Central Business District
Central Business District
Suggested duration
More than 3 hours
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The area
Neighborhood: Central Business District
The Sydney Central Business District is abuzz with energy. Power brokers run to and from high rise buildings and after-work drink places, high-end shoppers tour venues like the QVB, and fine diners frequent the many celebrity chef restaurants. For a dose of culture, walk to the NSW Art Gallery, or visit the Sydney Museum. To escape the hustle and bustle, reconnect with nature at the Sydney Botanical Gardens or picnic lunch at High Park. No matter your interest, be sure to check the full calendar of events hosted by the city, from the Sydney Festival in January to October’s Good Food Month at Hyde Park.
How to get there
  • Wynyard • 4 min walk
  • Martin Place • 6 min walk
Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
Popular mentions

172 reviews
Very good

Dimitris L
Sydney, Australia41,276 contributions
The Central Business District of Sydney is the heart of the city. Businesses of every kind are to be found here. There are countless cafes, restaurants, fashion stores, department stores and every type of store in a large city. The area is very busy day and night. Worth spending some time walking around. If you prefer some peace and quiet try the Botanic Garden or Hyde Park! Or take a stroll in the Domain and go to the NSW Art Gallery. There are plenty of museums too. Or walk around the Harbour and the Opera House area. Sydney is a city that never really stops.
Written January 24, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Winnipeg, Canada285 contributions
We stayed in the Central business district (CBD) so all the major attractions were walkable. The maps found on line or through free tourist outlets around Sydney are helpful, especially as my cell phone type didn't work on the Aussi network. All in all we a good 6.5 days in Sydney itself & felt we comfortably covered the major sights. We even got to the Blue Mountains via the NSW train for a day hike adventure.

Parking rates are high and traffic is pretty congested so no need to a rent car. The subway and ferry links using the Opal card are easy to navigate. We took the train in from airport and within 15 minutes we were at our accommodations.

As family of 4 we found renting a fully serviced apartment a great value choice plus it gave us plenty of room. Felt like home away from home.

Avoid the Zoo on weekends or public holidays as it can be crowded. Ditto for Manley beaches as the ferries can get packed.

Walk, try the various multicultural food, which seemly is everywhere you turn. There are tons of expensive tour operators but frankly many things you can simply explore on your own. Buy the multi site cards like the Venture card if you plan to visit some of the popular attractions. It will save you some cash for other things.

For shoppers there are plenty of name brand to tiny shops to explore as well.

Museums are worthy of visiting as is the whole Darling Harbour, Rocks , China town and gardens areas. The Sydney Bridge walk is exciting but a bit expensive . We did it at night so much cooler.

We felt quite safe and we're amazed a generally the high degree of cleanliness of the CBD. Have fun!
Written January 10, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Doha, Qatar78 contributions
Australia and I, we are morning people. We love breakfasts, sunrise, early morning runs and city walks. Perhaps that's why I left a slightly bigger piece of my heart in Sydney than in most of the other cities I've been to... Or maybe because of a hundred other reasons i could think of right now. For one, it's multicultural, beautiful and young populace makes one feel less like a foreigner. You walk its streets and you don't feel suffocated by tourists with their wide brimmed hats, SLRs and funny photo poses. It is organized and quite but "happening" at the same time. Second, you step into cafes, bars and restaurants and consistently have amazing coffee (yep, probably better than most of Italy's) , great selection of Australian beers and wines (shout-out to my lovely Australian Shiraz), underrated G-R-E-A-T food, and excellent customer service. Third, it's a city where old buildings beautifully co-exist with modern skyscrapers and is embedded with dozens of parks, gardens,museums, picturesque harbours and some of world's best city beaches (cramped with young and fit surfer dudes even at the peak of their "winter"). All these of course come with a hefty Australian dollar price tag... But other than that, what's there not to love?
Written August 8, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

John G
Truro, UK561 contributions
Great city, plenty to do, we had a week there and did not see everything.
Excellent transport, as pensioners we had $2.50 daily tickets that take you on the buses, trams ferries and trains for a day. Georges Street which is the main street through the town is a mile or so long. lots of buses. the 555 is free. I can go on and on.
Darling harbour is a great place to eat, as is China Town, but there are hundred more.
La Renaissance Patisserie & Café at the Rocks does wonderful pastries; its opposite the Tourist Info where the staff are most helpful. Parking is a nightmare so leave your car at home, you do not need it. The public transport goes all over the place so its worth checking it out before you arrive and deciding what you want to see. Sydney is a small city compared to London and compact, Get a Hotel near the centre for ease od accessing transport.
Written March 9, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Fort Myers, FL180 contributions
Wow! What a great city! Lots to see and do! The downtown area is very walkable with sights abounding. Here you will find world class shopping in abundance. World renown stores are everywhere along with Australian offerings. There are maps to guide your walking through various districts.
We enjoyed our walk to Sydney Harbor to see the famous bridge and Opera House. Many people take tours to walk the bridge. The cost was $198 and it looks exciting. There are tours to see the Opera House, but an exciting way would be to purchase tickets to see a play or concert there. There are restaurants inside and around the area. We sat and had a glass of wine admiring all of the hustle and bustle. Our lunch nearby was awesome! There are many boat harbor tours available along with city bus tours. I would suggest both if you have the time
The Botanical Gardens are right next to the Opera House. Just walking around this area is beautiful. We saw many street performers as we continued our walk to the Rock District which houses many restaurants, shops, galleries, etc. Darling Harbor is a part of this area and it features a Ferris wheel, large IMAX Theater and many restaurants and attractions.
We took one of the many ferry boats to Manly where we got a view of the harbor and city and had a great afternoon shopping in the great shops, eating ice cream and walking to Manly Beach. I loved this beach lined with sunbathers in the golden sand and surfers on the rough turquoise waters. Do not miss Manly!!!!! The coastal walk is just amazing and it goes forever. The surfing beach turns into a rocky coast with snorkelers searching for sea creatures native to Australia. Little restaurants and shops line this paved walkway and we stopped in for a great lunch. Sunshine Beach was at the end of the main walkway , and it was calm and crowded with swimmers and snorkelers. We walked on past the parking lot to large bluffs overlooking all of Manly Beach.
All in all, we loved Sydney. The people are very friendly and kind. People were helpful everywhere.
Written December 14, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

San Diego, CA26 contributions
My husband and I just spent 5 days in Sydney and here are my thoughts on what we loved and could have missed. We stayed at the Four Seasons, I usually prefer Boutique hotels but the location of the Four Seasons is great because it's about a block from the Ferrys so it's very convenient. Day 1, which was really only a few hours because we checked into the hotel around 4:00, we walked around The Rocks had dinner at Pony, which we enjoyed but the area is very touristy so we didn't go back. Day 2, we set out to explore neighborhoods/shopping and hunt out unique boutiques to look for things that I couldn't buy at home. My suggestion is to walk along George street as it is the main shopping and restaurant street but continue on and make your way to Paddington and Surrey Hills which are less touristy and had exactly what I was looking for. In Paddington, Oxford street is wonderful and has great boutiques that are unique to Australia. In Surrey Hills we had a wonderful lunch that was recommended to us by a shop owner called Bills (highly recommend). We also walked through Darlinghurst as it's an up and coming area and it neighbors the other 2 areas. Day 3, we took a tour to the Blue Mountains, there was an option to go on one that had less people so we did that. We are from California so although it's always great to see new places we wouldn't go back as we felt the tour a bit boring. It may have been better if we had rented a car out there and we able to go explore the trails. The one bright side of the tour was that we went to a small zoo where they had a Koalas, Kangaroos and a lot of other animals and birds that we had never seen before so that was fun. Day 4, we took a Ferry ride in the morning to Watson Bay, got there at 11:00, walked to "The Gap" for amazing views and short nature hike (good idea to take fly/mosquito repellant) and then went to Doyle's for fish and chips. We followed another traveler's advise and went to the take away right by the Ferry and for $13.80 and order it was good in comparison to the restaurant which is apparently $40.00. We hopped on the 12:40 Ferry back and then got on another Ferry to Darling Harbor to explore that area (there is quite a bit to see there so one could easily spend a 1/2 day there) we didn't have that much time. We had to catch a 5:00 Ferry to Watson Bay to meet new friends for dinner at Hugos which was not only good but had great atmosphere. Watson Bay has beautiful beaches and is worth the Ferry out there just to see. Day 5, we took Uber to Bondi Beach. We probably wouldn't have gone because so many people said it's not as good as other beaches but they had "Sculptures by the Sea" going on so we went. I have to say, not only were the sculptures great but we absolutely loved the walk from Bondi to Bronte Beach. They have amazing pools right against the Ocean that are so dramatic and the views to the Ocean are wonderful too. We ended up taking the bus back which was a great option. They sell "opal" passes which is advised so you can hop on and off. We also recommend getting a day pass for the Ferry so you can hope on and off the different areas, it's a great way to see areas outside of downtown Sydney and the views from the Ferry are incredible. The one thing we didn't do is walk through the Botanical Gardens but I'm sure they are beautiful and we didn't do the bridge walk because we got so many other beautiful views and they were free:)
Written November 1, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Halifax, Canada287 contributions
I was in Australia on business a couple of years back and toured around Sydney, Cairns and the Cover Peninsula. Sydney absolutely the hop on and hop off buses worked for me - there are different lines that go through the city and others that go to the beaches so make sure you purchase a multi-day pass for all of them. My hotel was near the Opera House so I got a tour of that it was okay if you are in too wooden acoustic auditoriums. A must do there are seafood restaurants all around the Opera House - eat the meal they call the BUG - it is in between crab and lobster quite good. I purchased a didgeridoo at one of the boutiques around the Opera House and had it shipped home to Canada it arrived before I did. I then flew to Cairns and for someone afraid of sharks and all things poisonous it was an adventure. Make sure you go up the gondola into the rain forest and stop at each level. Walk on the boardwalk in the trees, go up to the top and visit a small town, butterfly park, pay to hold a Kayla bear. It was amazing place, loved it went in July so there winter in Sydney it was cold around 15 degrees but in Cairns and the Gove Peninsula where I ended up teaching on aboriginal land it was in the 20's. Remember to shake your shoes for spiders and watch for water buffalo's in Gove. The best part of Australia besides the amazing scenery is the people they are great - very friendly and the dry cider is awesome too! Happy Trails.
Written February 13, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Newcastle, Australia875 contributions
Sydney CBD has an abundance of expensive brand-name shops. The QVB is beautiful shopping centre, but again, it is very expensive. David Jones stores are awesome. Parking is very very expensive. Clothing stores are on sale mid year, and straight after Christmas.
Written January 5, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Pat P
Saint Louis, MO3 contributions
We probably spent at least 7 of the 10 days we visited Sydney in their downtown area. We shopped, saw the sights, experienced the "bridge walk" and saw most of the attractions, incl. the Opera House, walked through the
Botanical Gardens and took the Ferry to the Sydney Zoo! Also went to the Museums and spent New Years Eve waiting for the best fireworks display in the world!
Written January 20, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

seattle356 contributions
Traffic at certain times of the day, like for lunch, can get really slow, so it can be faster walking or taking ferries and/or trains than going by bus. Though Sydney is huge, downtown is kind of clustered together, 15 minutes walk from Darling Harbour to The Rocks/Circular Quay, 15 minutes walk from the central station to Darling Harbour. The terrain is not always flat but not steep either. I have seen cruise passengers walk with their luggage from Town Hall train station to Circular Quay easily with their luggage on wheels.
Written December 22, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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Central Business District (Sydney) - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go

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