Sydney Opera House#3 in Best Things To Do in Sydney
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 await visitors in the Sydney Opera House's foyer, while a picturesque boardwalk – complete with a trendy bar – sits outside.
While watching a music concert or opera performance is a must for those willing to splurge during their visit, a more affordable option that many visitors recommend is one of the Opera House's two tours. Offered daily (select event days excluded) from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., the main tour takes travelers on a one-hour walkthrough of the iconic Sydney structure. Another tour option is the backstage tour, which is offered at 7 a.m. and includes breakfast and a two-hour behind-the-scenes look at the property's various venues. Whichever you choose, visitors rave about the well-informed guides.
Standard tours at the Sydney Opera House are held in a variety of languages and cost AU$42 (about $30) for adults and AU$22 (around $15) for children. Family tickets, which include two adults and two children, cost AU$105 (about $70), and discounted tickets are offered for seniors and students 16 and older. Tickets for The Backstage Tour will run each person AU$175 (or roughly $125). A basic tour, however, is included for visitors with an iVenture Card. Property amenities include restrooms, four eateries, multiple bars and an on-site gift shop. The Opera House also has a parking lot (hourly fee applies). For more information about policies, productions and amenities, visit the Opera House's website.
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#1 Sydney Harbour Bridge
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, for an unforgettable experience, sign up for a bridge climb through BridgeClimb Sydney. Ranging from nearly two to nearly four hours in length, the bridge climb provides visitors with panoramic views of the Harbour, the Sydney skyline and the Opera House.
Although some former visitors complained of the high price tags, many said the bridge climbs are the best way to experience this iconic attraction, calling it a must-do experience. While climbs are offered throughout the day every day, travelers recommend scheduling a climb at twilight, which will give you three different views – daylight, sunset and nighttime – in one. If you're afraid of heights, reviewers still suggest you consider the experience as the staff is well-trained to help you overcome your anxieties.
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