Beckie Lee

Sydney is a city filled with many places for visitors to explore.  There are lots of places to eat, to go out and hidden gems as well.  You will be spoilt for choice when it comes to dining out and experiencing the nightlife in Sydney!

Places to Eat

Sydney offers a diverse culinary experience when it comes to places to eat.  All the cuisines you can think of can be found in Sydney as the city is made up of many different nationalities.  Asian cuisine, in particular, is widely featured when eating out in the city.  Visitors to Sydney will have an endless range of choices when it comes to fine dining, casual dining and cheap eats. 

Fine dining experiences including Tetsuya’s, Aria, Rockpool, Quay and the Bridge Room.  These restaurants are run by well known chefs and offer a truly gastronomy experience.   Many of the high end restaurants are ‘hatted’ which means they have been reviewed by food critics and are the best of the best. 

Casual dining experiences are widespread throughout the city.  If you enjoy seafood, the Pyrmont Fish Markets is a great place to visit with different seafood platters to try.  Nick’s Seafood restaurant in Darling Harbour is also renowned for delicious seafood.  Restaurants that offer an Asian experience include Din Tai Fung, a restaurant with tasty dumplings and Chef’s Gallery which is an Asian fusion restaurant.  Many restaurants located in Darling Harbour have a diverse casual dining experience at a lovely waterfront location.


Cheap eats in Sydney means you can still enjoy a tasty meal whilst saving your pennies.  Many of the cheap eats tend to lean towards Asian cuisine.  Chat Thai, Mamak and the Chicken Institute are well known for their delicious Asian styled food.  Mary’s Burgers in Newtown and Chur Burger are institutions when it comes to burgers. 

Places to Go Out

The nightlife in Sydney is lots of fun with different parts of Sydney giving you a unique experience.  There is something for everyone when it comes to going out and having a good time in the evening.  Small bars in the city centre, Newtown and Surry Hills are the places to go out in Sydney.  For those wanting to party, there are definitely options there as well!  

Small bars have popped up in droves and are popular with people wanting some cozy and funky places to go out.  Scattered throughout the city, popular small bars in the centre of the city include Baxter Inn, Frankie’s Pizza, Ramblin’ Rascal, Button Bar and The Swinging Cat.  Some small bars can be difficult to find as they are not marked however once you find them, you won’t want to leave! 


Newtown is an area of Sydney only just outside the perimeter of the city.  Very popular with locals, King Street is the place to go out if you want to drink your way down one street.  Not as mainstream as the city, Newtown is known for being hip and funky with great restaurants as well as bars and pubs.   Popular pubs to check out include Newtown Hotel, Courthouse Hotel and Marlborough Hotel.  Bars that a must visit include Earl Juke’s Joint, Zanzibar and Bloodwood.

Surry Hills is a place where many locals also like to go out to with many drinking and eating venues on offer.  Located near Central, the main train station in town, it is an inner city suburb of Sydney. Button bar, Playbar, The Wild Rover , Shady Pines and Pocket Bar are some great small bars to have a drink.  Popular pubs include Trinity Pub, Forresters, Dolphin and The Clock.  

For those wanting to go out dancing and partying, Ivy, The Argyle and Marquee at Star Casino are the places to go if you want to dress up and been seen.  Oxford St and Kings Cross are areas where a big night is to be had if that is what you are after!

In February 2014, the NSW State Government introduced lock out laws to minimise the violence caused by drunken behaviour.  This means people cannot enter venues after 1.30am and 3am is last drinks (there are exemptions to certain venues).  The area covers sections of Surry Hills, Darlinghurst, The Rocks, Kings Cross and Cockle Bay.  Visitors to Sydney should be aware of this law when going out in Sydney.

Hidden Gems

Kensington St is a laneway, newly opened in September 2015, that has undergone a transformation of 16 heritage listed terraces that were originally built in the 1840s.  Located within walking distance of Central Train Station, it is a new hub for restaurants, cafes, small bars, markets, artists, galleries and creative types.  Mixing the old with the new, there is an Asian hawker styled lane with food eats, funky shops and just a cool place to hang out!

Parramatta was the second place settled in Australia after landing in Sydney.  Situated 30km from the centre of Sydney, it offers a historical experience with Old Government House (Australia’s oldest public dwelling) and Elizabeth Farm (Australia’s oldest European private dwelling) open to visitors.  A popular experience is to take a ferry from Circular Quay in the city to Parramatta which takes almost one and a half hours however offers a leisurely ferry experience.  Eat Street on Church Street is a hive of activity during the day and night with a row of restaurants available for visitors to dine and sample some great food!



By Beckie Lee

Beckie Lee works for CPD Conferencing, organising international conferences. She is a freelance writer specialising in destination and travel guides.