Sydney is a glittering metropolis, ready to welcome you with its beautiful bays and beaches. For many distant visitors, Sydney represents Australia’s cultural hub, oozing a European feel and friendly atmosphere.
Although Australia has several more world-famous cosmopolitan cities, including Melbourne, Canberra, Brisbane, and Perth - all of which are worth visiting and exploring -, Sydney holds the crown as the most-loved among foreign tourists and the most visited year-round. This comes at no surprise to many, especially first-time visitors mesmerized by its versatile beauty and all it has to offer tourists on its entertainment and cultural agenda.
The city itself is an interesting fusion of historical and contemporary mixed everywhere, from charming laneways to restaurants, heritage hotels, and bars. If this is going to be your first time in Australia, you must be ready to enjoy some of the best places in the world. If you are one of the many who dream of spending the most special moments of their life in Sydney, you will find some of the most beautiful, intimate wedding venues in this romantic city.
There are many ways to enjoy what Australia has to offer its visitors. Nevertheless, no trip to Australia is complete without at least a few days in Sydney. Here is why.
A Heaven for Art and Music Lovers
Looking for a full immersion into Australian arts? Then you should start your trip by paying a visit to the Sydney Opera House, stretching out to the sky above the magnificent Sydney Harbour. While you are here, you cannot leave without exploring the Darling Harbour, which is one of the best places to experience the city’s diversity and vibrancy.
Do you want to learn more about Australia’s history? The Australian Museum features several natural and anthropological exhibitions.
Remember: no trip to Sydney is complete without a visit to the Art Gallery of New South Wales. Here you can find a humongous collection of indigenous art, as well as artist talks and workshops. If you still cannot get enough of Aussie arts, then you can head to the Brett Whiteley Studio, an exhibition space dedicated to the eccentric artist.
After sunset, it is time to experience Sydney’s art scene at the Oxford Art Factory. This is where the best local music and international acts are played. You can enjoy your evening while drinking some local wine at the bar.
This is one of Australia’s oldest neighbourhoods, which used to have a reputation as a slum. Today, the Rocks is one of the best places to experience anything Sydney has to offer, from boutique stores to delicious cafés. The Rocks is also the best place to stay in Sydney. Similar to the best Melbourne CBD hotels, in the Rocks you will find heritage accommodation that offers a genuine Sydney experience.
Need a rest? Just pop into the Fortune of War, Sydney’s oldest pub. If you feel brave enough, you should also check out the haunted Susannah Place, where the ghost of a girl is rumored to roam at dusk, waiting for visitors. Are you more into fun trivia and live sports? Head to the Time Out, or the Man of Many, some of Sydney’s most famous pubs.
Ready for a unique and breathtaking view of Sydney? Then head to the Observatory Hill, a free spot from which you can have a 360-view of the city. This is also the perfect place for a picnic with your family.
If you and your kids cannot wait to learn something new, then you can take a tour of the Observatory. Here you will find out how the signal ball on the roof can accurately tell the time via astronomical observations, or join one of the classes at night. Still have some time before dinner? You can visit the Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, and join one of the many workshops.
Australian Nature at Its Finest
If you are looking for a cozy place to relax, read a book and recharge your batteries before going back to Sydney’s vibrant nightlife, you should spend an afternoon at the Royal Botanic Gardens. This is Australia’s oldest botanical garden, where thousands of native and exotic plants and flowers live.This area is also known as the Domain, and it is one of the city’s most popular venues for outdoor concerts, political gathering, and open-air events. There are plenty of things to do, but you can have even more if you head to the Sydney Art Gallery. It is open 7 days a week and is free of charge.
Explore the Wildlife
Australia is not only home to some of the cutest koalas in the world. In fact, at the Taronga Zoo in Sydney, you can also meet lions, bears, elephants, and other animals from the South American jungles and savannahs.
Cannot get enough of Australian wildlife? The Sea Life Aquarium is waiting for you with 13000 marine animals. This is also where you can meet Pig and Wuru, two dugongs rescued off the coast of Queensland. There are only 5 dugongs in captivity in the world!
Australia is one of the best places to taste delicious seafood. Head to the Sydney Fish Market, located in Pyrmont, to get the freshest catch of the day.
If you like spicy food, then you should definitely spend an afternoon in Sydney’s Chinatown, where you can sample authentic and modern dishes from China, Korea, and Malaysia, reinvented with local Aussie ingredients.
This roundup of the best attractions and experiences to enjoy in Sydney should give you an idea of what to include on your itinerary and keep you busy at least for your first few days in the city!
Of course, it goes without saying that one of the top things to do in Sydney is simply to enjoy its popular beaches, including the famous Bondi Beach and Manly Beach. And once you've discovered some of the places on this list, there are also great day or overnight trips awaiting you, such as excursions to the Blue Mountains National Park or the Hunter Valley.
What is your favorite thing to do in Sydney? Let us know in a comment below!