Sydney’s City Centre has undergone a transformation in recent years and become a vibrant hub filled with great cafes, fantastic small bars and cool restaurants. It also boasts UNESCO World Heritage-listed sites, fashionable shopping, exciting theatre, wonderful galleries, intriguing museums and lots more.
Things to do
Its location in the middle of the action means you're spoiled for choice with marvellous attractions. The city centre fans out from Circular Quay, near the Sydney Opera House, through the central business district south to Chinatown and Haymarket, and west to Darling Harbour. On the eastern side, you’ll find the Royal Botanic Garden, the Art Gallery of NSW, the Australian Museum and Hyde Park.
Step back in time at the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Hyde Park Barracks Museum in the historic Macquarie Street precinct. Designed by convict architect Francis Greenway, it housed criminals between 1819 and 1848. Pretty Hyde Park has the Art Deco-style Archibald Fountain and the ANZAC Memorial, with its evocative sculpture, 'Sacrifice'.
Take Art Gallery Road through the Domain to get to the Royal Botanic Garden, a tranquil oasis with more than 8,600 plant species found in over 75 different countries. Take a tour with an Aboriginal guide and stop by The Calyx for events, workshops or a coffee at the onsite cafe.
For a breathtaking panorama over the whole city and all the way to the Blue Mountains, head up to the 250m high observation deck of the Sydney Tower Eye. If you are brave enough, tackle the skywalk, and afterwards, relax with a drink at the sky-high Bar 83.
Take home a fashionable souvenir thanks to Sydney's excellent shopping scene. Wander the historic Queen Victoria Building or stunning Strand Arcade for a boutique browse and find high street favourites in Pitt Street Mall and Westfield Sydney.
Eat & drink
There's no chance of going hungry, with the CBD boasting a range of restaurants for every taste and budget. French fare to the sounds of a grand piano is on the menu at Hubert, for modern cuisine in chic wine-bar surroundings head to Monopole, indulge in award-winning fine dining at Tetsuya's and Cantonese-led Mr Wong is an institution among locals.
Upstairs at Westfield, you’ll find a selection of restaurants, including Babylon, a sprawling Middle Eastern rooftop bar. Angel Place and the surrounding alleyways house a range of venues including the French brasserie Felix, the pasta bar Ragazzi, Italian eatery Restaurant Leo, modern Asian-focused China Lane, Sri Lankan-inspired INDU and Long Chim, which specialises in Bangkok street food.
Getting your caffeine fix is easily done, with a range of seriously good cafes. The Grounds of the City is opposite the Queen Victoria Building, Hills Bros is in Martin Place and Regiment is a small, bustling space nearby on George Street.
YCK Laneways is a new bar precinct. The laneways around York, Clarence and Kent streets between Town Hall and Wynyard are home to some of the city's best small bars such as The Baxter Inn, Since I Left You, Stitch, The Lobo, Uncle Mings, Esteban, Cantina OK! and more.
The City Centre is one of Sydney's major transport hubs, making it a great base to explore on public transport. Central, Town Hall and Wynyard stations have many connections, including light rail, trains and buses, which will take you all over the city.