It seems cities are creeping up on the beach as our favourite summer holiday destination. Forty-seven per cent of Aussies want to book a city escape in 2014, with Sydney being high on the list, according to research from travel website lastminute.com.au. With 2014 summer gently sliding to a close, here are 10 suggestions to help you get your shine on before the autumn falls.

1. The unmissable Sydney Festival

You cannot go past Sydney Festival (until 26 January) if you’re looking for a grand way to spend a balmy summer night. Try the free activities in Hyde Park as part of this year’s Festival Village including Sacrilege, a life-size bouncy castle of Stonehenge, circus, cabaret, a wide range of family activities and five bars and food options that will blow your tastebuds: Jafe Jaffles, Woofy’s Hot Dogs and Gelato Messina.

2. On the Academy’s red carpet

Glam up and frock up in your hottest red carpet outfit at the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA) Awards – the Aussie equivalent of the Oscars. It’s the first time tickets have been made available to the public so nab yours quickly and mingle with the stars at The Star Event Centre on 30 Jan. Tickets $180 include entry via red carpet.

3. Manly open for surfing

In February, the world’s best surfers will descend on Manly for the Hurley Australian Open of Surfing. From 8 to 16 February, perch on the sand and watch the world’s elite surfers and feel free to burn off some energy of your own with or game of beach volleyball and the odd swim.

4. Café to café cycling

Get your cycle on and explore Sydney by bike, either on your own or as part of a bike tour. Take a break at one of the many cafes catering to cyclists around town: Bespoke and Grind in Marrickville; Atelier de Velo in the city; Deus Café in Camperdown; and Town Bike Pitstop.

5. Splash out and go swanky

Who doesn’t want to savour summer by soaking up water views from the bathroom? There is a bevy of bargain of harbour-side rooms available from places such as Pier One Sydney Harbour or Shangri-La Hotel.

6. Walking to your waterhole

Quench a summer’s thirst by joining one of Sydney’s small bar walking tours, such as Two Feet and a Heartbeat. It’s not all about the bars though, you also get to explore the city’s heritage buildings and laneways in between as well. Prices start at $50.

7. A Sydney Soiree

Browse the Circular Quay buskers before heading to the Opera House to see La Soiree, an eclectic mix of cabaret, burlesque and circus acts. The hybrid performance returns to Sydney for the third year on the trot. Tickets from $125.

8. At one with nature on the trails

Explore the wonders of Sydney’s bush on foot as you take on one of the many walking trails around the city. Why not give the Spit to Manly, Bare Island to Henry Head, Bondi to Bronte, Sydney’s Great Coastal Walk or the Hermitage Foreshore a go?

9. Sunset by rooftop

Watch the sun set on fine Sydney summer’s evening at one of the city’s rooftop bars. Try the Glenmore Hotel in The Rocks for sweeping harbour views; Corridor in Newtown; the patio at The Darlo Bar; Ivy Pool Club and The Terrace at the Woollahra Hotel.

10. Let the kids go Wet ‘n’ Wild

For kids young and old, the much-anticipated Wet ’n ’Wild Sydney has well and truly opened its doors for those seeking endless summer fun. Get ready to take on more than 40 slides and attractions, and some of the tallest and fastest rides in the world!

MORE:
All you need to know about the city in Australian Traveller’s Sydney Guide.
For more on what’s on these holidays, check out sydney.com
For summer hotel deals in Sydney and flights, try lastminute.com.au (rooms from $129, flights from $87 one way).