Here’s a list of the 15 best things to do in Sydney (Australia), along with famous landmarks, museums, and other points of interest.
Sydney is the largest city in Australia with little over 5 million residents. “The Emerald City” is famous for its beaches, opera house, youthful atmosphere, and for being one of the most diverse cities in the world.
In this article, I’m sharing some of the best places to visit in Sydney as well as attractions that shouldn’t be missed while visiting.
Visit the iconic Paddy’s Markets
The Paddy´s Markets are a real Australian icon and date to 1834. Depending on what you are after you should either visit the Paddy’s in Haymarket which resembles a flea market offering all kinds of artworks, handicrafts, memorabilia as well as cheap clothing and other second-hand products.
Or the one in Flemington, which offers excellent fruits and vegetables grown in the region as well as fish, meat and cheese. In total there are around 1,000 stalls on offer.
The reason why Paddy’s Markets are still such a popular place to be, is their lively atmosphere and extremely diverse products and visitors, making it a real place to dive into Sydney’s interesting culture.
Spend a day on Bondi Beach
Bondi Beach is one of Australia’s most famous beaches and attracts thousands of visitors on sunny days. It’s easy to understand why this beach has made such a name for itself as it offers a wide stretch of sand and good surfing conditions just east of the city center.
The beach and its surrounding neighborhood are ideal for a relaxed day and offer a great choice of restaurants, a few cultural places like the Monument to Black Sunday, and a beautiful boardwalk to Bronte Beach, in case you are bored or in need of some exercise.
See a show at the Opera House
Sydney’s Opera House is one of the most famous buildings in the entire world and probably the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of the city.
But the impressive building is not just a great landmark and a motive for your holiday snapshots, you can also experience excellent live shows here that are equally world-class as the building they are located in.
On average there are 40 shows a week taking place here and there definitely is something on offer for everyone, including classical music, theater performances, opera, circus, and even shows geared towards entertaining children.
Enjoy yourself at Luna Park
Luna Park is a fantastic amusement park located right at Lavender Bay. Coming here is dream come true for families with children as there is more than enough on offer here to keep your kids excited and happy for days.
Make sure not to miss the glorious Ferris wheel as it offers a spectacular panorama. The park offers a great selection of rides and many of them are suitable for young children as well.
Luna Park also offers a large swimming pool which is ideal for cooling down on hot days.
Watch a sports game at the SCG
Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) is one of the premier cricket venues of the country and hosts many important games each year including the One Day International and Twenty20.
But there is more than just cricket played here, you can also watch Australian Football and rugby here. The stadium has an impressive capacity of 48,000 and looks back on a long history stretching to 1848.
The SCG is located next to Centennial Park which is also worth a visit as it serves as the city’s biggest green space.
Join the Sydney Historic Pub Crawl
There is a reason why Dave’s Pub Tours has won the 2017 NSW Tourism Awards, they are just an amazing way to spend an evening! The tours are geared towards residents and tourists alike and showcase Sydney’s pub and brewing community.
Many of the pubs that are visited during this tour are very historic and full of atmosphere. Participants of the pub crawl receive discount vouchers which make trying the food and drinks on offer even more attractive and rewarding.
Enjoy a panoramic view from Sydney Tower
Sydney Tower is the city’s highest building and reaches a total height of 309 m. The tower is located right in Sydney’s central business district and offers a viewing platform that absolutely shouldn’t be missed when coming here.
There is also an impressive glass-floored skywalk found here that is situated at a height of 268 m, definitely not for the faint of heart. The Sydney Tower’s lower floors are home to a great shopping center which offers a great choice of international brands.
Visit The Rocks
The Rocks is Sydney’s most atmospheric neighborhood. The cozy cobbled laneways and historic pubs of the area can be found right next to Sydney’s famous Harbour Bridge.
The best way to go exploring is on foot as the area is quite compact and easy to navigate. There are also a few interesting historic monuments here including the Cadman’s Cottage and the Rocks Discovery Museum.
Make sure not to miss the Campbells Cove Lookout as it offers the best views of the Harbour Bridge in all of Sydney.
Learn some history at Cockatoo Island
Cockatoo Island is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its historic significance as a penal establishment and shipyard. Coming here is a real highlight for people interested in history.
There is plenty to be learned about the first days of European colonization in Australia. The island offers an interesting program for visitors including guided tours (including ”ghost tours”) and a very popular camping site.
Stroll along Darling Harbour
Darling Harbour is one of the commercial hearts of the city and hosts a large number of shopping venues, restaurants, hotels, and nightlife. There is also a large marina here that is usually home to a number of interesting historic ships.
If you like it a little more relaxed you can visit the Chinese Garden of Friendship with its beautifully decorate pavillions. There is also plenty of fun to be had for children here including great playgrounds.
Visit the Royal Botanic Garden
Sydney’s Royal Botanic Garden is a real treasure trove of beautiful plant life and greenery situated right on the water. There are several different themed areas here including a rose garden, a Jurassic jungle for kids, and plenty more.
Apart from the greenery, the Government House is also worth checking out. It was built in the 19th century and serves as the official residence of the governor of New South wales.
Admire the beauty of St Mary’s Cathedral
Sydney’s religious highlight is definitely St Mary’s Cathedral. This grand structure serves as the seat of the Archbishop of Sydney and is dedicated to Saint Mary, the ”immaculate Mother of God”.
The church is the country’s longest and was consecrated in 1882. The architectural style of the cathedral is characterized by many Gothic elements like pointed arches and simple tracery.
Make sure not to miss some of the treasures found here like the paintings of Chauvet and the marble replica of Michelangelo’s Pietá.
Check out the Street Art of Newtown
Newtown is a very interesting suburb that is known for its incredible street art. Many prominent artists have used the suburb as a place to create their artworks and if you are interested in this type of art you can explore a wide array of different styles here.
There are large murals, figurative designs, hand-painted political slogans, and much more. The atmosphere in Newtown is very relaxed and there are also plenty of cafes and restaurants here that are worth checking out for their creative cuisine.
Manly Beach is home to the Australian Open of Surfing and is known all over the world for its fantastic surfing conditions. The beach is located around 15 km north of Sydney and gets quite busy during Australia’s summer months.
Everything you expect from a popular beach can be found here including great beachside restaurants, plenty of cafès and bars. Manly Beach is great for watching the surfers do their thing or simply sunbathe and relax.
Climb Sydney Harbour Bridge
Sydney’s Harbour Bridge was opened in 1932 and is today known as one of the most impressive bridges in the world. Not only does the bridge serve as a major transport link, but it also offers great recreational value due to the amazing Sydney Harbour Climbs.
There are various climbs on offer but all of them have one thing in common: the panorama from up here is unbelievably beautiful. All the tours are led by very experienced guides and safety is always guaranteed.
Want more recommendations on things to do in Sydney, Australia? Leave a comment below!