The Best Things to Do in Sydney
Collected by Serena Renner , AFAR Contributor
Surrounded by spectacular harbor and beachfront, Sydney is one of the world’s most stunning cities. But this beauty has brains, too, like cracking cultural attractions, hard-to-believe history, and surprise twists and turns around every little lane.
Bennelong Point, Sydney NSW 2000, Australia
251-255 Oxford St, Paddington NSW 2021, Australia
Paddington Reservoir Gardens is an award-winning garden transformed from its former life. The reservoir, a source of water for the rapidly growing population of Sydney in the 19th century, has been used in a number of ways including as a garage...
34 Harrington St, Sydney NSW 2000, Australia
Harbourview Cres, Milsons Point NSW 2061, Australia
North of the harbor on Lavender Bay, Clark Park is an ideal spot for a picnic away from the bustle. On the western end, curious visitors discover the garden Wendy Whiteley created from a landfill. 5- to 10-minute walk from Luna Park. This appeared...
Queen Victoria Building, Sydney NSW 2000, Australia
The Queen Victoria Building has been central to culture and commerce in Sydney since 1898. Covering a full city block with the Town Hall train station entrance on the ground floor, it’s hard to miss and easy to get to. For a perfect Sunday...
Warumbul Rd, Royal National Park NSW 2233, Australia
Carved by ocean inlets that meet vertical cliffs, Sydney is a city that's defined by nature. And in less than an hour, travelers can visit Royal National Park to the south, the world’s second oldest national park, established in 1879. "The...
Mrs Macquaries Rd, Sydney NSW 2000, Australia
Sydney’s 158-acre botanic garden, which hugs the harbor between Mrs Macquarie's Chair and the Sydney Opera House, is home to nearly 9,000 plant species. Depending on the season of your visit, you might seek out spring peaches and wisteria or...
Art Gallery Rd, Sydney NSW 2000, Australia
The Australian collection here includes almost 19,000 pieces ranging from paintings and decorative arts to modern photography, pop art, and screen-printing. The Yiribana Gallery is renowned for some of the best permanent and rotating exhibits of...
1 William St, Sydney NSW 2010, Australia
Australia's first museum was opened in 1827 in Sydney with the goal of showcasing unique specimens relating to the country's fascinating natural history. Initially called the Sydney Museum or Colonial Museum, the institution was renamed the...
140 George St, The Rocks NSW 2000, Australia
Set on the western side of Circular Quay, the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA) is the country’s leading institution for modern art. While access to touring international exhibitions from the likes of Tatsuo Miyajima and Annie...
1003 Upper Fort St, Millers Point NSW 2000, Australia
In the 1850s, a rugged hill overlooking Sydney Harbour was capped with the Sydney Observatory at the behest of English astronomer and clergyman William Scott. What started as a sandstone structure used primarily for time-keeping and...
Bradleys Head Rd, Mosman NSW 2088, Australia
Travelers should visit Taronga Zoo as much for its harbor views as for the 4,000 resident animals (who get to see them all day long). Ferry 15 minutes from Circular Quay and take an optional Sky Safari cable car, included in the ticket...
8 Australia Ave, Sydney Olympic Park NSW 2127, Australia
Famous as the site of the 2000 Summer Olympics, Sydney Olympic Park is full of history. It also hosts a plethora of modern events from the National Rugby League Grand Final to concerts by the likes of the Foo Fighters and Ed...
80 Commonwealth St, Surry Hills NSW 2010, Australia
Downstairs in the 1940s Paramount Pictures building in Surry Hills, Golden Age Cinema puts on cult and contemporary films as well as live music in a former military screening room. Before or after the show, sip on cocktails inspired by...
38-46 Oxford St, Darlinghurst NSW 2010, Australia
A coveted venue for any band on the rise, the Oxford Art Factory has hosted Courtney Barnett, The Growlers, and Sylvan Esso, among many other emerging local and international acts. The intimate brick-walled space—inspired by Andy...
2 Raper St, Surry Hills NSW 2010, Australia
The final home and workplace of the late Australian artist Brett Whiteley is now a museum that holds rotating exhibits of Whiteley’s work shown on weekends as well as monthly events such as poetry readings and classical music performances....
Queens Square, Macquarie St, Sydney NSW 2000, Australia
Since opening in 1819, Australia’s first barracks has housed British convicts, female immigrants, destitute elderly women, courtrooms, and government offices until it was finally declared a museum in 1979. During a twice-daily tour, or with...
69A Wentworth Rd, Vaucluse NSW 2030, Australia
For a glimpse of Sydney's high society, visit Vaucluse House, a beautiful villa and garden in the Eastern Suburbs near Watsons Bay. A gothic revival mansion built in 1803, Vaucluse House once belonged to ex-convict Sir Henry Browne Hayes, who was...
Dickens Dr, Centennial Park NSW 2021, Australia
More than 500 acres of parkland, stretching between Bondi Junction and the CBD, is carved with ponds, punctuated by playgrounds, and blanketed in gardens and trees. Keep your eyes peeled for horses, parrots, and cockatoos during the day and...
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