While we're sure we could name hundreds of unique things to do in Sydney over the vibrant summer months, if you're only visiting for a short trip it's essential to squash that list down and experience the best of the best activities, sights, eateries and Instagramable spots. To help you out, here's a list curated by the coolest locals on the block (our staff)!
1. Sydney Harbour
It's best to get this one out of the way early, as of course it was bound to be on the list. Sydney Harbour is ICONIC. With jaw-dropping structures like the Sydney Opera House & Sydney Harbour Bridge hanging over the glistening water, you could easily spend all day soaking in it's beauty. If you're a bit of a thrill-seaker, the BridgeClimb experience is not to be missed with panoramic views of Sydney from the mountains to the sea. Circular Quay train station is only 4 stops from our local Mascot Station, making the harbour an accessible bucket-list item to tick off for our guests.
2. The Grounds of Alexandria
The Grounds is more than just a place to get your coffee fix, it's an immersive experience built in to a heritage listed warehouse and it's accompanying magical courtyard. It's got to be the most photographed food venue in Sydney, and it's easy to see why with the delicately presented food and backdrops of fountains, farmyards, floral markets and industrial styled laneways. Visit on a Saturday or Sunday for the full experience, with market stalls filled with art, fashion, skincare, candles and more - and don't forget to say hi to Harry Trotter, their resident piglet in the farmyard!
3. Mov'in Bed
Mov'in Bed is back again this year, ready for you to snuggle up and watch a flick under the stars at the Moore Park Entertainment Quarter. They've just released their timetable for the new year, so be sure to get in quick as tickets sell out well in advance.
4. Bondi Beach
Even watching an episode of Bondi Rescue won't prepare you for the epic experience of visiting the infamous Bondi Beach. There are plenty of ways to spend a day here, from soaking up the sun down by the water, grabbing a bite at the Bondi Icebergs, or if you're up for an adventure to some snap-worthy cliff faces go for a stroll along the Bondi to Bronte Walk.
5. Sydney Festival
Sydney Festival takes over the city from the 9th to the 27th of January, with activities and exhibits for the whole family. It starts the new year with a bang, transforming Sydney with a bold cultural celebration based on critical ideas and cutting-edge art and performance. There’s also plenty to do and experience that doesn’t cost a cent, from the moon art installations at World Square, Darling Harbour and Barangaroo South to the return of the beloved Sydney Symphony Under The Stars in Parramatta Park and the Circus Comes To Town weekend in Prince Alfred Square. To view the itinerary for this incredible line-up click here.
6. Taronga Zoo
The landscape of Sydney just wouldn't be the same without Taronga Zoo, having been in operation on the stunning Mosman headland for over 100 years. Taronga’s summer opening hours are 9:30am to 5:00pm - giving you plenty of time to explore the zoo’s 350 species of animals, grab a bite to eat at the various cafes, try the Sky Safari and let the kids run wild at the ropes course. The open air amphitheater boasts one of the best views of Sydney, where you can see the Opera House, CBD and Harbour Bridge in one panoramic shot. For directions on how to get there click here.
7. Blue Mountains
Got time to head out of the city for a day? We could not recommend more highly getting out in to nature and taking a wander through the magnificence that is the Blue Mountains National Park. With natural structures like the Three Sisters and Wentworth Falls, to family fun at Scenic World there is so much to explore when you head out west. If you don't have access to your own vehicle, there are plenty of tour operators taking the trip out there daily to expose you to the beauty that is the Blue Mountains.
8. Two Sis & Co Cafe
If your Instagram (or your life in general) is in need of a bit of colour, then Two Sis in Pyrmont shall provide! Chill out in the chic rain-forest vibe setting and get snap-happy as you're presented with food that looks like it's been shot straight out of a rainbow. Check out their menu here.
Got any other suggestions you think should have made it to the list? Leave a comment in the field below!
Holiday Inn Sydney Airport, an IHG hotel.
To book: ihg/holidayinnsydneyairport.com