A Short Guide to the Highlights of Sydney’s CBD

Sydney’s CBD is a large and vibrant place that is full of highlights. Not a particularly old city by world standards, Sydney has managed to maintain an older feel and charm while growing to become one of the world’s most modern cities. Whether you’re here backpacking or on business, check out the following highlights of Sydney’s CBD.

Circular Quay

The number one highlight of the Sydney CBD is of course the majestic Sydney Harbour, and your gateway to it is Circular Quay. This is the most beautiful harbour city in the world, and Sydney Harbour showcases two of Australia’s most famous landmarks, the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House. There are always thousands of people milling around the Quay — both locals and tourists — and there is no shortage of places to either grab a bite to eat, or just sit back with a coffee and people-watch.

The Queen Victoria Building

The QVB is one of the most spectacular buildings in the downtown core, and deserves a visit for its impressive architecture alone. The inside of the building is a high-end shopping mall these days, and has some of the best places to get a coffee in the city. If you’re here close to Christmas, the QVB hosts one of the largest Christmas trees in the world.

The Royal Botanic Gardens

Few cities around the world can boast a place like this. The Royal Botanic Gardens is an absolute paradise of flowers, trees, plants and birds. Located on the edge of the CBD and right next to Sydney Harbour, this is the perfect place to escape the crowds and enjoy a quiet lunch. Bring a book, your camera, a picnic basket, your partner, your yoga mat or whatever else, and enjoy one of the standout highlights of this fantastic and beautiful city.

Martin Place

Located right in the middle of the CBD is one of Australia’s most sombre war memorials, and the site of a moving dawn service every April 25 on Anzac Day. This plaza is one of the more popular places for office workers in the CBD to enjoy their lunch, and from here you’re close to pretty much all of the main areas of the CBD.

The Rocks

One of the oldest and most charming sections of Sydney’s CBD is the fantastic district of The Rocks on the edge of the harbour. The Rocks is home to some fairly up-market bars and restaurants and also plays host to thriving summer night markets. Historical walking tours of The Rocks are one of the best ways to learn about early Australian history, and if you haven’t chosen a hotel yet, you’ll also find some of the nicest Sydney apartments and short-term accommodation here.

Chinatown

Like most cities around the world, the Chinatown district is right downtown and one of the most thriving parts of the city. For cheap, delicious food until very late at night; for fresh fruit, vegetables, meat and spices; or just for a lively place to go for a walk, Sydney’s Chinatown certainly doesn’t disappoint.