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The Rocks picture in Sydney
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Key Info

Details

  • Entertainment and Nightlife, Neighborhood/Area Type
  • 2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
4.6
Overall
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Scorecard

  • Value
    5.0
  • Food Scene
    4.5
  • Atmosphere
    4.5

Read about how we rank Things to Do.

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 House and the Harbour Bridge makes this trendy neighborhood extremely convenient for tourists.

Though the neighborhood offers plenty to explore any day of the week, on weekends, the area features an arts and crafts market (Saturdays and Sundays) and a foodie market (on Fridays). Some prior visitors caution that the market items can be a bit pricey, but they also note these goods are a more original alternative to the stereotypical Sydney souvenirs found in other parts of the city.

To get to The Rocks, visitors can take a ferry, bus or train to Circular Quay and then walk a few blocks northwest. Most stores in The Rocks are open from 10 a.m. to 5 or 6 p.m. daily, while cafes, restaurants and bars are open throughout the day and evening. The Rocks Friday Foodie Market occurs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Fridays, and The Rocks Markets take place every Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (except on major holidays). The neighborhood itself is free to visit, but you'll want to bring money for food and shopping. And if you have an iVenture Card, take advantage of the free walking tour included in your card's purchase fee. Also, download the free "Walking The Rocks" smartphone app for historical context about the area.

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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 holds the ... Read more » AtomicZen / Getty Images

#2 Sydney Harbour 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 ... Read more » narvikk / Getty Images

#3 Sydney Opera House 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 ... Read more » Robertpaulyoung / Flickr

#4 Darling Harbour 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 ... Read more » Richard Beech Photography / Getty Images

#5 Coogee Beach 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 ... Read more » JavenLin / Getty Images

#6 The Rocks 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 ... Read more » kokkai / Getty Images

#7 Manly Beach 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 like Bondi and Coogee ... Read more » Nigel Howe / Flickr

#8 Royal Botanic Garden 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 Latitude 23 – an enclosed nursery ... Read more » Thomas Kurmeier / Getty Images

#9 Mrs. Macquarie's Chair 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 ... Read more » Darren Foreman / Flickr

#10 Bondi Beach 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 ... Read more » Christine Wehrmeier / Getty Images

#11 Hyde Park Barracks Museum Considered one of the world's most significant convict locations, this UNESCO World Heritage site was once used to house convicted men and boys brought to Sydney from Great Britain ... Read more » NCHANT / Getty Images

#12 Art Gallery of New South Wales 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 ... Read more » sourabhj / Getty Images

#13 Australian National Maritime Museum 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 ... Read more » UCFFool / Flickr

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Named a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2007, the Sydney Opera House's unique design, stunning Sydney Harbour views and phenomenal performances make this popular attraction a must for visitors.  Robertpaulyoung / Flickr

Boasting the world's largest film screen, an array of shops and restaurants, and museums like the Australian National Maritime Museum and the Powerhouse Museum, Darling Harbour offers travelers plenty to see and do. Richard Beech Photography / Getty Images

Although Bondi steals most of the spotlight, Coogee Beach's golden sands and calmer waters are worth checking out. JavenLin / Getty Images

From trendy bars and eateries to top-notch boutiques and art galleries, The Rocks neighborhood offers something for everyone. kokkai / Getty Images

Despite being a bit farther from downtown Sydney than other beaches like Bondi and Coogee, avid surfers praise Manly Beach for its prime surfing waves and fun atmosphere. Nigel Howe / Flickr

Escape the hustle and bustle of downtown Sydney in the city's Royal Botanic Garden. This lush sanctuary features 8,900 plant species, as well as 36 sculptures and all sorts of local wildlife. Thomas Kurmeier / Getty Images

Although this large sandstone bench is impressive, visitors flock to Mrs. Macquarie's Chair for its stunning views. Here, you'll capture jaw-dropping photos of the Sydney Opera House, the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the surrounding harbor. Darren Foreman / Flickr

Surfers and beach bums cannot miss a visit to this world-famous Australian beach. For those who'd rather skip the water and sand, try doing one of Bondi Beach's coastal walks, which will take you to Bronte or Coogee. Christine Wehrmeier / Getty Images

Although the Hyde Park Barracks Museum may not be as well known as another local UNESCO World Heritage site, the Sydney Opera House, this convict museum offers insight into Sydney's colonial history. NCHANT / Getty Images

Seven permanent collections and more than 30 annual rotating exhibits can be found at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, which sits near the Royal Botanic Gardens and Mrs. Macquarie's Chair. sourabhj / Getty Images

No harbor city would be complete without a museum dedicated to the sea. At the Australian National Maritime Museum, expect to see all sorts of exhibits, including several docked ships, which visitors can climb aboard. UCFFool / Flickr

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