Family summer fun in The Rocks

Is it starting to feel like it’s been summer forever? Are the kids bouncing off the walls at home? Sprinklers and super soakers in the backyard just not cutting it?

Never fear – there’s a surprising amount of family-friendly fun down at The Rocks. It could be as simple as grabbing some ice cream, enjoying a walk down by the water and, if you time it right, witnessing the spectacle of a towering cruise liner making her majestic exit or arrival alongside the Overseas Passenger Terminal.

Want more? Here are some easy ideas.

Pipilotti Rist @ The MCA

The Museum of Contemporary Art have an colourful program inspired by Pipilotti Rist’s wildly popular (and highly Instagrammable) exhibition Sip My Ocean, which runs until 18 February. Pick up a family ticket for the show (kids under 12 are free!), where everyone can enjoy the fascinating installations that range from a tiny screen in the floor to a giant-sized living room, and explore the free family creative area.

Sticky fingers

It’s a holiday no-brainer: some sweet in a cup or a cone will keep everyone happy for at least a good ten minutes. You can grab a classic at Gelatissimo or Royal Copenhagen, or grab a handmade treat from Creamly at the Markets on Saturday or Sunday, and enjoy them at the colourful picnic tables in the precinct’s free summer chill-out zones.

The Rocks Discovery Museum

Entry is free for all at this museum, which is all about making the history of Sydney’s oldest suburb come alive with interactive exhibits. Families can explore the archaeological and social history of the Rocks, handle real artifacts, learn from multimedia exhibits, and even make badges at the Museum’s summer program.

PaniQ Room

Perfect for older kids (or precocious under-12s) with a love for puzzles, spies or magic. These engrossing escape rooms are a fun and unusual way for the whole family to spend an hour (or less, if you’re extra clever) in the hottest part of the day.

Kids a la carte

Plenty of the historic pubs in the area offer kids menus, so they can eat happily while the grownups enjoy a delicious feed and a local beer or wine or a refreshing cocktail after a long day of exploring. The Australian Heritage Hotel has crocodile, emu and kangaroo pizzas, over 120 craft beers and a $10 kids’ menu; the Glenmore Hotel also offers a “Little Tackers” selection that will only set you back a blue note each, as well as stunning 360-degree views from their rooftop; and at the newly renovated Observer Hotel, fresh-flavoured cocktails on tap mean more fun and less fuss for parents, while the $7 kids’ meals mean extra savings.

You can check out more family-friendly dining options in The Rocks.

Susannah Place Museum

At this unique museum you can immerse yourselves in history, and discover what it was like for the 100+ families who lived in the four poky sandstone terraces of Susannah Place from 1844 onwards. The affordable entry fees come with a guided tour of this fascinating corner of the city, and there’s even a delightful corner store, recreated as it would have been in 1915, with old-fashioned products and souvenirs.

DARE café

Food intolerances don’t take a holiday! This chilled-out café (named for its ethos of Delicious And Responsible Eating) has a range of fresh, healthy meals and treats available – and they also happen to be allergy-friendly, gluten-free, and ethically sourced.


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