Sydney City Guide
The downtown centre of Sydney, Australia's premier city is never short of excitement. Known as the business and shopping heart of the city, Sydney CBD also hosts a large concentration of cultural institutions, historical buildings, parks and public spaces. Downtown Sydney's multicultural composition of culturally and linguistically diverse residents also contributes to the multitude of highly-rated restaurants, bars and cafes around.
Awarded by the International Festivals and Events Association (IFEA) in 2011 as the world's best festival and events city, Sydney does not fail to captivate its visitors. The festivals and events on offer are endless. The more notable ones held annually include: Sydney Festival, Sydney Film's Festival, Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras and the Crave Sydney International Food Festival.
The Sydney Festival was established in 1977 and is held every January. It offers a stimulating program of events of exceptional standard. Involving national and international artists, these events cover dance, theatre, music, visual arts and many more.
The Sydney Film Festival is held in June and features documentaries, short films and animations from around the world. Screenings are at various locations across the city.
Sydney's Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras is one of Australia's biggest drawcards. The event promotes diversity and acceptance in a galvanising manner. Held in March, the float-filled event draws a large crowd and is not short of sequins, leather or bare flesh.
Finally, Crave Sydney International Food Festival is a month long festival that celebrates Sydney as a global dining destination. Its signature events include the hawker-style Night Noodle Markets held at Hyde Park and the World Chef Showcase that offers presentations from world-renowned chefs.
Downtown Sydney is not just an area filled with densely concentrated skyscrapers. There are several parks and public spaces that are well maintained, offer child-friendly playgrounds, and are great for outdoor recreational activities. Sydney city's most iconic and oldest park, Hyde Park contains exotic and native trees, numerous statues and monuments, themed gardens and water features. The park is a popular attraction and plays host to a number of cultural events throughout the year.
Just a minute away from the park is Sydney's most treasured English-style gothic church, St Mary's Cathedral. The church represents the spiritual origins of the Catholicism in Australia and was visited by Pope Benedict XVI when Sydney was host to the 2008 World Youth Day celebrations.
Beside St Mary's Cathedral lies Cool & Phillip Park Aquatic Centre. The Centre offers swimming, fitness, sporting and recreational facilities within a picturesque parkland setting. With a number of pools to choose from, a hot spa, gym and an indoor multi-purpose court, the Centre is ideal for people for people of all age groups.
Martin Place's high flow of pedestrians is attributable to its premium location. Located between George Street and Macquarie Street, in the midst of big corporations such as the Reserve Bank of Australia, the Commonwealth Bank and the Seven Network's News Centre, Martin Place is a popular spot for workers, commuters and visitors. Of recent years, the area has also become highly attractive to high-end film and television productions as well as various publicity campaigns.
Pitt Street Mall is known as one of Australia's busiest shopping precinct. The mall boasts over 600 specialty stores in major retail centres such as the Mid City Shopping Centre, Sydney Arcade, The Strand Arcade and the recently relaunched Westfield Sydney. Pitt Street Mall has retail chains, boutique shops and high-end fashion stores. Pitt Street Mall is suitable for anyone with any budget in mind.
The Queen Victoria Building (QVB) is also another great shopping destination. The QVB is located on George Street between the Town Hall and Market Street, just a block fro Pitt Street Mall. Fans of designer labels will be thrilled with the exquisite range of designer stores located on its top floors.
The Galeries on George Street opposite the QVB has a range of shopping including bookstore Kinokuniya and Japanese ramen house Ichiban Boshi.
Great food is located at almost every corner of the CBD.
To take a break from all the shopping, level 5 of the Westfield shopping centre offers a great variety food at reasonable prices. There is Guzman y Gomez for Mexican cuisine, Din Tai Fung for Shanghainese dumplings, IKU wholefood for vegetarian options, Snag Stand for Australia's artisan sausage grill and Via Del Corso Pasticceria e Caffe for desserts to finish off your meal. Or if you'd like a view with your meal catch the lift up Sydney Tower that sits above the Westfield centre: or just go up for the view and perhaps to try the Skywalk.
Of course there are bars everywhere. Pop over to York Street for Bavarian Beer or the CBD Hotel. Take a trip around the Hilton's bars - located on George Street opposite the QVB. Or peruse some art and enjoy a beer at the Art House Hotel on Pitt Street.
Not surprisingly a broad range of accommodation is available in Sydney City. Everything from budget backpackers to the top of the town. In addition, accommodation is available in locations just a few minutes away such as Darling Harbour
, Circular Quay
and The Rocks
There are several Sydney City CBD serviced apartments on hand for those wanting to have flexibility , self catering and multiple rooms , depending on the particular serviced apartment. For those wanting to avoid the kitchen , usually there is a restaurant or fast food outlet not more than a couple of minutes walk from any seriviced apartment in the Sydney City Centre.