Sydney Opera House after a storm

Five awesome things to do in Sydney

I get to spend a few blissful weeks every year or two in Sydney, Australia, because that’s where my sweetheart is from. I was lucky enough to live there for two years, too, and I can assure you that there’s really something for everyone.

There are world-class shows and performances at the Opera House, funky rock and roll bars in Newtown, cute weekend markets across the city from Glebe to Paddington, and of course, the beautiful bronzed bodies of Bondi beach.

On my most recent trip there, I revisited some old favorites, and did some new things, too. For this post, I wanted to write about five things to do in Sydney, which I think are essential when visiting.

Read on to find out what they are, in no particular order!

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Five awesome things to do in Sydney

There’s certainly no shortage of things to do in Sydney, but these five are my personal favorites. Ranging from touristy to off-beat, I think they’ll give you a good idea of some of the best parts of the city.

Do a coastal walk (or ten!)

Possibly the most magical thing about Sydney is that you can take a bus from the CBD (Central Business District, which is Aussie for “the city center” or “downtown”) for half an hour and reach a number of spectacular beaches.

Possibly the most magical thing about these beaches is that many of them are connected by coastal walks.

When I first moved to Sydney, a few people mentioned the Bondi to Coogee coastal walk to me, so a friend and I decided to do it on a chilly autumn Saturday. I couldn’t believe that this natural beauty was a bus ride from the skyscrapers and sidewalks of the CBD.

I’ve done several of them since then, and I honestly can’t pick a favorite. Take a look at the photos below and see if you can understand why.

Gordon's Bay in Sydney, Australia
A view of Gordon’s Bay from one of Sydney’s coastal walks
Rose Bay to Watson's Bay coastal walk
A view from the Watson’s Bay to Rose Bay coastal walk
Maroubra to Malabar headland view
A view from the Maroubra to Malabar Headland coastal walk

If you’re visiting in summer, I’d say to get an early start, and remember that the sun is really strong in Sydney. Abide by the Aussie sun protection motto of slip, slop, slap:

Slip on a t-shirt

Slop on some sunscreen

Slap on a hat!

For details on all of these amazing trails, check out Sydney Coast Walks.

Have a big breakfast (…or ten)

I often lament that there’s no breakfast in Italy. To my American stomach, a cappuccino and a pastry doesn’t count.

Lucky for me, Australians take breakfast very seriously. Just another reason why I love the country and culture! They also take their coffee very seriously, and it’s the best I’ve ever had (shhh – don’t tell Italy).

Coffee at Gordons in Clovelly, Sydney, Australia
Good morning!

After your coastal walk, head to any of the cafés in whatever suburb you wind up in, and have a big Sydney breakfast.

Breakfast at the Pool Cafe in Sydney, Australia
Breakfast with halloumi on the side – what’s not to love?!

Some of my favorites are:

The Pool Café in Maroubra

Lumiere in Surry Hills

Gordons in Clovelly

Shuk in Bondi

Breakfast at Gordons in Sydney, Australia
Breakfast at Gordons

Spend an afternoon in Centennial Park

Centennial Park is a sprawling oasis in the eastern part of Sydney. There’s a pond, beautiful gardens, bike rentals, a few cafés, and a restaurant. You can have a barbecue, go horseback riding, or see a movie at the outdoor cinema during the summer months.

Ducks in the pond at Centennial Park in Sydney, Australia
Ducks in the pond at Centennial Park

If you want a break from the city, this is the place to go!

Palm trees in Centennial Park in Sydney, Australia
Palms in the park

For details and information, check out Centennial Park’s official website.

Visit the Sydney Tower

This one was new to me on my last visit. We actually dined at the restaurant there to celebrate my sweetheart’s mom’s birthday, and it was one of my most memorable experiences in Sydney to date.

The structure slowly rotates, so you truly get a 360 degree view of the city.

A view of the cathedral and Hyde Park in Sydney, Australia
A view of St. Mary’s Cathedral and Hyde Park

There are a few options for visit. You can go to the observation deck, or book a table for lunch or dinner at the restaurant.

It’s pricey, but the view is spectacular!

View of Sydney, Australia from the Sydney tower
250 meters up!

Have a drink at Opera Bar

Like visiting the Sydney Tower, this is one of the more touristy things on my list, but I still think everyone should do it on their visit to Sydney.

I love it because there are Sydneysiders right there with the tourists, because let’s face it, if you lived in a city as beautiful as Sydney, you’d never get tired of the view from Opera Bar.

We went just after a rainstorm on my most recent trip, and the sunset did not disappoint.

Sydney Opera House after a storm
I mean, come on!

You can eat and drink at Opera Bar, but I’d say to make sure you’re there to catch the sunset over the harbor. The city lights up, and you can see all the way across to the Luna Park in North Sydney.

The Sydney Harbor Bridge
A view of the bridge

Have you visited Sydney? Share your favorite part of the city in the comments!


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