Sydney is known for being an expensive place but there are still plenty of ways to explore and save money at the same time when you find yourself in the Harbour City! Here is a list of affordable and even FREE things to do and places to go while in Sydney.

1. Darling Harbour and Chinatown

Start with a walk around Darling Harbour, an area that is always bustling with people and events. There are plenty of museums to check out here but they do have a fee. If that doesn’t interest you, just walking around the area and watching the frequent street performers makes for a great time as well. As you walk further south, you’ll find yourself in Chinatown, an area rich with culture and delicious food. Additionally, Paddy’s Market is located in Chinatown, filled with fun trinkets, souvenirs to take home and fresh produce. Even if you don’t buy anything, you’ll still enjoy exploring and taking pictures.

A handful of people stroll along Sydney's Darling Harbour on a cloudy day
Darling Harbour | Photo by TEAN Alum Valerie Burke, University of Iowa

2. Local Weekend Markets

Sydney is quite well-known for having fabulous pop-up markets to shop at on the weekends. The Glebe Markets, Paddington Markets and the Rocks Markets are open every weekend and filled with great local, hand-crafted products and delicious food. Just be sure to check the exact hours they are open before you head out.

A handful of women walk among the tents of clothes and accessories in the Glebe Markets in Sydney
Glebe Markets | Photo by TEAN Staff, Hannah DeMilta

3. Lunch at Sydney Fish Market

As the third largest fish market in the world, this is a place you definitely don’t want to miss when you find yourself in Sydney. Take an afternoon and get some fresh sushi or delicious fish and chips then enjoy your lunch while looking out at the beautiful harbor.

4. Royal Botanic Gardens

Opened in 1816 and one of the most significant botanical institutions in the world, Sydney’s Royal Botanic Gardens is another great place to explore what the city has to offer. Filled with exquisite shrubbery and flowers and perfectly located on the harbor, the Botanic Gardens are a great place to take in the beautiful scenery of the city. Not to mention, it’s the perfect spot to get that Instagram photo you’ve been waiting for.

Bright red flowers juxtaposed against the blue water of the Sydney Harbour, both the Opera House and the Bridge in the background
That picture perfect spot | Photo by TEAN Alum Allie Shuman, Columbia College Chicago

5. Sydney Opera House

After touring the Royal Botanic Gardens, walk on the path along the harbor and eventually find yourself in front of the stunningly famous Sydney Opera House. An iconic spot of the city of Sydney, this is something you definitely don’t want to miss! Hang out on the steps, enjoy a quick bite to eat or a drink at the Opera Bar, or just casually explore the inside of the architecturally unique building. If you’re interested, you can also take an official tour of the building and learn all about its fascinating history (there is a fee). After exploring the Sydney Opera House, keep walking along the harbor path to see more of Circular Quay. Filled with people, shops, and food, this is an area you also cannot miss when in Sydney and where you can catch a quick ferry ride to different places across the harbor.

Outside Sydney Opera House is crowded with people enjoying the view at dusk

6. Art Gallery of NSW

One of the most-well known public galleries in Sydney and Australia, this is an excellent place to enjoy the history of the city and its country. General admission to most of the galleries is free, which are filled with unique historic and contemporary Australian art to enjoy. There is sometimes a cost for the special visiting exhibitions.

Groups of people walking on the lawn outside the New South Wales Art Gallery

7. Sydney Harbour Bridge

Whether you just want to admire it from afar or walk across it, the Sydney Harbour Bridge is another icon of Sydney that you cannot miss. It connects Sydney’s Central Business District with the North Shore and it is a critical component of the city’s transportation system. It is a great sight to see at night, where it is often lit up for special occasions and holidays.

8. Bondi to Coogee Walk

This walk is six kilometers of pure beauty and bliss along Sydney’s coast. You can start from either Bondi Beach or Coogee Beach, whichever you prefer. Along the way, you’ll get a great workout, see stunning scenery, and have a chance to relax and enjoy several perfect beach spots. It takes around two hours to complete the walk, depending on your pace. If you find yourself there from May-December, keep an eye out along the coast for whales that are likely to be migrating!

Rocks meet the ocean on the coastal walk from Bondi Beach to Coogee Beach in Sydney as the city lies in the background
“One of the most beautiful areas of Sydney was the coastal walk that goes from Bondi Beach to Coogee Beach. ” | Photo by TEAN Alum Caroline Burke, Clemson University

Rachel Gordon is a TEAN Alum and University of Michigan graduate. She studied with TEAN in Sydney, Australia. Are you thinking about studying or interning abroad in Sydney? Ask us any questions you have on these programs.