Top 50 Things to Do in Sydney With Some Hidden Gems

Top things to do in Sydney
From the stunning scenery of the Harbour Bridge to the art scene at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney is a city made for having fun. But it’s not only about having fun — if you’re looking to soak up some nature, the Royal Botanic Gardens and Hyde Park can offer you an escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. Plus, let’s not forget the hidden gems — those little nooks and crannies that make Sydney so special. So, whether you’re looking to satisfy your wanderlust or have fun, we’ve got the top 52 things to do in Sydney here for you. Let’s jump in and explore Sydney’s attractions together!

1. Sydney Harbour

Sydney Harbour is one of the most iconic landmarks in Australia. Its stunning blue waters provide a breathtaking backdrop to the bustling cityscape and charming islands dotting the harbour. But no trip to the Sydney Harbour is complete without a visit to the architectural marvels and must-see attractions spread about the crystal-clear waters. Let’s check them out.

2. Sydney Harbour Bridge

With its impressive arch and stunning steelwork, the Sydney Harbour Bridge is a breathtaking sight that has captured the hearts of millions. Plus, while the bridge’s sheer size and design are impressive enough, the views from the top truly take your breath away. From the summit, you can take in the sweeping vistas of the harbour and the surrounding city, offering a look at the stunning scenery few other places can match. And if you’re looking for an adrenaline rush, the all-season BridgeClimb offers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to climb to the summit for unparalleled panoramic views of the city. Just remember it’ll take you two hours to reach it.

3. Sydney Opera House

The Sydney Opera House stands proudly on the harbour, with its sail-like roofs and white shells glistening in the sun. It begs to be explored. So, a visit to the architectural masterpiece is an essential part of any trip to Sydney. And with daily tours running every half hour from 9 am to 5 pm, you have plenty of opportunities to explore this world-renowned performing arts centre’s theatres, halls, and backstage areas.

Opera Bar

With breathtaking views of the harbour, and an extensive selection of wines, cocktails, and Australian beers, the Opera Bar is the place to be when you’re in the mood for some live music and a lively atmosphere. The bar is open daily from 11am until the good times roll, with a limited late-night menu available after 10pm.

4. Museum of Contemporary Art

The Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) is the heart and soul of contemporary art in Australia. It’s a place where art and imagination collide. Each painting, sculpture, and installation tells stories, provokes thoughts, and evokes emotions, captivating you with its beauty and complexity. The museum is open daily, except for Tuesdays, with extended hours on Fridays for those who want to experience the magic of the MCA after dark. And best of all, admission is completely free. So, there’s no excuse not to come and explore!
The Rocks

5. The Rocks

Nestled at the foot of the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Rocks is a Sydney institution renowned for its weekend markets and unique charm and character. Plus, with over 50 cafes, restaurants, and hotels, The Rocks offers a wide range of dining experiences. Some notable bars and restaurants include Pancakes on The Rocks, Bar Mille, and El Camino Cantina.

Guided Tours

To truly appreciate the history and charm of The Rocks, consider taking one of the many guided tours available in the area, departing daily at 10:30 am and 1:30 pm. They provide fascinating insights into the lives of the early European settlers who first inhabited the neighbourhood.

Bars and Pubs

From the Fortune of War Hotel to Frank Mac’s, The Rocks is home to some of the best bars and pubs in the city. Here are two must-visit places:
  • Endeavour Tap Rooms: Located on the historic Kendall Lane, the Endeavour Tap Rooms is a microbrewery, bar, and restaurant all rolled into one. It’s known for serving some of the best craft beers in the city, brewed on-site using the freshest ingredients.
  • The Doss House: The Doss House is a charming underground bar on the historic Nurses Walk. Once a boarding house for Irish immigrants in the 1800s, it’s been transformed into a cosy, intimate space that offers an impressive selection of whiskey, gin, and other spirits.
Circular Quay

6. Circular Quay

Circular Quay is a hub for the ferry service that connects visitors and Sydneysiders to some of the city’s best waterfront destinations, including Manly, Mosman, Watsons Bay, and Taronga Zoo. It’s an excellent base for starting your Sydney exploration trip!

7. Sydney CBD

Sydney’s Central Business District (CBD) is the city’s beating heart. It’s always alive with activity, with a diverse range of people, from business executives to tourists, wandering the sidewalks. If you’re looking for high-end fashion, delicious cuisine, or a cultural experience, Sydney’s CBD has it all. Let’s check out some made-for-fun locations below.

8. Sydney Tower

Standing at 309 metres, Sydney Tower is the tallest structure in the city and offers stunning 360˚ views of the city’s skyline. And the best way to check out these views is to hike up to the Sydney Tower Eye — a golden turret suspended 268 metres above the ground. From iconic landmarks like the Sydney Harbour Bridge to the Blue Mountains, there isn’t much you can’t see from the top of the Sydney Tower Skywalk.

9. Shopping

From the high-end luxury stores of Castlereagh Street to the vibrant and eclectic shopping district of Pitt Street, Sydney’s CBD is a shopper’s paradise. So, if you want to shop Prada and Gucci to Camilla and Zimmermann, you’ll love the CBD. But if you’re looking for something more affordable, Pitt Street Mall has got you covered with fast-fashion chains like Cotton On and Sportsgirl to H&M and Zara.

10. Australian Museum

If you’re a history buff or love exploring cultures, the Australian Museum should be at the top of your list. It’s the oldest in the country and conveniently located a stone’s throw from Sydney Opera House and the Royal Botanic Garden, so you can’t not take a peek. And if that wasn’t convincing enough, the museum has everything from skeletons and fossils of dinosaurs in the Dinosaur Gallery to the First Australians Gallery. Plus, it’s open from 10 am to 5 pm, Monday to Sunday!
Hyde Park

11. Hyde Park

With its lush greenery, stunning fountains, and historical monuments, Hyde Park offers a peaceful escape in the heart of the city. It has plenty of space — 16 hectares is nothing to sneeze at — for picnics, jogging, or simply enjoying the sunshine.

St Mary’s Cathedral

With Gothic-style architecture and beautiful stained-glass windows, St Mary’s Cathedral is a beauty to look at. It was designed by Willian Wardell in the mid-19th century and took over 30 years to complete. If that’s not special enough, the cathedral has a rich history of surviving some of the worst disasters, such as a fire in the 1860s and the Japanese torpedo bombing during WWII.

Anzac Memorial

The ANZAC Memorial is dedicated to the memory of the soldiers who fought and died in WWI. Featuring a striking art deco style and intricate relief work, the monument is a powerful reminder of courage and resilience.

12. The Domain

The Domain is a 34-hectare park home to the Art Gallery of New South Wales and the State Library of New South Wales. It offers one of the best vantage points in the city to check out the Sydney Harbour and the iconic Sydney Opera House. The park hosts various events throughout the year, such as the Sydney Festival, the Tropfest Film Festival, and the Carols.

13. New South Wales Art Gallery

Boasting an impressive collection of Australian, Asian, and European art, the New South Wales Art Gallery is a must-visit for art lovers visiting Sydney.
NSW Art Gallery

14. Royal Botanic Gardens

Located in the heart of the city, the Royal Botanic Gardens cover 30 hectares of land and are home to thousands of plant species from around the world. They’re open every day of the year, and entry is free. The opening hours of the gardens vary throughout the year, depending on the season. From November to February, they are open from 7:00 am to 8:00 pm, while in April and September, the closing time is 6:00 pm.

15. Darling Harbour and Barangaroo

A hub of maritime activity for over 150 years, Darling Harbour is a vibrant and bustling waterfront precinct in the heart of Sydney. It’s home to dozens of world-class attractions, entertainment venues, restaurants, cafes, and shops. One to four minutes from the harbour is Barangaroo, a waterfront promenade home to cafes, bars, restaurants, and hotels providing various dining options ranging from casual to made-just-for-you. You can reach it by ferry, car, or bus.

16. Sea Life Sydney Aquarium

Featuring over 700 different species of marine life, including sharks, rays, penguins, and tropical fish, the SEA Life Sydney Aquarium is one of the largest and most popular aquariums in Australia. It’s home to the massive Oceanarium, with several fish species, such as Grey Nurse Sharks, stingrays, and more. You can also take a short boat ride through a recreated Antarctic to take a look at King and Gentoo penguins in their habitat. It’s open from 10 am to 5 pm.

17. The Crown

Situated on the waterfront of Darling Harbour, the Crown is a luxurious hotel and entertainment complex. It’s home to hotels, a theatre, high-end retail shops, restaurants, bars, and entertainment venues. The Crown also features a world-class casino with over 500 gaming tables and slot machines. So, if you enjoy gambling and games like blackjack, poker, baccarat, and roulette, the complex is just the place for you.


Among the many dining options available at The Crown, Nobu and Cirrus Dining are two of the most popular and critically acclaimed restaurants.
Nobu is a Japanese restaurant chain offering a unique dining experience you’ll never forget. The restaurant’s menu features a mix of traditional Japanese cuisine and contemporary dishes that showcase the best of Australian seafood and produce. Signature dishes include the famous Nobu Black Cod with Miso, Yellowtail Sashimi with Jalapeno, and Wagyu Beef with Anticucho Sauce.
Cirrus Dining
Cirrus Dining is another of The Crown’s standout restaurants, specialising in seafood and modern Australian cuisine. The restaurant’s menu features an array of fresh seafood, with dishes like Oysters with Native Pepperberry Mignonette, Kingfish with Kohlrabi and Finger Lime, and Blue Eye Cod with Smoked Tomato and Zucchini.

18. Beautiful Beaches

Sydney is known for its stunning coastline and beautiful beaches that attract millions of visitors every year. From the golden Bondi Beach to the serene Milsons Point, here are eight of the most beautiful beaches in the city:

19. Bondi Beach

Bondi Beach is known for its golden sands, crystal clear waters, and the iconic Bondi Icebergs Club. You can surf, swim, sunbathe, and take part in the lively beach culture. The Bondi to Coogee walk is also a must-do, offering stunning coastline views.
Bondi Beach

20. Coogee Beach

Coogee Beach is a quieter alternative to Bondi Beach but it’s just as beautiful. It’s the starting point of the popular Coogee to Bondi walk, a 6 km coastal walk that passes through some of Sydney’s most stunning beaches and parks. The Coogee walk takes about two hours and offers breathtaking ocean views, cliffs, and beaches. Whale watching is also a much-loved pastime.

21. Manly Beach

Manly Beach is a popular spot for surfers and beachgoers. It’s known for its laid-back atmosphere, scenic coastal walks, and picturesque views of the Sydney Harbour. The beach is a 30-minute ferry ride away from Circular Quay. So, you’re never too far away from the ocean.

22. Bronte Beach

Bronte Beach is a small but beautiful beach located in Sydney’s eastern suburbs. The lush greenery and great picnic spots, cafes, and restaurants make it a popular spot for swimming, surfing, and snorkelling.

23. Milsons Point

Milsons Point is a hidden gem located on the north shore of Sydney Harbour. It’s a small beach with stunning views of the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House. You can enjoy swimming, fishing, and whale watching during the migration season.
Watsons Bay

24. Watsons Bay

Watsons Bay is a picturesque harbour beach located on the South Head of Sydney Harbour. It’s known for its stunning views of the Harbour, the city skyline, and the rugged cliffs. You can swim, fish, kayak, or take a scenic walk to the famous Gap Bluff lookout.

25. Cronulla Beach

Located in the southern suburbs of Sydney, Cronulla Beach is known for its long stretches of white sand, crystal-clear waters, and excellent surf breaks. You can take a walk along the scenic esplanade, swim, or surf to your heart’s content.

26. Palm Beach

Palm Beach is a beautiful beach located in Sydney’s northern suburbs. It’s known for its pristine white sand, crystal clear waters, and the famous Barrenjoey Lighthouse. And if you’re a fan of “Home and Away,” visiting this sandy shore is not even a choice.

27. Sydney’s North Shore

Located just across the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Sydney’s North Shore is known for its beautiful harbourside suburbs, leafy streets, and impressive homes. It’s home to some of Sydney’s top attractions. Let’s take a look at three of the must-see spots in North Shore:

28. Luna Park

Luna Park has been bringing smiles to faces since 1935. From the Ferris wheel and the Wild Mouse roller coaster to the Hair Raiser, the park has enough rides and games to make you dizzy. And if you need some energy, you can hop over to any pop-up and indulge in hot dogs, popcorn, and fairy floss. No wonder it’s one of the most visited of Sydney’s attractions.

29. Taronga Zoo

With over 5,000 animals from 350 species, including native Australian wildlife and exotic creatures from around the world, Taronga Zoo can satisfy your inner pet lover and then some. It’s open from 9:30 am to 5:00 pm.
Taronga Zoo

30. Kirribilli

Kirribilli is a charming suburb on the North Shore, known for its picturesque streets, historic architecture, and stunning views of the harbour. You can take a stroll along the waterfront, explore the local shops and cafes, or catch a ferry from the Kirribilli wharf to Circular Quay.

31. Wendy Whiteley’s Secret Garden

Tucked away in Lavender Bay, just a short walk from Luna Park, is Wendy Whiteley’s Secret Garden. With stunning views of the harbour and dozens of native and exotic plants, the Secret Garden is a hidden gem that’s well worth a visit, especially if you can’t get enough of exotic flora.

32. Sydney’s South

If you’re looking to get up and personal with some of Australia’s native wildlife or explore some of the city’s most beautiful natural attractions and cultural hotspots, Sydney’s South is just the place for you.

33. Royal National Park

The Royal National Park is Australia’s oldest national park, established in 1879, and covers an area of more than 15,000 hectares. Some of the most popular attractions in the park include the Figure Eight Pools, a unique rock formation the ocean has shaped over thousands of years, and Garie Beach, a beautiful stretch of sand popular with surfers and swimmers.

34. Greater Sydney

Home to 5.2 million people, Greater Sydney stretches from the Blue Mountains in the west to the coastal beaches in the east. It’s known for its stunning natural beauty, lush forests, and diverse flora and fauna. Let’s check out some of the must-visit locations in the area.

35. The Blue Mountains

Located outside Sydney, the Blue Mountains is a stunning natural wonder known for its beautiful blue-hued mountains, lush forests, and breathtaking scenery. From Jenolan Caves and Wentworth Falls to Grand Canyon Track and Mayfield, the area has plenty of things to see and do, making it a vacation destination. Let’s take a look at some of the best.
Image of Blue Mountains Sydney

36. Glenmore Markets

The Glenmore Markets offer a unique shopping experience where you can purchase locally made arts and crafts, gourmet food items, and fresh produce. They’re set in the beautiful Glenmore Park, surrounded by scenic views of the mountains and trees.

37. The Three Sisters

Another must-see attraction in the Blue Mountains is the Three Sisters, a rock formation in Katoomba. According to Aboriginal legend, the Three Sisters were turned into rocks to protect them from harm. You can take a scenic cable car ride or hike to the top of the Three Sisters for breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and valleys.

38. The Golden Staircase

If you’re feeling adventurous, the Golden Staircase is a steep, rugged trail leading hikers through dense forests and past picturesque waterfalls. The hike isn’t for the faint of heart, but if the stunning views of the surrounding landscape, lush forests, dramatic cliffs, and picturesque waterfalls are anything to go by, it’s well worth the effort.

40. Katoomba

Katoomba is the largest town in the Blue Mountains and serves as a hub for visitors to the area. It’s home to attractions like the Scenic World, a popular tourist destination with a scenic railway, skyway, and cableway.

41. Parramatta

Founded by the British in 1788, Parramatta is a vibrant and multicultural suburb located approximately 23 kilometres west of Sydney’s CBD. It offers a range of attractions and experiences, from Parramatta Park to Parramatta River and Powerhouse Museum.
Let’s take a look at some of the top places to visit in Parramatta:

42. Powerhouse Museum

Located in the heart of Parramatta, the Powerhouse Museum is home to a vast collection of scientific, technological, design, and decorative arts artefacts. It’s open daily from 10 am to 5 pm, with extended hours until 9 pm every Thursday for Powerhouse Lates.

43. Parramatta Park

From historic sites like the Crescent, the Observatory Transit Stones, the Bath House, and the Boer War Memorial to popular spots for picnics, walking, jogging, and cycling, Parramatta Park has everything you’d ever want in a park. The park offers free entry to visitors, and it’s open every day of the year. It also has a 3.2 km loop cycle lane and connects to cycle routes travelling along the Parramatta River and to Sydney Olympic Park.

44. Parramatta River

The Parramatta River is a major waterway that flows through the heart of Parramatta. It offers a range of activities, including kayaking, canoeing, fishing, and boating. You can also take a scenic river cruise to explore the sights and sounds of the Parramatta waters.

Lesser Known Things to Do in Sydney

So those were some of the most popular things to do in Sydney. But if you’re a seasoned traveller looking for some off-the-beaten-path experiences, here are some lesser-known things that you won’t want to miss.

46. Indigenous Tour of the Rocks

Take a journey through the rich cultural heritage of the First Nations people of Australia with a guided Indigenous Tour of The Rocks. This 90-minute tour can help you learn about the unique history and culture of the Aboriginal people who have called the area home for millennia.

47. Sydney Ghost Tour

If you’re a fan of the supernatural and enjoy spine-tingling experiences, check out The Rocks Ghost Tours. These walking tours take you to normally inaccessible areas, including the settings of some of Sydney’s most macabre stories. As you walk through the dark corners of The Rocks, your guide will share with you tales of ghosts, murders, and other creepy happenings.

48. Paint and Sip Class

You can get creative and unwind with a paint and sip in Sydney. You don’t need any painting experience. Just bring yourself because all the materials are provided, such as the canvas, paint, brushes, and aprons. And the best part? You can sip the best vintage red or white wine while creating your masterpiece. Talk about a good time!

49. Marrickville Brewery Crawl

If you’re a beer connoisseur, taking a self-guided tour of Marrickville’s thriving craft beer scene is going to be just the fix. From the Bob Hawk Beer and Leisure Center to the Batch Brewing Co., you’ve got every flavour of beer, such as Pash the Magic Dragons, oatmeal stouts, and fruited sours.

50. Maroubra to Malabar Beach Walk

If the crowds at Sydney Opera House are boring you to death, escape them and discover some of Sydney’s secluded beaches on the Maroubra to Malabar Beach Walk.
Paint and sip

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