A note: try and take advantage of weekly deals! Sydney is expensive so it will save you some money.
1. The Bavarian (German brewhouse with multiple locations) has 10c wings on Mondays with purchase of a drink. This means that for 10 AUD, I had 20 wings and a pint of beer. Plan the day around that! Go to the Royal Botanical Gardens and wander for a couple of hours; you can get lost in there for a good long while especially if you bring a camera or a good book. If you’re with friends, I recommend bringing a blanket and walking around to find an ideal grassy and shaded spot. My friends and I did this and sat for a long time and napped, journaled, and read. Then The Bavarian is in the CBD and is easy to get to from the Circular Quay area so just meander until you get there.
2. Sea Shanties at The Dock. This also occurs on Mondays, so you can either plan for it after wings (I did this once!) or just go a different time. The Dock at Redfern is one of my favorite little bars in Sydney and is super weird. They have an eclectic collection of items glued to the ceiling in the tiny main area, with funky art and good vibes. Anyway, Redfern has its very own Shanty Club. If you don’t know what a sea shanty is, think “Irish sea songs” and maybe take a gander in the Google. Every Monday, they perform at The Dock and teach everyone to sing the songs, so it’s a crowded bar with a bunch of Aussies singing songs together and it’s the most wholesome thing. I’ve been multiple times and sometimes we laugh, sing, and cry all in one night and it’s beautiful.
3. Go to Chinatown and walk around, there are some cool indoor markets with various gimmicks and the vibe is very urban. I once walked around for a long time, bought a bottle of wine and some ice cream, and walked down to the water to sit for a while around sunset and I highly recommend doing something along those lines! You can also take all sorts of cool classes there, for example I took a hip hop dance course. It was super fun and awkward as hell, I highly recommend it. Studying abroad is a great reason to go way out of your comfort zone, and if you trip and fall on your face the good news is you’re halfway across the world and never have to see those people again if you don’t want to.
4. Go to cafes and museums! A lot of the museums are free, and feature a range of everything from modern art to aboriginal history. You can also buy some great gifts for people in the shops, which directly support local artists. There are some out-of-the-way cafes that have really neat ambiances and can be nice on a rainy day. They are also an excuse to try some different pastries, such as lamingtons or a classic vanilla slice.
5. Hop around for happy hour. I have some friends that figured out the happy hour deals of all the places in the Circular Quay area, and they would run around for 7 straight hours of cheap drinks in beautiful and usually expensive places. You can try and challenge yourself to take advantage of as many as possible (although be careful because it still adds up quickly).
I hope these are of use to you and that you enjoy the city as much as you can!
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Stella is currently a mechanical engineering student at the University of Colorado Boulder, where her goal is to always have at least one foot out of her comfort zone. When she is not on the engineering grind, she is passionate about playing guitar, backpacking, climbing, dancing, or really anything that will get her outside and soaking up the sunshine. Being raised in a French/English bilingual household, she grew up with an appreciation for other cultures and traveling. As she continues on her journey toward adulthood, she hopes to keep experiencing the unfamiliar and become an increasingly global citizen.