The weather is heating up, the school holidays are well underway, and the Sydney Festival (Jan 6 - Jan 26) has begun; there has never been a better time to explore Sydney. Aiming to recover and reconnect Sydney’s community, as well as reinvigorate our arts scene, the Sydney Festival provides the perfect excuse to get out and enjoy what our backyard has to offer.
Today, we’re showcasing our own local area: The Pyrmont/Darling Harbour precinct. Packed with fun activities, beautiful views and tasty food, there’s plenty for the kids to enjoy too.
From romantic date spots, to gourmet lunches, to sunny walking tracks, Sydney Fish Market are thrilled to be showcasing the best COVID-safe things to do around our local area. Don’t forget to stop in for lunch!
Whether you’re into maritime history or not, the Australian National Maritime Museum is an absolute must-see. There’s something for everyone, with a continually changing program of exhibitions, activities and events (check out their Summer events here), as well as one of the largest floating historical vessel collections in the world.
Going far beyond historical boats, the museum shares stories of the sea, showcasing the people, objects and places that have shaped Australia. Situated in the gorgeous Darling Harbour, it’s a stunning place to explore on a sunny day.
One of their January exhibitions, A Mile in my Shoes, invites visitors to celebrate the voices of migrants and refugees who have made this country their home. A one-of-a-kind pop-up store, housed in a giant shoebox, allows you to try on a pair of shoes that belong to someone else, and experience their story first-hand.
Glebe Foreshore Walk
The Glebe Foreshore Walk, from Bicentennial Park to the Sydney Fish Market, makes for a gorgeous stroll or bike ride. With spectacular views of the entirety of Blackwattle Bay, including the Anzac Bridge, the walk is dotted with heritage sea walls and stone docks, as well as Indigenous native plants.
Whether you do the whole thing or just a section, the walk is a great way to get active and enjoy some of the most underappreciated views of Sydney’s water. Bonus if you have kids in tow: you’ll walk past Sydney Fish Market’s future site, which is currently being redeveloped, and see enough cranes and forklifts to get any little building enthusiast excited.
Pirrama Park Playground
Another one for the kiddies! While Pirrama Park Playground is amazing to visit at any time of year - boasting cafés, free barbecues, public toilets, and covered picnic areas, all overlooking the harbour waters – the best time to visit is in summer. Alongside the huge playground and sandpit, a wide open pathway of water fountains is ready and waiting for the little ones to run around in and cool down. Parents can relax and enjoy the Harbour views, while the kids roam free – perfect!
The Star’s Lyric Theatre reopened (with extensive COVID-safe measures in place) in November 2020. Be entertained by musicals, theatre, concerts, opera and ballet, in one of Sydney’s most iconic performance spaces.
On a summer night, create a fantastic date night by enjoying a couple of drinks at one of Pyrmont’s many beer gardens, then escaping the heat and enjoying a world-class performance at the Lyric theatre.
Known for its funky, bohemian vibes, Glebe is one of the most eclectic suburbs in Sydney and one of the most fun to explore. Its most famous attraction, the Glebe Markets, are open every Saturday and host a huge variety of stalls. You can get lost in this place for hours, exploring knick-knacks, vintage furniture, second hand clothing, handmade jewellery, plants, flowers, food and so much more.
The surrounding bookshops, galleries, cultural eateries, eclectic cafes and bustling pubs mean that Glebe has at least a few hours of fun in store for everyone, no matter your taste.
Sydney Fish Market
There’s no better place to stop for lunch than Sydney Fish Market. With a huge variety of dining options, a gorgeous waterfront location and incredible selections of fresh seafood to marvel at, the Market is your one stop shop for a lunch break.
If you’re looking for easy and breezy, order a cheap-as-chips platter of Australia’s freshest seafood (cooked for you on the spot) from Nicholas’, Peters’, or the Salty Squid, and rest your legs at one of our sunny waterfront benches to chow down. If surf and turf is more your style, add in a delicious brisket burger from Vic’s Meat’s – and our favourite treat, a cup of their ‘burnt ends’.
Alternatively, wander through the arcade and gather yourself a seafood picnic. Fresh sashimi, oysters or prawns all wrapped up to take-away from Claudio’s or De Costi’s are also always winners! Don’t forget to add some cheese and biscuits from Blackwattle Deli and some chocolate-dipped fruit from Parisi to your basket, before heading to one of the many nearby parks to spread out in the sunshine.
Want the best Instagram moment? Check out the selection of sushi at the Fish Market Café, and order yourself a plate of artfully crafted morsels. As tasty as it is beautiful, their sushi donut is a must-try, and will adorn your feed with edible flowers and stunning summery colours.
To be waited on like a king, visit Doyle’s for the trademark Australian seafood dining experience. With many traditional recipes carrying on through generations, Doyle’s is a Sydney institution that has stood the test of time. Similarly iconic, Fishermen’s Wharf Seafood restaurant is your one stop shop for a traditional Cantonese Yum Cha – perfect for a comfy long lunch.
Recently opened, ready for summer, is Barangaroo’s impressive amphitheatre-style boardwalk, Watermans Cove. The size of 22 basketball courts, the gorgeous new public space stretches the existing Wulugul Walk waterfront walkway to 350 metres – plenty of space for relaxing or strolling in the sunshine.
The dining options around Barangaroo are diverse and decadent, with a bunch of the area’s classiest restaurants now boasting waterfront views for the first time. If you’re after something more casual or just want to enjoy the sun, there are also some incredible takeaway options, including Devon Café, Love.fish and Belles Hot Chicken.
Eventually, this boardwalk will stretch all the way down to the Sydney Fish Market in Pyrmont, connecting it to the huge waterfront precinct.
Chinese Garden of Friendship
One of the best things to do in Sydney, the Chinese Garden of Friendship is a gorgeously tranquil escape from the bustle of the city, and in summer it is an especially lovely place to explore and relax in the shade. On a hot day, sometimes all you need is a moment to pause, in complete serenity. From its quiet pathways and shimmering Koi ponds, to its exotic plants and blooming flowers, the Chinese Garden of Friendship is an oasis in the centre of the Darling Harbour/Pyrmont precinct.
Bonus: it’s an absolutely prime spot for all your Instagram picture needs – check these out for inspiration.