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Top things to do in Sydney on a budget

Check out this list of the top things to do when visiting Sydney on budget.

A trip to Sydney doesn’t need to be expensive. We’ve enlisted the help of travel influencer Vincy (@incyvincyspider) to round up a list of the top 10 things to do in Sydney on a budget, all from the comfort of ibis budget Sydney East. So if you’re open to creating amazing experiences without the price-tag, read on for the 411.

Art Gallery of NSW
Art Gallery of NSW

Art Gallery of NSW

https://www.artgallery.nsw.gov.au/
Cost – Free admission (certain exhibitions attract an additional cost)
Like most major cities, Sydney has its fair share of incredible galleries. The Art Gallery of NSW is one of the most popular due to the wide selection of curated exhibitions spanning from historic to contemporary. Entry to this flagship museum is free which means art is accessible to everyone walking through its doorway, though charges do apply to exhibits such as the annual Archibald, Wynne and Sulman Prizes. It’s definitely worth carving out a few hours for quiet exploration of this iconic Sydney museum. 
Sandoitchi Cafe
Sandoitchi Cafe

Sandoitchi Cafe

For lunch that packs a punch after a morning of art and culture check into Sandoitchi café. Located in hip Darlinghurst, this petit cafe serves sandwiches with a Japanese twist. Getting the perfect ratio of bun and filling is no simple task but this café delivers on flavour and texture. Think pork and pickles on thick cut white bread or spicy eggplant with miso dressing for a hit of veges. This place also serves a range of delicious looking bowls from 9am. plus you can’t leave without draining a cup of Single O coffee. The best part is, these zingy sando’s won’t break the budget, with an average cost of $13 per serve. 
Views of Sydney harbour
Views of Sydney harbour

Sunset at Mrs. Macquarie’s Chair

Cost – Free to access 
A ‘chair’ carved from a sandstone rock by convicts in the 1800’s, Mrs Macquarie’s Chair is a Sydney icon and an unmissable vantage point from which to soak up views of Sydney Harbour, the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge – all in 1 go! Drop by at sunset to see the gorgeous orange and pink hues kissing the sky as another day closes on the harbour city.
Friggitoria Street Food
Friggitoria Street Food

Friggitoria Street Food

Dining out in Sydney doesn’t need to be expensive or fussy to be delicious. Head to Friggitoria in vibrant Kings Cross for simple Italian street food perfect for dining out on a budget. Here you’ll be transported back to the hectic side streets of Naples with authentic dishes including Lasagna Napoletana and Panzerotto (classic Pugilese fried pizza parcel filled with tasty salami and ricotta). For afters’, take your pick from a modest selection of Italian sweets done right, including classic creamy Tiramisu and deep fried sweet pizza filled with gooey Nutella.

Sydney by Kayak

With the cash saved on budget Sydney accommodation and the modest list of activities highlighted so far, it’s more than fair to splash out a little on an activity that will really cement some amazing Sydney memories. Sydney by Kayak is operated by a husband and wife duo who are passionate about movement and getting out on the water to experience Sydney from a whole new perspective. Whilst many of us have travelled across (or even over the top) of the Sydney Harbour bridge, not many of us have paddled independently below it – definitely a highlight of this water-based Sydney adventure activity. Tours that start from $50 include Group Kayak Fitness and Social Paddles. Should you be looking for a more immersive experience, check out the Sunrise Kayak and Coffee tour, which allows you to experience a perfect Sydney morning from the water, watching the sunrise coffee-in-hand before the harbour kicks into full throttle.
Picnic at the Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney
Picnic at the Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney

Picnic at the Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney

If you’re not inspired by water-based activities but keen to bask in the presence of some of Sydney’s most iconic attractions, then head to Sydney’s Royal Botanic Gardens for a picnic. Entry to the gardens is free and you can pretty much set up camp anywhere you like on the lush grass amidst the manicured garden beds. Most areas come with a vantage point of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House, so BYO rug, pack your favourite things to eat and drink and while away the hours on a glorious day. There’s plenty of space to roam and interesting learning programmes to access should you wish for a curated visit, just know these might have an associated cost attached.
Ricotta hotcakes served warm with banana and honeycomb butter
ricotta hotcakes

Bills Sydney, Darlinghurst & Surry Hills

With a dining philosophy that reflects the sunny attitude of Australians, there aren’t many eateries quite as iconic at Bills. Think classic breakfast and lunch menu items that’ll warm you from the inside out, served in communal surroundings that feel homely and generous. Not many go past the famous ricotta hotcakes served warm with banana and honeycomb butter (pictured above), there’s also breakfast bowls and big brekkie staple items incorporating eggs, bacon and herbed garlic mushrooms if you’re up for a big feed. You can visit this place on a budget if you’re content with a hot beverage and a slice of iggy’s sourdough toast, however to get the full Aussie brekkie experience you might want to open the purse strings a little further. 

Cho Cho San

For dinner with a vibe Vincy recommends you head to Potts Point for izakaya style, social dining. Cho Cho San serves authentic Japanese cuisine at a long dining room bar, so it’s perfect when you’re looking for an informal place to eat with friends. The bar is stocked high with spirits for the perfect blend to enjoy with Japanese tasters from the Raw Bar or Izakaya Snack bar. For more substantial dining try the Ramen special for $30 (for the base recipe) or splash out a little more on the Izakaya Set menu at $65 per person.
If you’re ready to create your own adventure and looking to visit Sydney on a budget, check out these budget accommodation Sydney options today.

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