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What to do in Sydney during a heatwave

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

There’s nothing like Sydney in summertime. But warm weather is one thing … a heatwave is quite another. Sweltering temperatures can become dangerous (think heat stroke and dehydration).

Here’s how to stay cool when temperatures reach the high 30s and above.

Find some air-conditioning!

The best thing to do in a heatwave? Step inside one of the many free, air-conditioned public spaces in Sydney.

Shopping centres

Need an excuse to do a little retail therapy? You just got one.

Westfield Sydney is the biggest shopping venue in the city centre, with 250 stores over multiple levels. That’ll keep you busy for a while.

Within a stone’s throw, you’ll find the Queen Victoria Building, the Strand Arcade, World Square and plenty of boutique retail spots.

A heatwave is a perfect excuse for some retail therapy.


The City’s libraries are air-conditioned and offer much more than books – although obviously there are plenty of those as well. Take advantage of free wifi to finish that project you’ve been working on, listen to CDs and audiobooks and watch DVDs.

Take a trip to Green Square Library. Borrow a guitar for a jam in the music room, sign up for a creative class in the computer lab or grab a makerspace kit for the kids to take home.

Green Square Library.

Galleries and museums

There’s so much incredible art and culture happening every day in Sydney. There’s no time like now to soak it up.

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

Museum of Contemporary Art.


Want to catch the blockbusters? Head to Event Cinemas on George Street. Film buffs have plenty of options for something a little more offbeat – try Dendy in Newtown or Opera Quays, the Palace Verona in Paddington or Golden Age Cinema in Surry Hills.

Customs House

There’s nothing like a miniature scale model of Sydney’s cityscape to ignite kids’ imagination. Customs House is home to a detailed replica under a glass floor. The heritage-listed building not only houses a huge contemporary library, the space also includes exhibition spaces as well as restaurants and bars with unparalleled views of the harbour.

Customs House Library.

Community centres

There’s so much more happening every day at your local community centre – from sports and fitness to singing and creative workshops. Take part in a quick class or sign up for one of the many ongoing courses on offer.

Pyrmont Community Centre

Cool off in the water

Head for the water, but don’t forget to slip, slop, slap, seek and slide.


Just keep swimming. A refreshing dip in one of the City’s 5 swimming pools is just what the doctor ordered.

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.

Water playgrounds

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

  • Mary O’Brien Reserve, Tilford Avenue Zetland
  • Tumbalong Park, Darling Harbour
  • Pirrama Park, Pirrama Road Pyrmont
  • Redfern Park, Redfern Street, Redfern

Stay hydrated

Stock up on that H2O – you need it more than ever. Did you know there’s a map to help you find the closest water bubbler in the city?

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.

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