Bondi Beach, Sydney NSW © Hamilton Lund/Destination NSW
Sydney suburb guide
From buzzy beachside suburbs to edgy inner-city precincts, Sydney’s neighbourhoods celebrate the city’s beauty and diversity.
Where: Bondi, Bronte, Coogee and Manly
Sydney’s best-loved beach suburbs aren't just known for their sandy shores and rolling waves– you'll find a whole range of diversions, from stunning coastal walks to some of Sydney’s best cafés. Some beaches, like the world-famous Bondi are close to the city centre. Others, like Manly are a little further away, but well worth it for the views during the ferry ride from Circular Quay.
From rooftop bars with sweeping views to some of Australia's best healthy eateries, Sydney's beach suburbs are known for their trendy dining options. Dress your best for a night out at the glamorous Icebergs Dining Room and Bar or the Art Deco Coogee Pavilion. On a warm summer's day, nothing beats fish and chips by the beach, preferably from Fishmongers Manly.
Sydney's beach suburbs are a popular locale for active holiday makers. Stretch your legs on the famous Bondi to Coogee coastal walk or browse for bargains among the stalls at Bondi’s weekend markets. Take a leisurely swim at inviting ocean pools, such as Wylie’s Baths or snorkel at the sheltered Shelly Beach with a protected area perfect for spotting marine life.
There's a generous host of stylish accommodation options sprinkled throughout Sydney's coastal suburbs. Check into the stylish QT Bondi hotel or the Art Deco Hotel Ravesis and the best of Bondi is within easy reach. Stay steps from Manly Life Saving Club at The Sebel or bed down opposite the beach in the historic Coogee Bay Hotel.
Sydney’s inner east
Where: Surry Hills, Darlinghurst, Paddington, Potts Point and Kings Cross
Sydney's inner east is brimming with picturesque terraces, tree-lined streets and quirky cafes. Former working class suburbs Darlinghurst and Surry Hills are now a modern playground for urban professionals, while trendy Potts Point is known for its grand mansions and upscale restaurants. In between them all lies Kings Cross, the once-notorious nightlife hub now better known for its trendy wine bars.
This area of Sydney is serious about brunch culture, with some of the best spots to grab a coffee and the perfect avocado on toast. Dine on ricotta hotcakes at Bill’s in Darlinghurst, make your way to Potts Point to people-watch over a delicious Italian lunch at Fratelli Paradiso, or wander into cosy wine bar Dear Sainte Eloise for an aperitif.
For designer boutiques and trendy bas, the inner east is the place to go. In Surry Hills, browse Crown Street for clothes, homewares and accessories before visiting the Brett Whiteley Studio, where one of Sydney’s most-loved artists lived and worked. Pop in for a drink at one of the many LGBTQIA+ venues along the Oxford Street strip, such as The Colombian. Further along Oxford Street you'll find the swanky shops of Paddington, where fashion boutiques sit next to historical townhouses.
There are plenty of boutique hotels tucked away in Sydney's inner east suburbs. Among the most appealing is Surry Hills’ Paramount House Hotel, which has built a loyal following thanks to its neighbourhood vibe. Also in Surry Hills, the Crystalbrook Albion guesthouse offers gorgeous rooms that feel like home, while visitors keen to soak up Potts Point’s heritage will love Spicers Potts Point.
Where: City centre, The Rocks, Darling Harbour and Barangaroo
Iconic architecture, big-ticket attractions and superb water views collide in these central harbourfront locales. The Rocks is Sydney’s oldest neighbourhood, set within strolling distance of some of the city’s biggest attractions. Right next door sits Barangaroo where glass-walled office towers overlook a harbourside park and an inviting selection of restaurants.
Central Sydney's diverse dining scene offers a vibrant selection of foods, from delicious street eats to exceptional fine dining. Fuel up with a beef bourguignon pie from La Renaissance patisserie or make a booking at Quay for harbour views and elegant degustations by chef Peter Gilmore. Both Barangaroo and Quay Quarter Lanes dining precincts offer a wide variety of eateries to choose from.
From the historic cobblestone streets of The Rocks to the modern sights of Darling Harbour and the shopping delights of Pitt Street Mall, there's no shortage of things to do in the inner city. Pay a visit to the waterfront Museum of Contemporary Art, dive into the harbour at Marrinawi Cove or visit the dugongs, penguins and tropical fish at the enchanting SEA LIFE Aquarium.
Not surprising, the city centre has a huge range of Australian and international hotel brands to choose from. In Darling Harbour, treat yourself to a night at ultra-luxe hotel The Darling, or for a more playful vibe, book into the Ovolo 1888. In The Rocks, indulge in pure luxury at The Langham or stay in the stylishly converted Harbour Rocks Hotel for easy access to the world-famous delights of Circular Quay.
Sydney’s inner west
Where: Chippendale, Newtown and Marrickville
Once a gritty industrial hub, the clutch of suburbs stretching west of Central Station have evolved into one of the city’s most lively and liveable precincts, packed with cafés, backstreet bars, breweries, restaurants, and independent boutiques. On the precinct’s western fringe, Marrickville has carved out a reputation as the city’s hottest (and best value) international dining district.
The Inner West is filled with trendy bars spilling onto streetsides and a healthy mix of laid-back restaurants serving up incredible food. Kensington Street is Chippendale’s eat street, home to cheap and cheerful eateries. Be sure to head to Marrickville, where the area’s thriving Greek and Vietnamese populations are reinventing modern Australian cuisine at the likes of Barzaari and Hello Auntie.
Sydney's Inner West is an artist's dream, dotted with murals, galleries and vintage stores. Grab a takeaway coffee on Newtown’s King Street and enjoy a morning of vintage clothing shopping before heading to neighbouring Chippendale to see contemporary Chinese art at White Rabbit Gallery and admire architect Jean Nouvel’s eye-catching One Central Park building.
Find an abundance of homely stays with fun, local vibes throughout Sydney's Inner West. Sleep in style at The Old Clare, a boutique hotel housed in Chippendale’s former Carlton & United Brewery building, or roll into bed at Newtown’s historic Sydney Park Hotel after a nightcap at one of King Street’s lively pubs.