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.

Don’t let the name fool you—there’s a lot more than just arias going on under the swooping, cantilevered roofs of Australia’s most famous architectural landmark.

This latest night-owl haven is part of a multilevel complex with 18 bars, a ballroom, and rooftop cabanas.

Head to this encyclopedic drugstore for pre-flight essentials, such as paracetamol (Tylenol), eye drops, lotion, and dissolvable Berocca tablets, Australia’s hangover miracle-cure (trust us, it works!).

Additional Locations in Sydney Airport:

This lovely coastal walk begins at Ben Buckler Point, on the northern end of Bondi Bay, and winds south for two miles along sandstone cliffs and white-sand beaches, ending at Waverley Cemetery.

The city’s best-looking baristas bring the most meticulously sourced beans to dark, mellow perfection in the vintage house roaster. Try brewed coffees from the café’s new high-tech Clover machine.

Some of Sydney’s best beaches lie just across the harbor from the main part of the city. Although they’re easily reachable by car (just drive across the Harbour Bridge and head north along the coast), it’s much more fun to get to them by ferry.

Sydney Theatre Company, as the premier theatre company in Australia, has been a major force in Australian drama since its establishment in 1978.

Want to continue the Man from Snowy River fantasy after you return home? Pick up a jaunty Akubra hat made from rabbit fur (try the Traveler or Cattleman styles), a pair of pull-on craftsmen boots, and an all-weather Driza-Bone jacket from this legendary outback outfitter.

Established in 1827, this natural history and environmental sciences museum is a favorite for family outings. The institution also has an excellent indigenous Australian collection.

Outdoor tables, feisty servers, and a decidedly neighborhood feel are as attractive as the sustainably grown, high-grade beans from exotic plantations. Make yours a short black—a.k.a. an espresso.

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 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.