Things to do in Sydney at night

Looking for something fun to do in the Harbour City after the sun goes down? Yes, there are ample restaurants and bars to visit, offering glimpses of Sydney’s landmarks. But there are also night markets, theatres and concert venues, ghoulish tours… and so much more. Here are our favourite things to do in Sydney at night. 

Things to do in Sydney at night: The Rocks

The Rocks is one of Sydney’s most historic neighbourhoods, home to some of the city’s oldest – and most charming – buildings all hugging Sydney Harbour. There are galleries to explore, hip restaurants and bars to linger in, and parks to lounge around, all the while enjoying staggering views of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House.  


DO: Take a hair-raising ghost tour in Sydney at night


WHAT: There’s a lot of history in The Rocks, Australia’s oldest neighbourhood. And The Rocks Ghost Tours brings the past to life on ghoulish night tours that reveal the stories of the people who once lived here. Your guide will tell you that they’re still here in fact – in spirit.


Wander the streets to hear about the macabre characters who frequented the area hundreds of years ago. These are tales researched by historians and locals – you won’t find them on Wikipedia. And they offer hair-raising insights into the ghosts who remain in the buildings and streets, unhindered through their familiar haunts after dark. Join if you dare... 


STAY: After you’ve felt the hairs on the back of your neck stand up, The Sebel Quay West Suites Sydney offers a calming cocoon to retire to for the night. Also in The Rocks, the hotel  offers the same views over Sydney Harbour that you enjoyed on your walking tour – but from a much loftier perspective. This is ideal if you’re travelling with a group or planning an extended stay, as spacious apartments and suites come with a kitchen plus separate living and dining areas, with nice features like marbled bathrooms and smart furnishings. 


EAT: Quartier Restaurant and Bar sits pretty in The Sebel Quay West Suites Sydney, dishing up delicacies that offer a modern twist on classic French fare. Relive your ghostly tour over dishes like filet mignon or barramundi with a coconut beurre blanc sauce. Then head to the bar for a well-deserved cocktail – Pimms Potion, anyone? 


GOOD TO KNOW: Grab an early dinner in The Rocks before you head off on your explorations of the city’s most haunted alleys. 


woman looking out across Sydney harbour from The Sebel Quay West Suites

Things to do in Sydney at night: Darling Harbour

To the west of Sydney’s central business district, Darling Harbour is perennially busy. The area is in its element at night, when locals and visitors alike flock here to dine in popular waterside restaurants, sip cocktails in alfresco bars and soak up the vibe of the bustling neighbourhood.


DO: Take a moonlit stroll in Sydney at night


WHAT: From the flittering lights of the Ferris wheel to the pedestrian-only walkway hugging the foreshore, Darling Harbour was made for moonlight wanderings. Take your time exploring the harbourside strip of entertainment venues – there are dozens of restaurants and bars to choose from, each offering water views. This precinct is also extremely family friendly. Even after dark, there are well-lit playgrounds for kids to burn off excess energy in, not to mention that Ferris wheel offering a bird’s-eye view over Sydney Harbour. 


STAY: The Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour sets the benchmark for waterside sophistication in Darling Harbour. The tower’s 590 rooms offer breathtaking views over the city – you can even enjoy them from your windowside bathtub if you check into a Luxury Room  – and each is designed with Sofitel’s French chic stylings top of mind. Daring Harbour’s tallest building also comes with a Zen-like spa and dreamy outdoor pool, offering more of those incredible views. Because when you check in here, you’ll want to make the most of your outlook.   


EAT: As the sun sets over Darling Harbour, order a poolside cocktail at the Sofitel’s Le Rivage Pool Bar or the award-winning Champagne Bar. Then settle in for a sumptuous dinner at Atelier by Sofitel, a French-inspired grill where you can begin your meal with freshly shucked oysters before moving on to a perfectly cooked steak or seared pink snapper, perhaps. For lighter bites, head to the hotel’s Lumiere on 35, occupying a covetable spot atop the Sofitel building. Flame-cooked wagyu skewers, foie gras parfit cylinders and beetroot tartlets served here make the perfect accompaniment to a chilled glass of wine. 


GOOD TO KNOW: You don’t have to wait for Sydney’s iconic New Year’s Eve celebrations to get a taste of the pyrotechnical spectacle that goes off over the water - fireworks often light up the night sky on Saturday evenings. Things to do in Sydney at night don’t get much more colourful than this.  

View of Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour from Cockle Bay Wharf

Things to do in Sydney at night: Barangaroo 

The city of Sydney’s newest precinct covers a staggering 22 hectares on the western foreshore, connecting the neighbourhoods of Millers Point and Darling Harbour. The area has reinvented the onetime port, replete with a waterside walking trail, extensive parkland planted with native trees, and all manner of popular restaurants and bars. Arrive via ferry, or wander down from the heart of Sydney – it’s a short walk.   


DO: Sip rooftop cocktails with a view at Barangaroo House 


WHAT: While there are endless places to take in harbour views, it’s hard to beat rooftop cocktails with a view at Barangaroo House. This striking, three-level establishment is architecturally designed to resemble a beehive. Once you’ve taken in the drama from the outside, head to Smoke on level two for incredible vistas in the semi-open space. Order  cocktails under the stars, and get set for a night of romance.


STAY: You can’t miss the Ibis Sydney Barangaroo, with its façade decorated in eye-popping colours of red, blue, yellow and green. Within easy reach of the harbour, the property’s functional rooms are sleek and well-equipped, with everything you need for a comfortable stay. Not that you’ll be here much – there’s so much entertainment on your doorstep.  


EAT: Barangaroo House also comes with an oh-so-cool Japanese restaurant, Rekodo, where you can dine on dumplings, sashimi and skewers while listening to DJs spin vinyl sets. The neighbourhood has more than 90 other restaurants and bars to choose from, including Anason for standout Turkish fare, Born by Tapavino for Spanish snacks, Nola Smokehouse for Louisiana-inspired bites, and The Butcher’s Block for quality meats and seafood.  


GOOD TO KNOW: Visit Barangaroo in 2025 and you can also catch a night-time concert at Cutaway, a multipurpose cultural venue that will also host art shows and markets. 

The Bar at ibis Sydney Baragaroo

Things to do in Sydney at night: Circular Quay

The beating heart of Sydney, Circular Quay needs little introduction. This is the city’s main ferry terminal, wedged between the Sydney Opera House, Sydney Harbour Bridge and bustling The Rocks district. It’s also a major cruise port, and you’ll often find enormous ships docked here. But more than anything, it’s a place to take the pulse of Sydney, with entertainment outlets in abundance and plenty of places to grab a scenic photo.  


DO: Catch a world-class performance at the iconic Sydney Opera House


WHAT: With a diverse range of shows on offer, from opera to contemporary theatre and major music gigs, the Sydney Opera House is arguably Australia’s most legendary performing arts venue. You could spend time outside, admiring the sculptural architectural drama. Then venture inside to catch a show, whether a classical performance from a world-class orchestra, musical theatre, dance act, rock gig or even a thought-provoking talk.  


STAY: As far as prime locations go, they don’t get much better than that enjoyed by the Pullman Quay Grand Sydney. You’re just steps from the Sydney Opera House, and this (plus the Sydney Harbour Bridge) could be your choice of view when you check in. Luxury one- and two-bedroom suites come with sun-drenched balconies, fully equipped kitchens, laundry facilities and separate lounge areas. Ideal if you’re planning to linger – and believe us, when you see the views you’ll want to.


EAT: The Sydney Harbour Bridge views continue when you sink into a plush sofa at Hyde Hacienda Sydney Bar + Lounge. This sleek spot is popular around the clock, but it comes to life at night when surrounding buildings light up Circular Quay and cast Sydney in the most incredible glow.  Creative snacks range from wagyu sliders to pork-belly tacos, and there’s a drinks menu to match – the lychee and hibiscus martini is a hit.


GOOD TO KNOW: If you’re after a more substantial meal, the hotel’s Q Dining offers the same views as Hyde Hacienda Sydney Bar, plus a dedicated pre-theatre menu, which you can make the most of before your show at the Sydney Opera House. 


Take a twilight harbour cruise 

WHAT: Sydney Harbour dazzles at all times of the day. But it’s particularly pretty as the sun goes down, when the city’s skyscrapers light up and twinkle in the twilight. For a special occasion, jump aboard an evening cruise with Sydney Harbour Boat Tours to take in the city’s most famous landmarks from the water. Enjoy French champagne while you drift beside the Sydney Opera House and glide under the Sydney Harbour Bridge, and relax on deck as the stars twinkle overhead. But there are plenty of other ways to get the same perspective, with operators like Captain Cook Cruises - or even on a ferry. 


STAY: When your boat docks back at Circular Quay, it’s a short walk to the city’s upscale  Swissotel Sydney. All rooms have views over the central business district, with Signature Skyline rooms and suites offering vistas all the way to the Blue Mountains. If you can tear yourself away, you’re also across the road from the gorgeous State Theatre, with many of the city’s top shopping spots also within easy reach.  


EAT: Swissotel Sydney prides itself on showcasing the finest Australian produce in its restaurants. Get a taste at Ten Stories, where you can begin your meal with Sydney rock oysters and end it with Gippsland lamb atop smoked eggplant and saltbush. 


GOOD TO KNOW: Ten Stories offers a pre-theatre menu, which is also a handy pre-cruise menu. Dine on king ora salmon or spinach-and-ricotta ravioli before you wander down to the harbour to set sail. 

Gourmet dinner at one of Sydney's top-rated waterfront restaurants

WHAT: As far as applauded Sydney restaurants go, Quay – located within the International Passenger terminal and offering stunning views of the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge – is a standout. This is a special-occasion dining room, where the innovative menu heroes local farmers, growers, makers and producers. The eight-course set menu changes with the seasons, but might include freshwater marron with sea urchin, bone marrow pasta or confit pig jowl. Get set for a wild dining ride. 


STAY: Unveiling its newly renovated rooms and public spaces soon, Sofitel Sydney Wentworth occupies a landmark building in the heart of the city. If you’re after luxury with a French twist, you’ve come to the right place. All rooms and suites are stylish in design, and some come with Juliet balconies so you can absorb the essence of Sydney while you relax. Other highlights include a brand new spa and dining precinct, as well as a rooftop terrace where you can sip a cocktail under the stars before or after your meal.  


EAT: Dinner at Quay is an epic affair. Just as memorable will be the Sofitel Sydney Wentworth’s soon-to-open French-Vietnamese restaurant, designed to transport you to Hanoi’s old quarter in its 1920s heyday. Here, classic Vietnamese dishes unite with French techniques. This is another meal you won’t forget in a hurry.  


GOOD TO KNOW: The Sofitel Sydney Wentworth remains open while completing its renovations. All will be revealed in the coming months – but don’t let that stop you from checking in now!

Drinks at Sofitel Sydney Wentworth

Things to do in Sydney at night: Chinatown

Sydney’s Chinatown dates from the 1920s, and is the largest of its kind in Australia. Blocks and blocks of this always-on neighbourhood are filled with restaurants, bars, markets and specialty stores. You’ll never be bored exploring the streets. As an added bonus, you can walk into the heart of Sydney in mere minutes. Locations don’t get much more vibrant than this. 


DO: Enjoy a nightcap at a chic cocktail bar 


WHAT: You might be in the heart of Chinatown when you visit Bar Morris, but you’ll be transported straight to the atmospheric streets of Italy when you sink into a leather banquette at this intimate wine bar. Here, you can sip cocktails in cosy Art Deco surrounds – try the Spritz Giardino for a taste of Rome. Then enjoy light bites like baked ricotta with honey, or school prawns dusted in saltbush. 


STAY: Located within a historic Chinatown building, Hotel Morris Sydney Handwritten Collection comes with style to spare. The boutique hotel is beautifully designed with jewel tones, bespoke lighting and striking artworks. And many of the design flourishes nod to its Art Deco history. 


Eat: If you’re not dining on pasta and Italian snacks at Bar Morris, explore the endless parade of restaurants in Chinatown, from upscale dining rooms to cheerful hole-in-the-walls. As well as Chinese, there’s everything from Vietnamese, Thai, Japanese and Korean barbecue on offer. Don’t miss Malay street food at Mamak, dim sum at The Eight and Nyonya cuisine at Ho Jiak.


GOOD TO KNOW: If you want to start your night early, Bar Morris hosts Piccolo Hour from 3:30 to 5:30pm daily. Think of this as an Italian aperitivo, with smaller sips (so you can try more) and nibbles like pickles and cheese with honey. 


Chinatown Sydney

Explore vibrant night markets

WHAT: Chinatown’s bright Friday night markets are one of Sydney’s most popular places to hang out late into the evening. There are endless stalls dishing up Asian street food, taking you on a culinary journey from Hong Kong to Hanoi via yum cha, teppanyaki, sushi and pho. But there are also stalls helmed by designers – in fact, there are many operated by students, young designers and local artists with Asian heritage.  


STAY: Rich history meets modern elegance at The Porter House Hotel Sydney – Mgallery, a chic boutique property occupying a historic 1876 building in the heart of Sydney’s CBD. The hotel thoughtfully incorporates its history into the design of its rooms and public spaces via original brick archways, soft leather detailing and vintage furnishings. And wellbeing is built into your stay, from the state-of-the-art fitness centre to the outdoor lap pool. 


EAT: When you’re not snacking at the night markets, head back to your hotel for modern brasserie fare at Dixon & Sons. There’s a seasonal tasting menu on offer, or you can order a la carte bites and more substantial plates. If you want to grab a cocktail and snack to take with you on your wanderings, head to the hotel’s other eatery, Henry’s Bread & Wine, where you can pick up sandwiches and panini to go, or linger over a negroni. 


GOOD TO KNOW: Chinatown is busy year-round, but it’s particularly fun during the annual Chinese New Year festivities, when street parades, dancing and music consume the neighbourhood. 

Things to do in Sydney at night: Woolloomooloo

This inner-eastern suburb of Sydney hugs the harbour, with a 400-metre-long finger wharf jutting out into the water. Dine at any number of restaurants while gazing at luxury yachts bobbing along, then take the short foreshore walk that leads you to the Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney Opera House and Art Gallery of New South Wales. 


DO: Visit an art gallery, after dark


WHAT: Carved from pinkish sandstone bedrock sourced from well beneath Sydney, the neoclassical Art Gallery of New South Wales has long been an Australian cultural beacon. Today, it features a new – and architecturally dramatic – wing. You can explore all after hours, and with fewer crowds, every Wednesday night, when the gallery stays open until . View the collections at your own pace, join a guided night tour, check out the schedule of performances and then enjoy a bite at the on-site restaurant,


STAY: Pullman Sydney Hyde Park is like the grand dame of city hotels, sitting right opposite Hyde Park. You can walk here in just 15 minutes from the art gallery. Modern rooms and suites are complemented by a rooftop pool overlooking the CBD. You’ll want to spend some serious time here. Then wander down to the hotel’s Windows on the Park restaurant for a breakfast that will provide all the energy you need for another day (and night) of exploring.


EAT: Take your pick from any number of waterside Woolloomooloo restaurants. Popular haunts include OTTO, for fine-dining Italian fare; China Doll, for mod-Asian; and The legendary Tilbury Hotel, where you can grab a drink to enjoy outside in an always vibrant space. 


GOOD TO KNOW: The Pullman hotel’s rooftop pool is open late, which means that after returning from the art gallery you can enjoy a dip backdropped by the towers and lights of Sydney’s CBD.  

View of Hyde Park from Pullman Sydney Hyde Park

Things to do in Sydney at night: Kings Cross

Located just east of Sydney’s CBD, the inner-city suburb of Kings Cross is a riot of colour and culture. This is a nightlife hub, with bars and restaurants that range from budget-friendly  to fine dining, with plenty of boutiques and antiques stores along the way. Most importantly, there’s epic people-watching to be had, wherever you roam. 


DO: Visit for an eclectic mix of nightlife


WHAT: From clubs and live music venues to hidden speakeasies and late-night eateries, Kings Cross is a mecca for those who like to explore after dark. This edgy suburb is home to cocktail bars like Eau de Vie, where dapper mixologists make bespoke cocktails to order. But you can also catch a show at Griffin Theatre Company, linger in a live-music venue or dance the night away in one of the neighbourhood’s many clubs. 


STAY: Ibis Styles Central Sydney is located on the cusp of Hyde Park, which means you can easily walk to Kings Cross for an evening out. Newly refurbished, the property features large rooms replete with a kitchenette (you’ll need your morning coffee!), and if you want to be immersed in the sights and sounds of the neighbourhood you can even book a stay in a deluxe room with a balcony.


EAT: If you’re a fan of Korean and Japanese cuisine, you won’t want to miss a pre-party dinner at the Ibis’ trendy Mee So restaurant. Traditional meets modern in a menu that features the likes of Peking duck bao and prawn wontons. And there’s live music to ensure you get into the vibe for your night out.  


GOOD TO KNOW: If you’re indecisive, opt for the Mee So set menu, which also comes with a bottomless beverage package so you can enjoy tasty drinks with your meal. 


Mee So Sydney at ibis Styles Sydney Central

Things to do in Sydney at night: Surry Hills

Sydney is known as the ‘city of neighbourhoods’. And Surry Hills is one of the most vibrant and eclectic. Adjoining the CBD to the east, the area is creative, fashion-forward and delicious. Here, you’ll find vintage stores, late-night wine bars, a parade of excellent hidden restaurants… and plenty of cafes to refuel the next morning. 


DO: Enjoy world-class dining experiences at top Sydney restaurants


WHAT: A culinary adventure awaits in Surry Hills, whether you’re strolling along the neighbourhood’s main Crown Street or exploring hidden back alleys. The diversity is mind-boggling: there are traditional Italian trattorias, hipster Argentinian restaurants, distilleries, funky Mexican joints and wine bars where you can sip under the stars. 


STAY: After dropping your bags at the Mercure Sydney, it’s a short walk to the busy streets of Surry Hills. Back at your hotel you can look forward to spacious and newly refurbished rooms boasting views over Sydney’s CBD skyline. There’s an on-site restaurant and bar, Platform 818, if you need to refuel before or after your night out. 


EAT: The biggest challenge when dining out in Surry Hills is picking a single place to eat – there are that many good restaurants. Firedoor is renowned for cooking everything you eat over coals; Khanaa dazzles with upscale Bengali cuisine; Arthur offers polished set-menus heroing Australian flavours; and Gildas takes you straight to Spain with tapas and unexpected wines. Take your pick. 


GOOD TO KNOW: The Mercure Sydney is also within walking distance of Chippendale, another vibrant precinct with dedicated ‘eat streets’ and classic pubs for a great night out. 

Mercure Sydney

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