This is an article in the 36 Hours In… series. To find more in the series, head here.
Sydney is arguably Australia’s most cosmopolitan city. With its world-class eateries, chic city vibes, top art galleries, gorgeous beaches, and wonderful architecture, what’s not to love?
This itinerary for 36 hours in Sydney has a focus on good food and great art – if you’re an arty type then you’ll love this weekend we have planned for you!
Image credit: Mapping Megan
36 hours in Sydney, Australia
Welcome to this lovely city! Start your art weekend off with a video walk around The Rocks. The City of Forking Paths is a video artwork that you download onto your smartphone and follow around the neighbourhood at dusk for about an hour. It’s a story that you become part of as what you are seeing on your screen is the same as your surroundings.
Afterwards have a scrumptious dinner at Mr Wong, a fabulous contemporary Chinese restaurant a few streets away in Bridge Lane. We recommend staying at the boutique art hotel QT Sydney, in Market Street next to the famous Queen Victoria Building.
Have breakfast at The Fine Food Store in The Rocks, then start your arty day at the MCA (Museum of Contemporary Art) right on the harbour’s edge in Circular Quay. After viewing the exhibitions there, walk around the foreshore to the famous Sydney Opera House.
Then take a stroll up through the beautiful Royal Botanic Gardens where you will find the striking sandstone façade of the Art Gallery of New South Wales, your second art stop of the day.
Still on your art trip, hop down the hill from the AGNSW to Wooloomooloo to Artspace, then up to the National Art School and the UNSW Galleries to view more exhibitions.
If you’ve had your fill of art for the day, stroll to nearby Crown Street in the Surry Hills neighbourhood and peruse the eclectic shops and eateries.
Have dinner at the superb restaurant Nomad in Surry Hills.
Treat yourself to a sleep in and late breakfast at Gowings Bar and Grill in the QT Sydney. This hotel is quite appropriate for an arty weekend, with such quirky features in the elevators such as young emerging aboriginal artist Daniel Boyd’s specially commissioned moving image work The Future is Forever, accompanied by music which changes depending on how many people are in the lift. The hotel has been reimagined from an old department store and the foyer has elements from the building’s past such as mannequins and haberdashery cabinets as features in the design.
Amble down into Darling Harbour and do the Goods Line Walk from the Powerhouse Museum through Central Park. Check out the new Frank Gehry designed ‘paper bag’ business school building enroute to the White Rabbit Gallery which is home to an outstanding selection of Chinese contemporary art.
Have coffee or tea at Little Queen, or green tea and dumplings at the White Rabbit Gallery. Another alternative for lunch is Brickfields in Chippendale – try the moreish Persian Love Cake….
After lunch, wander around the Chippendale Art Precinct, and finish your 36 hours in Sydney with a drink at the Old Clare Hotel, a beautifully restored 1930’s heritage building.
Have you visited Sydney? What’s your favourite thing to do there? Let us know in the comments below!
Brenda Chappell travelled to Sydney courtesy of Destination New South Wales.