Sydney is divided into a collection of neighbourhoods, each with their own identity and unique characteristics. All within walking distance of each other, here are 6 must-see central Sydney neighbourhoods to add to your New South Wales itinerary.

Circular Quay and The Rocks

Circular Quay

Best for: Markets, attractions, and historical buildings

The Rocks is one of Sydney’s most iconic and oldest neighbourhoods. Located under the shadow of Sydney Harbour Bridge, The Rocks is characterised by picturesque laneways that are lined with quirky brunch spots, some of Sydney’s oldest pubs, and a range of historic buildings and iconic attractions such as the Sydney Opera House and Museum of Contemporary Art. Circular Quay is the first stop on many Sydney itineraries due to its central location and majestic views of Sydney’s most iconic landmarks such as the Sydney Harbour Bridge and The Sydney Opera House.

Where to eat

Every Saturday and Sunday, the neighbourhood comes to life with The Rocks Markets, bringing together the best food, drink, art, music, and more. Visitors can take part in free yoga classes, meet traders, watch demonstrations, shop for original artwork and jewellery, or indulge in incredible food. Circular Quay is lined with a host of luxurious restaurants, choose from, Quay, Aria, 6HEAD, or Cafe Sydney where you are guaranteed incredible food and even better views.

Where to stay

What once stood as the Department of Education has been transformed into the brand new Capella Sydney. The heritage-listed Edwardian golden sandstone walls have been transformed into a luxurious five-star, 192-guestroom hotel complete with a contemporary design aesthetic. Capella has three food and beverage options, including signature restaurant, Brasserie 1930 and McRae Bar, a fitness centre, yoga platform, auriga spa, and swimming and vitality pools.

Surry Hills

Best for: Foodies and shopping 

Whether you’re looking for an organic brunch, vintage fashion find or late-night cocktail, Surry Hills has you covered. This stylish inner Sydney urban playground is creative, fashion-forward and delicious. Explore the art-adorned streets, where you’ll find boutiques shops, acclaimed art galleries, lively pubs and award-winning restaurants.


Where to eat

Labelled as Sydney’s foodie suburb, Surry Hills offers a wealth of classy cafes, bars and restaurants that reflect the neighbourhood’s sophisticated look and feel. For contemporary fine-dining head to NOMAD, located in a trendy converted warehouse, and indulge in food inspired by Spain, Morocco and the Middle East. Head to Bills for breakfast, Sydney’s most iconic brunch spot or treat your tastebuds at Izakaya Fujiyama, a laid-back Japanese restaurant with a mouth-watering menu of sushi and more.

Where to stay

Stay in the new Ace Hotel Sydney, a stylish, contemporary hotel located on the site of an 1820s kiln, and it takes over a building that’s been used as a warehouse, pharmacy dispensary, garment factory and high school in its previous life. For its latest incarnation, the original exteriors have been completely restored, by Flack Studio, into a warm and comforting hotel featuring recurring nods to the suburb’s cultural history and Australia throughout.


Best for: Hipsters and bar scene

Located in Sydney’s inner west, Newtown is referred to as one of Sydney’s hippest neighbourhoods where visitors can find an abundance of vegan and pet-friendly cafes, bars and cheap eats perfect for backpackers who are looking for an affordable stay in the city. Head to King Street for Newtown’s very own vegan strip or visit in the evening for eccentric bars and nightclubs.

Where to eat

The edgy vibe of Newtown extends into its small bars, cafes and craft breweries. You’ll find an assortment of restaurants and cafes along King Street, Enmore Road and Australia Street. Book a table at Continental Deli Bar Bistro or Hartsyard. Join the three-hour guided Newtown Chewtown foodie safari with Local Sauce Tours to get a taste of the vast multicultural cuisine on offer, from Pakistani to Japanese and everything in between.

Where to stay

Stay right in the thick of the action at The Urban Newtown, a boutique hotel that oozes character with studio rooms and a quirky industrial design, just a stone’s throw away from the vibrant King Street and the iconic Enmore Theatre built back in 1908.


Best for: LGBTQ+ nightlife

Considered Sydney’s central gay district, inner-city Darlinghurst is a high-energy area with cafes, sleek multicultural restaurants and intimate cocktail bars. Spend the night in one of Oxford Street’s vibrant nightclubs that thump with music alongside stylishly restored pubs. Edgy shops on Crown Street sell records, offbeat fashion and vintage apparel. The abundance of art galleries, independent theatre companies and live music venues draw a young, chic crowd.

Where to eat

Visit Kissuu, a club-bar-restaurant hybrid where Japanese-inspired food and late-night disco tunes combine. Downstairs, ex-Nobu chef Adam Burke is serving up kingfish sashimi tacos and gyoza, while upstairs a live DJ fills the space with new spins on funk and disco classics. Chaco Ramen has some of the best ramen in town and its sister restaurant, Chaco Bar, serves yakitori in an industrial-chic setting.

Where to stay

Stay at Oxford House, an inner-city sanctuary with 56 decorated with Warm, sunbaked tones, an abundance of light and dynamically curated artworks.

Potts Point and Woolloomooloo

Best for: Historical architecture and cafes

Potts Point, Sydney’s first purpose-built suburb, and Woolloomooloo, where naval ships were first moored in 1856, are both harbourside neighbourhoods bursting with history. Both relatively affluent areas, these two neighbourhoods are home to a vibrant cafe and bistro culture with Kingscross craft market popping up every Sunday serving local food. Woolloomooloo’s Finger Wharf is one of the world’s longest timber wharves. Once a busy cargo dock, it’s now home to restaurants, a marina and Ovolo, a luxury hotel. Admire the area’s Art Deco buildings, including Carisbrooke and Carinthia on Springfield Avenue and Franconia and Macleay Regis on Macleay Street.

Where to eat

Flour and Stone is known for serving up classic bakery delights such as pastries and pies. Head to Dear Sainte Eloise to try some of New South Wales’s best wines, or Franca for more luxurious eats.

Where to stay

Ovolo Hotel Woolloomooloo offers a unique stay, close to the heart of Sydney CBD but yet in a peaceful wharf location. The hotel offers 5-star boutique accommodation options that include beautifully designed private rooms and outstanding loft suites.

Darling Harbour

Best for: Families

Darling Harbour is a buzzing waterside suburb just a stone’s-throw away from the centre of Sydney whilst retaining its small, intimate feel. With a huge range of activities to keep kids entertained such as  Madame Tussauds wax museum, WILD LIFE Sydney Zoo, SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium and Darling Quarter Kids Playground, Darling harbour is a great destination for families.

Where to eat

Darling Square is a new food precinct boasting an array of food vendors, from Hungarian pastries at Kurtosh and Japanese-inspired burgers at Ume Burger, plus fantastic coffee and decadent donuts at Shortstop Coffee and gelato at Messina.

Where to stay

The W Sydney Hotel is nearly ready to open to the public as it is given its final touches. The striking wave-like structure will be occupied by 585 luxury rooms overlooking Darling Harbour, an infinity pool, a two-story rooftop bar, restaurant, signature AWAY spa, as well as a new IMAX theatre and retail in the complex below perfect for families.

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