15 things to do while in Sydney

So you are in Australia Sydney or Planning to Visit Sydney? Well, you are going to have an amazing time and I am here to help you find the best things to do.

Australia is a place full of wonders, and Sydney is the best place to experience those wonders first-hand. If you’re in Sydney, you’ll no doubt want to take advantage of all that the city has to offer.

From food to visiting the world famous Bondi beach, there is so much to see and do that you will simply love it all.

Here are 15 things you can do while in Sydney:

1. Visit Sydney Opera House

Sydney Opera House, Australia at daytime
Photo by Ashwin Vaswani

This is a great place to start your trip because Sydney Opera House is one of the most iconic buildings in the world and has even received UNESCO World Heritage status. While you’re there, you can take a guided tour of this architectural wonder. It’s one of the busiest performing arts centers in the world, so you should definitely check out a show if your schedule allows it (we highly recommend their opera and orchestra shows). If you’re feeling fancy, treat yourself to dinner at Bennelong restaurant, which serves Australian cuisine with stunning views of Sydney Harbour.

2. Visit Royal Botanic Gardens

Photo by Andy Wang

Located on the East side of the Opera House, these gardens offer many activities for children and adults alike. For babies, there’s a rock pool with waterfalls to keep them busy. Kids will love watching the world-class panoramic view from Mrs. Macquaries Chair and exploring “The Calyx,” an interactive indoor garden. Teens can spend time at The Royal Botanic Garden running through the open fields and playing sports like cricket or soccer. Adults can enjoy a picnic or walking around the plants on display during their lunch break at work.

3. Take a walk across the Harbour Bridge

aerial photography of concrete buildings and bridge beside ocean under cloudy sky
Photo by Road Trip with Raj

One of the best activities in Sydney has to be taking a walk across the Harbour Bridge. Most people take the bridge to get from one side of the harbor to another, but they miss out on the amazing views you can see by just slowing down and walking across. If you have time, it’s well worth getting up early to avoid the crowds and enjoy the sunrise over the Harbour bridge.

The walk is 1.3km long and takes about 30-40 minutes to complete. While you walk, you’ll be able to see a number of major landmarks, including the Sydney Harbour Opera House and Luna Park. If you want a more exhilarating experience, you can opt for the bridge climb which takes you right up near the top of the bridge where you can get an even closer look at these famous landmarks.

4. Sculpture by the Sea, Bondi

people on white sand beach at daytime
Photo by Johnny Bhalla

Each spring, dozens of sculptures are placed along the Bondi Beach boardwalk and parkland. The pieces, which range in size and style, are created by artists from Australia and around the world. The works are on display most of the day while the sun is up; visitors can walk among them or simply enjoy them from afar.

5. Paddington Markets

people crossing the street surrounded with high-rise buildings
Photo by Benjamin Sow

Paddington Markets are located in Paddington, NSW. They are open Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 4pm. The markets sell clothes, jewelry, artwork, and food items. You can also get street food there (try the dumplings).

The vibe at the markets is young and cool; Paddington is home to a lot of artists so the crowd there tends to be well-dressed with a bit of an edge. There’s limited parking at the market itself, but you can park on streets nearby or take public transit if that’s your thing. One of the best things to do there is to check out all the amazing art (some you can buy) and explore different cuisines from around Sydney along with local favorites!

6. See all kinds of animals at Taronga Zoo

Photo by Eric Zhang

Located in Mosman, Taronga Zoo is one of Sydney’s most popular attractions. It’s also one of the most breathtaking—it sits on a hilltop overlooking the sparkling harbor, a few minutes from the ferry landing. The zoo was founded in 1916, and it’s an accredited member of the Zoo and Aquarium Association (ZAA), an international body that holds members to a high standard for animal welfare and conservation. In addition to being a great outing for adults and kids alike, the zoo actively involves itself with international conservation projects—something it does as part of its work with ZAA but also through independent initiatives like its Wildlife Retreat program.

7. Go to Manly Beach

people walking seashore
Photo by Adrian Rem

The walk from Manly to Shelly Beach is beautiful, and the ferry ride to and from Circular Quay on Sydney Harbour is also enjoyable.

Manly Beach itself is a great place for swimming or sunbathing, but please make sure you stick to the flagged areas! The surf can be very dangerous in some parts of the beach. Also, always swim between the flags while at Manly Beach.

There are great shops and restaurants along both sides of the Corso between Manly Wharf and Manly Surf Club. Don’t forget to try the famous fish and chips!

8. Go to Surry Hills for Lunch

Surry Hills is the place to go for lunch, and there are plenty of cool cafes to choose from. It’s also great if you’re looking to shop till you drop, or enjoy a relaxed night out at the local pub.

When it comes to cheap eats, Surry Hills can’t be beat. There are so many options it can be hard to narrow down your choices (or maybe that’s just me).

If you’re in the mood for something more upscale, The Devonshire is the place for you. I’ve never had a bad meal there, and their bread pudding with whiskey sauce is out of this world! If you stop by over Happy Hour, make sure to get a seat on the balcony and enjoy some drinks with friends or co-workers. The Local Taphouse next door has an amazing beer selection as well…you could even hit them up after dinner at The Devonshire?

9. The Rocks

Sydney is the oldest and largest city in Australia. It’s a bustling cosmopolitan hub, home to 5 million people – from surfers to fashionistas, bankers to backpackers. But Sydney is also blessed with some of Australia’s most beautiful beaches and most spectacular scenery. The juxtaposition of the city and natural beauty makes it one of the most exciting places on earth.

The Rocks is one of Sydney’s oldest neighborhoods. Located between Circular Quay and the Sydney Harbour Bridge, it was established by convict settlers in 1788 and features winding cobblestone streets lined with historic pubs, converted warehouses, and art galleries – perfect for shopping or grabbing a bite at one of its many restaurants or weekend markets.

10. Kirribilli Market

  • What: Kirribilli Market, Sydney’s most famous weekend market
  • When: Saturday from 10AM to 3PM and Sunday from 9AM to 3PM
  • Where: Burton St Tunnel, Lavender Bay
  • What: This market is known for its arts and crafts vendors, but there is plenty more on offer. From vintage clothing to jewelry to handcrafted ceramics and art pieces. You’ll also find a variety of gourmet food stalls here, as well as plants and other homewares.

Other things to do in Kirribilli include:

  • Have a beer or cider at the Kirribilli Hotel. A favorite local watering hole that looks out over Sydney Harbour Bridge. They also have live music some nights of the week.
  • Walk around the harbor side parkland at Bradfield Park for great views of the bridge and Opera House.

11. St Mary’s Cathedral

  • Address: 5 St Marys Rd, Sydney NSW 2000
  • What it is: A huge neo-Gothic cathedral that’s the seat of the Archdiocese of Sydney and the metropolitan church of Australia.
  • Things to do there: Attend religious services, explore its beautiful stained-glass windows and stately interiors, and take photos.
  • Important facts/history: The first Catholic church was built on this site in 1821 but was made of logs; today’s cathedral was built from 1868-1928 and dedicated in 1928.
  • Best time to visit: During religious services, if you’re interested in seeing its interiors that way, or during daytime hours if you’re more interested in getting interior photos without people around.
  • How to get there: Walk (about a 10-minute walk from St James Station), bus, car, taxi/Uber.
  • Cost: Free!
  • More information: https://www.stmaryscathedral.org.au/

This place has so much history—you can just feel it when you step inside! It’s an impressive building with a truly striking exterior—and what’s even more impressive is that you don’t have to pay anything to see it up close and personal (the service on Sunday will cost you nothing either).

12. Sydney Tower Eye Observation Deck

Source: Wikimedia

Walk around the observation deck 250m high and get a 360-degree view of the city. Tickets cost $30 for adults, $15 for children, and $20 for seniors. It is open 9 am to 10 pm every day but at Christmas.

Sydney Tower Eye Observation Deck is the highest building in Sydney, with an observation deck at its peak that provides a panoramic view of Sydney and its surrounding areas. The tower has a look-out, a glass-floored viewing platform known as the Skywalk, and a revolving restaurant known as the Sydney Tower Buffet.

The tower also includes a 4D cinema with 3D film screenings and an additional sensory experience incorporating wind, bubbles, mist, and other effects. The tower is located in the heart of Sydney on Market Street between Pitt Street Mall and Castlereagh Street. A visit to this location is great for anyone who likes heights and wants to get an amazing view of the city.

13. Mrs. Macquarie’s Chair

Source: Wikimedia

If you’re looking for a place to sit and have a picnic, Mrs. Macquarie’s Chair is the spot. The sandstone bench, which was carved by convicts for the governor of New South Wales, still offers visitors incredible views of the Harbour today. As a bonus, it’s only about a 10-minute walk from the Royal Botanic Gardens!

14. Luna Park (Sydney)

The Luna Park amusement park is located on the northern shore of Sydney Harbour in Milson’s Point and it’s within walking distance from North Sydney. It was opened to the public in 1935 and has since been a great family attraction for both visitors and locals. The park is filled with rides for all ages, old-time funfair games, as well as restaurants, and function venues that you can visit during your stay.

The rides at this amusement park range from gentle carousels to rollercoasters like The Big Dipper which will give you an adrenaline rush like no other. The opening hours are between 10 AM and 6 PM but during school holidays those hours are usually extended (on some days up to 10 PM), so make sure that you check the website before visiting.

15. Visit the Blue Mountains

No trip to Sydney is complete without a visit to the World Heritage Listed Blue Mountains National Park. Just an hour and a half by train from Sydney, this spectacular natural attraction is one of Australia’s most popular destinations.

From rugged cliffs, canyons, waterfalls and lookouts, the Blue Mountains are home to some of the most beautiful scenery in Australia. There’s plenty to see and do in the Blue Mountains – you can take a guided tour or self-drive through the park to discover the best spots.

The main town in the Blue Mountains in Katoomba, where you can explore Jamison Valley, see Echo Point for incredible views over the Three Sisters rock formation, and take a walk along Wentworth Falls. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can try hiking some of the many trails around Katoomba or go abseiling off one of the cliffs.