Sydney is undoubtedly one of the worlds most beautiful cities. Sitting on the edge of an azure blue harbour there are an endless number of things to go and see. So much so that you are often distracted from the things to do in Sydney CBD. The CBD of the city offers a plethora of things to do that no other city in the world offers. The following are a selection of my favourite things to do in Sydney CBD as a local.
Hang out in the Rocks
The Rocks are one of those city precincts that should be just touristy but seems to offer a lot for locals too. In terms of things to do in Sydney CBD the Rocks are a regular go to for me for both good cafes and events. The Rocks sit on the edge of Circular Quay and are full of historical buildings and unique cafes. Although sometimes on the pricey side of things the quality and ambience generally make a trip here worth while. The precinct also hosts regular street markets, be sure to great a handmade lemonade and look out for unique souvenirs that are can only be found here.
Sitting in the shadow of the harbour bridge the Rocks precinct is fairly close to everything and I’m often caught here having brunch in the weekends for this reason. If you’re looking for a bit more action you’ll find that the Rocks also host’s a number of events year round. I’ve written about a couple of these in my post about the best festivals in Sydney.
Tea in QVB
The Queen Victoria Building sits in the heart of Sydney, right next to Town Hall Station. It acts as the architectural centre piece of the city. Built between 1893 and 1898 this Roman Revival style building is now home to some of Sydney’s most high end shops as well as acting as a main thoroughfare for people heading to Town Hall Station at 5pm. The building comprises of several floors (the bottom being the route to the station). The higher floors contain cafes, jewellery and high end fashion shops. It’s a great place to stop and people watch with a coffee or, if the occasion permits, high tea.
You’ll find a grand old mechanical clock in the centre of the building which will put on a performance for you if you happen to be there at the right time. My personal favourite is the piano which is left out for anyone to play. Generally only those with a lot of talent are brave enough to play so you might be lucky enough to get a show from a true master.
Shop till I drop at Paddy’s Markets
If shopping is on your list of things to do in Sydney CBD don’t miss out on Paddy’s Markets. Unless you have an aversion to cheap stuff this is a great place to stop by and pick up all of your souvenirs. They sell everything from sunglasses to evening dresses to vegetables. Really, everything. But your best bet is to stop by to pick up something to take home as gifts, you’ll save a lot of cash by shopping here.
Although most of the stalls take card make sure you take some cash, haggling isn’t discouraged and as long as you do it in good faith you’ll get a good bargain. Head next door to China town for lunch afterwards.
Breakfast in Barangaroo
Barangaroo is the latest ‘it’ place. Extended from Darling Harbour this area is all but constructed with the crowning piece (a massive casino) still under construction. Despite this the area has a bunch of new restaurants and it’s very own ferry stop now. The cafes and restaurants here are some of the best that Sydney has to offer and the price tag reflects this.
Despite this the area easily makes the list of things to do in Sydney CBD because the view of the harbour is actually worth the price tag. Grab an outside seat and relax while the world goes by. Worry about the bill later.
If your stopping by a bit later in the evening you’ll find all of the expensive places as well as a few high end burger, fish and chip and chicken places which I can tell you are great. Grab a beer and some fish and chips.
Chill in the Chinese Gardens
Surprisingly the Chinese Gardens in Sydney are a fantastic place to relax and hang out. I always assumed they would be a bit of a tourist trap but they aren’t. Almost shut off from the rest of the city despite being right in the centre of it the gardens are a great thing to do in Sydney CBD. Head there to take a break from the city rat race and take in some of what makes Sydney such a multicultural city.
Entrance is only $6 per adult so head there to take a rest next to the lake and contemplate the next thing to see.
Check out the night markets in Chinatown if your looking for things to do in Sydney CBD in the evening. These family friendly night markets are a great place to absorb the multicultural city at its best. Everyone comes out to enjoy the eats and shopping of the night markets.
The markets are a true celebration of what makes Sydney one of the most multicultural cities on earth. Make sure to check out the Dragon Beard Candy.
There are a thousand and one things to do in Sydney CBD. This is just a small selection of the ones that locals love. If you’d love to share your city and all the locals spots with the world sign up to be a guide here. Just interested in hearing more? Sign up to our newsletter to get a monthly update of the best local places to go. We are always looking for out of the way, off the beaten path places that give travellers an idea of what it’s like to be a local. Please share your local experiences from wherever you are in the world by commenting.