Things to do

What to do on your lunch break in Sydney

Return to the office refreshed and refocused with these activities that will make you feel like you’ve had a proper break.

Customs House City Model

Learn something new

Head to one of the City of Sydney’s libraries to catch up on some reading, learn more about something that interests you, or use the free wifi to work on a creative project. A City of Sydney library membership is free if you live in NSW. Find out 10 things you can do free with a library card.

Customs House features a library and underground city model.
Customs House features a library and underground city model.

Work up a sweat

If you’re not a morning person, your lunch break is a great time to squeeze in a session at one of Sydney’s best workout spots. Take a dip at the Cook + Phillip Park Aquatic and Fitness Centre. Or check out the Ian Thorpe Aquatic Centre. This facility features a newly refurbished fitness centre with new, state-of-the-art machines and equipment, a new gym floor layout, and new group fitness timetable.

You can also enjoy a range of lunchtime activities at our community centres. Head to Ultimo Community Centre to play table tennis for free or get a team together for the lunchtime futsal competition.

Take a dip at Cook + Phillip Park Aquatic and Fitness Centre
Take a dip at Cook + Phillip Park Aquatic and Fitness Centre

The King George V (KGV) Recreation Centre in The Rocks has fitness classes during lunchtime, including Pilates and boxing. Regular futsal, basketball, volleyball and netball competitions are available to join. If you’re keen to just play with friends, there are courts for hire.

Explore the city

Escape the stress of the office by immersing yourself in nature. Wander through the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney and enjoy lunch on the grass, or take a guided tour with one of the garden's passionate volunteers, who’ll help you discover the rich heritage and plant diversity of this tranquil oasis.

If you feel like roaming, download the free Sydney Culture Walks app and set out to explore the city. You’ll see Sydney with fresh eyes and discover hidden laneways, street art, architecture and historic landmarks. To avoid the crowds, challenge yourself to find one of Sydney’s hidden gems.

Discover hidden gems, such as Forgotten Songs in Angel Place.
Discover hidden gems, such as Forgotten Songs in Angel Place.

See an exhibition

There are far worse ways to spend your lunch break than wandering through the Art Gallery of NSW, with its magnificent archways and splendid grand courts. Make your way through the gallery at your own pace, or join one of the free public tours led by volunteer guides.

The Museum of Contemporary Art features more than 4000 works by Australian artists, as well as temporary exhibitions throughout the year. Entry is free and you can either join a guided tour or download the app to learn more about the works. Before you head back to the office, grab a bite to eat at the MCA Café, which features a delicious menu and spectacular views of Sydney Harbour.

For something a little more interactive, head to the Powerhouse Museum. It features hands-on activities where you can discover the technology, engineering, science and design behind some of the world’s greatest innovations. Book a ticket and enjoy one of the temporary exhibitions, or take a self-guided tour through the collections.

The Australian National Maritime Museum is only a short stroll from the city centre, but feels a world away from the lunch-hour rush. It features one of the largest floating vessel collections in the world, so you can recreate your childhood fantasies by climbing on board a replica sailing ship or former navy submarine. In the museum, there are exhibitions on a range of fascinating topics, from pirates to Pompeii.

See what's on in Sydney today.

Published 15 August 2018, updated 14 July 2022