The best things in Sydney are free. It may not quite be a Janet Jackson song but it’s got a nice ring to it, don’t you think? And ok, while not all the best things in Sydney come cost-free, there are some pretty awesome activities you can get involved in without spending a dime. Here are our top 10.
1. Go for a Bush Walk
Before you roll your eyes and navigate away from the page, bear with us for a second. We don’t just mean walk any old where: we’re suggesting tackling some of the most hot dang picturesque sections of pavement you’ve ever seen, from the Bondi to Coogee coastal walk, the trail from the Opera House round to Mrs Macquarie’s Chair, through The Rocks and over the Sydney Harbour Bridge and along any of the 56 trails in the Royal National Park.
2. Admire things at the Museum of Contemporary Art
“What kinds of things?” you ask. All kinds of things: giant, often confusing installations; beautiful photography; impressive sculptures; contemporary films; and – if you go upstairs to the rooftop café – one of the most iconic views of the harbour in town.
3. Take photos at Luna Park
Yep, entry is free at this iconic fun park. While the rides cost 10 bucks a pop, the beautiful harbour views are free. Bring along your camera and take some cool shots.
Take a dip at Bondi, swim out to one of the floating platforms at Murray Rose, snorkel at Gordon’s Bay or test out the ocean pool at Bronte. Great Instagram pics are guaranteed.
5. Check out the markets
There’s always a market on somewhere in Sydney, from the open-every-day Sydney Fish Markets, to the Saturday-only famers markets at Carriageworks and Bondi and the mid-week offerings in Moore Park and Double Bay. Sure, chances are you’ll buy something but that doesn’t negate the glory of free samples.
6. Watch a movie
Yep, that’s right: Sydney’s so cool we show movies for free! Head along to the Soda Factory on Monday nights to catch the classics, from The Wizard of Oz right through to Bridget Jones's Diary. You’ll have to pay for dinner, but with bargains like $8 mac n’ cheese and $12 buffalo wings it won’t break the bank.
7. Listen to the experts
The University of Sydney hosts a constant stream of free talks on Sydney Ideas, getting experts to cover topics like fraud, climate change and what the future holds for millennials. All you have to do is register online to secure your free seat.
8. Explore the big events
We’re pretty lucky here in Sydney town when it comes to free large-scale events. There’s Vivid (of course), Sculptures by the Sea and Sydney Festival, which always offers an enticing line-up of free events. Just check the calendar to see what’s on.
9. Test your knowledge at trivia
The Dog Hotel in Randwick hosts awesome trivia every Wednesday night, pitting teams against each other in a battle for bar tabs and cold hard cash. They also do a mean $12.50 steak and chips, which we can highly recommend.
10. Get contemporary at White Rabbit Gallery
This little gallery has taken Sydney by storm since it opened in 2009, displaying owner Judith Nelson’s private collection as well as regularly changing exhibitions of the weird and wonderful. Visits here are made even better thanks to the gallery’s free entry policy.