Since I visited Sydney for the first time back in 2007, I’ve been completely in love with this place. Sydney is without a doubt the most beautiful city I’ve been to – and I’ve seen a few places after all. What I really like about Sydney is the mix of big city life and world-class beaches combined with famous sights, amazing food, great shopping opportunities and the characteristic laidback Australian lifestyle. Altogether, this makes Sydney an absolute must visit!
The area that attracts most people in Sydney is the area around the CBD (Central Business District). And with good reason. I never get tired of visiting the city centre, and I go as often as possible. My favourite thing to do in the CBD is to buy a to-go coffee and walk the harbourside all the way from Darling Harbour to Mrs Mcqaurie’s Chair in the Royal Botanic Garden. However, there are so many fantastic things to see and do and so many nice places to eat, drink and shop in the city centre. My favourites are all pointed out in this Sydney city guide!
Boatride the Sydney waterways
Hop on a ferry and enjoy the stunning view of Sydney from the water. At Circular Quay you find ferries that sail to several areas of the city. My favourite trip is with the Manly Ferry that sails between nice and summery Manly and the CBD. If you’re lucky and you time it right, you will have the most amazing view of the sun setting behind Harbour Bridge on your way back to the city.
Circular Quay, CBD
Climb Harbour Bridge
Standing on top of the famous Harbour Bridge can be nerve-wracking. However, when you look out at one of the most beautiful cities in the world, you quickly forget the height. At the summit, you stand 134 metres above sea level from where you’ve got an amazing view throughout the whole city. A bridge climb is expensive but is totally worth the cost.
3 Cumberland St, CBD (www)
Walk the harbourside
One of my favourite ways of exploring a city is by walking. In Sydney, you can walk to famous sights such as Darling Harbour, Harbour Bridge, the Rocks, Circular Quay, the Sydney Opera House and the Royal Botanic Garden that are all within a short walking distance from each other. Make sure to walk all the way to Mrs Mcqaurie’s Chair in the Royal Botanic Garden for a picture perfect view of the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge.
Watch a performance in the Sydney Opera House
Even though the Sydney Opera House is most famous for its spectacular exterior, I can highly recommend watching a performance inside the world famous building. Of course, opera is the obvious choice, but the Sydney Opera House offers all kinds of events and performances such as dance, theatre, concerts etc.
Bennelong Pt, CBD (www)
Museum of Contemporary Art Australia
On a rare rainy day in Sydney, I love visiting Museum of Contemporary Art Australia. The museum has several free and paid exciting exhibitions that focus on all kinds of contemporary art. Make sure to visit the Sculpture Terrace for a stunning view of the Sydney Harbour.
140 George St, CBD (www)
Sydney Fish Market
Sydney’s Fish Market is the second largest fish market in the world and is definitely worth a visit if you’re on a longer stay in Sydney. There are several shops and stalls with all kinds of fish and shellfish, and it’s fascinating to experience the busy Asian inspired business life that influences the market. Make sure to show up hungry and enjoy a delicious seafood meal from one of the many stalls and restaurants.
Bank St & Pyrmont Bridge Rd, Pyrmont (www)
If you like French cuisine and you’re ready to spend some money, Hubert is the place to go to. Hubert is a fine restaurant that serves all kinds of popular French dishes in beautiful classic surroundings. Their ala carte menu is perfect for sharing and gives you the opportunity to taste a variety of their many delicious dishes.
15 Bligh St, CBD (www)
Riley St Garage
Riley St Garage reminds me of a cool New York restaurant with brick walls, dark wooden interior and an industrial vibe. Their speciality is seafood, but Riley St Garage also serves lots of other dishes that are all great for sharing. Make sure to have a cocktail at the enormous bar in the middle of the restaurant before having dinner.
55 Riley St, Woolloomooloo (www)
Eat & drink
At Frankie’s Pizza, you don’t get an ordinary pizza experience. Instead, the place ensures a rock’n’roll party where alcohol and pizzas are served in abundant quantities. The walls that are plastered with posters, the arcade games that are placed in every corner and the music that is loud are all influenced by the 1980s. Even though the pizzas are good, they shouldn’t be the reason why you should visit this place.
50 Hunter St, CBD (www)
The Morrison Bar & Oyster Room
The Morrison Bar & Oyster Room is located in the heart of Sydney’s CBD and is the place to go for an after-work drink and dinner. They combine dining and vibrant nightlife in the best way and is definitely worth a visit.
225 George St, CBD (www)
Eat & drink
Slip Inn is the place to go to if you want to have a fun Mexican inspired afternoon and evening. They have a lovely courtyard, and it’s easy to spend several hours hanging out there. A fun little side note is that this was the place where the Danish Crown Prince Frederik met Crown Princess Mary during the Sydney Olympics in 2000.
111 Sussex St, CBD (www)
The Establishment is the place to go if you’re looking for a great and fancy party. The place is huge and always packed with people who among others stand around the beautiful 42-metre long marble bar and order delicious cocktails and expensive champagne!
252 George St, CBD (www)
Palmer & Co.
One of my absolute favourite places to have a drink is at Palmer & Co. It’s located in a little alley and doesn’t look like much from the outside. However, it might be one of the coolest places in Sydney. Palmer & Co. is a time warp from the 1920s where you instantly feel like you’re part of a Great Gatsby scene when you step inside. The staff is dressed in fancy gowns and suits, the interior is classic, the music is vibey and the cocktails taste great.
Abercrombie Ln, CBD (www)
If you’ve got a minimalistic and classic style like I’ve got, you will love the Australian brand Bassike. Their store is packed with beautiful styles in black, white, grey and beige that can easily upgrade any basic wardrobe. Besides clothing, Bassike also sells quality accessories and children’s wear etc.
The Strand Arcade, 59-61/412-414 George St, CBD (www)
Incu retails a curation of cool Australian and international brands and is a true fashion mecca. It’s very difficult not to be tempted by all the beautiful styles and accessories from among others French A.P.C. and Isabel Marant Etoile, Swedish Acne Studios and Australian St. Agni when visiting the store.
The Galeries, 24/500 George St, CBD (www)
Queen Victoria Building
Queen Victoria Building is without a doubt the oldest and most elegant shopping mall in Sydney. It’s built in a Romanesque style and has so many beautiful details that alone is a reason to go. However, the shopping mall also has great shops varying from luxurious designer shops to delicious delis and souvenir shops.
455 George St, CBD (www)
The Standard Store
One of my absolute favourite places to shop is at the Standard Store. I don’t know if it’s because they sell a variety of Scandinavian brands that I love or whatever it is, but the people behind the store have really managed to handpick classic styles from brands all over the world that fit perfectly into my wardrobe.
Scotch Row, Barangaroo (www)
The Waiting Room
Make sure to only enter the Waiting Room on payday. They retail a variety of high-end Scandinavian, European, American and local brands, and everything in the store is beyond pretty. Also the decoration is amazing, and I would personally love to have their marble floor at home.
Cnr of Shipwright Walk & Scotch Row, Barangaroo
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