Attractions

Bondi Beach Sydney

Things to do in Sydney

Sydney is famous for its sun, sand and surf – and rightly so. But when you alight on the city's shores you will discover a vast realm of other attractions including beautiful natural wonders and some of the globe's most iconic landmarks.

Natural wonders

NSW Peninsula

Sydney is blessed with some of the world's finest beaches, from the famous Bondi Beach to the booming surf beaches of Manly and Dee Why. Scenic walks skirt the harbour and coastline and hiking trails weave through pristine bushland.

The city is built around the sparkling Sydney Harbour, which is rich with islands, bays and inlets. You will find vast swathes of greenery in and around Sydney, from spacious local and national parks to the manicured grounds of Centennial Park, Hyde Park and the Royal Botanic Gardens.

Landmarks

Girl with camera

Many of Australia's iconic landmarks are found around the city's harbour, such as the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House. Other heritage-listed sites include Fort Denison and Cockatoo Island, which are located in the middle of Sydney Harbour and can be reached by Sydney's historic ferries.

In fact, by boarding a ferry you can reach the enchanting landscape of the Chinese Garden of Friendship, the carnival rides of Luna Park, the wild animals at Taronga Zoo and famous Manly Beach.

Shopping

Shopping in Sydney

International fashion houses line the streets of Sydney's CBD, including Chanel, Gap, Gucci, Prada, Tiffany & Co and Zara. You will also find boutique Australian stores in and around the CBD's major shopping destinations – the city centre, the David Jones and Myer department stores, the Queen Victoria Building, the Strand Arcade, The Galeries Victoria and Westfield.

Beyond the CBD, Sydney's suburbs are also major shopping hubs, with Bondi Junction, Broadway, Chatswood, Paddington and Parramatta offering a wide range of stores and shopping complexes.

Dining and entertainment

Dining on oysters

Sydney has a lively café culture and an eclectic dining scene serving traditional cuisine from around the world. Here you can find French, Greek and Italian restaurants; Chinese, Japanese and Thai cafes; or Middle Eastern and modern Australian eateries. The city is also home to a thriving small bar scene and boisterous local pubs.

Sydney abounds in museums and galleries and has myriad theatres showing small local performances as well as globally touring productions.

Festivals

Street Dancers

In Sydney, not a month goes by without a lively festival entertaining visitors and locals with global talent. The city buzzes with free and ticketed events, performances, movies, carnivals and festivals all year round.

Annual events listing

January

  • New Year's Day celebrations (free and ticketed events and performances)
  • Australia Day (a national holiday with festivals and events throughout Sydney
  • Sydney Festival (free and ticketed arts, concerts, music and performances)
  • Chinese New Year Festival (the biggest celebration of the Lunar New Year outside Asia)
  • Moonlight Cinema (outdoor film screenings in Centennial Park)
  • Open-Air Cinema (movies screened under the stars beside Sydney Harbour)

February

  • Chinese New Year Festival (the biggest celebration of the Lunar New Year outside Asia)
  • Moonlight Cinema (outdoor film screenings in Centennial Park)
  • Open-Air Cinema (movies screened under the stars beside Sydney Harbour)

March

  • Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade (a lively and progressive spectator event)
  • Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival and the Golden Slipper (premier horse racing)
  • Biennale of Sydney (a celebration of arts and culture)
  • Moonlight Cinema (outdoor film screenings in Centennial Park)

April

  • The Royal Sydney Easter Show (a family fair with carnival rides, petting zoos and shows)
  • Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival (the world's premier horse racing carnival)
  • Sydney Comedy Festival (performances from the world's funniest comedians)
  • Biennale of Sydney (a celebration of arts and culture)

May

  • Vivid Sydney (innovative light installations illuminate Sydney's architectural icons)
  • Sydney Writers' Festival (Australia's finest literary celebration with talks and workshops)
  • Biennale of Sydney (a celebration of arts and culture)

June

  • Vivid Sydney (innovative light installations illuminate Sydney's architectural icons)
  • Sydney Film Festival (international short films, feature films and documentaries)
  • Biennale of Sydney (a celebration of arts and culture)

July

  • Australian International Music Festival (a celebration of music from around the world)
  • The Rocks Aroma Festival (a culinary fair celebrating coffee, chocolate and delicacies)

August

  • Sun-Herald City2Surf (the world's biggest fun run from the city to Bondi Beach)
  • Sydney Design (exhibitions, workshops, talks and tours)

September

  • Art & About Sydney (art exhibited in unusual places around the city)
  • Sydney Running Festival (a collection of short-, medium- and long-distance fun runs)
  • National Rugby League (NRL) and Australian Football League (AFL) finals (football)
  • Sydney Fringe Festival (an independent festival of visual and performing arts)

October

  • Art & About Sydney (art exhibited in unusual places around the city)
  • NRL grand final (football)
  • Good Food Month (night noodle markets and a celebration of mouth-watering cuisine)
  • Sculpture by the Sea (an alfresco art exhibition on the Bondi to Bronte coastal walk)
  • Parramasala (a celebration of Parramatta's South Asian cultures and diversity)

November

  • Emirates Australian Open (one of the world's premier golf championships)
  • Corroboree Sydney (Australia's largest Indigenous festival)
  • Sculpture by the Sea (an alfresco art exhibition on the Bondi to Bronte coastal walk)
  • Melbourne Cup (the world's most famous horse race)

December

  • Tropfest (a free outdoor screening of the best emerging short films)
  • Moonlight Cinema (outdoor film screenings in Centennial Park)
  • Rolex Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race (an internationally famed sailing race)
  • New Year's Eve celebrations (events and fireworks around Sydney Harbour)