December 25 in Sydney doesn’t need to be a bore if you don’t celebrate Christmas. While the majority of businesses shut down for the day, there’s still plenty to cater to those who don’t partake in the festivities for whatever reason. From watching the latest blockbusters to downing some dumplings and checking out Sydney’s most famous zoo, here’s what to do on Christmas Day in Sydney if you don’t celebrate.

Visit Taronga Zoo
Beautiful Taronga Zoo is open every day of the year – including December 25. And, thankfully for those who want the full wildlife experience, everything at the waterfront conservation park operates as per usual, from the animal encounters to bird shows and talks. Visit the zoo’s newborn litter of African lion clubs in the Savannah exhibit, watch seals dive and catch fish at 11am and 2pm every day, or book in for a meerkat experience – the curious critters will climb all over you and feed from your lap. taronga.org.au

See the latest blockbusters
Many of Sydney’s movie theatres are open on December 25. And they are often packed with those who celebrate Christmas but whose families are far away, or those who don’t celebrate Christmas at all. While some of the year’s biggest blockbusters are usually released on December 26, many cinemas are screening them a day early – including West Side Story, Matrix Resurrections and Licorice Pizza. Catch the Timothée Chalamet-starring blockbuster Dune, Wes Anderson’s quirky The French Dispatch, the latest Spiderman flick, and loads more. As for the cinemas that are open? There’s Event Cinemas in Bondi, Burwood, Ed Square, George Street, Macquarie and Parramatta; the Ritz in Randwick (which will be continuing its annual tradition of screening Fiddler on the Roof); and Hoyts Broadway, EQ, Eastgardens, Chatswood, Warringah, Wetherill Park, Blacktown, Penrith and Bankstown.

Eat yum cha
In America, it’s a tradition for Jewish people to eat Chinese food on Christmas Day – and with loads of Chinese restaurants in Sydney remaining open on December 25, we reckon it’s a ritual worth embracing. Head to Piccadilly Tower in the CBD for classic trolley service at Palace Chinese, chow down on mango pancakes at the Eight, or transport yourself to Asia under the pagodas of the Dynasty in Canterbury Leagues Club.

Go to the beach
While most people are enjoying Christmas lunch at home, it’s the perfect time to make the most of the quiet roads and head to one of Sydney’s best beaches (though we’d still avoid busy Bondi). From picturesque harbour stretches of sand, to the sweeping cliff-bracketed beaches of the eastern suburbs and the wild beaches up north, it’s a great opportunity to head to the beach and actually find parking. Check out Sydney’s best beaches here.

Take a walk
Similarly, December 25 is a great time to hit some of Sydney’s most scenic bushwalking tracks. You’ll likely have the tracks to yourself while everyone else is getting merry on champagne and eggnog. Here’s a few to get you started.

Go out for a meal (or a drink)
The vast majority of businesses in Sydney might be shut on December 25 – but there’s still a good selection of restaurants, cafes and bars open to service your food and drink needs. Some do only offer set lunches and dinners for Christmas, but others will be running business as usual. We recommend tucking into a plate of charcuterie with a cocktail at Continental Deli, ordering a plate of outstanding noodles from Ho Jiak, or swinging by inner-west brewery Willie and the Boatman for a pint. Find out what else is open here.