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Best Things To Do in Sydney

Sydney's famous beaches are some of the city's most popular attractions for locals and visitors alike. Although they can get crowded on warm Aussie days, beaches like Coogee, Bondi and Manly cannot be missed. And if you'd rather take to the water, exploring Darling Harbour or Sydney Harbour by boat is a must. Sydney Harbour also offers prime views of some of the city's most famous landmarks, including the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge. There are plenty of museums to explore, too, such as the Hyde Park Barracks Museum, the Art Gallery of New South Wales and the Australian National Maritime Museum, while the Royal Botanic Garden and The Rocks neighborhood are ideal for a leisurely stroll.

How we rank Things to Do
  • #1
    Sydney Harbour Bridge
    View all Photos
    #1 in Sydney
    Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    The Sydney Harbour Bridge stands next to the Opera House as one of the city's most iconic landmarks. Lovingly called the "Coathanger" by locals, this towering structure is one of the world's largest steel arch bridges. And while you can capture stunning pictures of the bridge from one of Sydney Harbour's ferry boats,

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  • #2
    Sydney Harbour
    View all Photos
    #2 in Sydney
    Sightseeing, Free, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Sightseeing, Free, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    Many visitors say that Sydney Harbour's 150 miles of shoreline and more than 30 square miles of water make it the most beautiful natural harbor in the world, and they just might be right. Blue water laps up to sandy shores over which landmarks like the Royal Botanic Garden and the Sydney Opera

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  • #3
    Sydney Opera House
    View all Photos
    #3 in Sydney
    Entertainment and Nightlife, Sightseeing, Tours
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Entertainment and Nightlife, Sightseeing, Tours
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    Designed by Danish architect Jørn Utzon, the sailboat-inspired structure – submitted during an international design contest held in 1956 – features more than one million tiles on its four roof shells and six theater and music venues with top-notch acoustics. Bold purple carpeting and sweeping views of Sydney Harbour and the Sydney Harbour Bridge also

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  • #4
    Darling Harbour
    View all Photos
    #4 in Sydney
    Sightseeing, Free, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Sightseeing, Free, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    Darling Harbour is a pedestrian district filled with a number of entertaining things to do. For instance, you'll find the largest film screen in the world at the LG IMAX Theatre Sydney, as well as the Australian National Maritime Museum and the Harbourside Shopping Centre. Multiple kid-friendly attractions and the city's convention

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  • #5
    Coogee Beach
    View all Photos
    #5 in Sydney
    Beaches, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Beaches, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    Though it's a bit smaller than its better-known northern counterpart Bondi, Coogee Beach is the quintessential spot for those looking to soak up some sun and swim in Sydney's famous waters. Snorkeling is also a popular pastime here, and the scenic, nearly 4-mile Bondi to Coogee coastal walk is a must.

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  • #6
    The Rocks
    View all Photos
    #6 in Sydney
    Entertainment and Nightlife, Free, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Entertainment and Nightlife, Free, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    Earning its name from the sandstone rocks that line Sydney Harbour, this neighborhood is as quaint as it is cool. Its cobblestone streets and 19th-century buildings are oh-so charming, but the shops, pubs, restaurants and galleries are very fun and very au courant. Plus, its prime location next to attractions like the Opera

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  • #7
    Manly Beach
    View all Photos
    #7 in Sydney
    Beaches, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Beaches, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    At first glance, Manly Beach, which is located about 10 miles northeast of downtown Sydney, may be just as crowded and active as other area beaches likeBondiandCoogee. However, this sprawling shoreline draws tons of praise from beachgoers, in part because of its distance from the city and prime surfing waves.

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  • #8
    Royal Botanic Garden
    View all Photos
    #8 in Sydney
    Parks and Gardens, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Parks and Gardens, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    Founded in 1816, the 74-acre Royal Botanic Garden abounds with bright and colorful flora and fauna. The park is broken into multiple areas, including the Australian Rainforest Garden and the Palm Grove, which is home to the tallest tree in the gardens. Another popular area is the Palace Rose Garden, which houses

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  • #9
    Mrs. Macquarie's Chair
    View all Photos
    #9 in Sydney
    Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE
    Less than 1 hour
    TIME TO SPEND
    Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE
    Less than 1 hour
    TIME TO SPEND

    In 1810, Governor Lachlan Macquarie commissioned a bench for his wife, and the city's convicts obliged him by carving Mrs. Macquarie's Chair out of a sandstone rock overlooking Sydney Harbour. To this day, the landmark remains a top attraction thanks to its location, which provides picture-perfect views of the Sydney Opera House and

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  • #10
    Bondi Beach
    View all Photos
    #10 in Sydney
    Beaches, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Beaches, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    Bondi Beach is best known for its gnarly waves, which make it one of the top surfing destinations in the world. But if you're not ready to hang 10, don't fret. Bondi is also nice for strolling, sunbathing and swimming. Despite its popularity (and its plentiful souvenir shops and surf

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  • #11
    Art Gallery of New South Wales
    View all Photos
    #11 in Sydney
    Museums, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Museums, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    Situated in the same park complex that houses the Royal Botanic Garden and Mrs. Macquarie's Chair, the Art Gallery of New South Wales features a variety of indigenous, colonial and contemporary art collections. Everything from photography and Pablo Picasso paintings to aboriginal art and Tang dynasty ceramics can be found here. Additionally, several free

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  • #12
    Chinese Garden of Friendship
    View all Photos
    #12 in Sydney
    Parks and Gardens
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Parks and Gardens
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    Located inDarling Harbour, this gem of a garden is a little breath of fresh air in the city. The Chinese Garden of Friendship was built as a symbol of friendship between Sydney, New South Wales and the city of Guangzhou in the province of Guangdong, China (sister cities of sister

    ...Read More »
  • #13
    St. Mary's Cathedral
    View all Photos
    #13 in Sydney
    Churches/Religious Sites, Free
    TYPE
    Less than 1 hour
    TIME TO SPEND
    Churches/Religious Sites, Free
    TYPE
    Less than 1 hour
    TIME TO SPEND

    Since 1821, a cathedral has been in this spot, but the St. Mary's you see today was constructed starting in 1868, with work continuing until 1928, though its spires were not added until 2000. (The first chapel was destroyed in a fire.) The Gothic Revival-style cathedral is home to gorgeous

    ...Read More »
  • #14
    Australian National Maritime Museum
    View all Photos
    #14 in Sydney
    Museums
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Museums
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    No harbor city would be complete without a maritime museum, and Sydney's is one of the best. Here, you can view exhibits about everything from fish X-rays to pirates, but that's just scratching the surface. The standout at this maritime museum is the ships docked in Darling Harbour. All are open

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  • Queen Victoria Building
    View all Photos
    Shopping, Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE
    Less than 1 hour
    TIME TO SPEND
    Shopping, Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE
    Less than 1 hour
    TIME TO SPEND

    Read More »

  • Taronga Zoo Sydney
    View all Photos
    Zoos and Aquariums
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Zoos and Aquariums
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    Read More »

  • Greater Blue Mountains Area
    View all Photos
    Natural Wonders, Recreation, Sightseeing, Tours
    TYPE
    More than Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Natural Wonders, Recreation, Sightseeing, Tours
    TYPE
    More than Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    Read More »

Explore More of Sydney

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