A detailed guide to where to stay in Sydney

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If you’re on the look for a lively city in the world, Sydney is one of the ultimate options for you. Having everything in one package, it is definitely worth every penny regardless of the expenses. Beside the famous Sydney Opera House and Harbour, Sydney also makes its existence known to the world with economic opportunities, open markets, and advanced education, and you’re on course for a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Sydney, despite all of the wonderful advantages, can be quite money-consuming if not careful. Let’s check out the right places financially for newcomers.

Sydney covers a wide range of areas, making it tough for travelers or businessmen to choose the best area or neighborhood to stay. Depending on budgets, demands, and duration of stay, travelers are open to a variety of choices of where to stay in Sydney.

1. Central Business District

Georges St - Sydney
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If you’re doing business, this is the go-to area for you during your stay in Sydney. CBD is home to sky-scrappers and some of the most modern facilities in Sydney. Contrary to its seemingly modernity and crowds daily, this is arguably one of the oldest areas in all Australia, playing a vital role in the country’s historical and cultural significance. Beside the unbelievably tall finance and business buildings, visitors can enjoy the fresh air with parks surrounding the area such as Hyde Park, The Domain, and Farm Cove.

The downsides of CBD, however, is the lack of restaurants, bars, and cafes. If you’re a businessman who wishes to have all of the convenience around, CBD may not satisfy all your desires, but that does not take away all of the strong points that this area has. This well-connected “town” can help you reach any destination and attraction that cater for every of your demand.

For accommodation, I would recommend The Sydney Harbour Marriott Hotel

Sydney Bridge of Australia
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Located at Circular Quay, this hotel is equipped with one of the best weapons ever: the scenery. With many rooms overlooking the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge, you’re bound to have a good night’s sleep and relax in the most comfortable way possible by immersing yourself with how beautiful the scenery could be.

Another attribute that makes this hotel into my list is how close it is to the ferry and train station, making it very convenient for travelers to take any trip they want. The hotel can be quite expensive due to their location, but it is sure to deliver top notch services and customer experiences.

2. Darlinghurst

If you want to live life to the fullest, this area is the one for you. Known for its exciting nightlife with a lot of noise and parties throughout the night, Darlinghurst is best for the young fellas and teenagers that wish to explore themselves and learn more about the world. Despite the sense of calm and quiet during the day, this area turns into a real headbanger at night, when it is impossible to sleep due to the noise and loud played music, especially on Oxford Street.

Photo by Hamish Weir / Unsplash

Some major attractions in this area:

  • Chinese Garden of Friendship: Chinese people will surely love this place, as it is a perfect example of mutual respect by integrating Chinese traditions and Australian culture. It’s quite interesting to discover a very “Asian” tourist attraction in the heart of a western society.
  • Madame Tussauds: With its origin tracing all the way back to London, this famous wax museum’s reputation is such that it has become a tourist attraction in Sydney.
  • Sydney Zoo: home to Australian animals such as kangaroos, emus, and koalas, this zoo has earned its reputation among the tourists as the must-visit place when setting foot on Sydney. Definitely a number-one choice for kids, who have strong interest in wildlife.
  • Sydney Aquarium: known for being the biggest aquarium with the most impressive collection of sharks in captivity, this aquarium undoubtedly delivers the most exciting experience a person could ever ask for. Unique tunnels specifically designed for visitors with transparent mirrors will lead you to a brand new world under the water with seals, coral reefs, and colorful fish in their natural habitat. Your kids will love this.

One amazing gem in this area, if you’re after it, is the Ovolo Hotel in Woolloomooloo, and it cannot be missed. The hotel has been redesigned and refurbished to fit in with the modern beauty surrounding the old and vintage houses in this area. Its credibility is further cemented by being an award-winning luxury hotel, adding to it being essential on the list of must-visit places for tourists.

As usual, this hotel is only minutes away from the CBD and the Botanical Garden. It offers complimentary breakfast and a free happy hour, but most importantly, it won’t take you very long to reach the heart of Darlinghurst, with only 15 minutes at most.

3. Surry Hills

It is a surprise to know the process that this area has gone through for dramatic changes in the last 15 years. Surrey Hills used to have one of the lowest prices to purchase a property, but is now one of the most costly areas in Australia, and the reason behind for its high price nowadays is quite acceptable.

Probably the most dynamic and youthful area in Sydney, Surry Hills is surrounded by beautiful cafes, restaurants, and bars around, with parks also. Unlike Darlinghurst, this place’s nightlife is more modest, and this area is suitable for travelers that want to have a nice, easy-going, and relaxing time in their holiday. For travelers that have a strong passion for arts, you’ll be overwhelmed by a multitude of art centers and exhibitions. The local underground art community is always open to show you the beauty in arts of the Australian.

The location, again, is so convenient that if you conduct business at CBD, a few walking steps could get you to the coolest area in Sydney, and it is only within a walking distance from Central Station.

It’s hard to suggest restaurants and bars in this area because they’re everywhere. I’d put forward the best ones in my opinion.

  • Il Baretto: The most original and real Italian food out there. If you’re a fan of simplicity and originality, this restaurant surely gives you the best tastes you can have while visiting Sydney. The foods are incredibly simple, focusing on enjoying dishes with quality, fresh ingredients. Definitely my favorite.
  • Dove and Olive: Are you a beer fan? If yes, you might want to give this place a try. This pub offers one of the biggest selections of beer in Sydney. There’s one special beer every night, and you can save your pennies while having amazing foods.
  • The Carrington: A nice local pub off the main road, it’s convenient location and Mexican-Australian cuisine make this place stand out.

Surry Hills might not be an ideal area when it comes to accommodation, but you can find one of the best hotels in Sydney, the Best Western Plus Hotel Stellar.

With only an 80-meter distance from Hyde Park and Oxford Street, Hotel Stellar provides you with spacious rooms, kitchens (big or small size) and cable TVs. Situated right in the heart of Sydney, the hotel is only 3-minute walking distance from Museum Station and 10-minute walking distance from Central Station. It also only takes you 20 minutes of driving to reach the Sydney airport.

Single guests especially enjoy this hotel, having graded this hotel 9.0.

4. Newton

Newton, alongside Surry Hills, is another “cool” area to try out. If CBD is quite “foreign and formal” with lots of business being conducted, Newton surely brings you closer to a more local life. A variety of local pubs, restaurants, and cafes are present, giving you a deeper insight into how the local people live. There are hardly any tourists here, which is why you should try fitting in with the local life to experience the Australian culture.

Traveling between CBD and this area can be tricky due to the distance of around 4 km in between; this area, however, is connected with frequent trains that can take you to Circular Quay within minutes. Also, going to the airport is not a big deal, as taxi is a much quicker and cheaper means of transport to get there.

What makes this area “cool” is live music, a constant presence with many bands, even the big names, on the weekends. There’s something for everyone here, and there’s a good chance you’ll be exposed to a variety of music tastes that you might have never heard before.

For foods and dishes, some amazing Thai and Asia restaurants are there right on the first part of King Street. Fashionable cafes are everywhere, meters from each other.

Some recommendations for restaurants and cafes:

  • Brewtown Newtown: a paradise for muffins and a perfect combination between coffee and books. If “sweet food” is your thing, don’t miss this place. The muffins here can fill your stomach like any meals can.
  • The Sultan’s Table: a Turkish restaurant, suitable for eating either indoor or outdoor. Asians or Europeans may be curious to know how Turkish foods tastes, and the guests usually enjoy the dishes here.
  • Thai Pothong Restaurant: Voted the best Thai restaurant in Sydney, the restaurant surely has the suitable flavors to fit with the dining habits of the local and tourists. With working hours 7 days a week, open from 11 AM to 10 PM, you won’t have to check the calendar to visit the restaurant.

Choosing a place to stay, especially in this area, is quite easier because of the local life. I would suggest The Sydney Park Hotel, one of the hidden secrets of Newtown. With a vintage style of interior design, you’re bound to be brought back to the past, and regarding the price, this is one of the most ideal hotels out there. To add to its worthiness, the hotel is graded 9.1, and is more suitable for single guests.

5. Paddington

In every city around the world, some areas can be more expensive and seem more luxurious than others, and this is true for Paddington. Considered an “upper-class” area, this place is well-known for its seemingly artistic features and peacefulness, and known for the biggest park in Sydney.

The distance from the center, however, might not be so convenient, as tourists may have to take busses, and they can be quite crowded during peak hours and be affected by slow traffic. But that does not mean Paddington is not a nice place to visit.

If you have little interest in visiting bars, pubs, restaurants, or cafes but simply want to indulge in a quiet and peaceful area, there you go. There is not much to visit here, except for the Centennial Park, Paddington markets, and the Australian Centre of Photography.

The accommodation is the most unique in Sydney, as you’re not going to book hotel rooms any more and instead, you’ll reside in the Residences Centennial Park. Originally used by rangers taking care of the park, the houses (with 3-4 bed rooms) have gone through some renovations and refurbishments, in an oddly Victorian style, that will take you back in time. Families with kids should definitely try this ultimate private house during their stay in Sydney.

Other suggestions:

Hostels for money savers in Sydney CBD:

  • Siesta Inn Sydney
  • Elephant Backpacker
  • Kanga House Backpackers
  • Base Backpackers
  • Sydney Central YHA
  • Sydney Harbour YHA (great views of Sydney Harbour)

Reasonably priced hotels in Sydney CBD:

  • The Grand Hotel
  • Macleay Lodge Sydney
  • Wynyard Hotel
  • Highfield Private Hotel
  • East Sydney Hotel
  • Criterion Hotel

Mid-Range Hotels in Sydney CBD:

  • Harbour Rocks Hotel Sydney
  • Sydney Harbour Bed and Breakfast
  • The Russell Boutique Hotel
  • Hotel Palisade
  • The York by Swiss-Belhotel

Family Friendly Hotels in Sydney CBD:

  • Mantra 2 Bond Street
  • The Tank Stream Hotel
  • Travelodge Hotel Sydney Wynyard
  • The Grace Hotel Sydney
  • Regents Court Sydney

Coolest hotels in Sydney City

  • QT Sydney (The best Sydney boutique hotel)
  • Adge Hotel
  • The Langham Sydney
  • The Collectionist
  • Old Clare Hotel