail with their new furry friend for New Zealand, but on the way to safety they must outwit the Māori gods and palawa spirits.

 6-8 January
Sydney Opera House Drama Theatre
Tickets $35 – $45


 Australia Day

The focus will be on Sydney Harbour with events from dawn to dusk, so pack a picnic and head to the waterfront for a day to celebrate the beautiful country we live in.

Dawn Projection, Sydney Opera House

sydney in january
Image: australiaday.com.au

Australia Day in Sydney starts with a reflective moment to honour the nation’s traditional custodians. Held between 5:20am and sunrise, a First Nations artwork will be projected onto the country’s most iconic canvas. There are many vantage points around the harbour, but the main location will be Circular Quay. The projection coincides with both the Australian National Flag and Australian Aboriginal Flag being raised on top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge in a symbol of unity, recognition and inclusion.

Morning Ceremony at Barangaroo Reserve

This will be the 20th anniversary of the first WugulOra (One Mob) Morning Ceremony at Barangaroo Reserve. It’s an ancient smoking ceremony that celebrates the Gadigal people of the Eora nation through music, dance, language, story-telling and ceremony.

Ferrython, Sydney Harbour

sydney in january
Image: ADCNSW/NSW Government

The kids will love this annual tradition, so head down to the harbour to watch Sydney’s Emerald Class ferries race through the waves in this hugely popular Australia Day event.

Spectators can watch the race around the water cheer on your favourite ferry from a number of free onshore vantage spots including Milsons Point off Jeffrey St Wharf, between the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Shark Island, and Lavender Bay.

At around midday there will be a 21 gun salute, and an impressive fly-past by two F-35 Lightning II fast jets to celebrate.

Darling Harbour Family Fun

From midday, Darling Harbour will entertain the family with live music, roving entertaining, putt-putt and pedal boats all day. Plenty of great places to eat and drink too. Check out Cupid’s Koi Garden while you’re there!

Pool Parties on the Northern Beaches

Join the Australia Day Pool Party at the Manly “Andrew Boy Charlton” and the Warringah Aquatic Centres! There’s music, entertainment and lots of fun featuring large pool inflatables, diving boards, DJ and entertainment.

Music from 9am – 12pm with roving entertainment
Free entry
Warringah Aquatic Centre
Aquatic Drive Frenchs Forest NSW 2086

 Manly Aquatic Centre
1 Kenneth Road Manly NSW 2095

Outdoor Cinemas Around Sydney

Make the most of the balmy Sydney evenings reclining on the grass as the sun sets watching a movie on the big screen. We’re lucky to have some great options for this across our city.

Sunset Cinema North Sydney

Pack a picnic or order a delicious meal from The Greens right next door. You can order from your phone using a QR code and get a text when its ready to collect! There are also the traditional movie snacks available for purchase including popcorn and choc tops. The venue is fully licensed, so no BYO is permitted.

12 January – 1 April
North Sydney Oval
Miller Street, North Sydney

Westpac OpenAir, Sydney CBD

sydney in january
Image: Westpac OpenAir Facebook

Located at the Fleet Steps of Mrs Macquaries Point, right beside the Royal Botanic Garden, the Westpac OpenAir setting offers world class views over the water, the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge.

A giant screen rises from the harbour to play the film of the night, there is a grandstand for seating, so no need for picnic blankets or pillows. No outside food or drinks are permitted, but there are a variety of food outlets as well as a fully licensed bar and café.

8 Jan – 21 Feb
Mrs Macquaries Chair, Sydney

 Skyline Drive-In, Blacktown

Its Sydney’s only drive-in cinema left from the 1950s heyday. There is diner food from the era on offer – burgers, milkshakes, popcorn, pizza – served by staff in era-appropriate dress. Some of the movies on the big-screen are old classics, but there are also screenings of the latest blockbusters. Make sure the FM radio in your car is working so you can tune in for a more immersive experience, or bring a small portable radio.

Cricketers Arms Rd, Blacktown NSW 2148
Gates OPEN 1 hour before 1st session and CLOSE 15mins after last session of night has started.


Sydney Streets

sydney in january
Image: City of Sydney

After a series of popular events in spring 2022, Sydney Streets returns for 2023, starting with Haymarket in January. Neighbourhoods become car-free zones over various Saturdays during the year, with roving entertainment – musicians, fire dancers, child-friendly entertainers and more – as well as outdoor furniture and portable toilets. It’s a chance to support local businesses and experience areas as you haven’t seen them before.

Saturday 21 January
5pm – 10pm
Haymarket – parts of Dixon, Hay, Little Hay and Sussex streets



 Sporting Events

In Sydney in January, sports lovers can take their pick from cricket, tennis and water sports. We’ve rounded up some of the best options for the whole family.


There are one-dayers, test matches and Big Bash games held regularly at the Sydney Cricket Ground, as well as a fixture from the Ashes tournament in January.

Third Test Australia vs South Africa

Image: McGrath Foundation Facebook

It’s one of the biggest events on the sporting calendar, the iconic Pink Test held at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

4 – 8 Jan
Sydney Cricket Ground

Big Bash

The Sydney Sixers Big Bash side will play at North Sydney Oval for the FIRST time, against the Brisbane Heat.

January 4
North Sydney Oval
Miller Street, North Sydney

It’s the local derby, Sydney Sixers vs Sydney Thunder at the SCG, a few days later. This is all about bragging rights!

January 8
Sydney Cricket Ground

One Dayers (ODI)

Reigning world champions Australia take on  Pakistan this summer in the one day series, and the third and final ODI will be right on our doorstep.

January 21
North Sydney Oval
Miller Street, North Sydney

Tennis: The United Cup

Image: United Cup Tennis Facebook

As we warm up for the Australian Open, Sydney will host some of the world’s best players ahead of the grand slam. The United Cup ahead is a world first event bringing together 18 countries where the world’s best male and female players compete side-by-side.

29 December–8 January
Ken Rosewall Arena
Shirley Strtickland Avenue
Sydney Olympic Park

Rugby: The HSBC Sydney Sevens

Image: Aussie 7s Facebook

The HSBC Sydney Sevens weekend tournament has a festival feel, with life music family entertainment and fans in crazy costumes., It’s a fast-paced version of rugby union has just seven players on each team, playing two seven-minute halves.

27 -29 January
Sydney Cricket Ground


Northern Beaches

Image: Northern Beaches Council website

The Northern Beaches Council is conducting a series of outdoor learning experiences for kids these holidays, including fossil hunting, rock pool fun, and aquatic expeditions around Narrabeen beach.

If the weather gets too hot for outside fun, Mona Vale Library is putting on summer movie screenings.


Lunar New Year

Image: Visit Chatswood

Welcome in the year of the Rabbit at one of Sydney’s largest Chinese New Year celebrations at Chatswood Concourse.

Festivities until 7.30pm will feature entertainment including Chinese Opera, C-pop, traditional dance and lunar new year delicacies.

The day will have colourful lion and dragon dance performances, and the mall will be open until 9pm.

Saturday January 21
Chatswood Concourse
Free entry

For what’s on for kids in Sydney in January, check out our School Holiday Guide here.

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