Sydney cannot get enough of city festivals. Whether it is art, comedy, writing, thought provoking talks or just lights – Sydney has a festival for you. That means this city keeps your entertained, enlightened and intelligent. My personal favourite is Sydney Festival which runs throughout January every year and most of the events are free! Here are a few festivals and the time of year they usually pop up:
Everybody needs a break from city life sometimes, and the Blue Mountains are just the right bit far and the right bit close enough for Sydneysiders to get their fix of freedom with a day trip into the bush. Even if its just to the touristy Echo Point in Katoomba, or to take a deep breathe of fresh air while looking out over Govett’s Leap – the accessibility of the mountains gives Sydneysiders a sense of sanity all year round.
Whether its Northern, Eastern or Southern, every beach in Sydney has golden sands and clean water. Head up to Palm Beach for a sense of calm and serenity; head to Bondi and walk the immaculate the Bondi-Bronte coastal walk; or head down to the Shire to add a bit of shopping and personality to your beach day. Even the hidden harbour beaches are amazing for a chill out session with a view of the city skyline, harbour and its surrounding bays. Camp Cove is a prime example, stop off at The Gap lookout and Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel for lunch before or after.
Not into finding sand in your nooks and crannies weeks after visiting beaches? Sydney has yet more nature to offer you instead. National Parks can be found all over the city from Royal National Park to Sydney Harbour National Park. There you can find hikes and strolls to suit any level of enthusiasm. Pack a picnic and away you go!
“Inner West the best” is what you often here locals from the area chant everyday before they take a sip of their cappuccino and dig into a smashed avocado on sourdough. But it really is. This area is a foodies paradise with several top notch cafes in every suburb that dish out great brunch, coffee and/or desserts, what else could a hangry Sydneysider ask for?
Speaking of food, one of the best things about Sydney (and Australia in general) is the multicultural food landscape that gives us the opportunity to try amazing, good quality food from so many cuisine options. Of of these is Vietnamese, and the place to get it in Sydney (and most probably Australia) is Cabramatta. It is home to the largest Vietnamese community in Australia, so you know its legit. Make the journey to spoon delicious phở in to your mouth, as it’s pretty much like going to Vietnam only it takes an hour by train instead.
Central Park Sydney
This place is a sustainable urban citizen’s dream. Self-labelled as ‘The Living Mall’ this “village” is home to a selection of retail shops, an upmarket foodcourt, apartments, art gallerys and a park. The building itself has a sustainable design including a stunning vertical garden and solar panels that light up when the sun goes down. The place just has a vibe that makes you want to come back again and again even just to sit in the park with some ANITA – La Mamma del Gelato or a Love at First Bite Nutella Doughnut from Doughnut Time. Just when it couldn’t get better, it does. Right next door is Spice Alley, a new area where you can yet again get authentic Asian dishes and drinks at a really reasonable price!
People always say that shopping in Sydney is nothing compared to Melbourne. I beg to differ. Sydney CBD has a great selection of shops including the snazzy Pitt Street Westfield. Even more striking is that you can also casually shop within the stunning and historical QVB, which in another life could’ve potentially be some sort of museum that charges an $11 fee. Inner city suburbs, like Newtown and Paddington, offer great boutiques and smaller chain shopping too. So Melbourne Schmelbourne I say.
Just look at it, it speaks for itself.
I never got the hype, or why tourists flock to Sydney and stand for 12 hours to see gunpowder form into sparkles in the sky for 10 minutes. But this year I watched a few other countdowns from around the world and, alike to many new Beliebers in 2016, I am a convert. The show is incredible and spans across the whole harbour, down the river into the suburbs. Whether you’re watching it from the Opera House, Balmain or while you drive over the Gladesville Bridge, that stuff never gets old.
Again Melbourne always gets the credit for endless supply of quirky, delicious and innovative cafes, but Sydney really stepped up its game last year and I am yet to find a suburb without a decent cafe culture. There’s nothing quite like catching up with friends while you sit outside enjoying brunch at your favourite cafe, or a new one you’re trying out. With the weather always (usually…) being pretty good, boy does sydney offer the possibility of this dream brunch. From big names like West Juliett and The Grounds, to local delites like Clipper Cafe or Cornersmith, you really can’t go wrong. This makes Sydneysiders well-fed and well-caffinated, which means we are well, happy!
I know its hella touristy but, as any good local will always let you know, it is home to the worlds largest IMAX screen! That’s gotta count for something, right? Darling Harbour is a great place to go for a cheesy night out. You can dine in the food court or at Hard Rock Cafe, and then go play a couple games of bowling or laser tag. Grab some ice-cream for a stroll around the harbour admiring how beautiful the city lights reflection is off the water. There’s a whole bunch of bars and clubs to hop to and from if you are in the mood for a dance too. there’s even a ferris wheel guys! Darling Harbour is Sydney’s solution to a lack of American style county fairs, and it does the job well.
Again, this one speaks for itself. It took around 16 years to build so you have to admire the self-cleaning tiles in all their sail-like brilliance. It has a great view of the city, botanical gardens and harbour. Catching a show or getting a drink at the Opera Bar just makes any Sydneysider instantly feel fancy asf. People come to Australia purely to see this gem, so yeah why should we ever leave her?
Jokes, its actually atrocious so once you are in the city you just walk everywhere, but its okay cause its a beautiful city so we put up with it’s cons.
Being the first city of Australia, Sydney has a lot of awesome history that can still be seen – especially in The Rocks. The sandstone architecture and chaos of unplanned streets takes you back in time for a moment. The history might not be as old as almost all other cities in the world, but it is still pretty great. The Rocks offers historical convict tours, ghost tours, and holds great markets every weekend.
Food, clothes, jewelry, flowers, books, thrifting, kitch, quirky, anything! Anything you can think of, Sydney has a market for it, and there is always one on every weekend somewhere. Bondi, Glebe, Rozelle, Balmain, Kirribilli, Surry Hills, Paddington and more! Check them out and you’ll get why we don’t need London’s Brick Lane Market or NYC’s many flea markets.
Although the housing and casino are yet to be completed, most of the actual good stuff to come out this project is open! There is a park by a waterside walkway that is great for day or night strolls with friends or loved ones. The place is also really quiet most of the time as nothing major around it has opened yet so it is a great place to go for some alone time right in the middle of the city. Closer to King Street Wharf is a restaurant area with great choices of food including Mamak, Bourke Street Bakery and is often home to trendy pop-ups.
Open air cinemas
Summer calls for outdoor fun, which for Sydney includes a multitude of open air cinemas where you can enjoy music, food and a movie with friends, lovers or family. So basically Sydney does summer really bloody well. Ben and Jerry’s Open Air Cinema has locations in Bondi and the Inner West. While St George Open Air Cinema has a breathtaking view of the harbour from Mrs Macquarie’s Chair. Centennial Park further holds the Moonlight Cinema, where you often get a get view of the parks bats flying about at twilight.
You’re probably thinking I’m joking, but I’m really not. All the precincts of Sydney have something different to offer making them all of great value to this city, but what the Western suburbs offers is everything awesome. Former home to Sydney’s beloved Wonderland, this area now offers us Wet and Wild water park to make up for its loss. And everyone knows that water theme parks are the best theme parks of them all. Further down the road is another gem: Featherdale Wildlife Park, which is home to Australia’s favourite birds, reptiles, marsupials and mammals. Who doesn’t love aww-ing at koalas sleeping for a good 18 hours a day. If for some reason you’re not into waiting in lines for water slides or avoiding kangaroo droppings everywhere you walk, Western Sydney has the one thing that can satisfy all lazy humans – a drive in cinema. Not only is the general concept and experience of the drive-ins perfect in itself, but Drive In Blacktown actually has its own 50’s style diner attached where you can get a decent feed before your movie. Plus the movie ticket prices can be ridiculously cheap compared to regular prices, and you can see two movies in a row, form the inside of your car may I remind you.
So there you have it! Now you have all the excuses for never having to leave Sydney. You are welcome.