You'll discover wonderful places to visit in Sydney, from sun-kissed beaches to fascinating heritage and amazing attractions. The city fans out from beautiful. Sydney's a beautiful place to live and a glorious city to visit. We've picked out 50 of our favourite things to do in Sydney, whether you're here for. First stop should be a visit to the Rocks Discovery Museum, which traces the area's fascinating transformation from traditional aboriginal lands to convict slum to.
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Other ocean beaches include Cronulla the only one easily accessible by train from the city , Bronte , Tamarama , and Maroubra. A minute ferry ride from the city, Manly is a favorite seaside destination with its beachfront promenade, netted ocean pool, and excellent shops and restaurants. Farther north from the city, surfers will find some fantastic breaks at Collaroy , Dee Why , and Narrabeen. Swimmers should stay between the red and yellow flags.
Volunteer lifeguards patrol the surfing beaches on the Pacific during the summer and run popular lifesaving competitions.
Barangaroo Reserve is an excellent example of a successful urban renewal project and a lovely spot for a walk along the harbor. Transformed from an unsightly container terminal, this hectare waterfront precinct opened to the public in and is now home to more than 75, native trees and shrubs, walking and cycling tracks, shops, restaurants, and event and exhibition space.
It is named after the influential female indigenous leader at the time of European colonisation. One of the most popular things to do here is the Wulugul Walk , a scenic waterfront promenade that skirts the six-hectare re-created Sydney Harbour headland at the reserve's northern end and will eventually extend for two kilometers between Walsh Bay and Darling Harbour.
Along the way, you can admire an evocative series of public art installations. Keep an eye out for shell wall , a meter-tall vertical panel on the side of a building at the reserve's southern gateway, created by two of Australia's leading indigenous artists. You can learn about the area's rich indigenous heritage on an Aboriginal cultural tour. The reserve is a four-minute walk from Wynyard station, and you can also catch a ferry direct to the new Barangaroo Wharf.
At Taronga Zoo, you can enjoy close-up encounters with iconic Aussie wildlife and other animals from around the world, plus superb views of the Sydney skyline. Nestled on a point along the north side of the harbor, the zoo inhabits prime Sydney real estate in the posh suburb of Mosman. From the city, buses to the zoo depart from Wynyard. Better still, hop aboard a ferry at Circular Quay. The zoo's lively events calendar includes "Roar and Snore" overnight zoo stays and a summer concert series.
The oldest street in Australia, George Street was once a nameless track trodden by convicts fetching supplies of water. Today, it's one of the city's major traffic arteries, where high-rise office blocks, shops, and historic buildings converge in an incongruous jumble.
An architectural highlight is the elegant Romanesque-style Queen Victoria Building replete with graceful domes, stained glass windows, and high-end stores. Nearby, the Sydney Town Hall is a major city landmark sporting a medley of architectural styles it's been compared to a richly decorated wedding cake.
Another architectural standout is the neo-Gothic St. Andrew's Cathedral , completed and consecrated in Shoppers will find plenty of stores in the area. Designer boutiques and jewelry stores line the Victorian-style Strand Arcade , while Pitt Street Mall , one block east from George Street, is one of the city's major shopping precincts. Amid all the din of the central business district, Hyde Park is a sanctuary of sprawling lawns, shady picnic spots, flowers, fountains, and fig trees.
Like a mini Central Park , this welcome patch of green, named after Hyde Park in London, offers prime people-watching - especially at lunch when city workers come here to kick off their shoes. Hyde Park Barracks , St.
James' Church , and the Supreme Court. Built by convict labor in , Hyde Park Barracks was restored to its original condition in and now houses a museum on the history of Sydney portraying the lives of the first involuntary "settlers. Surrounded by beautiful parklands, the Art Gallery of New South Wales is one of the country's most distinguished art museums.
The building dates from and houses spacious, light-filled galleries and Grand Courts, with collections ranging from works by the European masters and Asian artists to evocative contemporary art from around the world.
The gallery also houses one of the largest collections of aboriginal art in Australia. Facing Hyde Park, St. Mary's Cathedral is a symbol of the spiritual beginnings of the Catholic Church in Australia. This striking landmark, in neo-Gothic style, is the seat of the Archbishop of Sydney. Inside the cathedral, intricate stained glass windows cast beautiful patterns of light. Christmas is an especially evocative time to visit, when the cathedral is adorned with lights and decorations.
Governor Macquarie commissioned the construction of many of the colony's grand public buildings along this strand, some designed by convict architect Francis Greenway.
Impressive sandstone residences soon followed, with verandas to capture the beautiful views of the surrounding parklands and Sydney Harbour. In , the completion of Sydney Hospital on Macquarie Street encouraged doctors to set up offices nearby.
But the hospital's capacity exceeded demand, and legislative offices moved into some of its buildings. Today, Parliament House occupies the hospital's northern wing and is open to the public when the New South Wales Parliament is in session.
Inhale the fragrance of sizzling Szechuan spices, shop for Chinese specialty items, or feast on authentic Asian cuisine at Sydney's Chinatown. Framed by lion gates at each end, this small district lies in the pedestrian zone of Dixon Street between Darling Harbour and Central Station. Luckily, citizen action got most of it preserved instead — and these old buildings have been turned into modern businesses, homes, and tourist attractions.
Sydney Observatory Hill Park for a good view of the city, wandering the harbor promenade, and hitting the bars at night. Sydney is synonymous with its beaches and world-class surfing.
There are over beaches in Sydney. All the beaches are easy to get to via public transportation or car and there are tons of restaurants and surf shops lining them all.
Keep in mind that the beaches, especially the more famous ones, get really crowded and should be avoided on the weekends. Home to the oldest scientific institution in the country, the gardens are one of the most visited areas in all of Australia.
Here you can also see Mrs. Up until , there was actually a large colony of flying foxes living in the gardens, but since they were causing too much damage they were removed.
The gardens are open daily and admission is free. Manly, a suburb in the northern part of the city, is famous for its wide beach, giant waves, surfing, and kick-ass nightlife.
There are some incredible coastal walking trails on this side of the harbor too. Almost as iconic as the Opera House, the Sydney Harbour Bridge was built in as a government employment project during the Great Depression. This has become perhaps the most iconic site in Sydney, if not Australia. The Opera House is famous for its white-shelled roof, an impressive feat of engineering getting the roof to stay up took the creation of a complex support system.
The building took almost 15 years to complete, opening to the public in Today, more than 8 million people visit the Opera House annually, with almost half a million taking a guided tour.
Daily guided tours are available for 40 AUD and give you a whole new appreciation for just how challenging the building was to design and erect. Tickets for a show in the Opera House vary depending on the performance but expect to pay at least 50 AUD.
Over the millennia, the ancient sandstone of this national park has been weathered into gorges lined by steep cliffs and separated by narrow ridges. Some activities in Blue Mountains National Park include seeing the magnificent rock formation of the Three Sisters particularly stunning at sunset and under evening floodlights or hiking along the paths that offer excellent views of the valley, sheer rock walls, tumbling waterfalls, and magnificent forests.
The park is free to visit and you can get there by train from Sydney, which takes 90 minutes. Like most major cities, Sydney has a wide variety of museums.
My favorite museum in Sydney is the Hyde Park Barracks. Set in the old convict barracks from the 18th century, it does an amazing and detailed job of chronicling colonial life in Sydney, using the stories of the early settlers, historical information, artifacts, and historical recreations! Few people visit, making it one of the best non-touristy things to do in the city!
While Bondi is the most popular beach in the city, Manly on the north shore of Sydney is considered to have the best waves though you can find good waves up and down the coast! Some other great beaches for beginners are:. While visiting is not easy on the budget, it is an excuse to get out of the city, see the countryside, and do something other than sitting on the beach. This is also a perfect activity for couples or families!
Want even more fun? Try a bike tour. As tall as the Eiffel Tower and twice as high as the Harbour Bridge, the Sydney Tower offers amazing panoramic views of the city from its Skywalk at the top. There are a number of stunning coastal walks that allow you to take in the breathtaking natural beauty of Sydney Harbor.
Some coastal walks worth checking out are:. Sydney has many amazing markets to walk through. I love Paddington Markets and the farmers market the best — they draw an eclectic crowd, and the farmers market makes me want to cook nonstop. Some other markets worth checking out are:. Since Sydney has a complex about Melbourne being called the cultural capital of Australia, it tries to outdo its rival by hosting over 30 official festivals and events each year.
It offers art gallery nights, concerts, festivals, and much more. It wants to be seen as more of a beach destination. No matter what time of the year you visit, you will find something going on in the city! It will give you dates, prices, times, and everything in between! This is where the beer is inexpensive and the backpackers and locals party late. The famous World Bar is where most of the action happens cheap drinks and a large dance floor.
For a less touristy night life scene, head to Manly, The Rocks, or the CBD central business district where there are more locals, fewer travelers, and chiller bars and lounges but more expensive cocktails and beers.
Sydney is a remarkable city. They are my two favorite search engines because they search websites and airlines around the globe so you always know no stone is left unturned. Book Your Accommodation You can book your hostel with Hostelworld. If you want to stay elsewhere, use Booking. I use them all the time. My favorite places to stay in Sydney are:. My favorite companies that offer the best service and value are:. Looking for the best companies to save money with? Check out my resource page for the best companies to use when you travel!
I list all the ones I use to save money when I travel — and I think will help you too! Want to share your tips and advice? Visit the community forum to ask questions, get answers, meet people, and share your tips! Please note that some of the links above may be affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you make a purchase. I recommend only products and companies I use and the income goes to keeping the site community supported and ad free. Thanks for reminding me of how beautiful Sydney is, Matt..!
I went there only once so far, 3 years ago I think. My absolute fave was a coastal walk from Tamarama Beach to Bondi and beyond.. Who would have guessed that.. Sydney is my favorite! I did many of those things when I was there and loved it all.
Melbourne has long had the edge on Sydney in terms of the small-bar scene but Sydney is fast catching up. Sydney is home to a gorgeous string of harbour beaches — many on the eastern side of the city. On the day of our visit, locals are in traditional costume, preparing to honour the former prime minister Malcolm Fraser whose policy after the Vietnam war resulted in a large-scale resettlement of Vietnamese to Cabramatta.
In Freedom Plaza, old timers play mahjong and drink coffee Vietnamese-style — strong, thick and with condensed milk. Our guide, Amy Ta, grew up in Cabramatta and knows all the great dishes to order and where to get them.
First off is a bowl to share of bun bo hue — subtly different from a pho, with thicker noodles. It is fragrant with beef and lemongrass. As we queue on the footpath with dozens of others, Ta assures us the next little hole-in the-wall place does the best crispy chicken in Cabramatta. This is possibly the best crispy chicken in Sydney.
Dipped in sauce and enjoyed with mint and rice, it is still lingering in my memory as I write this weeks later. We visit several other unassuming places to try their specialty dishes until at the fourth place we beg for the tour to stop. It is possible to eat so much you can burst. Australia holidays Australasia holidays Australia travel blog features. Order by newest oldest recommendations.
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Things to Do in Sydney – City Guide
These are the best Sydney attractions. Get your camera and explore these must see places to visit in Sydney. Sydney is more than harbours and beaches. Find national parks, up-and-coming suburbs and trendy areas after reading this guide to the best. Book your tickets online for the top things to do in Sydney, Australia on TripAdvisor: See traveler reviews and Visit top-rated & must-see attractions.