Things to do in Sydney NSW Australia
Welcome to our guide on the top things to do in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia! As a bustling city with a rich history and diverse culture, Sydney has plenty of attractions and experiences to offer visitors. Whether you’re interested in exploring iconic landmarks, indulging in culinary delights, or experiencing the great outdoors, Sydney has something for everyone.
- Sydney is a vibrant city in New South Wales, Australia, known for its iconic landmarks, hidden gems, and diverse range of activities.
- Must-visit landmarks in Sydney include the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
- Explore hidden gems in Sydney, such as unique neighborhoods and offbeat attractions.
- Discover the best places to stay in Sydney, including popular neighborhoods and different accommodation options.
- Indulge in Sydney’s vibrant food scene and try a variety of cuisine options.
- Relax on Sydney’s famous beaches, including Bondi Beach and Manly Beach.
- Experience Sydney’s nightlife scene through popular bars, clubs, or entertainment venues.
- Enjoy outdoor activities in Sydney, such as hiking, bushwalking, or water sports.
- Immerse yourself in Sydney’s art and cultural scene through museums, galleries, and events.
- Find family-friendly activities and attractions in Sydney suitable for children of all ages.
- Explore nearby destinations on day trips from Sydney, such as the Blue Mountains or Hunter Valley.
- Shop for unique products and fashion finds in Sydney’s shopping precincts and markets.
- Plan your Sydney adventure with practical tips and suggestions based on your interests and preferences.
Explore Iconic Landmarks
When you think of Sydney, the first things that come to mind are likely the iconic landmarks that define the city’s skyline. As locals, we never tire of visiting these world-famous sights:
|Sydney Opera House
|The Sydney Opera House is one of the most recognizable buildings in the world. It’s an architectural masterpiece that hosts a variety of performing arts events throughout the year. Take a guided tour to learn all about its history and design, or catch a show in one of its venues.
|Sydney Harbour Bridge
|The Sydney Harbour Bridge is an engineering marvel that spans the harbour and provides stunning views of the city. Climb to the top with BridgeClimb for a once-in-a-lifetime experience, or opt for a more leisurely stroll across the pedestrian walkway.
Both the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge are must-visit landmarks when in Sydney. They represent the city’s history and culture and offer breathtaking views of the harbour and surrounding areas.
Experience Iconic Landmarks Like a Local
If you want to experience these landmarks like a local, we recommend taking a ferry ride from Circular Quay to Darling Harbour. Along the way, you’ll pass by the Opera House and get an up-close look at the Harbour Bridge. Once you arrive in Darling Harbour, stop for a drink or a meal at one of the many restaurants with waterfront views.
For an even more unique experience, take a guided kayak tour under the Harbour Bridge. You’ll have a completely different perspective of this iconic landmark and see parts of the harbour that are often missed by tourists.
“The Opera House and the Harbour Bridge are must-visit landmarks when in Sydney. They represent the city’s history and culture and offer breathtaking views of the harbour and surrounding areas.”
No matter how you choose to experience these iconic landmarks, they are sure to leave a lasting impression and make your trip to Sydney unforgettable.
Discover Hidden Gems
While Sydney is known for its iconic landmarks, the city also boasts a variety of offbeat and lesser-known attractions that are worth exploring. Here are some hidden gems to add to your Sydney itinerary:
A neighborhood in the inner-west of Sydney, Newtown is a vibrant and eclectic area that is known for its street art, live music, and trendy cafes. Take a walk down King Street, the main thoroughfare, to soak up the neighborhood’s artsy vibe and wander into the many boutique shops and vintage stores.
Located in the suburb of Glebe, the Glebe Markets are a popular destination for locals looking for unique and handmade goods. The market is open every Saturday and features a range of stalls selling everything from vintage clothing to homemade jams.
The Rocks Ghost Tours
Explore the darker side of Sydney’s history with a ghost tour through the historic neighborhood of The Rocks. Led by a local guide, the tour takes you through alleyways and hidden corners while sharing tales of haunted buildings and paranormal sightings.
Tucked away in the heart of Sydney’s bustling CBD is the Secret Garden, a tranquil oasis that feels like a world away from the city’s hustle and bustle. The garden is hidden behind a nondescript gate, but once inside, you’ll be surrounded by lush greenery, winding paths, and hidden nooks ideal for a peaceful escape.
Located on the harbor’s edge, Barangaroo Reserve is a serene park that offers stunning views of the city skyline and harbor. The park is designed with native Australian flora and is a great spot for a picnic, walking or jogging, and taking in the beautiful views.
Best Places to Stay in Sydney
When planning a trip to Sydney, choosing the right accommodation is essential to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable stay. Luckily, Sydney offers a wide range of lodging options that cater to every budget and preference.
The Rocks is one of the most popular areas to stay in Sydney, known for its historical charm and proximity to iconic landmarks like the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge. This neighborhood offers a variety of accommodation options, from luxury hotels to budget-friendly hostels. One standout option is the Park Hyatt Sydney, which boasts breathtaking views of the harbour and Opera House.
Darling Harbour is another popular area for visitors, with its lively atmosphere and proximity to attractions like SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium and the Australian National Maritime Museum. Accommodation options in this area range from serviced apartments to luxurious hotels, such as the Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour.
If you’re looking for a beachside experience, Bondi Beach offers a range of options from backpacker hostels to high-end hotels. This area is known for its vibrant surf culture and relaxed atmosphere. One highly recommended option is the QT Bondi, located just minutes from the beach and offering luxurious amenities such as a rooftop pool and spa.
Overall, Sydney offers a diverse range of accommodation options to suit every taste and budget. Whether you’re looking for historical charm, beachside relaxation, or luxurious amenities, there’s something for everyone in this vibrant city.
Indulge in Culinary Delights
As a cosmopolitan city, Sydney’s food scene is diverse and exciting. Whether you’re looking for a fine dining experience or a casual bite to eat, there is something for every palate. Here are some of our top recommendations for places to eat in Sydney:
Fish at the Rocks
If you’re a seafood lover, Fish at the Rocks is a must-visit. This iconic seafood restaurant located in The Rocks is known for its fresh and flavorful dishes. Try the famous seafood platter, which includes prawns, oysters, and lobster, or the classic fish and chips.
Kepos Street Kitchen
Located in the trendy suburb of Redfern, Kepos Street Kitchen offers a modern take on Mediterranean cuisine. The menu features flavorful and innovative dishes like the shakshuka, a Middle Eastern-inspired baked eggs dish, and the house-made labneh served with honey and pistachios.
Bourke Street Bakery
For those with a sweet tooth, Bourke Street Bakery is a must-visit. This artisan bakery is famous for its pastries, cakes, and bread, all made with high-quality ingredients. Try the award-winning ginger brûlée tart or the classic sausage roll.
The Grounds of Alexandria
The Grounds of Alexandria is a unique dining destination located in a former industrial precinct in Alexandria. With a focus on sustainable practices and local sourcing, this venue offers a range of dining options, from casual snacks to fine dining. Don’t miss the famous Garden Breakfast, served with fresh produce from the on-site gardens.
These are just a few of the many fantastic dining options available in Sydney. If you’re looking for even more inspiration, head to popular food precincts like Surry Hills or Barangaroo, or simply explore the city and discover hidden gems on your own.
Relax on Stunning Beaches
When the sun is shining and the weather is warm, there’s nothing quite like hitting up one of Sydney’s beautiful beaches. Whether you’re a surfer, a swimmer, or simply looking for a nice spot to relax and soak up some rays, Sydney has a beach for you.
The most iconic of these is Bondi Beach, famous for its long stretch of golden sand, clear blue waters, and bustling promenade. Bondi is often crowded, but it’s worth braving the crowds for the lively atmosphere and excellent beach facilities, including showers, changing rooms, and numerous cafes and restaurants.
Another popular beach is Manly Beach, reached by ferry from Circular Quay. Manly has a more laid-back vibe than Bondi and is a great spot for families or those looking to try their hand at surfing. The beach is patrolled by lifeguards, and there are plenty of facilities and amenities nearby.
Other Beaches to Check Out
If you’re looking for something a little different, there are plenty of other beaches in Sydney to explore. Some of our favorites include:
|This stunning beach, located in Sydney’s northern suburbs, is surrounded by lush greenery and offers great views of the ocean. It’s also a popular spot for fishing and surfing.
|This small, secluded beach in the suburb of Watsons Bay is a great spot for swimming and snorkeling, with calm waters and a beautiful outlook over the harbor.
|This beach is located near Manly and is known for its impressive waves and strong surf culture. There are also plenty of cafes and restaurants nearby, making it a great spot to spend the day.
Whatever beach you choose, be sure to bring plenty of sunscreen, a hat, and some water to stay hydrated. And always swim between the flags and watch out for any hazards or rip currents.
Experience Sydney’s Nightlife
Sydney’s nightlife is as diverse as it is exciting. From rooftop bars to underground clubs, Sydney has something to offer for everyone. Whether you’re looking for a night out with friends or a romantic evening, the city has plenty of options to choose from.
The Best Bars in Sydney
For a classy night out, head to The Baxter Inn, a speakeasy-style whiskey bar located in the heart of the city. Another popular spot is The Glenmore, a rooftop bar with stunning views of the Opera House and Harbour Bridge.
If you’re in the mood for craft beer, check out the Taphouse in Darlinghurst. With over 20 beers on tap, you’re sure to find something to suit your taste. For a more laid-back atmosphere, visit The Lord Nelson Brewery Hotel in The Rocks. They offer a great selection of locally brewed beers and pub food.
The Best Clubs in Sydney
For clubbing, Sydney has plenty of options. The Ivy is a popular spot that boasts several different bars and dance floors. Another well-known club is Home The Venue, located in Darling Harbour. This massive club features multiple levels, including a rooftop terrace.
If you’re looking for a more underground scene, check out The Junction in Marrickville. This intimate space regularly hosts local and international DJs in a cosy, no-frills atmosphere.
Sydney’s nightlife scene is constantly evolving, with new bars and clubs opening regularly. Check out the City of Sydney’s website for a list of upcoming events, ranging from music festivals to cocktail parties.
“Sydney’s nightlife is as diverse as it is exciting.”
Tips for a Night Out
If you’re planning a night out in Sydney, here are some tips to help make it a success:
- Plan ahead and make reservations where possible, especially for popular venues.
- Dress appropriately for the venue you’re visiting.
- Be aware of the lockout laws, which require venues to stop serving alcohol after a certain time.
- Take public transportation or use ride-share services like Uber to get around safely.
With so many options to choose from, Sydney’s nightlife is sure to delight visitors and locals alike.
Outdoor Adventures in Sydney
For those seeking outdoor thrills and adventures, Sydney has plenty to offer. From scenic coastal walks to adrenaline-fueled water sports, outdoor activities in Sydney are the perfect way to experience the city’s natural beauty.
Hiking and Bushwalking
The Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk is a must-do for any visitor to Sydney. This stunning 6-kilometre hike takes you through some of Sydney’s most iconic beaches, including Bondi, Tamarama, Bronte, and Coogee. You can also explore the Royal National Park, just an hour’s drive from the city, which features numerous hiking trails through untouched wilderness.
Sydney’s beautiful waterways provide a range of activities for water sports enthusiasts. Surfing is a popular activity, and the city boasts numerous surf beaches, including Bondi, Manly, and Cronulla. You can also try your hand at kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, or even kiteboarding in Sydney Harbour.
Sydney’s bike paths offer a unique way to explore the city’s scenic spots. You can ride through Centennial Park, along the foreshore of Sydney Harbour, or even tackle some of the challenging cycling routes in the Blue Mountains.
The sandstone cliffs of Sydney provide a challenging playground for rock climbing enthusiasts. There are numerous locations around the city where you can climb, such as the Sydney Indoor Climbing Gym or the Blue Mountains.
Whether you prefer a leisurely stroll or an adrenaline rush, Sydney has something for everyone when it comes to outdoor adventures. Get out and explore the natural beauty of this vibrant city.
Immerse in Art and Culture
Sydney has a lively art and cultural scene, with numerous galleries, museums, and events on offer. Whether you’re interested in contemporary art, ancient artifacts, or cultural festivals, there’s something for everyone.
Sydney is home to a range of world-class art galleries, showcasing everything from traditional Australian art to cutting-edge contemporary works. The Art Gallery of New South Wales is a must-visit destination for art lovers, featuring a vast collection of Australian, European, and Asian art. For something a bit edgier, check out the Museum of Contemporary Art, which hosts exhibitions and events that challenge traditional perspectives on art.
For those interested in history and culture, Sydney has a range of excellent museums to explore. The Australian Museum is the oldest museum in the country and features an extensive collection of natural history specimens, as well as Indigenous Australian artifacts. The Powerhouse Museum is another popular destination, showcasing science, technology, and design through interactive exhibits and displays.
Immerse yourself in Sydney’s diverse range of cultures through cultural experiences like food festivals, performances, and community events. The largest cultural festival in the city is the Sydney Festival, which takes place every January and celebrates a range of artistic disciplines, from music and theater to visual arts and dance. For a more intimate cultural experience, explore the vibrant neighborhoods of Chinatown, Little Italy, and the Spanish Quarter.
If you’re traveling with kids, Sydney offers an abundance of family-friendly activities that are sure to delight and entertain visitors of all ages. Here are some of our top recommendations:
Sydney Opera House
The iconic Sydney Opera House is not only a must-visit landmark, but it also offers a range of family-friendly experiences. The Junior Adventure Tour is a fun and interactive way for kids to learn about the history and architecture of the Opera House, while the Creative Play program allows children to explore drama and music through imaginative play.
Located on a hill overlooking Sydney Harbour, Taronga Zoo is home to over 4,000 animals from around the world. Kids will love the opportunity to get up close and personal with kangaroos, koalas, and other Australian wildlife, as well as seeing exotic animals like elephants, tigers, and giraffes.
SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium
Get ready to dive into an underwater adventure at SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium. Home to over 13,000 marine animals, including sharks, stingrays, and penguins, this aquarium offers a range of interactive exhibits and daily animal feedings for visitors of all ages.
For a dose of culture and history, the Australian Museum is a must-visit attraction. With exhibits on indigenous cultures, ancient civilizations, and natural history, there’s something to engage kids and adults alike. The museum also hosts regular family-friendly events and workshops.
Pylon Lookout at Sydney Harbour Bridge
If your family is up for a bit of adventure and a stunning view of the harbour, head to Pylon Lookout at Sydney Harbour Bridge. Climb the stairs to the top of the pylon for panoramic views of the city and the coastline, and learn about the history and construction of the bridge through interactive exhibits.
No matter what your family’s interests, Sydney has plenty of fun and enriching activities to offer. Plan your itinerary accordingly and make memories that will last a lifetime!
Day Trips from Sydney
Looking for a quick escape from the hustle and bustle of Sydney? There are plenty of day trip options to explore the surrounding natural beauty and charming towns. Here are some of our top recommendations:
Less than two hours west of Sydney, the Blue Mountains offer breathtaking scenery and a peaceful escape from the city. Marvel at the Three Sisters rock formation, take a scenic cable car or railway ride, or go hiking through the lush forests and valleys.
|A trio of rock formations that are a must-see attraction.
|A popular tourist attraction that offers cable car and railway rides with stunning views.
|Explore the Blue Mountains on foot with various hiking trails available.
Nestled in the heart of wine country, Hunter Valley is a popular destination for wine lovers and foodies. Taste some of Australia’s finest wines, enjoy a gourmet lunch, or take a hot air balloon ride over the picturesque vineyards.
|Visit one of the many wineries and taste some of the finest wines in Australia.
|Indulge in delicious meals and local produce at one of the many restaurants and cafes in the area.
|Hot Air Ballooning
|Take a hot air balloon ride over the scenic Hunter Valley vineyards.
If you’re looking for a beach day, head north to Palm Beach, famously known as the filming location for the popular Australian TV show, Home and Away. Enjoy the pristine white sand and clear water, or take a hike up to the Barrenjoey Lighthouse for panoramic views of the coastline.
|Relax on the beautiful white sand and enjoy the clear water at Palm Beach.
|Take a hike up to the Barrenjoey Lighthouse for stunning panoramic views of the coastline.
No matter your interests, there’s a day trip option to suit every traveler. Plan your escape from Sydney with one of these top destinations.
Shopping in Sydney
Sydney is a shopper’s paradise, offering a diverse range of shopping experiences for every taste and budget. Here are some of the top places to shop in Sydney:
Queen Victoria Building (QVB)
The iconic QVB is a must-visit shopping destination in Sydney. Located in the heart of the city, this beautifully restored 19th-century building houses over 200 stores, including luxury boutiques, high-end fashion brands, and specialty shops. In addition to shopping, you can also enjoy a meal or a coffee at one of the many cafes and restaurants in the building.
Pitt Street Mall
If you’re looking for a more diverse shopping experience, head to Pitt Street Mall. With over 600 stores, including major department stores, designer boutiques, and flagship stores of Australian brands, Pitt Street Mall has something for everyone. It’s also a hub for street performers and musicians, making it a lively and entertaining spot to spend an afternoon.
For a unique shopping experience, check out Glebe Markets. This vibrant market takes place every Saturday and offers a range of stalls selling handmade crafts, vintage clothing, and artisanal food products. The market also features live music and entertainment, making it a popular spot for locals and tourists alike.
The Paddington Markets, held every Saturday, are another great spot for finding unique and handmade items. With over 150 stalls, the market features a wide range of products, from fashion accessories to homewares to gourmet food. The market is located in the trendy Paddington neighborhood, known for its boutique shops and galleries.
Whether you’re looking for high-end fashion, handmade crafts, or gourmet food products, Sydney has plenty of shopping options to explore.
Plan Your Sydney Adventure
Now that you know all the amazing things to do in Sydney, it’s time to start planning your trip. Here are some practical tips to help make your Sydney adventure a success:
Sydney has a well-connected transportation network, including buses, trains, and ferries. To get around the city, we recommend purchasing an Opal card, which can be used on all forms of public transportation. Taxis and ride-sharing services are also available, but can be more expensive.
Sydney enjoys a temperate climate, with mild winters and warm summers. However, weather can be unpredictable, so we recommend checking the forecast before your trip and packing accordingly. Don’t forget to bring sunscreen and a hat for protection from the sun.
Best Times to Visit
Sydney is a year-round destination, but the best times to visit are in spring (September-November) or autumn (March-May) when the weather is mild and crowds are smaller. Keep in mind that December and January are the busiest and most expensive months due to the holiday season.
When planning your Sydney itinerary, consider your interests and how much time you have. Some must-visit attractions include the Sydney Opera House, Sydney Harbour Bridge, and Bondi Beach. For outdoor enthusiasts, hiking the Blue Mountains or kayaking in Sydney Harbour are great options. And don’t forget to indulge in Sydney’s food and nightlife scenes.
Remember, while it’s important to plan ahead, leave some time for spontaneity and exploration. Sydney has plenty of hidden gems waiting to be discovered.
Q: What are some must-visit iconic landmarks in Sydney?
A: Sydney is home to several iconic landmarks, including the internationally renowned Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge. These landmarks hold great historical and cultural significance and are worth exploring. You can also take guided tours or participate in activities related to these landmarks to enhance your experience.
Q: Are there any hidden gems in Sydney?
A: Absolutely! Sydney is not just about its famous landmarks. The city also boasts a range of hidden gems waiting to be discovered. Consider exploring unique neighborhoods or suburbs like Newtown or Glebe, where you can find offbeat attractions that offer a different perspective of the city.
Q: Where are the best places to stay in Sydney?
A: The best areas to stay in Sydney depend on your preferences and interests. Popular neighborhoods like The Rocks, Darling Harbour, and Bondi Beach offer a variety of accommodation options. You can choose from luxury hotels, boutique guesthouses, or budget-friendly hostels, depending on your budget and needs.
Q: What is the food scene like in Sydney?
A: Sydney is known for its vibrant food scene. From fine dining to casual street food, the city offers diverse cuisine options. You can explore popular food precincts like Surry Hills or Barangaroo and indulge in some of the best dining spots. Don’t forget to try the local specialties or dishes that Sydney is famous for.
Q: Which are the best beaches in Sydney?
A: Sydney is blessed with stunning beaches where you can relax and soak up the sun. Bondi Beach and Manly Beach are two of the most famous ones, but there are many other picturesque coastal spots to explore. Enjoy activities like swimming, surfing, or coastal walks while you’re there.
Q: What is the nightlife like in Sydney?
A: Sydney’s nightlife scene is vibrant and offers something for everyone. There are popular bars, clubs, and entertainment venues scattered throughout the city. Neighborhoods like Kings Cross and Oxford Street are known for their nightlife. Check out any unique events or experiences happening during your visit.
Q: What outdoor adventures can I experience in Sydney?
A: Sydney is an outdoor lover’s paradise. There are numerous outdoor activities to enjoy, such as hiking or bushwalking along trails like the Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk. You can also try water sports or other adventurous activities like kayaking in Sydney Harbour.
Q: Where can I immerse myself in art and culture in Sydney?
A: Sydney has a thriving art and cultural scene. You can visit renowned institutions like the Art Gallery of New South Wales or the Museum of Contemporary Art. Keep an eye out for upcoming exhibitions or festivals that showcase the rich artistic talent of the city.
Q: What are some family-friendly activities in Sydney?
A: Sydney offers plenty of family-friendly activities and attractions. Places like Taronga Zoo, SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium, or the Australian Museum are perfect for children of all ages. Look out for special programs or interactive exhibits that cater to kids.
Q: Are there any recommended day trips from Sydney?
A: If you have some extra time, consider taking day trips from Sydney to nearby destinations. The stunning Blue Mountains or the picturesque Hunter Valley wine region are popular choices. You can explore notable attractions or indulge in activities unique to these locations.
Q: Where can I go shopping in Sydney?
A: Sydney boasts a thriving shopping scene with several popular precincts and markets. Iconic shopping destinations like Queen Victoria Building and Paddington Markets are worth exploring. Don’t forget to check out unique local products or fashion finds while you’re there.
Q: How can I plan my Sydney adventure?
A: Planning a trip to Sydney can be exciting. Make sure to gather practical information on transportation options, weather conditions, and the best times to visit. Tailor your itinerary based on your interests and preferences, and consider consulting a Sydney travel guide for additional tips and suggestions.