24/7 the city centre feels alive. Featuring shopping, parks, small bars, high-end restaurants, and fast food, there’s plenty more than just offices in this area.
Sydney is Australia’s first city, both as the landing spot of the First Fleet (in 1788) and as the first incorporated City Council (in 1842). With the iconic Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge standing proudly over the waterfront, you’ll feel a sense of that history as you explore the streets and laneways within the city centre.
The beautiful Hyde Park, an ideal spot for relaxation and exploration, is the oldest public park in Australia and features numerous outdoor artworks and beautiful gardens to calm your senses.
By day, the Queen Victoria Building is not only a tourist destination because of its architecture and history, but a good place to shop as well. Nearby Pitt Street Mall is where you’ll find department stores and clothing chains, as well as local and international fashion boutiques.
For your caffeine fix, George Street must-trys Workshop Espresso and Gumption will give you the boost you need to keep shopping and exploring, making the best espresso to the daytime crowd that the city centre has to offer. Klink Espresso, on Clarence Street, serves great quality coffee from a converted old police station.
To get the holiday vibe, take a wander down to The Rocks and soak in the atmosphere of Sydney. Take a picnic and sit under the Sydney Harbour Bridge, or expand your mind and spend your afternoon wandering through the Museum of Contemporary Art.
If you like small bars then check out the always busy Baxter Inn, on Clarence Street, or the hidden Stitch Bar (enter through the door with the sewing machine) on York Street. For something a little bit different, grab a jaffle (toasted sandwich) from the eclectic Grandma’s Bar, also on Clarence Street.
Download the Sydney Culture Walks app to learn about Sydney’s fascinating history and the stories behind the city’s most loved public artworks. It’s the ideal companion for discovering the city on foot, and will provide you with an excellent insight into the city.
The Community Relations Commission of NSW offers interpreting and translation services for more than 100 languages and dialects from its Castlereagh Street office.
The Sydney Premier Medical & Health Centre on Pitt Street offers a large range of services, with referrals provided in-house.
The King George V Recreation Centre, located at the heart of The Rocks, has all the sports facilities and gym equipment you’ll need right at your doorstep, with indoor and outdoor courts, and experienced fitness professionals to support you with your training goals.
Your reading and studying needs are well serviced with both the Customs House Library and the State Library of New South Wales located conveniently within the CBD. The Customs House Library, one of Sydney’s historical landmarks, is your go-to place for relaxing couches in a grand setting, with local and international publications, and free Wi-Fi. The State Library is a cultural haven in the heart of the city, and features not only an internationally renowned collection but also runs free History and Heritage tours every weekday at 10:30am.
FREE & FRUGAL
Explore Sydney’s history and culture with the aptly-name ‘I’m Free’ walking tours. No booking required, just turn up at one of their locations and find the guide in the bright green shirt.
The food in Sydney is exceptional, and despite the rumours, not always overpriced. Grab a tasty, locally-sourced burger at Burger Project for under $10, with a number of locations open around the city. For a mouth-watering Spanish-style sandwich, drop by Encasa Deli on Pitt St. These traditional rolls range from $9.50 and up, and are sure to keep you going.
Feeling fancy but on a budget? At The Morrison, also on George Street, you can treat yourself to a $10 cocktail in their Parlour Bar, and out the back they’re serving up $1 oysters on Wednesdays from 6pm-7pm.
For your culture fix, the Sydney Festival runs throughout January and boasts over 70 free events, to intrigue and satisfy any artistic taste.