Anyone who has ever visited Sydney will tell you that it’s an Australian version of New York. This metropolis offers all sorts of activities to its guests – from simple sightseeing, to surfing some of the best waves in the world. So, it’s no wonder over 30 million tourists come here each year to experience the charms of this Aussie city.
But this big city full of excitements deserves some careful planning. Therefore, here are 10 things to do in Sydney that should definitely be on your itinerary.
1. Experience the avant-garde nightspots of Sydney
If you miss the Mardi Gras in Darlinghurst, there are plenty of places there to feel the vivacious Sydney scene. The area is full of avant-garde nightspots where you can try some of the best cocktails in the city, like Charlie Parker. Small wine bars are perfect for a peaceful nightcap; like 10 William St, or you can try one of the many pubs and bars on Oxford Street for a livelier night out. In addtion, once here, stop by the local galleries like ARTERY Aboriginal Art and Gallery 9 to admire independent art.
2. Hear the music of King Street
Bohemian King Street in Newtown is a famous spot for people who love live music. Guitar sounds are predominant here and bars like Vanguard always have a scheduled performance. From indie artists to famous stars, you can catch all sorts of acts here, especially if you stop by the Enmore Theatre. While you are walking through Newton, pay attention to street art that has had a presence here since the 1980s. Martin Luther King and South of the Border murals on King Street are among the most famous in the area, with many others in the surrounding streets.
3. Go on a pub crawl
Besides world-famous wine, Australia also has a number of craft ales and lagers. The best way to try most of them is to go on a pub crawl in Balmain. This neighborhood is full of pubs sporting English charm and some of the best Australian beer. The most popular in the area is London where you can have a pint on its terrace and enjoy the view of the Harbor Bridge. Sir William Wallace and the Exchange Hotel are also worthy to be on your pub crawl list with their Victorian style and historic vibes.
4. Have the best coffee in Sydney
There isn’t a better place to have breakfast in Sydney than in Surry Hills. This used to be a run-down working-class area, but now it’s full of hipster cafés serving the best coffee in the city. Stop by Reuben Hills and Paramount Coffee Project for a serene morning coffee and tasty breakfast. At night, this neighborhood turns into a small bar revolution and comes to life with cocktail menus and fusion cuisine. Eateries down the Cleveland Street offer Lebanese, Vietnamese and Indian dishes, while ice cream at the Messina is famous all over Australia.
Related: 7 Underrated Travel Destinations in Australia
5. Paint and sip wine at Cork and Canvas studio
Once in Sydney, make sure that you have the artistic neighborhood of Crows Nest and its Cork and Canvas studio on the list. The studio offers a concept of painting and sipping Australian wines regardless of your artistic experience. Many visitors on business trips choose Crows Nest accommodation because of the neighborhood’s relaxed vibe and closeness to commercial hubs like the Central Business District. And after painting, you can have dinner at a Thai, Vietnamese or Japanese restaurant and try the best Asian cuisine in the city.
6. Swim in the outdoor pools at Bondi Beach
Bondi Beach is the most popular beach in Sydney an here you can try all sorts of water sports and get surfing lessons. However, one of the landmarks of this area is Bondi Iceberg swimming pools with a beautiful view of the ocean and city skyline. The pools are filled with salt water every time a wave crashes their sides and are a great place to have lunch and swim when the sun is high. Stop by the Cooee Art Gallery featuring Aboriginal art and visit Sculptures by the Sea exhibition with participation from artists all over the world.
7. Climb the Sydney Harbor Bridge
Sydney Harbor Bridge is one of the most recognizable landmarks of Sydney and is one of a rare climbable bridges in the world. Situated in the Circular Quay neighborhood, thousands of tourists join a climbing adventure to see the city from over 400 feet above the water at any time of day. Once up there, you can even see the Blue Mountains in the west and enjoy a scenic sunset or panoramic night view of the city.
8. Go for a walk in the Royal Botanic Gardens
Established at the beginning of the 19th century, the Royal Botanic Gardens are the oldest scientific institution in Australia. You can board the Choo Choo train and explore the scenery or simply take a brisk walk and join one of the guided tours. While learning a lot about Australian botanical history, you will also see unique flora in person. And since the gardens are close to the Opera House, you can easily include it in your sightseeing plans and enjoy its peaceful ambiance.
9. Enjoy exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary Art
If you are museum-hopping, make sure to include the Museum of Contemporary Art in your little adventure. Located in the historic Rocks neighborhood, the museum shows collections from Australian and international artists. After the viewing, you can stop by the Rocks Market to shop for some jewelry and accessories by local artisans.
10. Whale watching at North Head
Manly Beach is considered to be a quieter alternative to Bondi and is just a ferry-ride away from the Sydney center. Once here, head over to the North Head and its Manly Scenic Walkway which will take you to see some historic landmarks from WWII. This is also the best spot for whale watching from May to November, and you can join one of the many boat tours available in the area. Surfing is a popular activity here especially on Freshwater Beach which is more secluded and private.
There are many more attractions to add to these top things to do in Sydney since, after all, this is a big and popular city. Try mixing up the activities so you don’t get exhausted from running around the city. Enjoy a peaceful evening at one of the eateries or an exhibition in one of the many galleries, or simply admire the street art during a stroll.