Discovering the best free things to do in Sydney!

22 August 2011

Sydney’s laid-back outdoor lifestyle and physical allure make it one of the world’s easiest and most pleasant cities to visit and best of all, you can spend next to nothing to experience the best of what Sydney has to offer.

From venues with views, walks and activities on the harbour to cultural attractions, this week we will highlight all the best free things to do in and around Sydney on the Sydney Australia Facebook page.

1. Fancy yourself as a photographer? Why not take a stroll across the Sydney Harbour Bridge for Sydney’s best city and harbour views and capture those iconic Sydney shots.


Sydney Harbour Bridge

Need some inspiration? Head to the Sydney Australia Facebook page to discover some of our favourite photos of the famous coat hanger.

2. Since 1816 the Royal Botanic Gardens has breathed life into this unique city of ours. The Garden is more … much more … than just that beautiful place where Sydneysiders and our local and international visitors alike go to walk, run and picnic. It provides a treasure trove of our plants and their rich history.

Royal Botanic Gardens

Royal Botanic Gardens, Image Credit Hamilton Lund

3. Located adjacent to the picturesque Royal Botanic Gardens is the Art Gallery of NSW

Modern and contemporary works are displayed in expansive, light-filled spaces, offering stunning views of Sydney and the harbour, while the splendid Grand Courts are home to a distinguished collection of colonial and 19th-century Australian works and European old masters. There are also dedicated galleries celebrating the arts of Asia and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art.

A must see for any art lovers.

4. A 10-minute walk from city centre, Darling Harbour is a lively waterfront precinct throbbing with activity day and night. Free outdoor entertainment will keep everyone amused, throughout the day.

5. Located at the northern end of Darling Harbour, the Australian National Maritime Museum is a lively heritage precinct with many attractions. The distinctive main building has a roofline that evokes waves and sails.

The museum captures the ocean themes with fascinating artifacts, lively exhibitions, fun activities and even the chance to board ships and experience life on the water. Explore today!

Sydney has a wide-ranging cultural life that caters for the whole family. All of its attributes lie within easy reach of the city centre.

Isn’t it time to get out and explore the gateway to Australia?

  • Stacey

    Hi, Some of the Sydney Viva Card promotions are not on offer. Can you update the promotions as it is anoying when you ring to book and find out the offer does not exist.

  • notimpressed

    JEZUS who was the photo editor on this…. The photo of the harbour bridge is crooked (check your horizons) dark and ominous looking.
    The Darling Harbour photo also looks just as unappealing…. wow way to go Destination NSW. Way to sell our city. Free things to do is one thing… but terrible FREE photography is another.

    • Mike

      “notimpressed”, huh? You’re overcritical.

      • Demos

        It would seem that “Sydney Sider” may have replaced the photos after “notimpressed’ made the comment. As a result, when we now look at this page, ‘notimpressed’ seems OTT as a result. I’d love to see the photos ‘notimpressed’ got so worked up about…

  • Sydney Sider

    Thanks for your feedback notimpressed, we have updated the post with a better image.

  • AC

    This article is mis-leading, implying that the National Martime Museum is free, which it isnt (except to some areas on the first Thursday of the month).

    • Dave

      I noticed anything that advertises Sydney is always misleading!

  • JJ Frost

    no feedback from Sydney Sider in regards to ACs comment
    Why am I not surprised
    over priced tickets to look at old tat

  • JL

    surprising lack of free things to do in sydney, shows how much of a $$$ city it is

  • James

    5 best free things to do in Sydney:
    1. Go for a walk
    2. Go for a walk
    3. Go for a walk
    4. Go for a walk
    5. Go for a walk

    Can we just agree that there is pretty much nothing to do in Sydney that doesn’t cost?

    • Dave

      So true mate, so true! :)

    • Ivy

      Life is full of variety:
      1. Go for a picnic
      2. Go for swimming
      3. Go for surfing
      4. Go for sunbathing
      5. Go for cycling.
      They are all free.

      • Dave

        depends how you get to all the locations and where you live, but if you have to travel to get to them by car or by public transport, the prices are extremely expensive. Parking in particular. So to me its still not free… Nothing is free in Sydney.

  • Nols_911

    Free things to do in Sydney:
    1. What? Watch 18 year olds spew up their guts in the cross. When? Every weekend
    2. What? Experience bigotry and racism. When? Every single day. Where? Eastern Suburbs, Western Suburbs, North Shore, Hills District, Sutherland Shire… oh wait, yeah all of Sydney.
    3. What? Spend an hour stuck in a hot, non-airconditioned train due to breakdowns. When? Every day. Where? In between Redfern and Central, Strathfield and Homebush, The South Line, The North Line, The Eastern line take your pick.

    • ..just saying

      Wow.. Dude, move! hahahahah If your so unhappy just move.. or kill yourself.. Either either!? :)

      • KE

        Not really appropriate to tell someone to kill themselves. It’s never a funny joke, maybe one day someone you love will do it to themselves and then you’ll understand

    • Dave

      I could’t agree more the areas surrounding Sydney are just suburbs with nothing to see and all the things you have mentioned plus more!
      Source: Westie

  • JB

    That’s it??? Compared to other major world cities Sydney is seriously lacking in free activities.

  • lawrence of australia

    I love Sydney’s Grey-headed and Black flying foxes…is there anything more atmospheric than seeing these super-pollinators fly across the city at dusk?
    Love the bats!

  • Mangy

    By the main photo apparently the best thing to do in Sydney is take a picture of…you and your mates!

  • Mangy

    Someone got paid to write about these 5 top free things to do in Sydney?

  • Jazzer

    1) The Museum of Contemporary Art is free.

    2) Go and see buskers in Darling Harbour and Pitt St Mall….free if you are a tight*** but cheap if you give them something for entertaining you

    3) Cycle around Sydney (at least you’re not walking)…..well someone needs to use the bloody cycle paths we have paid through the nose for that no one uses as they ride on the pavements instead

    4) Visit NSW Parliament – Free tour – 1pm first Thursday each month – except Sitting Days. Lasts one hour

    5) Go to the beach, all free and lots to choose from, (swim between the flags and don’t drown)

    6) Weekend markets at The Rocks, Paddington, Balmain, Eveleigh and many others… if you don’t buy anything. OK it’s really just walling around again,

    7) Go and play in the parks. LOTS to choose from. Take bats, balls, frisbee, kites, whatever you like to play, take them along and enjoy the lovely free parks. Try not to hit any of the other people though.

    8) Other free park activities such as Opera in the park, films in the park and such stuff. Search the web and you will find them all over the Sydney region

    9) The Rocks Discovery Museum. This is actually FREE. The many good pubs and eateries around there are sadly not free

    • ..just saying

      Awesome reply Jazzer.. So true mate!
      All those others criticizing the lack of ‘free’ things to do in Sydney – Get a Life! Seriously, GO OUT and get a life!! If you think there’s nothing to do out there then you clearly don’t go out there enough… and as for those trying to compare Sydney with New York and other cities – New York has 20 Million people, We have 5 Million – Don’t you not think that could effect the level of resource available to local governments? a couple of million tax dollars is nothing compared to a couple of hundred million tax dollars!! think about it.. We in Sydney actually have an over-proportionate amount of free entertainment!!

  • Dave

    The Harbor is very beautiful and probably the best thing you’ll see in Sydney but it is very expensive, Don’t even bother with Westfield Tower (Waste of money), Harbor Bridge walk is also a Tourist scam but pretty cool. Also stay out of Haymarket and West Sydney, they don’t show you how dirty, smelly and how much social inequality there is there in the advertizements also some streets are lined with Brothels and have pictures of naked women right on the shop front, not an ideal place for children.

    Areas surrounding Sydney is just Suburbs with social inequality, immigrants (my family) not much interesting, my town has a library and a park if you wanna see it :)

  • liz

    I so agree why not catch a train from city to crounlla and check out the disgusting graffiti sorry gota pay for train watchout for weekend people

  • Not a Fan

    The best thing I ever did when I was in Sydney was leave!

  • Laksmhi

    FREE ?? seriously ?? is there even anything except the free CBD shuttle bus that runs only until 3:30 pm most of the days ?