Even those who have lived in Sydney their entire lives could not possibly tire from watching the city spring to life between September and February. With autumn and winter in the bag for another year, it’s once again time to lean on Sydney’s greatest hits and really dip into everything that makes the Harbour City one of the world’s finest destinations.
Whether you’re visiting or just coming out of hibernation, we’ve put together the ultimate spring and summer guide to Sydney to help you make the most of that scorching sun and breezy summer nights.
And we’ve kept it simple so you’ve got an easy bucket list on hand. Below you’ll find our top picks on where to eat, drink, play and stay in Sydney before (and after) 2023 is done and dusted.
More than any other city in Australia this year, Sydney has seen a rolling list of high-profile openings from some of the country’s best hospitality guns.
Raja in Potts Point is a no-brainer if you’re looking for Indian cuisine done a bit differently, with fine details favouring the regions of Mumbai.
You can’t go wrong with the brilliant, multifaceted magic of Le Foote in The Rocks. The heritage space has been turned into a brilliant Mediterranean restaurant with multiple indoor and outdoor spaces in the heart of Sydney’s cobblestoned old town.
If you’re staying at Pier One Sydney Harbour, you’ll have direct access to one of the city’s best restaurants, The Gantry. The award-winning kitchen pumps out fresh seafood while you lounge right up alongside the water, shadowed by the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Few dining experiences are as quintessentially Sydney.
Or if you’ve chosen to stay at W Sydney, you’ll love the hotel’s signature restaurant, BTWN, a whimsical third-floor eatery that turns into a late-night dessert bar as the night progresses.
And if those long, loud dinners aren’t for you, and you’re looking for something to do with the family during the day, strut into the impressive lobby of Sheraton Grand Sydney Hyde Park for the hotel’s signature high tea service. Known as one of the best high tea offerings in town, it’s a great way to spend an afternoon before taking a stroll through Sydney’s largest urban park.
Sydney’s solid bar scene has only gotten more well-rounded and diverse this year with some of the city’s hottest new openings.
If Tequila and mezcal are calling your name, head on into El Primo Sanchez. Run by the award-winning team behind one of the world’s hottest cocktail bars, Maybe Sammy, the slick Paddington bar is built on a flair for the dramatic and a keen understanding of what makes a good, consistent and perfectly balanced cocktail.
The futuristic 29/30 on the top floor of W Sydney is another one of the city’s newest openings and a great idea for something a bit different. Despite the hyper-colourful, cartoonish design, there’s a deep sense of sophistication up here buoyed by excellent signature cocktails and a strong list of beer and wine.
If you’re resting your head at Sydney Harbour Marriott Circular Quay then make sure you’re starting or ending each night at Three Bottle Man Bar. Sit in the breezy outdoor area out front and pick your favourites from a list of only Australian spirits.
For beer enthusiasts, there are few spots dedicated to the art of craft than Malt Bar at Four Points by Sheraton Sydney Central Park. The beautifully designed bar is currently going through renovations and looking to be back early next year, showcasing the breadth of Australian craft beer.
Finally, for some of the best cocktails in Sydney, post yourself up at laneway bar PS40 in the CBD. Just a short walk from Wynyard Station, this long-standing bar has a strong reputation for consistency and innovation, where the team even make their own craft sodas.
With Sydney Opera House celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, the iconic venue will be presenting some of its best works as we head into the summer holidays. Catch the romantic Miss Saigon at Joan Sutherland Theatre in October, kick back with the Just For Laughs program in November, catch concerts from the likes of Dermot Kennedy and The War On Drugs in December, and settle into some opera with Orpheus & Eurydice in January.
Those who haven’t been to Sydney for a while might want to head along to The Art Gallery of NSW. The long-standing institution has introduced an ambitious new standalone building and a public art garden to further provide substantial, inventive spaces for some of Australia’s best-rotating exhibitions.
If your visit lands in January, make sure you’re browsing the list of events for Sydney Festival. Placed between the 5th and 28th of January, one of the city’s major yearly festivals will have a packed program of oddball shows, performances, one-off events and pop-up food options, so make sure you sort out a schedule in advance.
Heading to Sydney in October? You’ll want to spend an evening (or two) running around the epic Night Noodle Markets in Hyde Park, where dozens of Asian food stalls will shape an energetic outdoor marketplace.
Keen on exploring the Harbour City with little ones in tow? We suggest dedicating a day to finding the best Jacaranda viewing spots in Sydney. Think of it as Australia’s purple-tinged version of Japan’s famed Cherry Blossom season. From mid-October through to the end of November, these ferociously picturesque flowers make the city look much more vibrant, and you can catch some of the best blooms in places like Circular Quay, Kirribilli, Lavender Bay and Royal Botanic Gardens.
Finally, time you visit the fascinating Sculpture by the Sea, which takes place from the end of October until November in Bondi. It’s the best way to nail the iconic Bondi to Bronte coastal walk while checking out some truly epic installations from local and international artists.
First off, we need to get your base sorted. It doesn’t matter if you’re having a quick weekend staycation or a longer-term visit across a few weekdays. These top hotels will help make your Sydney adventures that much more comfortable and convenient.
If hugging Sydney Harbour is your preference, go for premium with one of the city’s most prized digs in Pier One Sydney Harbour, or stay at Sydney Harbour Marriott Circular Quay with scenic views of Sydney Opera House and the Harbour from up high. Either way, you’re steps from the famed horseshoe that swings from Overseas Passenger Terminal (and acclaimed restaurant Quay) to the mighty Sydney Opera House.
If your ideal spring and summer leans closer to leafy green parks than the sparkling waters of Sydney Harbour, take a look at the heritage Sheraton Grand Sydney Hyde Park. Not only will you be staying in the heart of the city, just steps from the luxury shopping of Pitt Street Mall, but the hotel is directly opposite the sprawling Hyde Park where October’s Night Noodle Markets is held and many of Sydney Festival’s best moments take place.
If you want to stay closer to Central Station then go for Four Points Sydney Central Park in Chippendale. The comfortable, well-priced hotel is beloved for its proximity to nightlife spots like The Abercrombie Hotel and the plethora of casual dining options across Ultimo, Kensington Street and Chinatown.
Visitors wanting to maintain an easy route to their flight back home should stay at the brand-new Moxy Sydney Airport. The 301-room hotel is the first Australian property from the popular Moxy brand, skewed towards a young and playful design that includes modular furniture in rooms and a generous spread of common areas designed with social connection in mind.
Lastly, the long-awaited W Sydney will finally be ready to play as we enter the tail-end of 2023 opening 12th of October. With wave-like architecture and an eccentric blend of luxury with boutique-minded hospitality, the Darling Harbour Hotel (housed in the same building as the new IMAX theatre) is easily the biggest deal in Sydney right now.
Before you descend upon Sydney to make the most of spring and summer, make sure you’re maximising your time. Sign up to Marriott Bonvoy before your check-in so you can earn (or spend) points, make those restaurant bookings in advance, and lock those tickets down before the flight.
To further explore where to stay in, and how to experience, Sydney at its finest head to Marriott.com and start planning now.
This article is sponsored by Marriott. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Boss Hunting.