A lot of people consider Sydney to be the best city in the world! That’s no small claim.
This city is a heaven for foodies, and extremely beautiful! With iconic architecture, white-sand beaches and a warm ocean, there’s no better place to spend a weekend, before moving onto the rest of Australia!
It has a vibrant café culture and an exciting nightlife. There’s something for shoppers as well as something for nature enthusiasts! No matter what you’re into, you’ll find plenty to do and love here.
We’ve put together a list of all the best you can see and do, for all different interests! If you like to travel for the local foods, we know just where you should go!
If you’re coming for the world-famous theatres, or the sport and adventure, the nightlife or everything in between, we’ve got you covered. And it’s all categorised, so even if you’re doing Sydney in a day, you’ll know just what to do.
Looking for accommodation for your trip? Check out our epic Sydney Hostel Guide for the best places to stay!
Insider Tips for an AMAZING Weekend in Sydney
Even if you only have a weekend to spend in Sydney, you can still fit in all the best attractions! You can choose to relax in the serene gardens and on the famous Bondi Beach, or keep yourself busy while visiting Sydney with fun activities and unique things to see!
Since you’re only spending a weekend in Sydney, be sure to find something centrally located! You will save on transport costs and time. It’s great to just wake up and head straight to the sights in the morning, without bothering with a long trip.
Most of Sydney’s top attractions are in the middle of the city, which means that’s where you want to be too! You can easily find something a little more private in the city if that’s what you’re looking for. You don’t need to head to the outskirts for that! If you’re a budget traveller, there are a lot of great and affordable Sydney hostels waiting for you too.
Our Favorite Hostel – Wake Up! Sydney Central
- It’s modern, clean, and in the backpacker hub of Sydney
- Uncommonly large, but with great attention to detail for your comfort
This centrally-located hostel has been rated the ‘Most Popular Hostel in Sydney’! The staff is accommodating and the atmosphere is top-notch. If it’s your first time in Sydney, it’s a good place to meet some people and explore the city.
Best Airbnb in Sydney: The Barn on Prince Alfred Park – Central Station
There is no cooler place to stay in Sydney than this 19th century converted barn in Surry Hills. In fact, it’s one of the best Airbnbs in Sydney. Enjoy high ceilings, spacious rooms, and modern amenities all in Sydney’s coolest neighbourhood.
Just a short walk to Surry Hills’ trendy bars, restaurants and clubs, you won’t find a more ideally located flat in the city.
Our Favorite Budget Hotel – The Capsule Hotel
- Each capsule is fitted out with locker, mirror, lights and USB plugs
- Super-centrally located, with clean rooms and a great bar
This futuristic hotel is really something unusual! Stay in a capsule-like room and feel like you’re in space! It’s a bit geeky, but we like that.
Our Favorite Splurge Hotel – Meriton Suites World Tower
- You have access to an indoor pool, hot tub, sauna and fitness center
- Located just a few minutes from all of Sydney’s top attractions
These luxurious Suites have panoramic, floor-to-ceiling views. They’re located on floor 61 and above, so the views are crazy! Rooms are large and have everything you could want.
With a Sydney City Pass, you can experience the best of Sydney at the CHEAPEST prices. Discounts, attractions, tickets, and even public transport are all standards in any good city pass – be sure invest now and save them $$$ when you arrive!Buy Your Pass NOW!
Know How to Get Around in Sydney
It’s easy to get around Sydney! You can take the traditional tourist option and catch the Hop-on Hop-off bus. That way you’ll have super easy access to all the best attractions! It’s inexpensive and often more fun than most transportation. You’ll also have opportunities to meet other travellers!
If you’re interested in exploring on your own terms, follow the lead of the locals and catch the metro, light railway or bus! It’ll stop a short walk away from most places of interest, and it’s cheaper than the tourist bus.
Fortunately, most of Sydney’s top attractions are within walking distance of each other. So if you’re a comfortable walker, this is the best and cheapest option!
There are other destinations where you can instead take the ferry. They’re governmentally supported, so they’re also inexpensive! Sydney has the most beautiful harbour in the world and taking one of the public ferries is a great and cheap way to see it in all its glory as well as reaching some of the more awkward places around the city.
If you really want a memorable vacation, you can charter your own yacht to take you around the harbour. It might be on the pricey side, but split between six to eight people, it can be quite reasonably priced and the whole experience will be worth it.
To use the public transport systems you’ll need to get an Opal card – a smartcard ticket that you load money onto. When you tap in and out on your transport, it calculates your fare and deducts it from your card. It works throughout Sydney and surrounding areas! You can use your Opal card on the metro, train, bus, ferry and light rail services.
The nightlife in Sydney is such fun! You can go to night markets, bars, or crazy clubs. There’s something for everyone, but these are our favourites.
Enjoy live music and dancing at Oxford Art Factory
- One of the last live music venues left on the iconic Oxford street
- Always a drink special and reasonably priced beers
- Great vibes and really cool bands
Visit a classic Sydney club! This great venue always has something great on. They host really cool touring and local bands, for some live music fun.
Their weekend parties are the best, so you’re in luck! They’ve got their best bands, super-capable bartenders, and a perfect vibe for dancing the whole night away.
For an unusual clubbing experience, party at the Pool Club
- They have pop up events and Marco Polo on Sundays
- Great atmosphere and great cocktails options
- Super relaxed party vibe – their Sunday events are the best!
If you only ever go clubbing outdoors, consider this option! You get to enjoy the same great music, but with a view of the stars and the city at night, and whenever you get too hot dancing, you can take a dip in the pool!
There are palm trees all around and the gorgeous cityscape visible through the open roof. The Pool Club is really out of the ordinary.
Go for a unique shopping experience at Chinatown Night Market
- Fun Friday-night market for locals and tourists
- Get some of the best street-food in Sydney
- Enjoy the night-time shopping, with colorful lights and good vibes
If you’re not into the clubbing scene but you don’t want to turn in when the sun goes down, check out the Chinatown market! The street food is unbeatable, with loads of selections. Try the Chinese lamb skewers! They’re out of this world.
There are lots to look through. Find things for the folks back home, and little souvenirs of Australia. The atmosphere is really enjoyable, with enthusiastic people from all over the world. Sydney at night is really something to see!
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While it’s hard to think of what traditional Australian cuisine could be, Sydney has a vibrant food culture! With a move towards veganism and plenty of exciting options, you’ll be delighted by what you find.
- The delicious food is fresh and creative in seven incredible courses
- They use local suppliers, growers, producers, and craftsmen, and modify the menu for allergies or dietary requirements
- It’s a totally authentic contemporary Australian experience
Our first foodie experience is a restaurant! You may feel that that’s not very out-of-the-box. But this is a really unique and spectacular restaurant.
A fantastic experience from start to finish, you’ll immediately be able to tell that a ton of thought and skill has been put into everything put in front of you. The staff are friendly, attentive and most importantly, very knowledgeable about the food and wine. You’ll have a lot of questions!
Sunset Dining Cruise
- 3-course contemporary Australian dining, great for couples and groups
- A choice of mains and unlimited wine, beer or soft drinks
- Take in the stunning views of Sydney Harbour at sunset
The sunset dining cruise is a great way to experience Sydney’s views! We love this option because you get to see the beautiful harbour and bay both in daylight and at night. Perhaps more importantly, you get to watch the sunset. All the best of Sydney’s views, and with dinner!
The food is great, and you can see the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge from a vessel with expansive windows for views. We suggest you book a window seat! That is, after all, the whole point.
The Secret Creek Café and Restaurant
- Crazy good vegan food everyone will enjoy
- You’ll be surrounded by awesome views and wildlife in this tranquil space
- Right within Secret Creek Sanctuary, you’ll see some weird and wonderful animals
A short drive out of Sydney, this is a really worthwhile visit! The food has recently changed to vegan in an attempt to be more environmentally conscious (considering its location). But it’s delicious! Everyone will enjoy it.
Surrounded by the uncommon fauna and flora of Australia’s Blue Mountains, The Secret Creek Café is a local’s haunt! It’s right in the centre of the Secret Creek Sanctuary. So once you’ve wined and dined you can walk it off and take a wildlife tour!
For the adventurous, Sydney’s got lots of sports to watch and do! Bondi Beach isn’t just for lying around on. Get your blood pumping!
Royal Randwick Racecourse
- You get to watch a horse race – you can even bet on your favorite
- It’s Australia’s longest standing racing venue, and world-class
- It’s the Sport of Kings and has been a part of it for over 150 years
The racecourse is so much fun! It’s a compelling combination of sport, culture, fashion, and cuisine. You’ll come for the racing, but stay there long after the horses are gone!
It’s situated just minutes from the city centre and in close proximity to the airport. The ‘Sport of Kings’ is celebrated all year round! You observe the horses before they run, and the people before they watch. Both are really interesting!
15,000-Foot Tandem Beach Skydive
- Skydive over the amazing Wollongong, just south of Sydney
- Dive from up to 15,000 feet, attached to a professional instructor
- xperience the thrill of freefall for up to 60 seconds
Skydiving is always a fantastic experience to add to your Sydney itinerary! Skydiving over the Australian beach is awe-inspiring. Get a plane ride over the city before jumping out with your instructor!
You’ll climb up to 15,000 feet, watching the cityscape dwindle away till you can see much of Australia and far out to the ocean.
Kayak Sydney Harbour
- Enjoy the views of the harbor and the bay
- Get some exercise and have some fun
- Hire a kayak or book a tour – both are great options
Sydney harbour is fringed by multiple national parks! The natural landscapes are picturesque and diverse. And of course, the iconic structures of the harbour! There is no better way to see the Sydney landscape.
On a kayaking tour, you get to explore beautiful coves and beaches in the area and learn the fascinating history of the area. You can stop at Shark Island and take some photos. You may even be able to enjoy a picnic on this unique little island!
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The theatres in Sydney hardly need an introduction! They have some of the best architecture and acoustics in the world, and daily shows too.
See a show at the Sydney Opera House
- With over 40 shows a week, you’re sure to find something you love
- Marvel at the world-famous architecture of the Opera House
- Enjoy the finest acoustics in this gorgeous location
The incredible Sydney Opera House hosts some of the best musicians in the world, showcasing top local and foreign talent. And it’s not just musicians! You can also see dance performances and plays.
Whether you love music or not this is one of the best things to do in Sydney! It’s iconic. Described as “A building that changed the image of an entire country”, we think it’s amazing that not only can you admire the architecture, you can watch an incredible performance in it or take a guided tour!
Watch a play at the State Theatre
- Enjoy the opulent old world decor
- See a first-class play or musical performance
- Be transported back in time while listening to contemporary performers
Some of the world’s best musicians come to Sydney to perform here – and it’s an honour. The State Theatre is incredibly decorated, with old-world charm and decadence. Built-in the 1920s, it has a style of its own.
Check out what’s on when you’re there! They even show films, so if you’re not into opera, don’t be put off! For the opulence alone, it’s well worth the visit.
The vibrant sound and talented performances are a great bonus!
Sydney Lyric Theatre
- See humorous musicals and loads of fun
- A more modern theatre with state-of-the-art technology and a futuristic feel
- Huge theatre with lots to offer, including cocktails and ice-cream
Experience a great combination of dance, song, and fun at the Sydney Lyric Theatre! Catering to huge crowds, the theatre puts on shows like Saturday Night Fever and the Billy Eliot musical.
You can dress up for the experience, or keep it smart casual. Have a cocktail before the show. There are also some great restaurants nearby, so you can really make an evening of it! It’s one of the coolest things to do on a Saturday night in Sydney.
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10 Other Awesome Things to do in Sydney This Weekend
There’s so much to do in Sydney, for all interests! If your weekend isn’t fully booked already, have a look at 10 of the best things you can do here. See how much you can fit into 48 hours in Sydney!
#1 – Walk Across the Sydney Harbour Bridge
You can see the whole harbour from the famous bridge! Stroll across it or take a climbing tour over the arch – either one is great. Bring your camera and take in the sights.
We recommend you go in the evening, to see the sunset from here. This will also mean you avoid peak times when the bridge gets really full. From this spot, you can watch the city light up! It’s definitely one of the most beautiful bridges in the world.
#2 – Swim at Bondi Beach
How many times have you seen an amazing shot of Bondi Beach? It’s one of the most aesthetic beaches in the world! Swim with incredible views over the ocean, and feel like you’re in a movie!
You can swim in the iconic pools like Icebergs, or in the warm ocean battling the waves! You can also surf, snorkel, or get a tan. It’s beautiful and relaxing, and just a great stop.
It’s still worth a visit in winter, even if you don’t want to swim as it’s such an iconic Sydney location. You can also take some great coastal walks here like walking from Bondi to Bronte.
If you fancy taking the experience up a notch, then you can also embrace your inner Aussie and learn to surf at Bondi.
#3 – Have a picnic at the Royal Botanic Gardens
Enjoy a picnic at the Royal Botanic Gardens for a peaceful location, surrounded by an amazing range of flora! It’s easy to find, super well-maintained, and entry is free! Being right in the middle of the city, it is an oasis away from the concrete jungle.
There are so many colours and smells, and such a varied display of exotic and local plant life, it’s a delight for the senses. It’s also so big, you’ll probably end up getting lost in here!! You can spend a lot of time here exploring the 30-hectare gardens.
Bike tours are always a great way to see the city! Whether you just rent out a bicycle or join a tour, it’s really worthwhile! If you’re doing it on your own, be sure to plan well and rent a comfortable bike.
If you join a tour, you’ll see all of Sydney’s highlights. Your guide will tell you all about them, and take you on all the best routes, through parks, and along waterfronts. The bikes also have mounted bags for all your personal items, which is really handy! This is an active and fun way to experience Sydney.
#5 – View the city from above at The Sydney Tower
What could be a better way to see the biggest city in Australia than from above!? Head up to the iconic Sydney tower and admire the view from 820 feet above street level at the observation deck. On a clear day, you can even see as far as the Blue Mountains and it’s a great spot to admire the unique beachside geography of this enchanting city.
The deck up there has a panoramic 360 view over the whole city, so it’s easy to spend plenty of time up here taking it all in. You can even grab a bite to eat up here if you want to really take your time. It’s a fantastic spot to end a day of exploration by watching the sun go down over the city.
If you’re feeling adventurous then there’s always the Sydney Tower skywalk where you can clip in and step out onto a special platform that is suspended right above the street 268 meters below!!
#6 – Go for a Harbour Cruise
The views of the harbour, the ocean and of course, the Sydney Opera House, are unbeatable. If you aren’t going for a dinner cruise, be sure to get out on the water sometime on maybe a local ferry, like the one to Manly, or just by walking over the bridge.
You can find a number of different cruises for different budgets, from a low-cost ferry to a traditional tall ship to a proper cruise with 3-course meals. So you have no excuse not to go and see the sights from Sydney’s best viewpoint! It’s a great way to end an evening of exploring Sydney.
#7 – Stroll through The Rocks Neighbourhood
This historic neighbourhood has some of the best views of the Sydney Harbor Bridge, and is lots of fun to explore its narrow streets! Day or night. With some of Sydney’s oldest pubs, and some great restaurants there are plenty of reasons to stay.
You can usually find talented street performers here, and plenty of enthusiastic shoppers! The alleys are mostly small and quaint, with great vibes, tall trees, and little markets. It’s a great place to buy some souvenirs or discover the humble beginnings of this magnificent city.
If you’re really interested in properly exploring this neighbourhood and its history, you can take a guided walking tour to discover more.
#8 – Take a surf lesson
Australia is famous for its epic surf and Sydney, despite being a massive city, is no exception to the stereotype! With warm waters and surf for all levels of ability, it’s a great place to learn to surf and a great way to get out of the concrete jungle and enjoy nature whilst still in the city.
There are heaps of places to learn to surf around Sydney, from Bondi to some of the smaller and more obscure beaches like Maroubra. Either way, it’s great fun and whether you’re a pro at the end or not, it’s the perfect way to get to know Aussie culture up close and personal.
They cater for all ages and skill levels. If you’ve never even seen a board, you’ll be able to do this and have a great time.
If you fancy more than just a half-day lesson, but you’re planning on staying a bit longer and you really want to master the art of surfing, there are also multi-day surf camps you can attend too.
#9 – Go window shopping at the Queen Victoria Building
The architecture and old-world charm of the Queen Victoria Building are so great you don’t only need to visit for the shopping! Of course, if you can afford it, go actual shopping! But ya know, if you can’t, don’t let it put you off. You can just saunter around and pretend to be rich!!
The colourful stained windows are gorgeous as the light streams in. The domed ceiling, tiles and even the lifts are impressive! There are plenty of luxury brands and fancy shops housed here, which is why we prefer window-shopping!
It’s also a great place to get a tasty meal with a top-quality view, and these aren’t too pricey either!
#10 – Get out of town a bit to Vaucluse House
One of Sydney’s few 19th-century mansions, this is a lovely place to visit! It still has its original gardens and wooded grounds. If you want to get out of the city for a bit, it’s perfect.
You can take a stroll through the grounds, or picnic in the gardens. Preferably both! Explore the mansion and learn about its unusual history.
If you’re feeling super classy you can also have a decadent high tea at the mansion! With views through the old windows into the gardens and delicious food, it feels like the best tea party for adults ever.
Don’t forget to pack a good book! In a Sunburned Country is our top recommendation for an awesome and inspiring read on this magical city.
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about Sydney. If you have more, leave them in the comments and we’ll try to help out!
It’s good to get lost sometimes, but it’s also good not to get too lost. There are people that want you home in one piece.
There’s one travel insurance provider The Broke Backpacker trusts for all his wildest shenanigans… World Nomads!
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Final Thoughts on a Great Weekend in Sydney
While you can’t fit all of these amazing activities into a weekend, you can combine a bunch of them to make up the perfect trip specifically for you! Sydney is so beautiful, with such a diverse range of options to explore. You’ll never be bored! If you got more time on your hands, backpacking Sydney will definitely keep you entertained for quite some time.
We definitely suggest you visit the famous city in spring and summer! There’s just so much to do here over the sunny season. However, most of these activities and places can be enjoyed year-round! Either way, your weekend in Sydney is going to be a memorable one!
Thanks for reading – that was fun! 😀
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