The Playmaker
Let's play
  • It's Sunday
    What day is it?
  • Now
    What time is it?
  • Anywhere in Sydney
    Where are you?
  • What do you feel like?
    What do you feel like?
  • And what else?
    And what else?

Seven Summertime Events That'll Help You Beat the Back-to-Work Blues

The summer break may be over, but there are heaps of fun things to do before winter arrives.
By Concrete Playground
January 17, 2021
By Concrete Playground
January 17, 2021


The summer break may be over, but there are heaps of fun things to do before winter arrives.

We made it through 2020. We're in the throes of a new year, with two months of summer still ahead of us. The holidays are done and dusted, and as we get back into the swing of work it can be easy to get swept up in all the chaos and miss out on the good stuff — like outdoor cinemas, gigs, award-winning musicals and G&T pop-ups.

It's time to make the most of the summertime events you probably meant to check out in 2020 but didn't. New year, new you. And that means getting outside and embracing the best of Sydney life. Here are seven things to do this summer and autumn to help lift your mood. Get out there and enjoy it.

  • 7

    Whether you’re keen on an after-work drink, a bite to eat, an excuse to catch up with your mates or some live tunes, everything goes better with a view. That’s one of the main ideas behind The Garden Social, the new summer event hosted in The Domain by the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney — and popping up every Wednesday–Sunday between January 13–February 7.

    Taking over The Domain’s Tarpeian Precinct, the event features a vantage that’ll see you peering out at the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge. Yep, that’s a classic Sydney backdrop. You can say cheers to it with drinks from the bar — and from a dedicated Fever-Tree Ultimate Gin and Tonic Bar, too. Obviously, G&Ts are on the menu there. Food-wise, food trucks will be serving up an array of dishes, including from Urban Pasta, Agape, Rolling Schnitzel, Burgers G-Dup, JR Korean Chicken and Birdman. Or, you can opt for gelato and churros if you’re after something sweet.

    Also, to set the mood, you can listen to a jazz, classical and contemporary soundtrack provided by musicians from the Conservatorium of Music. Entry is free, with The Garden Social running from 5–9pm Wednesday–Friday, from 11am–9pm every Saturday and from 11am–3pm each Sunday.

  • 6
    Mov'In Boat Floating Cinema

    Boats are obviously a big part of this new excuse to watch a movie under the stars. So — from December 2020 until the end of March — get ready to float in the ocean and glue your eyes to the 15-metre-long big screen at Mov’In Boat Floating Cinema. You can hire one of 40 rowboats, or BYO boat. If you’d prefer to laze about on one of 65 beds on a 1000-square-metre floating platform, you can do that too. And, you can also watch from the VIP area, which includes a bed, butler service, and free soft drinks and popcorn.

    Movie-wise, plenty of titles on the program have been picked with the location in mind. Where better to watch The Meg, Free Willy or Death on the Nile? Or, to revisit Dirty Dancing‘s lake scene and The Notebook‘s rainy embrace? You can also head to everything from action-thriller Tenet and likeable rom-com The Broken Hearts Gallery to Knives Out‘s whodunnit twists and The Matrix‘s “whoa!”-inducing sci-fi. And, more movies are still to be announced. If you’re hungry, beer-battered fish and chips, buckets of prawns, pizza and Nutella-slathered waffles will be delivered to you via jet ski, from a menu that also includes pizzas and dairy floss as well. To wash all of that down, there’ll be a floating bar serving beer, wine, cocktails and soft drinks, too.

  • 5
    Pixar Putt Parramatta

    Our favourite Pixar characters are popping up in Parramatta at a new mini golf course inspired by some of our favourite Disney films. After setting up its (temporary) home in Darling Harbour last year, the kidult-friendly course is now heading to Bankwest Stadium (with five new holes) from Saturday, September 26 until Sunday, January 31.

    Designed to challenge both eight-year-olds and adults, Pixar Putt features nine- and 18-hole courses that take you past childhood heroes like Buzz Lightyear, Sheriff Woody and Elastigirl. Hit a few balls with Darla and Marlin from Finding Nemo, and flick one past Princess Atta from A Bug’s Life. No need for a trip to Disneyland. Pixar Putt is also open for after-dark sessions every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night — because the post-work putt-putt hours are perfect for those date nights when you want to do more than just have dinner and see a movie.

    Until January 31, you can head by from 10am–8pm Sunday–Wednesday and 10am–10pm Thursday–Saturday. As COVID-19 restrictions are still a fact of life, the mini golf course will have physical distancing measures, plenty of hand sani and restricted capacity — which means tickets will sell fast.

  • 4
    $21 Summer Tix

    Now that the Sydney Opera House is back in action after 2020’s COVID-19 shutdown, the iconic site has filled its 2021 program with musicals, operas, comedy gigs, circus shows, family-friendly fare and more. Keen to head along, but watching your budget? The venue has just announced the perfect special for anyone who loves a bargain: $21 tickets to select performances until the end of March.

    Here’s how it works: at midday each and every day, $21 tickets will go on sale for a performance, event or experience that’s on the following day. You just need to hop onto the venue’s website when 12pm hits to nab your tickets. It’s a first-come, first-served affair, with tickets available until sold out. You can grab four in one transaction, and you won’t pay any booking fees with your purchase.

    If you haven’t already booked yourself in to see Rent, this could be your chance. If you’d like to giggle at Sam Simmons or Lano and Woodley, or catch Circa’s Peepshow, cross your fingers they’re on the cheap tickets list, too. Cabaret The Choir of Man and operas Tosca and Bluebeard’s Castle are also on the bill over the next three months, so keep your eyes peeled for them among the specials.

    Image: Hamilton Lund

  • 3

    Sydney Festival director Wesley Enoch’s final program is proudly Australian Made, has an entirely new outdoor stage and is putting local talent under as many spotlights as possible, stretching from Stargazer Lawn to the Seymour Centre and Parramatta Park. Returning from January 6–26, the three-week festival has a program of 140-plus events, covering live music and theatre to circus, dance and huge public art installations. There will be physical distancing measures in place across all of the events, with the bonus of some of this year’s program accessible online, too.

    Highlights include a celebration of tennis legend Wiradjuri woman Evonne Goolagong in Sunshine Super Girl, in which a huge tennis court will be assembled in the middle of Sydney Town Hall; a new work of dance theatre by Force Majeure called The Last Season that explores human survival and environmental destruction; and Spirit: A Retrospective 2021 — a powerful collection of dance stories from Bangarra Dance Company’s 30-year repertoire.

    Tickets are already selling fast for events at the new pop-up stage at Barangaroo Reserve. The Headland program includes an homage to George Michael in the celebratory The Rise and Fall of Saint George. Tickets start from $25 for that, as well as other Headland events like Sydney Symphony Orchestra’s premiere, The [Uncertain] Four Seasons — an ambitious collaboration between composers, designers and scientists.

    Image: The Headland

  • 2
    Sydney's Happiest Hour

    Happy hour is a well-worn tradition of bars and restaurants around the world. In Sydney, if you walk into a bar there’s likely a happy hour special at some point in the week. A new initiative running throughout January 2021, however, is one-upping all other happy hours. For the entire month of January, eight much-loved Sydney venues are offering 50 percent off their entire menu for one hour each day. Drink or dine at The Winery, Cargo, Manly Wine, Bungalow8, The Rook, Untied, The Loft or Beer Deluxe on King Street Wharf from 5–6pm between Friday, January 1 and Sunday, January 31 and you’ll receive 50 percent off your entire order.

    That means you could head to Manly Wine for $9 steak tartare and $9.50 salted caramel espresso martinis or The Rook for $12 wagyu beef burgers, $15 lobster rolls and and pear, apple and chestnut negronis for $10.50. You’ll also find $12.50 chicken schnitzels at Bungalow 8 and $6 Aperol spritzes at The Winery.

    All you need to do in order to get the discount is pay by mobile at the end of your meal using either the Australian Venue Co app or Mr Yum Order at Table. There is no limit to the number of guests that can attend, meaning you can have a reasonably priced catch up with any sized group of friends.

  • 1
    Hamilton the Musical

    What time is it? Showtime! After taking the world by storm when it hit Broadway in 2015, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s critically acclaimed musical Hamilton is finally coming to the “greatest city in the world”: Sydney. If, like us, you’ve been watching the filmed version of Hamilton with the original Broadway cast on repeat since it was fast-tracked to Disney+ in July, then we bet you could not be more satisfied with the news you’ll finally be able to see it live on stage.

    The record-breaking production, which nabbed 11 Tony Awards (including Best Musical), six Laurence Olivier Awards, a Grammy Award and a Pulitzer Prize, was inspired by Ron Chernow’s 2004 biography Alexander Hamilton. It tells the story of Caribbean-born immigrant Alexander Hamilton, who rose to become America’s ten-dollar Founding Father (“without a father”). Directed by Thomas Kail, the musical tracks Hamilton’s arrival in New York in the early 1770s, fighting in the Revolutionary War, and working alongside the likes of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and his rival Aaron Burr to form the United States of America.

    If you want to be in the room where it happens, Hamilton is opening at the Sydney Lyric Theatre on Wednesday, March 17, 2021, booking through to September. Tickets will set you back $70–250 a pop. There are flexible ticket options available, now including gift vouchers, which might suit those planning to travel to Sydney especially for the show. They’ll also make excellent Christmas presents. The Sydney Lyric Theatre also has a COVID-19 safety plan in place, in accordance with NSW Health.

    Image: US National Tour, Joan Marcus


Top image: The Garden Social

Tap and select Add to Home Screen to access Concrete Playground easily next time. x
Counter Pixel