22 August 2019
As the sunset glows over the city, Sydney puts on her going-out clothes, with a wonderful display of night lights, intimate bars to discover and a vibrant calendar of arts events. Here are five after-dark activities you won’t want to miss.
One of the best ways to experience Sydney at night is on foot. And nothing shows off the city better than the walk from Circular Quay to Darling Harbour, which follows the water’s edge most of the way. Start at the Opera House, head to Circular Quay and then past the Museum of Contemporary Art. Follow the shoreline around to the base of the Harbour Bridge, and on to the historic wharves of Walsh Bay—a great place to stop for dinner or a drink. Then follow Towns Place to Barangaroo Reserve and on to bustling Darling Harbour.
The north-west of the city—around York, Clarence, Kent and George streets—offers some of Sydney’s best small-bar experiences. Whisky aficionados won’t want to miss The Baxter Inn for a loooong list of local and exotic varieties; pocket-sized Grandma’s Bar—in a tiny, kitschy exposed-brick basement—serves great cocktails; while The Lobo Plantation invokes the Caribbean with its collection of 250 rums.
Every Wednesday, the Art Gallery of NSW (AGNSW) hosts Art After Hours, a program of free talks, guided tours, film screenings, music, performances and special events. The whole gallery stays open until 10pm, so you can explore the AGNSW’s collections and exhibitions until late. There’s a free courtesy bus running every 15 minutes from the gallery to Martin Place, Wynyard and Town Hall.
Shops in the city centre are open until 9pm on Thursday nights—what better way to end a day of exploring than with a little retail therapy? And there’s something to suit every taste and budget. For high-end labels, head to Westfield Sydney, where you’ll find everyone from Coach and Gucci to Prada and Ferragamo. Pitt Street Mall is home to the best Australian high-street stores, as well as international giants like Zara and H&M. For more eclectic browsing, the exquisite Strand Arcade, built in 1891, features Australian designers such as Dion Lee, Akira Isogawa and Jac+Jack. Equally historic is the Queen Victoria Building (QVB), four levels of retail heaven.
Every Friday night from 4pm to 11pm, the Chinatown precinct is transformed into a buzzing night market known as Little Eat Street. Along restaurant-lined, pedestrian-only Dixon Street, you can sample street food from Japan, Hong Kong, South Korea, Thailand and Vietnam. Some of the city’s best Asian restaurants are scattered around Chinatown, too: the Golden Century Seafood Restaurant on Sussex Street is consistently acclaimed by those in the know—our top chefs.