18 Best things to do in Sydney 2023: opera, zoo, aquariums, parks and must places to see

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If we’re honest, Sydney is one of the most fascinating cities to visit. Why?

Because there are SO many things to do in Sydney! Strolls around Sydney Opera House? Check. Water sports at Bondi beach? Check. Sunset gazing at the top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge? Check. And there are many more amazing activities to tick off your list. To discover them, scroll down!


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The best things to do in Sydney in a nutshell


See the most fascinating sea creatures at Sydney’s SEA LIFE Aquarium

  • sea animals
  • glass tunnels
  • kids activities
Check it!


Take a stroll around Sydney Opera House at night to marvel at the city’s lit trademark

  • landmark
  • architecture
  • night view
Check it!


Meet the most adorable animals at Sydney’s Taronga Zoo, including kangaroos & koalas

  • animals
  • fun
  • kid-friendly
Check it!


Go for a sunset cruise under Sydney Harbour Bridge or climb it up for panoramic city views

  • architecture
  • sunset
  • cruise
Check it!


Go for an adventure in nature at the Blue Mountains

  • geology
  • history
  • activities
Check it!


Have a fun day with the kids at Sydney’s Luna Park

  • amusement park
  • fun rides
  • dining
Check it!


Dig into the country’s history at the UNESCO-listed Hyde Park Barracks Museum in Sydney

  • historical value
  • ex-orphanage
  • interactive exhibits
Check it!
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The best fun things to do in Sydney

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Learn how to surf at Bondi beach

Surfing is one of the best things to do in Sydney! Besides, Australia is known for its surf culture. The best beach to test your skills in surfing is Bondi beach, the most popular beach in Sydney. Located 7 km away from central Sydney, this half-moon-shaped sandy beach is a meeting point for local and international surfers alike.


Besides surfing, at Bondi beach, you can also enjoy swimming, sunbathing, barefoot jogging, or just people-watching. Also, the fact that Bondi beach is so close to the city makes it an easily-accessible destination for a quick dip at any time of the day!


Another great and family-friendly beach for surfing and swimming is Coogee Beach on the Coastal Walkway, which connects Bondi beach with Maroubra beach. Coogee beach is organized and has many amenities, including a children’s playground, restaurants, and baths. The 6 km-long promenade from Bondi to Coogee is also very popular!

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Enjoy Sydney’s nightlife

Nightlife in Sydney is super famous and -trust us when we say that- you have to discover yourself why! From pubs to nightclubs and everything in between, Sydney boasts a lively night scene with many surprises.

Oxford Street is where the heart of the city’s nightlife beats. An area that welcomes everyone, which is why it is popular with the LGBTQ+ community, Oxford Street is the place to go for a crazy night out. Other go-to places for an epic night out in Sydney are Darling Harbour, the Rocks, and Surry Hills. When it comes to nightlife, Sydney won’t let you down!


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Explore the Rocks neighborhood

The Rocks is an iconic district with enduring history -it’s one of Australia’s oldest neighborhoods! Full of 19th-century buildings, cobblestone alleys, old-school cafes, art galleries, and little shops, this district oozes vintage charm in abundance. Wandering the quaint streets of the Rocks neighborhood, you’ll discover many cool places, like hip cocktail bars, delicious brunch spots, handmade jewellery shops, and verdant public parks. We highly recommend spending a whole day exploring and shopping at the Rocks!

Fact: The Rocks neighborhood plays host to an arts and crafts market every weekend and a food market on Fridays -make sure that you check them out.

The best things to do in Sydney for free

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Wander the Royal Botanic Gardens

One of the most peaceful spots in Sydney, the Botanic Gardens is the best place to spend a quiet afternoon. They are located near the Sydney Opera House and Central Business District, offering nice views of the harbor and the city. These gardens, which are beautifully maintained, are home to a wide variety of both international and native trees, flowers, and plants.


The Royal Botanic Gardens also play host to many hands-on learning activities for the kids, including gardening, pottery, garden tours, and Aboriginal bush foods tasting. If you’re searching for free family activities in Sydney, a visit to the Royal Botanic Gardens is a must!


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Take a stroll around the Sydney Opera House

Sydney Opera House is arguably the city’s trademark! One of the most popular and most-photographed buildings in the world, Sydney Opera House is a total must-visit. Designed by Danish architect Jørn Utzon in the 1950s, this architectural masterpiece has become the international symbol of Australia. Inside Sydney Opera House, there are 6 venues, which host theatrical and music performances, as well as a bar.


Even if you don’t manage to get inside, you can admire the building from the outside, by taking a stroll at the harbor. Besides, the best photos of the Opera House are taken from the outside, especially at night, when the whole building is lit.


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Explore Royal National Park

If you’re a nature lover, you’re bound to love the Royal National Park! Located in a 26-km area, less than an hour away from Sydney city center, Royal National Park is a natural paradise full of trails, rainforests, cliffs, beaches, waterfalls, as well as many picnic and camping spots. Some of the spots you need to visit in the Royal National Park are the Curracurrong Falls, the Wedding Cake Rock, Hacking River, and Marley beach. There’s a lot to see and do in the Royal National Park, so we recommend that you spend a full day there. Trust us, this place will steal your heart quite literally!


The best things to do in Sydney with family and friends

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Chill out at Manly beach

While Bondi Beach is the most popular beach in Sydney, Manly beach is a much more laid-back option. Manly beach consists of three beaches, South Steyne, North Steyne, and Queenscliff that blend into one long sandy shore. Carpeted with golden sand and surrounded by beautiful pine trees, Manly beach is a popular spot for surfing and other water activities. Around the beach, there are also many cafes, bars, and restaurants, where you can sit and enjoy a meal after a wonderful day at the beach.


Tip: If you love trekking, you should follow the trail that connects Spit Bridge with Manly beach. It’s a beautiful trail that passes through nature and offers spectacular views.

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Meet the most adorable exotic animals at Sydney's Taronga Zoo

This is one of the best things to do in Sydney with kids. Taronga Zoo is home to over 340 different animal species and more than 4,000 animals, including koalas, giraffes, tree kangaroos, and chimpanzees. Besides animals, in the zoo you’ll also find many facilities, like cafes, restaurants, ATMs, and picnic areas. Reaching the zoo is easy! All you have to do is take the ferry from Sydney’s harbor -the ferry ride lasts for just 12 minutes.


Tip: If you fall in love with the setting and aren’t ready to leave after your visit, Taronga Zoo offers accommodation in luxurious safari tents. Cool, right?

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Have fun at the Luna Park

Sydney Luna Park is the most famous amusement park in Sydney and a popular tourist attraction. If you’re traveling with kids, it is arguably one of the best places to visit! But, the truth is that the Luna Park offers a bunch of fun activities for adults, too. Inside the park, you’ll find a wide variety of rides, like the Wild Mouse, the Hair Raiser, the Slides, the Sizzler, and the Turkey Trot. There are also several dining options, from Australian and Italian cuisine to classic American burgers and ice-cream.


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Discover interesting underwater creatures at the SEA LIFE Aquarium in Sydney

This is one of the best family activities in Sydney, especially for families with little kids! It’s not a secret that Australia is home to a wide variety of sea creatures and SEA LIFE is the perfect place to discover them. In this aquarium, you and your family will have the chance to see over 13,000 sea animals from 700 species! Sharks, tropical reef fish, penguins, jellyfish, turtles, you name it. Thanks to the glass viewing tunnels that cross the aquarium, you’ll see all these creatures from VERY close, which makes the whole experience even more fun!

The best places for sightseeing in Sydney (Top attractions and monuments)

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Marvel at the Sydney Harbour Bridge

The Sydney Harbour Bridge is one of the most iconic attractions in Sydney! Located right next to Sydney Opera House, this towering steel bridge is one of the city’s trademarks. There are lots of options regarding how you can visit the Sydney Harbour Bridge, depending on your budget. If you’re tight on budget, you can walk across the bridge, while if you want to splurge, you can climb the bridge or take a cruise underneath it. We highly recommend the last two options!

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Visit the Hyde Park Barracks Museum

The UNESCO-listed Hyde Park Barracks Museum is one of the must-visit museums in Sydney. This museum has a great historical value and an interesting past, as it was originally built to accommodate convicted men. Throughout history, it has served as a Female Immigration Depot, an orphanage, and an asylum for the elderly before it started operating as a museum.


Today, in Hyde Park Barracks Museum, you’ll get to learn about the stories of the people that formed a part of its history and discover Australia’s history through over 4,000 interactive exhibits. It’s one of the most interesting places to visit in Sydney for kids and adults alike!


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Climb to the top of Sydney Tower

If you want to enjoy unparalleled views of the city, Sydney Tower is the place to go, as the Sydney Tower Eye at the top of the tower, is the highest point of Sydney! From there, you can enjoy 360-degree vistas of the city and the surroundings.


If you’re feeling adventurous, you should try skywalking on the highest outdoor viewpoint of the tower. A skywalking tour will let you walk on air at 268 (!) meters above the ground and spot Sydney’s major attractions from above. It’s an experience of a lifetime!

Best day trips from Sydney

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Set off on an adventure to the Blue Mountains

Situated in New South Wales in Australia, just a two-hour drive from Sydney, the Blue Mountains are a natural paradise with unique geology. This place is so enriched with history and nature!


Stretching for 3,861 square miles, the Blue Mountains area is full of forests, canyons, waterfalls, tiny villages, walking trails, as well as historical landmarks. There’s a lot to see and explore in the area, but you can’t do everything in just one day. However, the spots you shouldn’t miss in the Blue Mountains are the Jenolan Caves, the Glenbrook Gorge, the Wentworth Falls, the Three Sisters, and the Scenic World at Katoomba.


Tip: The Blue Mountains have a rich Aboriginal heritage, so we highly recommend that you join a tour with a local Darug guide, who’ll help you dig deeper into the history of this place.

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Go for wine tasting at the Hunter Valley

If you fancy something different, going for wine tasting at the Hunter Valley is a total must! Just two hours away from Sydney, Hunter Valley is a food and wine heaven. Vineyards for as far as the eye can see, traditional wineries, and luxurious spas -that’s what Hunter Valley is all about.


Hunter Valley is the oldest wine production district in Australia, so the best thing to do there is arguably wine tasting. In the area, you’ll find more than 150 wineries that offer tours and tastings of some of the world’s best wine varieties, like shiraz, chardonnay, and semillon. Of course, there are also many seasonal delicacies to pair with your wine!

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Cruise along Hawkesbury River

Flowing past a verdant area less than an hour away from Sydney, Hawkesbury River is one of the most popular natural attractions in Sydney. The tranquil waters of the river are ideal for water activities, like fishing, kayaking (for the thrill-seekers), and cruising. Our recommendation is to hire a houseboat -you can choose among many types of boats depending on your budget- and take in the verdant scenery from the water.


However, if you choose to explore the area from the land, there’s also much to see, like the Dharug National Park, the Hawkesbury Regional Gallery, the Hawkesbury Regional Museum, and the Australiana Pioneer Village.

The top places to eat & drink in Sydney

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Discover contemporary Australian cuisine at Ester Restaurant

The simple food, the locally sourced ingredients, and the innovative combinations make Ester restaurant stand out among Sydney’s eateries. Mat Lindsay, Ester’s chef, has created a short yet well-thought-out menu based on Australian-inspired dishes, like smoked duck breast, blood sausage sandwich, cauliflower with almond sauce and mint, bbq beetroot, and king prawns with shrimp butter. Yum! At Ester Restaurant, you’ll also find an extensive wine list, which includes organic wines from all over the world.


P.S. The desserts are also worth living room for!


Info: 46-52 Meagher St, Chippendale NSW 2008, Australia Tel: 61280688279


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Drink the most sophisticated gin cocktails at the Barber Shop

Multiple times awarded “Best gin bar in Australia”, the Barber Shop is probably the hippest place in town for gin. Located behind a retro barber shop, this bar has a vintage style and a nostalgic feel that will travel you back in time. The drinks menu includes over 700 fine gins and a selection of gin cocktails, like the Gin Mare, the 1950s Martini, and the Bulldog Gin. As for the food, the Barber Shop offers some delicious share plates, like duck sausage rolls, fries with truffle mayo, and smoked ham & cheese toastie.


Info: 89 York St, Sydney NSW 2000, Australia Tel: 61292999699


How to get to Sydney?

If you’re traveling from anywhere else besides Australia, the only way to get to Sydney is by air. Sydney Kingsford Smith International airport is located just 8 km away from Sydney city center. It serves flights from/to countries all around the world, like India, Japan, the U.S., the Philippines, and the U.K. If you’re traveling to Sydney from another Australian city, you can also opt for the bus, which arrives at Sydney Coach Terminal or the train, which terminates at Central Station.


What are the best areas to stay in Sydney?

The best areas to stay in Sydney are Central Business District (CBD) (for shopping), the Rocks (for sightseeing), Newtown (for food), Bondi (for families), and Sydney city center (for first-time visitors).


Explore more: Check all the hotels in Sydney


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What is the best season to visit Sydney?

The best season to visit Sydney is summer, which lasts from December to February. Summertime is arguably the best time to enjoy sightseeing and outdoor activities, like watersports and nature exploration. However, summer is peak season in Australia, so Sydney usually gets overcrowded. If you want to avoid the crowds but enjoy the good weather, the best months to visit are October, November, and March.


What are the most popular attractions in Sydney?

The most popular attractions in Sydney are the Sydney Opera House, Sydney Harbour Bridge, Royal Botanic Gardens, the Sydney Tower Eye, Taronga Zoo, and Hyde Park.


What are the best foods to eat in Sydney?

The best foods to eat in Sydney are Sydney rock oyster, tiger prawns, yellowfin tuna, and Lamington cake.


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Now we ‘d like to hear from you

So are you dreaming of laying under the sun at Bondi beach, climbing up the Harbour Bridge, having a wilderness experience at the Blue Mountains, and visiting the iconic Sydney Opera House?


There are so many things to do and see in Sydney that there’s no way that you run out of options!


What are the experiences you can’t wait to have on your trip to Sydney? Comment below and share this article on Social Media if you liked it!

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