Sydney Recommendations

Our recommendations on what to do in Sydney

We are working on making these more tailored for you, but until then here are some of our local recommendations.

As Sydneysiders we love exploring our city and finding new ways to enjoy it. We also understand it can be hard to know where to go and what to do. So we’ve put together these local, unpaid and unbiased recommendations to help you get the most out of your stay here and begin to love Sydney just as much as we do.

We try to keep this as up-to-date as humanly possible, but with Covid, things may not be 100% accurate, so please do a quick google check, I’d hate for you to waste your time on something fun that is no longer there!

Must Sees

  1. Opera House to Botanic Gardens / Mrs Macquaries Chair walk (2-3 hours) – Walk around the Opera House forecourt, around through Farm Cove (along the Harbour) to Mrs Mac Chair. TIP: take a picnic and watch the sunset.
  2. Spit Bridge to Manly Walk (half day – 10km, 3.5-4 hours, and my favourite walk in Sydney) – Take the bus from Wynyard Station to the Spit Bridge and go for a beautiful winding coastal walk, stopping at various lookouts, on the way to Manly. Catch a ferry (at sunset) or bus back to the city after grabbing some fish and chips (Manly Fish Market is the best) and a beer or two at the 4 Pines Brewery. Spit to Manly Map and Route If you’re short of time, just catch the ferry to Manly $15.80AUD round trip using the Opal Card, 30 min ferry ride from Wharf 3 in Circular Quay. Walk 10 minutes along the corso (follow everyone else) and swim between the flags at a beautiful beach. TIP: walk to Shelly beach (10 min and go snorkeling) or walk along the headland.
  3. Bondi To Coogee Walk (half day, easy walk) – around $8.40AUD Round trip using the Opal Card , 30 mins bus and 1.5 hour walk. Catch a bus to Bondi or Coogee walk along the cliff face (easy path to find). TIP: head up Kelewis St in Bondi for food or Pavillion rooftop in Coogee. This really is a stunning walk – it’s a must-do for a reason!
  4. Watson’s Bay Ferry  (half day) – around $10.40AUD Round trip 40 min, Wharf 4 in Circular Quay. Have fish and Chips by the harbour and walk to the Gap lookout (10 min walk). TIP: Ferry stops around 5pm on a weekday but just catch the bus back into the city.
  5. Newtown! (evening) – Great for local shops, second hand clothing, food and drinks. This is where we hang out, and my cool friends live. TIP: Marys for dinner (sit upstairs), Courthouse for a drink and Websters for the rooftop. More tips below.
  6. Any tour in the Royal Botanical Gardens –
  7. Aboriginal Cultural Tour (Barangaroo – 90 minutes) – Learn about the Indigenous history of Sydney and it’s amazing original inhabitants from some Aboriginal guides. Aboriginal Cultural Tours

Off the beaten path

  • Wendy’s Secret Garden (1.5 hours)  – Walk across the Harbour Bridge, past Luna Park Boardwalk to Lavender Bay. Up the stairs is the best secret Gardens in Sydney. TIP: Take a picnic and look out for the Brush Turkeys.
  • The Inner West Ale Trail – Visit some of Sydney’s best craft breweries in the cool area of the Inner West (maybe I’m a little bit biased because I live here!) Here is a map showing each of the breweries.

Day Trips

  • Hunter Valley – Our excellent wine region. Hard to reach except by car. BUT you can do a wine tour – generally $120-150AUD from Sydney for a full day. Amazing wines – Pig’s Peake is wonderful, more expensive, but AMAZING – try the “Pig Juice” and “Little Pig”; also Lucy’s Run is great.
  • Blue Mountains – Really easy by train or Car, $15.80AUD round trip by train using Opal Card, 2.15 hours from Central Station to Katoomba. 30 min walk to Echo Pt down Echo Pt Rd or catch the 686 public bus (also inc. in Opal card). TIP: wait until sunset all the tourist buses will leave and you’ll have the view to yourself. There’s also a tourist info centre near the station. Rodriguez Pass is an amazing walk to Evans lookout but only accessible via car.


  • Northern beaches (Mona Vale, Newport, Whale, Palm, Avalon, Collaroy, Dee Why) – harder to reach than Bondi or Coogee, but better, more beautiful, great surf, and good fish and chips nearby. Could spend a day beach hopping along them. Our favourite = Whale Beach
  • Balmoral – Very picturesque harbour beach (no surf/waves), next to a park, with lovely views out to the harbour and rocks to go climbing on.
  • Congwong – A bit further south with views across Botany Bay and surrounded by bushland. Accessible by bus from the city.

Where to eat

First of all, go to any bar or pub, and have our adopted national dish – chicken schnitty (schnitzel) or chicken parmi (parmigiana). Plenty of places have a cheap schnitty day, just keep your eyes open and you’ll find one!


Also see pubs for food. These are all great for vegetarians.

Sydney Centre / Chippendale:

  • Home Thai – Sussex St (behind Town Hall), BYO wine, nice venue, great food TIP: try their penang salmon and their salads
  • Chinese Noodle Restaurant (not House) – BYO beer and wine, doddy dumpling famous place. TIP: eggplant in Special sauce.
  • Spice Alley – Central Park Chippendale laneway, BYO beer and wine laneway TIP: KOI for Dessert

The Rocks/Circular Quay

  • Bar Luca – Near Circular Quay. Burgers to rival Mary’s Burgers – particularly their Indian and MacDaddy burgers.
  • The Rocks Cafe – I have it on good authority that their pancakes are excellent!

Darling Harbour:

  • Fratelli Fresh – happy hour Monday – Friday from 4 – 6pm (includes great pizzas and drinks)
  • Meat District Co. – crocodile burger on an avocado bun $22. Everything else a bit more $$$

Surry Hills / Darlinghurst:  

  • Spice I am – Wentworth St, BYO wine, Thai TIP: signature dishes – Crispy Pork belly
  • Suzuya – Devonshire St, BYO wine, Japanese
  • Yullis – Crown St, Veggie and great craft beer
  • Vacanza – Authentic Pizza, BYO wine, TIP: try the fungi pizza
  • Buffalo dining Club – Surrey St Darlinghurst, Italian 

Newtown / Enmore:

  • Cairo – Egyptian very popular, amazing! BYO wine. TIP: Charcoal chicken plate!!!
  • Mary’s burgers – Fried chicken and burgers TIP: sit upstairs for table service
  • Atom Thai – Thai great for veggies, BYO Wine TIP: betel leaf


Sydney Centre:

  • Cafe Sydney – Customs House rooftop, Great view and iconic venue. Hard to get into but worth a try.
  • Mr Wongs – Tank stream way, Melt in your mouth dumplings (above Palmer and co)


  • Bloodwood – Enmore Rd, Hipster Aussie food
  • Stinking Bishop- Enmore Rd, Fancy cheese for dinner. (next door is awesome dumplings and Gelato)


Sydney Centre hidden bars:

  • Baxters Inn – Whiskey, – must look on phone, very hidden, TIP: watchout for the fake one to the left down the lane, It’s actually to your right near the kegs of beer.
  • Frankies – Hunter St, Beer and Pizza, Hidden Whiskey bar out the back: Hidden bar out the back of a pizza shop.
  • Uncle Mings – York St, near Wynyard Station, great Chinese food and bar..
  • Palmer & Co – Cocktails, Abercrombie Lane, fancy cocktails and piano
  • Old Mates Place- 199 Clarence St, Great rooftop, no name on door: just a green door with ‘199’ on it. Go up 4 levels. AWESOME!
  • Duke of Clarence – Laneway, 152, 156 Clarence St (between Town Hall and Wynyard) Great little bar – very English.


  • The Old Fitzroy Hotel – Intimate 2-storey bar and theatre venue with exposed-brick walls, comfy sofas and bistro dining. According to my friend, “one of the best menus ever – shockingly wonderful treacle tart.”

Surry Hills / Darlinghurst:

  • Dolphin Hotel – Crown St, fancy pub.
  • El Loco Excelsior Hotel – Pub with Tacos and beer pumping on a Thurs – Sat.
  • Shady Pines Saloon – Low-lit, cowboy-themed hot-spot with specialty whiskeys, craft ales, sarsaparilla and peanut snacks.
  • Bearded Tit – Vibrant bar and art space with quirky decor, including wall-mounted animal heads and gilt mirrors.


  • Earl Juke Joint – King st, Sign Says ‘Butcher’
  • Midnight Special – Enmore Rd, small local bar
  • The Bank (back) – King St, Craft beer out the back back and music / dancing upstairs
  • Courthouse (courty) – Australia St, Good pub food local favourite courtyard.

Rooftop Bars

  • Glenmore Hotel – The Rocks, Get there early around 4pm if you want a good spot. $10 burgers on Tuesdays.
  • Palisade – The Rocks, Fancy rooftop on level 7 overlooking the harbour – GREAT VIEW, we love this one!
  • Websters – Newtown, Great happy hour and cheap food Mon – Thurs.
  • The Royal Hotel – Paddington, great local spot
  • The Library Bar – Up on the rooftop of the State Library, enjoy a stunning view whilst enjoying some good cocktails. Wed-Sat 4pm-10pm

Live Music

Sydney Centre:

  • Opera Bar – music on the harbour under the sails of the Opera House
  • Since I left you – Thursdays from 8pm in their laneway.

Dance venues

  • Frankies – Hunter St, Beer and Pizza, Hidden Whiskey bar out the back: Hidden bar out the back of a pizza shop. Rock music
  • Fredas – Oxford St, Darlinghurst, Fri -Sat $15 entry and great local live music and Djs.
  • Standard bowl – Kinselas Hotel, Taylor Square, Oxford St, top level Fri – Sat.
  • The Establishment – George St, Tuesday night is Salsa night


I love cooking kangaroo, and if there’s a kangaroo burger on the menu, you know I’m definitely ordering it! Pro tip: maybe don’t have a steak for your first experience of kangaroo. Burgers or pizza is a much gentler introduction!

  • Pizza: Australian hotel in the Rocks, surprisingly nice! $28
  • Steak/tenders: Meat District Co., AND Blackbird Cafe, delicious BUT expensive $35 AND $37
  • Burger: Moo Gourmet Burgers, 1 in Manly, 1 in Newtown (vv close to the city, and fun area in general) $16.95
  • On skewer: The Rocks Market 10-4pm Fri – Sat $6; Pony Dining, $28 (fine dining)
  • Woolworths/Coles (not every outlet): Recipe for Kangaroo rissoles/burger patties: 500kg Kangaroo mince from Woolworths ($12), 1 egg (beaten), some garlic, big dollop of tomato sauce and mustard seeds, salt and pepper, bread crumbs. Mix it all up together with your hands and roll into rissoles or patties. Barbeque and have as a normal burger. For the full Aussie burger, add cheese, lettuce, tomato, beetroot, egg, pineapple, onion.

Hopefully these tips help you get started in Sydney, but if you want to learn more make sure to join us on a free Sydney walking tour. We’ll see you soon.