Blake Walsh

20 Best Things to Do in Sydney CBD

  • Published 2020/05/24

See also: Best Things to Do in Sydney and Where to Stay in Sydney

Sydney’s Central Business District, with classical structures and fascinating places, is gradually gaining popularity amongst globetrotters each year.

This doesn’t come as a surprise, given the uniqueness of the land.

Sydney CBD will let you travel back to the bygone days and explore the culture of the Chinese and the Australian aborigines.

You don’t have to barter them for modern amenities, for the district makes it possible to enjoy the finest of both the past and the present in the same frame.

You can enjoy fine dining and elegant tea sessions while in the lap of the wilderness.

It is truly a land of paradox, where yesterday and today walk hand in hand.

These are the best things to do in Sydney CBD:

Explore Cinematic Settings at Hyde Park

Hyde Park Sydney

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Hyde Park is the oldest park in Australia.

The 40-acre park on Elizabeth Street is listed as one of the country’s historical sites.

Though it started as a marshy swamp during the days of the European Settlement, it is today an astonishing urbane park.

The park is chiefly divided into Hyde Park North and Hyde Park South.

For a cinematic experience, you can head off for the northern part of the park, where sits the Archibald Fountain, which has appeared in Hollywood movies like Howling III: The Marsupials.

Apart from the fountain, the park also shelters monuments and sculptures that sing of the land’s history.

You can spend a fine evening strolling through the magnificent gardens and avenues lined with rare trees.

Hyde Park has hosted some of the most celebrated events, like the Sydney Food and Wine Fair.

Take Selfies with Your Favorite Celebrities at Madame Tussauds Sydney

Madame Tussauds Sydney

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Have you ever wished to see your favorite celebrities up close?

At Madame Tussauds Sydney, you can not only get close to them, but you are most welcome to take snapshots with them.

Madame Tussauds is a chain of museums tenanted by life-size wax replicas of eminent personalities.

The figures are so realistic that you may feel out of place amidst them.

To make your experience even more sensational, let your photograph be taken and put up in the picture book.

Wind up your visit to Madame Tussauds Sydney by making a mold of your own hands.

The wax museum is located on Wheat Road.

Take a Royal Walk through the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney

 Royal Botanical Gardens Sydney

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Established in 1816, the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney is one of the most historical botanical gardens of the world.

Spread over 74 acres, it’s dotted with pleasing sights of trees, flowers, ponds, and gazebos.

The garden has different themed areas to cater to visitors of all ages and personalities, such as the Rose Garden, the Palm House, the Jurassic Jungle, and more.

You can stroll along the never-ending garden while enjoying phenomenal views of the Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge.

The place’s ambiance justifies its name; indeed, it gives off a royal air.

It is a paradise in the middle of Sydney and starkly contrasts the city, which bustles with people and activities.

The Royal Botanic Garden Sydney is a favorite among picnickers and nature lovers.

Visit Martin Place and Find Out Why It’s Nicknamed “Silicon Place”

Martin Place Sydney

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Martin Place, or “the Civic Heart of Sydney,” is a pedestrian mall that stretches from George Street to Macquarie Street.

It’s one of the most happening areas in the Central Business District, with several arrays of brand shops, boutiques, restaurants, cafes, and more.

The area holds some unique buildings dating back to colonial times, many of which have been listed as heritage buildings.

If you prefer a quiet evening with architectural structures of the past, you can drop in during the weekend.

However, if you prefer to have a look at Martin Place in its best attire, you better visit during the Christmas season.

By and by, the place is turning into a hotspot for start-up businesses and has been nicknamed “Silicon Place.”

Listen to the Chirpings of Extinct Birds at Forgotten Songs

Forgotten Songs Sydney

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Forgotten Songs is an artwork by the artist Michael Thomas Hill and a poignant reminder of the birds that were driven out of Central Sydney on the emergence of the European Settlement.

Angel Place adopts a magical sight, with 120 birdcages dangled in the air with constant chirping and singing of birds in the backdrop.

The chirpings are sound recordings of actual birds that have been pushed into extinction.

The installation of the cages began as a part of the Sydney Laneway Temporary art scheme 2009.

It became so popular and touched the hearts of many that in 2011, it was turned into a permanent project, costing the government millions of dollars.

The motif behind Forgotten Songs is saddening and will grieve you, especially if you love nature and its affiliate creatures.

It’s an attempt on the artist’s part to restore the sounds that the birds made, if not the birds themselves, to the place they once called home.

Be Mrs. Macquarie for Awhile at Mrs Macquarie’s Chair

Mrs Macquarie’s Chair

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If the weather favors, make it a point to drop by Mrs Macquarie’s Chair or Lady Macquarie’s Chair, which crowns a peninsula in the Sydney Harbour.

The so-called chair was carved out of a sandstone rock by convict workers in 1811, on the behest of the then Governor of New South Wales, Lachlan Macquarie, for his wife, Elizabeth Macquarie.

According to historical records, Elizabeth spent a greater part of her days sitting on a chair and watching ships from Great Britain sail into the harbor.

Mrs Macquarie’s Chair is a heavenly vantage point from which you can have panoramic views of the sea and harbor.

Enjoy a Bird’s-Eye View of Sydney from Sydney Tower

Sydney Tower

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Located on Market Street, Sydney Tower is one of Sydney’s most distinguished tourist destinations.

Not only is the 309-meter-tall figure the city’s tallest structure, but it’s also the second tallest observation tower in the whole of the Southern Hemisphere.

Sydney Tower is also a member of the World Federation of Great Towers.

Often referred to as the Flower Tower, Glower Tower, and Centrepoint Tower, it gives its callers a 360-degree view of the city center.

Climb the zenith and see for yourselves the beauty of Sydney in all its entirety.

Invest in a souvenir or two to keep your moments at the tower alive.

There are two gift shops—one at the base and the other at the top—filled with gifts and souvenirs worth every penny.

Dine with Koala Bears at Wild Life Sydney Zoo

Wildlife Sydney Zoo

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With 10 different zones, including Wallaby Cliffs, Kangaroo Walk-About, Butterfly Tropics, and Koala Rooftop Cafe, you will hardly find enough time to enjoy all of Wild Life Sydney Zoo in a single day.

The zoo’s inner complex is set up with the public areas all enclosed and air-conditioned.

The Koala bear, Australia’s iconic marsupial, is Wild Life Sydney Zoo’s star attraction, and you’ll find them on every corner.

You can have a capital time dining with the cute mammals hanging around the trees and taking photos with them.

Wild Life Sydney Zoo is located on Wheat Road.

Visit the Queen Victoria Building

Queen Victoria Building Sydney

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As its name implies, the Queen Victory Building is dedicated to Queen Victoria, the matriarch of the English.

The building magnificently blends the Romanesque Revival and the Victorian style of architecture.

It was constructed in the 19th century on the scale of a cathedral, with the initial plan of creating a marketplace within the building.

The Queen Victoria Building occupies a block of George Street and houses hundreds of the finest fashion boutiques, classy restaurants, and cafes.

The Yuletide season is the ideal time to visit the building as a giant Christmas tree is installed in the center dome, brightening up the entire building and lifting the already cheerful mood of visitors.

Two essential structures with intricate details are housed inside: the Royal Clock and the Great Australian Clock.

While the former displays six royal scenes of the English, the latter, which weighs four tons and is 10 meters high, exhibits 33 scenes from Australia’s past events.

You can even take photographs with the bronze figure of Queen Victoria, along with her favorite pet, Islay, near the wishing well.

But none of these experiences and structures can rouse one’s curiosity as much as the letter shielded at the peak of the building, which was written by the very hands of Queen Elizabeth II in 1986.

This letter will stay where it is today until 2085 when it’s to be opened by the Mayor of Sydney and read to the people.

You can sprinkle toppings over your historic Queen Victoria Building experience by sipping traditional tea at the cafe on the third floor.

Enjoy World-Class Cperas at the Sydney Opera House

Sydney Opera House

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While you are in the city, taking a tour of the Sydney Opera House is a must.

A guide will accompany you, explaining the details behind each piece of architecture and setting.

The structure, which costs $102 million, is beautiful beyond words.

Gleaming sail-shaped shells form the roof of the structure, twinkling up the whole area over it.

It’s a gem not only of Australia but of the world.

You don’t need to be an opera enthusiast to visit the place; but if you happen to be one, you couldn’t be luckier.

The operas performed here are world-class and indefatigable.

The Sydney Opera House’s stage has held world-famous personalities and enacted scenes from classic pieces like Saint Joan.

Learn a Thing or Two about Friendship from the Chinese Garden of Friendship

Chinese Garden of Friendship

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The Chinese Garden of Friendship, spread over three acres, is nestled on Harbour Street.

The Heritage-listed garden offers valuable insight into the Chinese’s rich tradition and heritage.

It was inspired by the classic gardens that were in vogue during the Ming dynasty.

The garden, inaugurated in 1988 as a part of Sydney’s Bicentennial celebrations, symbolizes the strong and affectionate bond between Sydney and its sister city, Guangzhou.

It also symbolizes the warm welcome extended to the Australian-Chinese communities in the land of New South Wales.

The walled garden of friendship is antithetical to the nearby chaotic streets of Sydney.

If you desperately need an escapade from the boisterous city life, you don’t have to look very far; step into the garden complex and breathe in the fresh, soothing, culture-rich ambiance.

The Chinese Garden of Friendship differs from western-style gardens with perfectly laid out flower beds, pathways, and manicured lawns.

Instead, the pristine aspects of nature are recreated in beautiful landscapes that feature forests, mountains, waterfalls, lakes, streams, and exotic plants.

You can take a break and have a cup of tea at the elegant tea house within the walled premises.

By the end of your garden tour, crash in one of the Asian restaurants within walking distance from the garden for a most satisfying wind-up.

Breath in Genuine Aussie Ambiance at The Rocks

the Rocks Sydney

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Sydney CBD has a few pricey places that will take you on a whirlwind—but for a genuine Aussie experience, you can go to The Rocks.

The unenclosed waterfront market, with stalls selling local fashion items, accessories, and food carts, will show you the real Australia, uncensored.

Spend an evening surveying authentic Australian souvenirs and fill your tummy at the BBQ station or some other.

Apart from the marketplace, a row of 1844 cottages—Australia’s earliest—stretch along The Rocks.

Decades and centuries have passed since they came into form, but they have not for once seen any sort of re-touch.

Get Tan at Bondi Beach

The Aboriginal term “Bondi,” formerly “Boondi,” is equivalent to the English term “surf” in the definition.

One of Australia’s most well-known beaches, Bondi Beach is a favorite hotspot for Sydney’s gorgeous people and national and worldwide celebrities.

Food choices are available, and it’s a fantastic place to go shopping.

In addition to being included on the Australian Heritage List, this beach is notable for setting the world title for the biggest swimsuit picture session with 1,010 participants.

Come to Bondi Beach, one of Australia’s most popular beaches, and enjoy a relaxing swim or a suntan.

Have a Fun Stroll at Darling Harbour

Lieutenant-General Ralph Darling, who led New South Wales from 1825 to 1831, was honored with the title Darling Harbour.

This attraction checks all the traveler’s must-see boxes by combining an aquarium and fantastic dining options with a prime waterfront position in the middle of Sydney.

Explore unusual Australian wildlife, waterfront restaurants, fascinating history, and vibrant nightlife at the harbor, only a short distance from the city center.

In the vicinity, Cockle Bay and King Street Wharf have hip nightclubs, wine bars, and restaurants that provide exquisite cuisine and mouth-watering drinks.

Darling Harbour boasts a busy calendar of events since it is one of Sydney’s top dining, shopping, and entertainment districts.

Watch a Game with Friends at the Sydney Cricket Ground

The Sydney Cricket Ground is a famous sports arena located on Driver Avenue.

You’ll notice how devoted Sydney’s residents are to their favorite teams because of how much the city loves its sports.

With something happening almost every weekend at Sydney Cricket Ground, including rugby, cricket, and AFL, it’s the ideal location to catch a game with your new Sydney-sider buddies.

Even if you aren’t a sports fan, it’s nice to experience the palpable energy at a game.

Pick up some souvenirs for your athletic friends back home!

Feel Adventurous at Taronga Zoo

Situated on Bradleys Head Road, the 28-hectare Taronga Zoo is home to more than 2,600 creatures from over 250 species.

It was formally inaugurated on October 7, 1916.

Taronga Zoo is divided into distinct zoogeographic areas and contains a cafe, an information center, and a zoo store.

This well-maintained zoo is dedicated to sustainability, preservation, and education reform.

A high ropes adventurous experience is also available, with stunning views of Sydney Harbour.

Walk around Circular Quay

Circular Quay is renowned for its top-notch fine dining establishments and breathtaking vistas of Sydney Harbour.

It’s a harbor, a former functioning port currently used for international passenger transport, an open piazza and tourism zone, a cultural area, and a transportation hub.

The neighborhood, which includes parks, walkways, malls, and restaurants, is a well-liked destination for tourists.

Circular Quay is also called the “gateway to Sydney.”

This popular tourist attraction offers stunning views of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House.

Final Thoughts

Sydney is a cosmopolitan hub of activity that never sleeps, with beautiful beaches, stunning parks, and breathtaking architecture.

It’s among the most visited places in Australia and receives millions of tourists annually.

The best things to do in Sydney CBD offer something for everyone, making it an excellent destination for every traveler.

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