Sydney is known and adored for its waterfront views, sandy beaches, sparkling harbour, and bustling inner-city vibe. But what happens when it rains? Plenty. From leafy green streets to stroll down with an umbrella overhead to free world-class art galleries, here are three of the best rainy day activities in Sydney.
Visit the White Rabbit Gallery
This is where you’ll find one of the world’s largest collections of Chinese contemporary art—and it’s completely free to visit! Located in hip Chippendale and operated by the Neilson Foundation, White Rabbit Gallery houses over four floors of exhibition space, and its collections are changed biannually. The bright white walls and cheery lighting make the original paintings, sculptures, and installations really pop. Once you’ve had your fix of culture (on your own or with a guided tour), browse the gift shop for notebooks and keepsake gifts to take home. Then settle in for some freshly made dumplings or a cup of loose leaf tea at the gallery’s quaint Tea House.
Stroll Down Bourke & Crown Streets
Leafy green Bourke Street in Surry Hills is one of the prettiest places to find rainy day activities in Sydney, as long as you have an umbrella in tow. Dotted with Victorian-style terraces and shaded by canopies of trees, it makes for a good place to start a day trip through the trendy neighbourhood. Begin your journey at Bourke Street Bakery with a coffee and a freshly made pastry—be sure to pick up some sweets for later, too. Every Friday to Sunday the nearby Brett Whiteley Studio on Raper Street opens its doors to the public for free, and you can scope out the late artist’s unfinished masterpieces and personal memorabilia while his favourite tunes play in the background. Up on Crown Street, you’ll find plenty of vintage stores, funky cafes, and late-night drinking dens (like the oh-so-cool Shady Pines Saloon) to keep you occupied all day and night long.
Go Window Shopping at the QVB
A restored Romanesque revival structure originally built in the late nineteenth century, the Queen Victoria Building (or QVB, as it’s lovingly referred to by locals) offers up a plethora of rainy day activities Sydney. After a six-year renovation, the mammoth building—which takes up an entire city block—features a vibrant Victorian-inspired colour palette, updated lighting, and modern energy-saving appliances. The building’s stained glass windows, original staircases, and inner glass dome will delight those interested in architecture, while high-end stores selling everything from leather goods to fine jewellery will have shopaholics entertained for hours. When you want to stop to renew your energy, visit The Tea Room and enjoy traditional afternoon tea served in what was originally the QVB’s grand ballroom.