Much of what makes Sydney appealing is its individual neighborhoods—each of which has its own energy and atmosphere.
Start your day by visiting famous Bondi Beach, about five miles east of the CBD. Bondi Beach’s wide, golden crescent of sand is popular with surfers, while the Icebergs Pool overlooking the ocean must be among the world’s most Instagrammed swimming pools. Guests can take a dip for a small fee, and there’s a café there as well. Other lunch options in Bondi include Bondi Beach Public Bar
, North Bondi Fish
(a casual seafood option), and SHUK
, if you’re in the mood for Mediterranean.
Paddington, which sits to the southeast of central Sydney, rewards travelers who want to take a deep dive into the design, fashion, and food scenes. Its main commercial strip, Oxford Street, features welcoming pubs and cafes, designer boutiques, and a wealth of historic colonial-era buildings. It’s especially charming when the jacaranda trees bloom in October and November, but thanks to Sydney’s mild climate, there’s no bad time of the year to visit. At the place where Glenmore Road and Oxford Street meet, opposite the historic Victoria Barracks, The Intersection
includes shops from many of Australia’s top designers. If your Paddington visits falls on a Saturday, Paddington Markets
is a showcase for artisans and designers at the beginning of their careers. You may find a unique piece by someone poised to become the next big name in the world of fashion.
Those interested in contemporary Australian art will want to drop in at the studio of Brett Whitely
, the celebrated expressionist painter who died in 1992. You’ll see his workspace much as it looked like when he lived and painted there from 1987 until his death. Temporary exhibitions feature selections of his paintings, drawings, sculptures, and other works.
In the evening, head west to another one of Sydney’s neighborhoods, Newtown, to experience some of the city’s best pubs and nightlife. You’ll find a wealth of choices along Newtown’s main drag, King Street. Among the local favorites are the Newtown Hotel
(its beer garden is an ideal place to spend a warm evening); the Botany View Hotel
(for live music); and the Union Hotel
(for its long menu of beers). Or try She Loves You
, an unusual wine bar. There’s no menu per se; instead, just start chatting with the bartender and he or she will suggest a wine that perfectly suits your taste and mood.