Sydney is one glorious city with its glistening harbour, sun-kissed beaches, and on-trend foodie scene, but scratch at the surface a little and you will quickly see that there is a whole lot more to this harbourside city. So, take a deep breath because the list of things to do in Sydney is long!
From inner-city enclaves to the outer areas of Sydney, the city has a lively energy, no matter what floats your boat. Be it year-round holiday feels of Bondi Beach and Manly, to off-beat hangouts of Newtown and Marrickville to fashionably on-trend Paddington and Surry Hills. This is a Sydney travel guide you'll want to keep handy in your back pocket.
Equal parts pleasure and business, Sydney City and its everchanging skyline is a thriving precinct. Putting iconic structures such as the Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House aside, Sydney is a cultural hub that's just begging to be explored. Live theatre and performing arts, and museums that talk to Australia's natural history, and the country's Indigenous and colonial heritage. Art galleries with permanent collections and changing exhibitions, plus an annual festival and events scene with Sydney Festival and Vivid Sydney showcasing local and international talent.
Sydney is truly spoilt when it comes to beaches – and not just ocean beaches, harbour beaches as well. Topping every list of things to do in Sydney, Bondi Beach is a must-visit. But don't linger too long, because Sydney's coastline has a long stretch of beaches, where surfing and ocean swimming is a year-round activity, and when in season, whales can be spotted passing by.
From Coogee and Bronte in Sydney's Eastern Suburbs to Palm Beach and Avalon along Sydney's Northern Beaches, you'll be awe of the incredible coastline. But, that's not all. Sydney's rockpools are just as sought-after, and the harbour beaches of Watson Bay and Vaucluse to Seaforth and Mosman should also be added to your list of things to do in Sydney.
A Foodie's Delight
Sydney does a lot of things well, and the foodie scene is no exception. You'll discover a culinary delight throughout Sydney's pockets, be it wholesome cafes with harbour views to indulgent restaurants and BYO eateries.
Brunch at a café is a must-do on any list of things to do in Sydney – and whichever neighbourhood you're in, you can't go wrong. Whether you're popping into Blackwood Pantry in Cronulla, Paramount in Surry Hills, The Grounds in Alexandria, Three Blue Ducks in Rosebery or The Boathouse in Balmoral, you will be in for a real treat.
Sydney's is also a hotspot for multiculturalism cuisine, from hands-on Ethiopian fare to plate-smashing Greek cuisine to fiery teppanyaki. Sydney has it. Still, it's places like Newtown, Marrickville, Dulwich Hill and Haberfield that are favoured for their authentic flavours from far-flung places.
Shop 'till you drop
Sprinkled throughout, you will find trendsetting shopping precincts. Fashionable Paddington and Mosman are all about high-end designer labels while the streets of Marrickville and Enmore love second-hand vintage finds. Wander around the exquisite QVB and Galleries in the city, and head to Alexandria and Surry Hills for homewares. Still, every Sydney travel guide favours the pop-up markets in Kirribilli, Glebe, Paddington, and Bondi for those one-of-a-kind finds.
Sydney is a playground for the great outdoors. Spectacular coastal walks that pass world-class beaches and hidden bays (Bondi to Bronte and Spit Bridge to Manly, anyone?), a mesmerising harbour and its many inlets seemingly made for sailing and kayaking, and foreshore parks and botanic gardens with city views. Surrounding all of this are the National Parks that are a wonder within themselves. Pristine and buzzing with wildlife, Sydney is surrounded by five national parks, and each is an outdoor lover's dream; hiking, mountain bike riding, horse riding, camping, and kayaking – everything you could want in a list of things to do in Sydney.
Although Sydney really does have it all, right here in the beautiful harbour city. It does pay to head out of town on a day trip. Within easy driving distance are the cellar doors of Australia's oldest wine region, the Hunter Valley and the serene beauty of the World-Heritage Blue Mountains National Park. Then there is the outdoor playground of the Central Coast and its many beaches and national parks, and the Southern Highlands – a place that's long been a weekend getaway for Sydney's elite.
Sydney, in all its natural beauty, is a treasure trove of dining, arts, beaches and entertainment. With new openings every month and days of sun shining bliss, the list of things to do in Sydney is endless – and that's exactly the way locals like it.