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One Day in Sydney

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The unbelievably, ridiculously high rent prices in Sydney are indicative of one thing: People are willing to pay anything to live in such a beautiful city. So you’ve got 24 hours to extract the marrow out of this town - what are the things you just have to do? Here is THE list of 'must-dos' in this achingly pretty town - for first-time visitors and nostalgic locals alike.

Good for
  • History Buff
  • Art and Architecture Lover
  • Nightlife Seeker
  • Nature Lover
  • Foodie
  • Beach Goer
  • Thrifty Traveller
  • Trendsetter

7 Places

3 City Tips

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Map

7 Places

Sydney Opera House

Architectural Buildings, Points of Interest & Landmarks, Theatres

Sydney Harbour Bridge

Bridges, Points of Interest & Landmarks

Museum of Contemporary Art

Art Museums

Sydney Ferries

Ferries

Opera Bar

Restaurants

Sydney Tower Eye Observation Deck

Architectural Buildings, Observation Decks & Towers

Chinatown

Neighbourhoods

Bec F's City Tips

  • Jump on the 555 bus; it's free and does a circuit around the city every 10 minutes. It operates 9 am - 3:30 pm weekdays (until 9 pm on Thursdays) and 9:30 am - 6 pm on weekends.
  • If you litter, expect to be pulled up about it. Australians, especially Sydney-siders, love keeping their environment clean.
  • It's customary to tip 10% for great service (sometimes more for outstanding service). Good, professional servers rely on tips to subsidize their salary.
  • Sydney Opera House
    Architectural Buildings, Points of Interest & Landmarks, Theatres
    See more photos
    Bec F Says:

    It took 16 years of building - and let’s not mention the blow-out budget - but no one would now say that the Sydney Opera House wasn’t worth all that. Conceived by Danish Architect Jorn Utzon, the now iconic building dominates the harbour, its enormous sculptural shells resembling the sails of boats. It’s home to a myriad of performance halls, so that on any given night you might find "La Traviata" playing alongside The Australian Poetry Slam or a talk by Salmon Rushdie as part of the always controversial Festival of Dangerous Ideas.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Luxury Traveller
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • History Buff
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • Opera Australia offers discounted standing-only tickets that you can purchase after 9 am on the day of the performance.
    • The Opera House is only one-third of the almighty triumvirate on the circular quay. Its rivals in awesomeness are the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Museum of Contemporary Art.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #3 of 494 things to do in Sydney
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • A great venue. Make time for a performance 10/12/2018
    • A must visit when in Sydney 10/12/2018
    • Sydney Opera House
    Address:
    Bennelong Point
    Easy walk from Circular Quay Train Station
    Sydney, New South Wales 2000
    Australia
    Phone:
    +61 2 9250 7111
    Price range:
    US$19 - US$19
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
    Other:
  • Sydney Harbour Bridge
    Bridges, Points of Interest & Landmarks
    See more photos
    Bec F Says:

    Affectionately known as "the ol' coathanger" (because of its arched design), the Sydney Harbour Bridge is 1,149 metres (about 1 mile) and 58,000 tonnes of pure awesome steel. Originally opened in 1932, she quickly became an icon of the city, and those fortunate enough to drive or ride the railway across her have one of the prettiest and grandest commutes in the world.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Trendsetter
    • Like a Local
    • History Buff
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • A budget-friendly way to experience the Harbour Bridge is to catch the train across it. Jump off at Milsons Point and go for a swim at North Sydney Pool.
    • Opened a few years after the bridge, historic Luna Park is still a vibrant and fun amusement park, offering not just nostalgic rides and entertainment, but also prime bridge views.
    • You can walk across the bridge for free, or - if you don’t suffer from Hitchcock-ian vertigo - you can take a tour over the arch with Bridge Climb Sydney.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #4 of 494 things to do in Sydney
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Great view of Sydney Opera House from the bridge 10/12/2018
    • Magnificent sight 10/12/2018
    • Sydney Harbour Bridge
    Phone:
    +61 2 9240 1100
    Other:
  • Museum of Contemporary Art
    Art Museums
    See more photos
    Bec F Says:

    This monolithic, Art Deco masterpiece of a building feels like a still from the movie "Metropolis". Housed inside is a staggering reserve of the MCA’s collections and current exhibitions. There’s a focus on Australian, Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander works, plus a good number by young emerging artists.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Must See
    • Trendsetter
    • History Buff
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • There's a cafe and restaurant at the MCA, so you can rev up with a latte and then see some more art.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #77 of 494 things to do in Sydney
    • Not quite the Broad 08/12/2018
    • A powerful exhibition of photographs 02/12/2018
    • Museum of Contemporary Art
    Address:
    140 George St
    The Rocks
    Sydney, New South Wales 2000
    Australia
    Phone:
    +61 2 9245 2400
    Hours:
    Wed
    10:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m.
    Thu - Tue
    10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
    Other:
  • Sydney Ferries
    Ferries
    See more photos
    Bec F Says:

    Sydney Ferries' famed Manly Ferry has been operating since 1855, and these huge beasts of the sea certainly feel like they are straight out of the industrial revolution. Along the way, you will see Neutral Bay, Taronga Zoo, the Quarantine Station, and you’ll drift past Watsons Bay to that vast stretch between the South and North heads.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Must See
    • Beach Goer
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Trendsetter
    • Like a Local
    • Thrill Seeker
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • Take the short walk from Manly to Shelly Beach, where you’ll find Cabbage Tree Aquatic Reserve, a pristine section of sand, with a small refreshment kiosk.
    • Shelly Beach is especially good for snorkeling - look for Harry the blue groper, its most famous resident.
    • The glorious trip takes 30 minutes.
    Plan to stay:
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #5 of 494 things to do in Sydney
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • A must do in Sydney 10/12/2018
    • Best way to see harbour 10/12/2018
    • Sydney Ferries
    Address:
    Circular Quay
    Sydney, New South Wales 2000
    Australia
    Phone:
    +61 2 8113 5400
    Price range:
    US$4 - US$4
    Other:
  • Opera Bar
    Restaurants (Bar, Australian)
    See more photos
    Bec F Says:

    When all that touring the Circular Quay has worked up a hunger (and thirst!) take a mesmerizing dusk walk to the Opera House and find yourself at Opera Bar. With a lively atmosphere, good food and drink, and the harbour and city skyline as a backdrop, this is one of Sydney’s best bars. On any given night, the crowd is a happy mix of locals and tourists, and there’s often live music in the think acid jazz or funk vein.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Luxury Traveller
    • Trendsetter
    • Like a Local
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    • Nightlife Seeker
    Tips
    • Prices are great for the location, so don't be afraid to spring for a tasting plate.
    • Try to be there for dusk - it's a great place to watch the sunset, and you'll also miss the heaviest crowds at this time.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #169 of 5,083 restaurants in Sydney
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Super busy great vibe 10/12/2018
    • Horrible management and disappointing experience to say the least! 10/12/2018
    • Opera Bar
    Address:
    Sydney Opera House, Lower Concourse Level
    Circular Quay
    Sydney, New South Wales 2000
    Australia
    Phone:
    +61 924 716 66
    Hours:
    Sun
    9:00 a.m. - 12:00 a.m.
    Mon - Fri
    10:30 a.m. - 12:00 a.m.
    Sat
    9:00 a.m. - 1:00 a.m.
    Other:
  • Sydney Tower Eye Observation Deck
    Architectural Buildings, Observation Decks & Towers
    See more photos
    Bec F Says:

    At double the height of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, SKYWALK boasts the best views of the city - and beyond. On a good day, it's said that you can see right out to the Blue Mountains. The glass flooring allows visitors to not only look OUT over the city, but also DOWN upon it.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Thrill Seeker
    • Trendsetter
    Tips
    • Yoga in the Sky is held on Wednesday mornings here. Pay for the class and you get entry to the tower, the Hatha yoga class and breakfast!
    • Anytime, day or night, is the right time to visit SKYWALK; last guests are admitted at 8:30 pm Jun-Sept, and 9 pm Sept-May, but the platform stays open for another hour after that.
    • SKYWALK makes a nice midpoint to break up the walk from Circular Quay, to Chinatown (at either end of the city).
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #68 of 494 things to do in Sydney
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Well worth the visit to see Sydney in all its splendour 10/12/2018
    • Awesome lunch & View. 09/12/2018
    • Sydney Tower Eye Observation Deck
    Address:
    Westfield Centrepoint 100 Market St
    Retail Level 5, Westfield Sydney
    Sydney, New South Wales 2000
    Australia
    Phone:
    +61 1800 258 693
    Price range:
    US$15 - US$15
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    9:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.
    Other:
  • Chinatown
    Neighbourhoods
    See more photos
    Bec F Says:

    After a long day of sightseeing (and hopefully a glass or two of champers at Opera Bar!), it's either time to have a good feed or to keep the champers flowing and hit a karaoke club. Either way, you'll find your night in Chinatown. A metropolis unto itself, Sydney's Chinatown can be daunting at first, but don't feel nervous - just give into the chaos. The Chinese are fantastic late-night dwellers, so you'll find restaurants, noodle bars, cafes and bars packed and heaving late into the night. A 1 am, venture to BBQ King, for example, could find you sitting on a table next to Sydney's top chefs, celebrities, or even the occasional rugby team.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Must See
    • Luxury Traveller
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Trendsetter
    • Like a Local
    • Nightlife Seeker
    Tips
    • If you peek down an alley to see a few people loitering, more often than not it's because there's an amazing noodle restaurant hidden there. Go explore!
    • Golden Century is THE institution in Chinatown, and dishes range from cheap to exorbitant, depending on whether you choose something from the tanks.
    • Service can be gruff at times, but it'll always be fast and accurate.
    • Ask for help if you don't know which sauce goes with which meat (especially if you find yourself at Madang Korean restaurant). Servers are happy to help the hapless.
    • I live by the golden rule: If there's a spruiker (Australian speak for "barker") beckoning you in, avoid the place in question.
    • If you visit during the day, Chinatown may feel a little lackluster - night is definitely the time to visit!
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #108 of 494 things to do in Sydney
    • Busy Busy Busy 09/12/2018
    • You can be transported from Sydney to China in the space of five minutes 25/11/2018
    • Chinatown
    Address:
    George St
    Sydney, New South Wales 2000
    Australia
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    10:00 a.m. - 10:00 p.m.
    Other:
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