Sydney has a near perfect climate, with pleasant daytime temperatures in winter, and long warm days during the summer months. And best of all, the sun always shines in Sydney. Or does it?
Believe it or not, Sydney actually experiences on average 100 rainy days per year, with an average yearly rainfall of more than 1200 mm. Compared to other Australian cities, those statistics aren’t too bad, but for some of us they may still come as a surprise.
So what do the outdoor-loving locals do on those rainy days in Sydney when we can’t go outside without getting soaked?
15 Indoor Activities in Sydney for When It Rains
To help you escape boredom, we’ve picked 15 awesome indoor activities to do for when the clouds do decide to empty themselves over Sydney.
1. Discover Sydney’s Art
Art may not be the most obvious reason for tourists to visit Sydney, but Australia’s prettiest city is actually home to a great range of art galleries and museums, as well as exhibitions and events.
Housed in an impressive art deco building at Circular Quay, the Museum of Contemporary Art is dedicated to exhibiting, collecting and interpreting the work of today’s contemporary Australian and International artists.
With free entrance, and various special exhibitions and workshops organised throughout the year, a visit to the MCA is a must.
The Art Gallery of NSW is Sydney’s most important public gallery and one of the largest in Australia. Housed in an impressive classical building on the eastern side of the Domain, the gallery showcases important works of various Australian artists, and is one of the world’s largest permanent exhibitions of 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.
2. Visit an Escape Room
Why would anyone like to have themselves locked up in a room, only to escape by solving a variety of puzzles with the clock ticking? Well, because it’s seriously entertaining!
Based on a very basic concept, escape rooms are a great way to spend a rainy afternoon, using your social, team-work and problem-solving skills to unlock the door back to freedom.
Luckily, there is no shortage of escape rooms in Sydney, so go ahead and make a booking for a fun experience with your mates.
3. Go Indoor Rock Climbing or Bouldering
With indoor rock climbing venues and purpose-built bouldering gyms popping up across the city, it’s safe to say that Sydney has a secret love affair with climbing walls of all sorts.
And for good reason, because indoor rock climbing is adventurous, social and fun, it requires skill, and it’s a great way to get your workout in. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned pro, rock climbing really is for everyone.
9 Degrees has modern boulder gyms in Alexandria, Parramatta and Lane Cove where climbers don’t need to use ropes or harnesses, but instead scale shorter walls. You don’t need any equipment, training courses or a climbing partner. Simply rock up and start climbing!
With two large climbing centres in St Peters and Villawood, Sydney Indoor Climbing Gym is Sydney’s oldest and largest indoor rock climbing establishment. Enjoy both world class climbing and bouldering facilities, with climbs ranging in difficulty from very easy for beginners, to hard routes for elite climbers.
4. Do a Yum Cha Session
Yum cha is the Cantonese tradition of brunch, involving dumplings, Chinese tea, and more dumplings. Luckily, Sydney has fully embraced this cultural icon, and we can now choose from many yum cha restaurant across the city.
One of the most popular yum cha establishments in Sydney is Marigold on George Street, opened everyday for yum cha lunch from 10am to 3pm. Another good option is Golden Century, located on Sussex Street in the middle of Chinatown, which has been serving Sydney-siders delicious yum cha for more than three decades.
Check out this extensive list of great yum cha locations in Sydney for more ideas to spend a rainy afternoon indulging on all the best dumplings.
5. 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 some great indoor mini golf locations in Sydney as well. Holey Moley has pop-themed mini golf venues in Darlinghurst, North Strathfield, Castle Hill and Newtwon, which also include cocktail bars.
6. Visit the Powerhouse Museum
Located in the inner west suburb of Ultimo, on the edge of Darling Harbour, the Sydney Powerhouse Museum is a converted electric tram power station with a great variety of science focused artifacts and exhibits.
A nice way of getting to the Powerhouse Museum is by following the Goods Line from Central Station, a partly elevated urban walkway that follows the route of the once bustling but long neglected railway line.
7. Catch a Movie Vintage Style
One of the most obvious things to do on a rainy day, is going to the movies to watch the latest Hollywood blockbuster with a bucket of popcorn or perhaps a glass of wine.
But why not upgrade your movie experience by visiting a theatre that breathes history, with art deco facades, cosy bars, and comfy seats with super soft cushions?
Also known as Cremorne Orpheum Theatre, the Hayden Orpheum Picture Palace along Military Road is a heritage-listed cinema where watching a movie is a truly unique experience.
Built in 1937 and now heritage-listed, Ritz Cinemas in Randwick is another art deco style cinema steeped in rich history and tradition.
8. Find Your Zen in a Spa
What better way to spend a rainy day 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.
9. 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 has a great selection of indoor and outdoor ice-skating rinks on offer.
For many of us, ice skating is a totally new experience. It’s hard at first, but after a few practice runs, you’ll soon find out 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, you also get the chance to show off your amazing ice skating skills.
Check out our list of some of the best indoor and outdoor ice skating rinks in Sydney.
10. Play a Game of Indoor Laser Tag
Laser skirmish is as much fun for adults as it is for children, with more professional laser tag arenas popping up in and around Sydney.
Most of these arenas feature state-of-the-art laser tag technology, amazing props and great sound effects, making them the ideal indoor hideaway spot for those rainy afternoons. You can either bring your own group of mates, or you can team up with random others on the spot.
Strike Bowling has excellent laser tag facilities in Macquarie Park, Chatswood and the Entertainment Quarter, while Kingpin has laser tag locations in Darling Harbour, North Strathfield and Campbelltown.
11. Go Jumping on All the Trampolines
Don’t we all love jumping on trampolines? It’s the best way to just let all that energy out, no matter what age you are. Let that inner child run free like there’s no tomorrow and jump as high as you can.
Check out Sky Zone in Alexandria, an indoor trampoline park with more than 100 interconnected trampolines that let you literally bounce off the walls.
Or perhaps Ultimate Sydney, where you can find a large trampoline zone, play trampoline dodge ball and even a trampoline foam pit for some serious jumping action.
12. 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 also hosts an ever-changing program of temporary exhibitions and a fleet of historic craft at its wharves in Darling Harbour.
The ANMM is a fun and educational museum that caters for al ages, and is an excellent way to spend a rainy Sunday afternoon in Sydney.
13. Go Ten Pin Bowling
Another classic indoor thing to do in Sydney when it rains is a fun, social or competitive game of ten pin bowling.
Even better, you can do both laser skirmish and bowling on the same rainy day, because some bowling venues also have laser tag arenas under the same roof, such as Strike Bowling and Kingpin bowling.
14. Go Racing in Go Karts
Our last tip in this list of indoor things to do in Sydney on a rainy day is perhaps the most exciting one.
Feel that pure adrenaline rush kicking in while racing with your mates at one of the indoor go kart race tracks in Sydney. Go karting is not just serious fun for young and old, it’s also quite the workout so be ready to get your sweat on.
Try your luck at Extreme Indoor Go Karting in Villawood, which has a huge 500m long race track. Another great venue is Ultimate Karting Sydney near Campbelltown, where you’ll find a superb 450m long and 6m wide race track.
15. Do an Opera House Tour
Opened in 1973, the Sydney Opera House is not only one of Sydney’s top tourist attractions, it’s also considered one of the most famous and distinctive buildings from the 20th century.
The Opera House is now a multi-venue performing arts centre with several theatres, rehearsal studios, two main halls, 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 otherwise, this intimate backstage tour goes behind the scenes, inside the orchestra pit and inside a dressing room, complemented with unique insider stories.