Why you should go to Sydney!

Sydney is Australia's oldest, largest and most ethnically diverse city, first settled by convicts from England in 1788 and famous for its iconic opera house, harbor and harbor bridge. The state capital of New South Wales, it is centered in six neighborhoods near the harbor, but the greater Sydney metropolitan area spreads over 4,775 square miles (12,367 km), including nearly 700 suburbs and extending all the way to the Blue Mountains to the west.

Despite its distance from Europe and North America, it is one of the 15 most visited cities in the world - Chinese and Americans making up over 30 per cent of international visitors - and hosted the 2000 Summer Olympics that the International Olympic Committee president called the "best Olympic Games ever." Famous Sydneysiders include actor Hugh Jackman, model and businesswoman Elle Macpherson and Olympic swimmer Dawn Fraser.

A global business center, Sydney also offers visitors museums, beaches, restaurants, nightlife, architecture and natural beauty. Tops on most tourists bucket list are the Opera House (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), the Harbour Bridge, the Royal Botanical Garden, Bondi Beach, the Blue Mountains and a ferry ride in the harbor.

The big LGBT event each year is the Lesbian and Gay Mardi Gras, which started modestly in 1978 and now is ranked as one of the world's top costumed parades with nearly 200 floats and attracts 12,000 participants, not counting the hundreds of thousands on the sidelines. Gay Pride is celebrated each June with a full calendar of special events and parties.

The Golden Mile or Oxford Street Darlinghurst remains the heart of gay Sydney, although the rainbow ribbon runs from Potts Point around the Central Business District and extends into suburbia, which is particularly popular among lesbians.

Things to do

Bondi Beach, one of the world's most famous beaches, is only five miles (8 km) from downtown. On the Australian National Heritage List, it stretches a little over half a...
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Things to do

In the historic Queen Victorial Building above Town Hall train station, the family-run Aboriginal Art Galleries displays the work of emerging artists as well as those...

Things to do

Established in 2000, Argyle Gallery shows Australian and Aboriginal art and fine crafts and has a selection of Australian-made gifts.

Nightlife

A great sound system and light shows have made Arq a standout disco club in town since 1999. The two-level club offers drag shows, special events and DJs spinning house....

Things to do

Admission is free at the Art Gallery of NSW, whose domestic and international collections span from Aborigine to Contemporary. It also features major special...

Hotel

The 64-room Arts Hotel, run by the Sullivan family, was built in 1969. It has basic rooms but extras like free bicycles, walking tours, in-house movies and undercover...
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Restaurant

On the ground floor of the Old Clae Hotel, Automata looks more like a body shop than one of the world's most innovative restaurants. The decor is all stainless steel and...

Nightlife

The hip and artsy Bank serves hearty pub fare and craft beer in a leafy beer garden. Waywards on the second floor is a no-cover venue for live music and on Wednesdays a...

Restaurant

Inside the Sydney Opera House, Chef Peter Gilmore of Quay offers the best of Australian cuisine at the multi-level Bennelong. Dining options are varied and include pre-...

Restaurant

Hidden away on an alley, Berta serves a regional Italian menu, so seasonal it changes almost daily. Plates are meant to be shared. Tuesday's special is a four-course...

Restaurant

The international Bills chain, famous for ricotta hotcakes and corn fritters served at communal tables, began in 1992 in an old pub building in Darlinghurst. Owner Bill...

Things to do

On the World Heritage list, the Blue Mountains are named for the haze of its eucalyptus forests. The rugged landscape offers a wealth of outdoor adventures, including an...
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Hotel

Gay-owned Brickfield Hill in a 19th-century townhouse is elegantly done up with Victorian 2- or 4-poster beds and Oriental rugs. A National Trust Classified building, it...

Things to do

The 440-foot (134 m) Harbour Bridge, the world's largest steel-arch bridge, may be viewed from afar or from the top. BridgeClimb, begun in 1998, offers small-group...
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Things to do

The largest Chinatown in Australia and the main one in the city, the neighborhood on the southern side of downtown has restaurants, shops and Market City, a modern...

Things to do

Circular Quay, close by the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House, is the main ferry terminal and a major railway station on the City Circle. The promenade is full of...

Nightlife

Club Exile features top DJs playing progressive house, tribal beats and rhythmic sounds on the third Saturday of most months and sell-out holiday specials like New...

Things to do

On the southern end of Coogee Beach, Coogee Women's Baths - dating from 1876 - is the city's last women-only ocean pool. Also known as McIver's Baths, the 20-meter...

Restaurant

Din Tai Fung, the international noodle and dumpling chain begun in a Taipei stall in 1972, is known particularly for its soup dumplings. Dumplings are hand made and...

Restaurant

Part of the Vini wine bar family, Ester cooks almost everything from cauliflower to oysters to grass-fed steak on the bone in its huge wood-fired oven - but no pizza. In...

Hotel

The 531-room Four Seasons, close by the ferries and tour boats of Circular Quay and an easy walk to the Opera House and Royal Botanic Garden. makes a good base for...
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Nightlife

Frankie's is a pizza joint with craft beer, pinball and a rocking house band. Tuesdays it's rock 'n'roll karaoke, Thursdays it's bands and DJs, Fridays and Saturdays DJs...

Nightlife

The Green Park, an Old School Aussie tiled bar, has been a popular watering hole since 1893. It has retro cocktails, a smoking courtyard with a vertical garden, a lounge...

Things to do

Sydney Harbour can be explored by tall ships, ferries, catamarans and luxury launches with options that include, lunch, high tea, dinner or sunset. Some cruises offer...
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Hotel

Close by the Circular Quay Terminal, the 59-room Harbor Rocks Hotel is in a historic building with views of Harbor Bridge and the Opera House. It is a Sofitel MGallery...
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Things to do

Australia's oldest park, Hyde Park is a swath of shady lawn divided into two sections by Park Street. The 40-acre (16.2 ha) park is popular with sunbathers, strollers...

Restaurant

High on the cliffs of South Bondi above the seawater swimming pool, Icebergs Dining Room & Bar offers panoramic views and multi-level dining. It has a seven-course...

Things to do

Kamay Botany Bay National Park is 1,130 acres (456 ha) of coastal bush around Botany Bay where the first European settlers landed. The park has historical sites, walking...

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Kings Cross or "the Cross" with its giant neon Coca-Cola billboard is a bustling entertainment district of bars, cutting-edge theater, hip cafes and budget hostels. But...

Nightlife

On Taylor Square, the multi-level Kinselas was a funeral parlor from 1933 to 1982, run by an undertaker named Kinsela. After a spell as a restaurant, it morphed into the...

Hotel

The 40-room Kirketon Hotel has queen-size beds, a prize-winning underground cocktail bar and free access to a nearby fitness center. In a heritage-listed building, it...
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Things to do

"Cozzies " - Australian for swimming suits - are optional at Lady Bay, the country's oldest nudist beach, legal since 1976. Also called Lady Jane Beach, it is only 328...

Hotel

The Larmont Sydney has 103 sleek guest rooms on seven floors in a once gritty neighborhood that has been compared to London's Soho. The former red-light district abounds...
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Things to do

Manly, home of the Australian Open of Surfing, is where the world's first surfing championship was held in 1964. Surfers head for the north end of the beach. Shelley...

Things to do

The Museum of Contemporary Art - MCA - occupies the 1939 Art Deco-style, six-story landmark built for the Maritime Services Board. Its collection of over 4,000 works...

Things to do

Protected by hunky lifeguards in Speedos, North Bondi Beach is where gays, lesbians and the locals hang out. Alcohol is prohibited on the white sands, but pubs line the...

Nightlife

Gay-owned and -operated, the unpretentious Palms on Oxford plays classic gay dance anthems with music ranging from 70s disco to latest hits. Live DJs only on Fridays and Saturdays. Drag shows take place occasionally. Note: No open-toed shoes are allowed.

Things to do

A family business since 1918, Parkers Sydney Fine Art Supplies has the largest selection of art supplies in the country and materials hard to find anywhere else. It...

Restaurant

Quay, one of Australia's most famous restaurants, is owned by Leon Fink with Celebrity Chef Peter Gilmore running the kitchen. In the Overseas Passenger Terminal...

Hotel

The 93-unit Quay West, a sleek apartment tower with city or harbor views, is in the middle of everything, only a five-minute walk to Circular Quay. But the Roman-style...
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Things to do

Filling a city block, the Queen Victoria Building (QVB), built in the 1890s, has three levels of shopping, cafes and restaurants with morning or afternoon tea served in...

Things to do

The Royal Botanic Garden covers 74 acres (30 ha) in a natural amphitheater around Farmer Cove in the heart of the city. Founded in 1816, it is the country's oldest...

Restaurant

Sagra - which translates "celebration" - offers simple farm-to-table Italian cuisine, rustic but with touches of elegance. The creative menu is seasonal and sourced...

Nightlife

Depending on the night, The Slide Lounge transports its dinner guests to a circus, a risqué Parisian cabaret or a 1920s speakeasy. The El Circo dinner show on Fridays...

Nightlife

The old dive bar Slyfox has been relaunched as a late night music venue with a new front lounge, a dance floor and a Funktion-One sound system. The action includes...

Things to do

Seat of the Catholic Archbishop of Sydney, St. Mary's Cathedral is built of local sandstone in Gothic Revival style. It is notable for its 19th/early-20th-century...

Nightlife

The Stonewall Hotel is a bar with three levels and live entertainment seven nights a week into the wee hours. Open since 1997, it is a local institution, featuring DJs,...

Things to do

The Hop-On Hop-Off double-decker buses operate on two routes - Red Route for Sydney, Blue Route for Bondi. The same 24- or 48-hour pass works on both for a total of 34...
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Hotel

Sydney Harbor YHA is a prize-winning hostel with 106 multi-share or double en suite rooms and a rooftop terrace looking out on Circular Quay. Dorms are single-sex or...
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Things to do

Sydney's stunning Opera House, the youngest site ever to make the UNESCO World Heritage list, ranks as a great 20th century architectural work. As much sculpture as...

Things to do

At 1,014 feet (309 m), Sydney Tower ranks as Sydney's tallest building and the second tallest observation tower in the Southern Hemisphere. It has a glass-floor viewing...

Restaurant

Gay-owned Thai Kanteen in the posh suburb of Mosman specializes in classic Thai cuisine with Australian influences and an emphasis on organics. Meals are designed to be...

Hotel

Its original building pulled down after the plague of 1900, the Australian Heritage Hotel still holds the longest running hotel license in town. The nine basic rooms...
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Nightlife

World-ranked Baxter Inn is an underground whiskey cellar entered from an alley, through an unmarked door and down a fire escape, It boasts the nation's largest whiskey...

Nightlife

Formerly a famous gay bar, the Beresford still attracts a gay crowd, particularly on Beresford Sundays, a drinking/dance party that really gets going after sundown....

Nightlife

The Colombian Hotel, in a former bank building on Oxford Street, is a straight-friendly gay bar that almost never sleeps. It has big windows on the street level for...

Nightlife

The Flinders Hotel's roots go back to 1916, but by the late 20th century the pub was a well-known LGBT hangout. After some ups and down, it was relaunched under new...

Nightlife

The Imperial Hotel where the opening and closing scenes of "The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert" were filmed, features drag, cabaret, acrobatics, dance,...

Nightlife

The Lobo Plantation, named after Julio Lobo who once was the most powerful sugar baron in the world, recreates a little bit of Old Cuba by offering over 250 different...

Nightlife

The Midnight Shift on two levels has been in business since 1981, making it one of the oldest gay bars in town. A venue for Pride events, it has a ground-floor bar and...

Nightlife

The hip Ox with its stylish marble bar, dramatic lighting and dance floor is a popular space for birthday parties and other special events, but back in the late 70s, it...

Nightlife

Open more than 30 years, The Oxford is an iconic gay bar on four levels, beginning with the underground nightclub in the basement. The street level is an open space with...

Things to do

Site of the original settlement, The Rocks lies just south of the harbor. It is a neighborhood full of historic buildings, art galleries tourist attractions,...
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Things to do

The Rocks Discovery Museum in a mid-19th century sandstone warehouse delves into the history of the neighborhood from pre-colonization days right up to the present....

Restaurant

Run by surfers, the Three Blue Ducks has rustic alleyway dining with a kitchen garden, chickens and beehives outback. Dishes are organic and seasonal. Close to the...

Things to do

Beneath the Sydney Tower, Westfield has four levels of upscale shopping and three levels of dining. Out-of-town shoppers are eligible for a Westfield Sydney Card, which...

Things to do

Humpback whales migrate past Sydney between April and December. Tour operators offer morning and afternoon cruises. You can also go to lookouts like Kamay Botany Bay...

Restaurant

Wild Ginger took over the premises of the old Sailors Thai Canteen, which closed in 2016 after being a mainstay for two decades. Happily for diners, it retained many of...

Things to do

The World Square has more than 70 mid-range retailers and a United Nations of dining options on three levels in a building that covers a city block. The development also...

Local tips

Downtown Lockout Laws

Make sure you're inside clubs in the Central Business District and King's Cross - the city's "red-light" neighborhood - by...

One Smartcard Fits All

Just tap the Opal Card for rides on all forms of public transport: buses, trains, ferries and light rail. Buy online, at...

3 community reviews / Sydney

General impression
Excellent
LGBT-friendly
Excellent
Julien Bonn has been to and rated Sydney

Added 10 hours ago

kimlou has been to and reviewed Sydney

Added 3 months ago

Spend 1 year in Australia and did "work and travel".
Enjoyed the sydney gay mardi gras festival in march 2014.

Hugo Valente has been to and rated Sydney

Added 7 months ago