The sun may have gone down and taken Sydney’s sunny harbour views with it, but Sydney still retains much of its charm after dark. With diverse dining districts, plenty of entertainment options and a cluster of beloved watering holes, Sydney’s city scene certainly doesn’t slow down in the after hours.
Trade Sydney’s signature million-dollar views with it’s sparkling city skyline at night and head out when the sun goes down. Here are our picks for the 10 best things to do in Sydney at night:
1. Spend the evening in Darling Harbour
With waterside fireworks every Saturday and spectacular views of the Sydney Harbour every night of the week, Darling Harbour is one of Sydney’s most popular nightspots and rightly so. With more than 24 bars, restaurants and entertainment venues scattered around the water, Darling Harbour has something to cater for everyone.
Whether you’re looking to splurge on a harbour side dinner or simply strolling by the water on a warm night, Darling Harbour is a spectacular sight at all hours of the day.
2. Gaze at the stars at Sydney Observatory
For an intergalactic evening, the Sydney Observatory hosts a night-time tour on select dates, setting you back around $14. One of the best ways to visit the observatory is after hours, when the popular facility allows visitors to view the stars and planets in a dark night backdrop. If the sky conditions are not ideal, there’s still a 3D space theatre and planetarium allows plenty of opportunities to talk to astronomy educators on site to learn more about the astronomical and meteorological objects on display.
Please note that night sessions at the Sydney Observatory must be pre-booked, which can be done online or over the phone.
3. Visit Chinatown
Only a few blocks from Sydney’s George Street, Chinatown is predictably home to a huge number of Asian eateries which pack out with hungry punters at dinner time each night of the week. Ranging from trendy sake wine bars, darling dumpling spots, cheap Chinese restaurants and sushi trains, you’re spoiled for choice when it comes to Asian cuisine.
If you’re coming down on a Friday, Chinatown hosts a night market decked out with lanterns and stalls and plenty of cheap street eats – from yum cha, teppanyaki, takoyaki, sushi, Sichuan, pho and more.
4. Wine and dine in The Rocks
One of Sydney’s most historic precincts, The Rocks hosts spectacular views from its heritage listed streets; however it’s also home to a number of fantastic bars and watering holes in its old-style buildings and traditional pubs.
Whether you’re having a cocktail in the cobbled courtyard of The Argyle, enjoying a beer and schnitzel at the German-themed Lowenbrau or enjoying food and wine at another celebrated night spot, The Rocks region certainly comes alive after hours.
5. Eat pizza in the Italian Forum at Leichhardt
For a smorgasbord of pizza, pasta and all you can eat Italian treats, The Italian Forum in Leichhardt is your go-to spot. With restaurants and cafe menus stuffed with authentic Italian cuisine, ranging from antipasto, bruschetta, affogatos and a whole lot of pizza, you won’t leave the so-called ‘Little Italy’ hungry.
For an Italian feed unlike any other, head to Leichardt’s Italian Forum and indulge your craving for pasta and pizza in the popular dining precinct only 10 minutes from Sydney’s CBD.
6. Feast on Vietnamese cuisine in Cabramatta
It’s an hour from the city, but if you make the trip out to Cabramatta you’ll be treated with a hotpot of authentic South-East Asian tastes, culture and colourful locals. With a huge range of restaurants to choose from, Cabramatta is one of Sydney’s best dining hubs, renowned for its Vietnamese restaurants in particular.
From pho to ramen, to seafood restaurants and hole-in-the-wall diners, Cabramatta is brimming with celebrated Eastern eateries. In the central John Street you’ll be spoiled for choice when it comes to authentic Eastern dishes served by friendly locals.
7. Have a night out in Newtown
Newtown is only ten minutes from the Sydney CBD and boasts one of the most eclectic and vibrant range of bars, cafes, restaurants and music venues you’ll find in Sydney.
With a range of cocktail spots, wine bars, great pubs and jazz clubs; and restaurants serving up dishes including Thai, Indian, Italian, Malaysian, modern Australia and traditional pub fare, Newtown is a prime spot for dinner and drinks.
8. People watch in Circular Quay
For spectacular views of the harbour side and the Sydney’s city skyline, Circular Quay is the place to go.
While the Sydney Opera House takes the centre stage of this harbour spot, there’s plenty of other things to see and do. Have a drink at the iconic Opera Bar, dine at one of the many restaurants by the water, or simply stroll by the historic attractions and enjoy some of the best views in Sydney from this bustling evening harbour hub.
9. Enjoy some live theatre or performance art
From the theatres in Walsh Bay to the Sydney Opera House, Sydney is home to some of the country’s top stages and most iconic performance arts venues. Home to the Sydney Theatre Company, weekends are a great time to see a fantastic show and you’ll find a diverse program of events.
Whether it’s large-scale Broadway plays, celebrated musicals or comedy showcases, Sydney plays a vital part in Australia’s performance arts scene. From the Marrickville Ritz Hotel, The Riverside in Parramatta and Glen Street Theatre in Belrose, Sydney’s entertainment hubs are scattered across the city and host an array of colourful performances throughout the year.
10. Have a nightcap at one of Sydney’s small bars
It’s not widely known but Sydney has a great selection of small bars clustered through the CBD and its surrounds. Some lie in plain sight, while others are a little bit more hidden – down alleyways and through back streets – but all have a unique and uncrowded and relaxed vibe that are worth searching for.
For a spot that embodies the Sydney small bar scene, try Grandma’s on Clarence Street. For oriental flair, have a cocktail (served in traditional Chinese teapots) at Uncle Mings below street level on York Street; or wash down some whiskey at the crowd-pleasing Baxter Inn.
Want to experience Sydney at night for yourself? Webjet can help you plan your next trip to Sydney. Compare a huge range of cheap flights and accommodation options, and enjoy a night out in Australia’s famous harbour city.