Health and wellbeing

What to do in Sydney during a heatwave

Here’s how to stay cool when temperatures get hot.

ABC Pool swimmers

There’s nothing like Sydney in summertime. But warm weather is one thing … a heatwave is quite another.

The Bureau of Meterology defines a heatwave as 3 or more days in a row when both daytime and night-time temperatures are unusually high.

High temperatures can become dangerous (think heat stroke and dehydration) for people of all ages. They should be taken seriously.

A heatwave is particularly risky for older people, babies and children, pregnant women, people with medical conditions and people who are unwell, among others. NSW Health has great resources to help you beat the heat and stay well in hot weather.

Here are just a few ways to stay cool when temperatures spike for days on end.

Stay hydrated

Take a water bottle with you wherever you go or make use of our water bubblers.

Did you know there’s a map to help you find the closest water bubbler in the city?

Look out for loved ones

Contact your family and friends and stop by to check on your neighbours. Do they have enough food and medication? Learn more about the signs of heat-related illnesses at NSW Health.

Find some air-conditioning


The City’s libraries are air-conditioned and offer much more than books. Branches are open to study, work, access free computers or browse and borrow from the collection. See about our library services and opening hours to plan your visit.

Green Square Library.
Green Square Library.

Galleries and museums

There’s so much incredible art and culture happening every day in Sydney. Many galleries are also free to visit.

Some recommendations: Museum of Contemporary Art, Art Gallery of NSW, Powerhouse Museum, Australian Museum, White Rabbit Gallery.

Museum of Contemporary Art.
Museum of Contemporary Art.

Movies, window-shopping and indoor activities

Want to catch the blockbusters? Film buffs have plenty of options in our local area, from major chains to independent venues. Shopping centres can be a cooler place to spend time when it's hot outside. You can also find free indoor events happening today on our What's On website.

Cool off in the water - but stay safe

Head for the water, but don’t forget to slip, slop, slap. Find shade, take a hat and other clothing to cover up, sunscreen, sunglasses and plenty of water.

If you're heading to the beach, make sure you swim within the red and yellow flags and and stick to patrolled beaches.

Surf Lifesaving NSW made 3,000 rescues last summer and there have been a number of tragic drownings.

Find out more on the BeachSafe website. The site includes current information and conditions for every beach in Australia.


Take a refreshing dip in one of the City’s 6 swimming pools.

Whether you’re looking for a place to practise your laps indoors or outdoors, each pool is perfect for all levels with plenty of shade.

Not a good swimmer? Not a problem! Each of the City’s pools offer classes for all ages and abilities where you can develop your water survival skills. Learn a skill for life this summer.

Prince Alfred Park Pool.
Prince Alfred Park Pool.

Water playgrounds

Splish splash! Take advantage of interactive water features in local playgrounds. You can find them at the following parks:

Have a plan

If all else fails, stay indoors out of the heat. And be sure to take care of yourself, your pets, your family and friends. Wildlife also needs help.

Find out more about how to stay safe in a heatwave.

- Related content: Helping city wildlife survive extreme heat.

Published 2 November 2018, updated 6 December 2023