By John Campo, who has lived in Sydney his entire life so knows his way around!Edited by Elodi Troskie
Sydney is one of the most vibrant, fast-paced cities in Australia. It doesn’t stop for anyone, but don’t let that intimidate you! If you’re traveling to Sydney alone, there are plenty of ways to make the most out of your solo trip. With its countless pubs, restaurants, viewpoints and cultural activities, you won’t be left without something to do in Sydney. As a relatively safe city, Sydney is a great choice for the solo traveller. Here are my recommendations for the best things to do in Sydney alone!
Explore The City On Foot
The most efficient (and budget-friendly) way to explore a new city is always to take to the streets, orientate yourself and locate points of interest to visit during your stay. I love walking around Sydney when I have the day to myself and I always find interesting new spots that I haven’t visited before. If you have a couple of hours, you can sightsee all the main attractions located in the CBD – the Opera House, the Royal Botanic Gardens, Hyde Park, the Harbour Bridge, Mrs Macquarie’s Chair, Darling Harbour and much more. If you want to travel further distances, the subway train station in Sydney functions very well and is a convenient way to get around the city using public transport. In my experience, Sydney has always been a safe city, making it a comfortable destination for solo travellers to explore.
Pub Crawl In The Rocks
If you’re traveling by yourself, it can be daunting to meet new people when you’re visiting a foreign city. A sure way to make friends in a new city is by hanging out at the locals’ watering hole. In this case, your best bet would be visiting the pubs in The Rocks, one of the coolest districts in Sydney. The Rocks is known for its historic pubs, weekend markets and gourmet street food. What makes this neighbourhood so unique is how it brings the youthful energy of nights in the city to this old-world part of Sydney. Iconic pubs are housed in century-old buildings whose architecture date back to pre-European days. A few cool pubs to visit in The Rocks are the Australian Heritage Hotel, the Glenmore Hotel or the Hero of Waterloo.
Go To The Beach
Sydney has more than 100 beaches – each one more scenic than the last. Whether you’re looking for waves to surf, clear waters to go snorkelling in or beach bars to keep you hydrated while you’re baking in the sun, there is a beach that has your name on it. Bondi Beach is by far the most famous beach in Sydney, and with good reason. This beautiful white sand beach is a great location for both surfing and swimming, and the many cafes and restaurants situated along the beach give visitors plenty of options for dining. Bondi Beach has that laid-back surfer’s feel to it, making every day feel like a lazy Sunday. There will never be a bad time to go to the beach, and you’re likely to meet fellow solo travellers who like to spend their days strolling along the beach and sipping on tropical cocktails.
Eat In Thai Town
Thai Town is a culinary hidden gem located right in the heart of Sydney’s CBD, just a stone’s throw away from Chinatown. As the name suggests, Thai Town is a hub of Thai eateries that has massively grown in popularity over the past few years. Apart from the multitude of restaurants, take-out places and food trucks, you’ll also find some grocery stores in this area. The best-known restaurant in Thai Town is Chat Thai, whose top-class Thai dishes have spread its name far and wide in Sydney. No one can deny that Chat Thai has amazing food, but if you don’t want to brave the long lines, branch a little further and try some of the less crowded restaurants. Eating in Thai Town is a great way to explore an alternative part of Sydney without having to dig too deep in your wallet to fill up on delicious food.
Visit The Museum Of Contemporary Art
The Museum of Contemporary Art is one of Australia’s most acclaimed museums. The MCA exhibits contemporary work by modern day artists, celebrating both Australian and international art. The MCA currently houses more than 4 000 artworks that have been collected since the late 1980’s. You can expect a diverse range of contemporary art works using a wide variety of mediums – paintings, photography, sculpture and moving images. The museum is ideally located in the edgy neighbourhood of The Rocks, situated on the edge of the Sydney Harbour. The museum is open daily from 10:00 until 17:00 and admission is free to all visitors. Keep an eye on their website to stay updated with current exhibitions.
Shop At Paddy’s Markets
Paddy’s Markets is the ultimate shopping establishment in Sydney. Paddy’s has two large shopping markets respectively located in Haymarket and Flemington, which have been in business for more than 150 years. Collectively there are more than 1000 stalls selling anything from food and drinks to fashion, jewellery and other souvenirs. Without fail, these two markets are open from 10:00 until 18:00 every week from Wednesdays to Sundays. Paddy’s also have a few specialty weekend markets like Foodie Friday, Fresh Food Saturday and Flemington Sunday – this food experience is one of the coolest things to do in Sydney over the weekend! Right above Paddy’s Markets, you’ll find Market City, a collection of factory outlet stores where you can spend hours shopping for clothes and shoes at bargain prices.
Admire The City Views
Watching the sunset will always be one of the best things to do alone – and it won’t cost you a dollar! Sydney has several great viewpoints from where you can enjoy the incredible view as the sun sets over the city’s skyline. The Cahill Expressway, the first urban freeway that was built in Sydney, runs through the northern edge of the CBD and then heads to the Harbour Bridge. No matter where you are on this freeway, you’re guaranteed a breathtaking view of the city. If you want to splurge on your sunset view, I’d recommend going to the Centrepoint Tower – not only the tallest structure in Sydney, but also the second tallest observation tower in the entire Southern Hemisphere. Admission to the tower will cost you about $29.50, but if your budget allows it, it’s worth the experience. Tickets can be booked online in advance.
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