Things to do in the City of Sydney

Things to do in the City of Sydney

The top attractions of the City of Sydney

The City of Sydney’s top attractions

We have extracted the best bits from the list of the Top 100 (plus) things to do that refer to the City. If you are really interested in all of Sydney, including her beaches, National Parks and other key attractions, you should start with the top things to do and just work your way through the list. Just follow the link below:

Top Things To Do

The Opera House and Harbour Bridge

Sunset Sydney HarbourThe first time you actually see the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge with your own eyes you may find that you don’t pay much attention to anything else. I know I didn’t. The Sydney Tower is the most likely exception as it is kind of out there – or rather up there.

The Tower and the Rocks

Sydney Tower offers great views across the roof tops and out to the harbour. The Rocks offers sandstone and convict history whilst the city rocks to variety of quality bars, pubs and clubs.

Darling Harbour, Kings Cross and Oxford Street

Darling Harbour is a tourist mecca and a local’s playground. Kings Cross and Oxford Street offer seedier delights and some interesting sights.

Sydney Tower

Previous known as AMP Tower and Centrepoint. Pay your fee, get in the lift and wander around the observation deck. The view is partially obscured by neighbouring high rise office blocks – but it’s still pretty impressive.

Sky Walk

The Sky Walk Comparable to the Harbour Bridge Climb only higher up, shorter duration, cheaper, less fuss and not so far to walk.

Ghost Tours

Even after death no-one wants to leave Sydney:

The RocksRocks Ghost Tour

Sydney Festival

The Sydney Festival has lost a little of its appeal as it has become more commercial but the festival still offers a smorgasbord of events and activities, some of which are still free! Scrutinise their website and pick out the stuff you’re interested in. Sydney is a great place to be at any time of year but in summer it shines.

Sydney Festival

Powerhouse Museum

The Powerhouse is a science and design museum with interactive exhibits. The Powerhouse Museum is family friendly, educational, interesting and potentially fun! Located in Darling Harbour, the Powerhouse Museum is an excellent thing to do if the weather is a little unfriendly.

Powerhouse Museum – more

 Harbour View Hotel

The Harbour View Hotel is a pub in the Rocks with a nice close up view of the Harbour Bridge. The Harbour View Hotel lunch is very nice, particularly if someone else is picking up the bill. The Lamb Shanks are recommended (yum yum).

Harbour View Hotel – more

Sydney Swans (Aussie Rules Football)

The Sydney Swans roost in the Sydney Cricket Ground east of the city (but fairly close) and next door to the Entertainment Quarter (Fox Studios). They occasionally fly around at Homebush. Ideally you’d be taken by a local who regards ‘Aussie Rules’ as ‘aerial ping-pong’ to get maximum enjoyment.

The Swans – more

Hyde Park Barracks

Delve into Sydney’s dark convict past at the Hyde Park Barracks. Nice cafe if you fancy lunch – ironic, given its history. We have elevated Hyde Park Barracks up the top 100 things to do list on account of an excellent exhibition and an awesome lunch. The day always seems to go better after a good feed (or maybe that’s just me).

Hyde Park Barracks – more

IMAX Theatre

Located at Darling Harbour, the IMAX Theatre has the world’s largest screen (apparently) so don’t sit yourself too close to the front! 🙂 The movies usually last less than an hour.

Imax Theatre – more

Art Gallery of New South Wales

The Art Gallery of New South Wales is nicely surrounded by parks (Botanical Gardens and Domain) yet close to the heart of town. In the recent past it has been punching above its weight with some major international exhibitions. Check out the gallery’s web site for all the latest.

Art Gallery of New South Wales – more

The Rocks

Visit the rocks for history, street markets, old buildings (that’s around 200 years old) shops and pubs. Try the Lord Nelson at the ‘wrong end’ (toward Darlings Harbour – walk down Argyle Street) of the Rocks for a pint of the Lord Nelson’s own brew. The Rocks rocks towards the end of George Street with the home of the famous Irish pub, The Mercantile (‘The Merc’).

The Rocks – more

The Australian Museum

The Australian museum is an excellent museum located in Bridge Street in the city. The Botanical Gardens and Circular Quay are close by if you need to escape the glass towers that will surround you. The museum is endowed with a glass cafe to help it fit in with the surrounding architecture.

The Australian Museum – more

Sydney Markets

I sympathise if the idea of shopping doesn’t seem like a top thing to do, but you probably ought to buy somebody something. Paddy’s Market is said to be the largest market in Sydney. It is open Thursday through to Sunday in the Haymarket. There are many other markets of course including:

The Rocks Market

The Rocks market is more arts, craft and expensive. The Rocks market is smaller, easier to walk around and there are pubs close at hand to escape into.

Sydney Fish Market

The Sydney Fish Market open 7am every day. It is a real hot spot every Good Friday as people come from far and wide come to get their supplies for the day.

Some many markets, so little time

Alternatively, visit Glebe Market for a second hand jacket or the more up-market Paddington (Paddo) Market. You could also try Birkenhead Point for a less touristy option.

City Markets – more

Tour the Sydney Cricket Ground

Visit the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) and see the dressing rooms where Australia, one of the world’s finest, if not best loved, cricket team prepares to vanquish its opponents.

SCG– more

The Sydney Film Festival

The Film Festival is a wonderful opportunity to see some challenging and interesting movies. Some might even entertain you!  Timing is good as, the festival usually runs in June at the start of winter.

The Sydney Film Festival – more

Museum of Contemporary Art

You’ll find the MCA – Museum of Contemporary Art, on the west side of Circular Quay, the end nearest to the Sydney Harbour Bridge. They will provide you with ear phones for commentary. They also run free tours on occasion.

Museum of Contemporary Art

Oxford Street

Oxford Street has changed over the years but it still retains a certain something. For the people watchers amongst you, a walk down Oxford Street can still be quite interesting. Grab yourself a coffee somewhere and watch the mostly unsuited world go past.

Oxford Street – more

ANZAC Bridge (Madonna’s Bra)

Air Zealand have asked me to let you know that the ANZAC Bridge does NOT span the Tasman to New Zealand. 🙂 You’ll just have to fly there I’m afraid. Madonna’s Bar is a nice looking bridge linking Sydney’s fringe suburbs to the city. It could use a larger stretch of water to go under it…

ANZAC Bridge – more

Sydney Observatory

The Observatory provides us all with the potential for an interesting educational experience. The Observatory is a place full of history, yet it also covers recent explorations of the solar system. Is there life on Mars? A visit may give you the chance to ask a few questions.

Sydney Observatory – more

Casino – The Star (ex Star City), Darling Harbour

Apart from lots of pokies (slot machines), cards, roulette and the rest, the Star Casino has some good theatres, bars, night clubs and shows.

The Star (Star City Casino) – more

Cook and Phillip Park

Cook and Phillip Park lies underneath Hyde Park. It contains a pool, fitness equipment and art work. If you are staying in the middle of town, or work in the city, this is an excellent place to lose a few calories. If you prefer to exercise outdoors, you can always jog around Hyde Park. If you wish to venture further, The Domain lies ‘hidden’ to the North East behind St Mary’s Cathedral.

Cook and Phillip Park – more


There is a lot to be said for Balmain. Located close to Darling Harbour and the City, Balmain is blessed with its own variety of pubs, cafes, narrow side streets and ‘water views’. Balmain is only a brief ferry ride from Circular Quay and Darling Harbour. Get off at Darling Street wharf and catch the bus or puff the ten minute walk up the hill.

Balmain – more

Queen Victoria Building (QVB)

It is said of the Queen Victoria Building (QVB) that the prices rise as you ascend the building. The QVB is a well-travelled pedestrian thoroughfare from Town Hall Train Station to heart of Pitt Street in the city. On your way have a look at the clock on the top floor and the Statue of Queen Victoria, ruling over the entrance nearest to Town Hall. The statue would not be out of place in Trafalgar Square in London.

Queen Victoria Building – more

Sydney Town Hall

I suspect more people have sat or stood on the steps outside the Town Hall than have actually been in it (it’s a popular meeting point). This is a shame really as there is quite a bit to see. It is a working building (although some might dispute this) so you can’t expect unfettered access, but there are guided tours.

Town Hall – more

Marble Bar

marble bar sydneyMarble Bar is a very attractive marble bar. In the past, it has been lit up by candle light in honour of Earth Hour – a sight to be seen. The Marble Bar hosts live music and generally caters for an ‘older’ clientele. Nice spot for a quiet drink before the place livens up. You’ll find the Marble Bar in the bowls of the Hilton Hotel in Pitt Street.

The Marble Commonwealth Bank – Martin Place

If enjoyed your visit to the Marble Bar, get some cash out at a marble bank. Visit the Commonwealth Bank, situated on the corner of Castlereagh Street and Martin Place. If you have to visit a bank why not a marble one (now that’s where my fees go!). It’s a lovely old building, but it is not suppose to be a tourist attraction, so please ask first if you want to take a photo.

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