Sydney

Things to do in Sydney

It's all about the water in Australia's most popular city. There's the harbor, of course, but also sunbathing on the beach. Other notable things to do in Sydney include checking out the burgeoning art scene, taking advantage of the great shopping, taking part in the lively gay subculture, or joining in on some of the city's cultural festivals. Every January for the last 40 years or so, for example, there is a massive cultural celebration known as the Sydney Festival, which lasts three weeks and features almost every artistic and musical genre you could imagine. Each mid-November, the cliffs along Bondi Beach are transformed into a sculpture garden with works by Australian artists; it's free and makes for a great walk along the shore. Another point of interest is St. Patrick's Church, which may be the first Catholic chapel in Australia. The church is still used as a site of worship, but you can also take a guided tour to learn more about its history. Tip: The courtyard chapel has been turned into a coffee shop.

Set just east of Bennelong Point and the Opera House (translation: right alongside sweeping views of the harbor), this sprawling 75-acre park is one of the city’s most beautiful places.

Located in the central lounge of Sydney Airport’s Terminal 1, Lonely Planet is a retail shop for world travelers. The store’s shelves are lined with travel guides and maps for destinations around the globe; portals link users to online interactive digital content from Lonely Planet.

Sure they’re Brazilian, but comfy Havaianas flip-flops may very well be Australia’s signature footwear. Pick up a pair, along with items from the country’s homegrown beach labels Billabong, Quiksilver (now based in California), and Mambo.

The hospitable Young sisters deliver on their promise of “coffee couture” in this white-and-robin’s-egg-blue space. Their rich, smooth brews are from beans finished in their sleek black roaster.

The archetypal Aussie hotel (really just a pub with a few rooms to stagger upstairs to), the Australian has a charming brick exterior, terrific beer, and a lively atmosphere.

What to Expect: The curve of the bay and the rocky outcroppings called Ben Buckler and Mackenzies Point make the waves just right for surfing here at Sydney’s beloved beach, whose name rhymes with the Aussie greeting “G’dye.” Laid-back surf-an

Popular with the business crowd, this intimate wine bar is part of the Bambini Trust Restaurant, located on the ground floor of the 1923 St. James Trust Building.

This local accessories specialist is renowned for its line of moderately priced bags, jewelry, and hair accessories that are always one step ahead of the trend curve. Stop in to get your signature bag for the season or a simple hair clip that just seems to tie everything together.

Probably the swankiest bar in the city, Hemmesphere, part of the complex that also includes the Establishment Hotel, has killer cocktails and plenty of low-lit lounges for li

The bionic baristas at this java mecca in Newtown can turn out over 200 perfect coffees an hour without missing a beat. And how can you not love a place where the Obama blend—a mélange of beans described as being “syrupy with an uplifting finish”—is one of the best sellers?

The Woolloomooloo neighborhood location of Bambino Trust Restaurant has an old-world interior with ornate, wrought-iron chandeliers and stone floors. Open for breakfast, lunch, dinner, this eatery focuses on European fare and has an extensive wine list including 40 by-the-glass choices.

At the separate Qantas Domestic Terminal, check out the slick, Scandinavian-style (but all-Aussie) designer stationery and gifts chain.

Australia is renowned for its sheepskin products, and this boutique is a smart spot to stock up on the country’s coziest exports: Ugg boots and slippers (the ultimate Christmas gift), hats and gloves, and even rugs.

With regular live music and stunning Harbour Bridge views, Opera Bar draws a steady crowd of opera and theater patrons and foot-weary tourists.