Locals guide to Sydney

Want to backpack Sydney? Let a local show you how it’s done.

As a solo female traveler with a low budget but a big heart, I work to explore new places as deeply as possible. Since moving to Sydney I’ve uncovered a host of cool places you need to check out.

Sydney is one of the most inclusive cities I have ever lived, and to see it from the perspective of a local has been amazing. Although Sydney can look a bit like a showroom, you begin to feel at home once you’ve found your crowd and hot spots. In this article, I’m going to introduce you to some of my hang-outs.


Lentil as Anything – Newtown
A sign of a good restaurant is one that’s always busy, this place is, and probably because you get to set your own bill. You pay only what you think the food is worth. It is ideal for people watching and every dish is so good so it would be unfair to choose a favorite.

VBeach Burrito Company – Darlinghurst
At only $3 a taco, this place should be top of your list, plus nothing beats a Taco and Tequila Tuesday! However, they also have plenty but of other deals every day of the week.

Coogee Pavillion – Coogee Beach
The rooftop bar and restaurant overlooking the beach is the ideal space for inspiration, me-time and meeting people. The portions of delicious food are on the generous side and getting a variety is ideal, so opt for the snack menu here. And don’t forget to leave room for Gelato!


The Scary Canary – Near Darling Harbour
Don’t be put off that this is a backpacker bar, there are just as many locals enjoying their cocktails by the jar (try the scary jar).

Neighborhood bar – Bondi
With great music all night this relaxed bar will keep you for more than one cocktail. Each drink comes extravagantly prepared, having you feel like you’re drinking from a small vase.

Black Sheep – Newtown
With quizzes and open mic nights, you could never get bored of this place, and the selection of beers here will have you spoilt. It is worth the five-minute train ride, as the bar is conveniently only a few doors away from the station.


It’s always a good idea to look along the main row of shops here for one of a kind buys. The boutiques are great for window-shopping.

Pitt Street
Listen to live music from the competing buskers who are more than friendly. If you enjoy what they do let them know as they will be happy to invite you to more intimate gigs and special events.

Paddy’s Markets
If you are trying to save money when you shop, or you are looking for anything quirky, then Paddy’s is your place to go. This busy indoor market will have you wandering around the maze for hours as you find another corner that you haven’t explored – if not from the distractions of free massage!


The Argyle – The Rocks
This courtyard bar has some of the friendliest staff I’ve ever met, plus they have a regular DJ and host popular events such as the full moon party.

Shady Pines Saloon – Darlinghurst
For a cowboy-themed party head on into the American-vibe Saloon where you will be greeted by locals bringing in the weekend. There are plenty of bars to suit everyone along this street if a pub-crawl is on the agenda.

My recommendation would be to look for events online as there is always a party in Sydney, some of the better ones are boat parties and one off events.


Rose Bay
The place to go paddle boarding and people-watching as they jump off platforms at the enclosed Redleaf Beach.

Maroubra National Park
If surfing the waves of Maroubra hasn’t drained you, then head south to the National park. The views are incredible and if you wander into the side bushes you may find the perfect cliff-top cave to practice yoga.

Coogee to Bondi
This trail of beaches is split up with cliff top views and a good challenge as there are workout stations along the way too. It is quite impossible to not find an inviting spot that is free from the noise and distraction of other people.

I hope that this article helps you find the “real” Sydney and that you feel as at home here as I do. There is so much more to explore but this will be a good starting point.

Maisie Byrne, Travel Writer

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