How to Spend a Rainy Weekend in Sydney
A rainy weekend isn’t a particularly common occurrence in Sydney, so when it does happen, all your regular plans go out the window. There’s nothing better than a cozy staycation in your home city, so we recently put it to the test to make the best guide of what to do over a weekend in a tiny city-centric radius. Bidding a fond farewell to Winter (honestly, the best excuse to justify a hotel buffet breakfast) and enjoying a slower pace around the CBD in the drizzle. We clocked out of work a little early to make the most of the hotel check-in and dress up a little for our night on the town. We booked a package that included valet parking (fancy!) and a late check-out (heaven!) the following day to maximise the stay. It was only the night before when I had something pop up in my Instagram feed about Bring It On The Musical running at The State Theatre. I clicked through and found cheap lottery tickets available for the Friday night, and that was essentially all the convincing I needed. My favourite movie from my pre-teen years, and the chance to see a venue that’s been on my Sydney bucket list forever — the perfect combination!
Happy hour drinks and snacks was just what we needed before the show, stopping in for an Negroni and a pizza at Fratelli Fresh, tucked away atop the Westfield food court. Despite being in the food court, the venue is separated and feels like a much more special bistro. Also, my favourite piece is the giant wall neon that simply says SPAGHETTI. I mean, I can relate to that. Full of arancini balls, we headed off across the road to the absolutely beautiful State Theatre. Sydney’s architecture is a such a mish-mash of styles, I wasn’t prepared for how gorgeous the inside of the State Theatre would be. I was a little underwhelmed by the show - my own fault, thinking it would be based more on the original movie than the adapted version it was - but it was worth it just to see the theatre! Raspberry seats and carpet, ornate moulding on the ceilings, and so much marble.
The grand plans the following morning were focussed on the buffet breakfast. Tiny pastries, single serve Eggs Benedict, and make your own pancakes. Tasters of matcha lattes, banana smoothies, cheese and fruit salads. Nothing better than enjoying a waffle and coffee while watching the rain pitter-patter down on the park across the street. A break in the rain enough to venture out and we headed to the Art Gallery of New South Wales via Hyde Park. We arrived right as it opened for the day, so got to enjoy a lot of the art all to ourselves! I always visit my favourite painting, Five Bells by John Olsen every time I visit the AGNSW. I love spotting a new piece I’ve never seen before, like a small work by Claude Monet or portraits that remind me of people I know in real life.
Back outside and across The Domain and into Martin Place, and along to Pitt Street Mall. The worse the weather is outside, the cosier it feels in The Stand Arcade, I’m sure of it. I love to window shop in The Strand, and admire the mosaic floor tiles and lead-light at either end. If you’re needing a pick-me up, Gumption Cafe is good for coffee, or Haigh’s Chocolates is the ideal if you’re needing something sweet. Finishing up our window shopping, we headed back to the hotel for a lazy hour or two before checking-out. A cup of tea in a hotel robe, reading the newspaper on a Saturday afternoon, I did wonder what happens when you stay past your check-out time…
The perfect rainy Sydney weekend! Wanting to try it out for yourself? Here’s the highlights!
Fratelli Fresh — a bargain happy hour means you can get away with dinner and drinks for two for under $30 if you’re in before 6pm
Haigh’s Chocolates — the Haigh’s chocolate freckles will give your childhood favourites a luxe upgrade
Gumption Coffee — tricky to nab a seat, but if you can snag a spot to enjoy your coffee, it’s perfect for people watching
Tresórs — glittering like a jewel box at the mall end of the Strand Arcade it’s the perfect spot to admire something sparkly
AGNSW Gift Store — the best selection of beautiful art and design publications in the back section of the gift shop
The State Theatre — (don’t miss the ladies bathroom at the top of the stairs!)
Art Gallery of New South Wales — even if you’re not visiting for a specific exhibition, the permanent collection is well worth a browse
Sheraton Grand Sydney Hyde Park — Set right on Elizabeth Street across from Hyde Park. It’s my go-to hotel choice in Sydney and we often stay here for special occasions and celebrations