Sydney is one of the world’s most exciting cities. It’s a metropolis that effortlessly combines architectural wonders, vibrant nightlife, and beaches that are every surfer’s paradise. Read on to find out more about this Australian gem and learn where to stay in Sydney!
The 5 Best Places to Stay in Sydney
- Circular Quay and the Rocks: Best for Sydney first-timers and those who want to explore the city’s iconic sights.
- Newtown: Best for people who are looking for the alternative heart of Sydney and those on a budget.
- Bondi Beach: Best for surfers and tourists who would like to spend a lovely time on Sydney’s beachside.
- Darling Harbour, Pyrmont, and Haymarket (Chinatown): Best for those who want to experience the most dynamic parts of Sydney and those who crave authentic Asian cuisine.
- Manly: Best for people who seek a more laid-back alternative to Bondi Beach and people who want to enjoy nature but still be close to the city.
Where to Stay in Sydney: Best Areas & Hotels
One big reason why we love Sydney is that it caters to every tourist’s taste and budget. In this city, you can effortlessly find a lot of accommodation types, from hostels and motels to hotels, resorts, and guest houses.
Sydney offers a little bit of everything for every traveler, which is why it’s such a remarkable city.
1. Circular Quay and the Rocks
There’s no Sydney without Circular Quay and The Rocks, two central beachfront city neighborhoods that boast incredible views of the Tasman Sea and the surrounding landscape.
Circular Quay is a lovely place to start exploring the city because it’s so close to Sydney’s most well-known attractions, like the Sydney Opera House and the Royal Botanic Garden.
Also, since it’s a central water transportation hub, it’s also a great place for accessing other parts of the city, such as Manly Beach, Taronga Zoo, and Luna Park — all of which are on the north side of Sydney.
One of the city’s most widely known monuments, The Sydney Opera House, is at the heart of Circular Quay. Next to the opera house is the Royal Botanic Garden, a beautiful 30-hectare expanse of flora that also hosts events and tours.
Another noteworthy attraction is also near — the Museum of Contemporary Art, perfect for art lovers and admirers of modern architecture. The best part? You can see all three in one day.
Adjacent to Circular Quay is The Rocks, Sydney’s oldest neighborhood. It has a bit of a dark history because it used to be a convict colony in the past.
Nowadays, strolling through its cobbled streets, you can encounter colonial-era structures that stand as evidence of this infamous past.
If you’re particularly interested in this period of Australia’s history, you can also explore the buildings constructed by the convicts and visit the Susannah Place Museum, a collection of terrace houses from the 19th century that offers a vivid and true-to-life portrait of that time.
Circular Quay and the Rocks Budget Hotels
- Sydney Harbour YHA is an award-winning hostel super close to the Museum of Contemporary Art. It has a lovely rooftop terrace from where you can admire the Sydney Harbour. The hostel has both private and dormitory rooms, free Wi-Fi, and a communal kitchen where you can quickly whip up something to save an extra buck.
- Megaboom City Hotel is a decent three-star hotel a stroll away from the Royal Botanical Garden and Sydney Opera House. It’s perfect for budget travelers and has all the basic amenities you may need, from free Wi-Fi to air-conditioned rooms, a private bathroom, and a minibar to chill your drinks in.
Circular Quay and the Rocks Mid-Range Hotels
- Mercantile Hotel is an iconic three-star historic hotel dating back to 1914, located in the Rocks area. Some rooms have shared bathrooms, while others have private bathrooms, but they’re a bit more expensive. The Mercantile Hotel is famously home to Australia’s longest-running Irish Pub, where guests can enjoy live music and great Irish food.
- Ibis Sydney Barangaroo is part of the Ibis Budget brand, just a 15-minute walk from Circular Quay. All rooms have a private bathroom and feel very comfy and offer free Wi-Fi and tea and coffee-making facilities.
Circular Quay and the Rocks Luxury Hotels
- Four Seasons Hotel Sydney is a luxury five-star hotel from the famous Four Seasons brand. Overlooking the Sydney Harbour, this hotel offers breathtakingly stunning views from all the rooms. It has an outdoor swimming pool, a fitness spa, and a wellness center, as well as exceptional restaurants and bars, such as the Mode Kitchen & Bar, serving modern Australian dishes, and the Grain Bar, offering a selection of cocktails, wine, local beer, and craft spirits.
- Park Hyatt Sydney is a beautiful five-star hotel positioned perfectly between the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge. It has an outdoor pool, a wellness center, a fitness room, and a team of butlers providing 24-hour service attentively. All rooms have fantastic views of the harbor, and feature designer furniture, private bathrooms, and premium Wi-Fi. Every morning you can savor their excellently made breakfast that’s included in the price!
Newton is completely different from the two neighborhoods we’ve covered so far. In Newtown, you’ll be entering the bohemian heart of Sydney. This ethnically diverse neighborhood has come a long way from the small village it used to be in the past couple of centuries.
King Street is the neighborhood’s main walkway and a haven for vintage stores like Good Times Vintage or Vintage 585, record shops like the well-stocked and funnily-named Repressed Records, and quirky galleries.
The creative street art at every corner will make even a stroll through King Street its own memorable experience.
If you consider yourself a creative spirit, you’ll definitely love King Street because there’s always something quirky and out of the ordinary you can find there. Newtown is a charming area because it’s regularly brimming with students.
The University of Sydney is situated there and holds a wonderful secret — the Chau Chak Wing Museum. The large student population, the ethnic diversity, and the general artistic vibe of the neighborhood enable it to have a thriving arts scene.
In Newtown, you can find many independent theaters, performance spaces, and live music venues. Don’t miss out on old art deco places like the Enmore Theatre or smaller venues like the Vanguard, where you can discover the best up-and-coming artists and comedians.
Newtown’s otherness is also reflected in the incredibly diverse culinary scene, making it a true food lover’s paradise.
Here you can easily find places that suit anyone’s budget, like the trendy cafe Bitton Cafe and Restaurant or the ethnic restaurant Thai Pothong Restaurant. If you’re a vegetarian or vegan, Newtown is your best bet.
This place has loads of vegan and vegetarian-friendly restaurants and plenty of quaint bars and pubs, such as Holey Moley Golf Club Newtown. These bars fully encompass the relaxed Australian way of life and are perfect for a laid-back evening out.
Newtown Budget Hotels
- Newtown Budget Hotel is conveniently located just ten minutes from Enmore Theatre. Being rated with two stars, the hotel offers rooms with free Wi-Fi, a private balcony, and a bathroom. There’s also a guest lounge and shared kitchen where you can cook together with the other guests.
- Sydney Park Hotel is another budget option in Newton with a two-star rating. Nevertheless, it has everything you need to have a comfortable vacation — rooms with free Wi-Fi, TV, wardrobe, and desk. The only downside is that the rooms have shared bathrooms but are separate for males and females.
Newtown Mid-Range Hotels
- Urban Newtown — with a four-star rating and a superb location, just a stone’s throw away from Enmore Theater, the Urban Newtown is a great mid-range option. All rooms are stylishly decorated in a fashionable industrial style and have en suite bathrooms, free Wi-Fi, a TV, and a fancy espresso machine.
- Erko Hotel — while not as fancy as the Urban Newtown, the three-star hotel is a wise pick in Newtown. It has rooms with free Wi-Fi, a TV, and a shared bathroom. The hotel also has a restaurant that serves American and Australian cuisine.
3. Bondi Beach
Bondi Beach is a popular beachside suburb just a few miles east of Sydney’s city center. The central attraction of the neighborhood is the eponymous Bondi Beach.
It’s Sydney’s longest and widest beach, with lively and exciting events happening at all times — whether it’s surfers trying to catch the next wave, sunbathers enjoying the sun, or beach rats playing volleyball or other beach sports.
And then there’s Campbell Parade, Bondi’s main walkway, charmingly lying just above the beach. It’s surrounded by numerous cafes, like the Porch and Parlour café (it doesn’t get more Australian than this place!), and seafood restaurants like the beloved North Bondi Fish.
But Bondi Beach is more than just sun, surf, and great seafood. There’s something entertaining happening throughout the whole year here.
Have you ever heard of the Sculpture by the Sea exhibition, where each spring, numerous sculptors from around the world set their pieces in front of the ocean?
There’s also the widely known Bondi Festival, which occurs during Australia’s winter months (June to August) and brings ice skating, art installations, and live performances at the beach.
Bondi is also home to the famous Bondi Icebergs Club, known for its iconic ocean pool that, when you look at it, seems like it blends with the sea. If you’re looking for a hiking adventure, we have something for you, too!
Take the four-mile Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk to thoroughly explore the area and enjoy the stunning coastline as you go along the way.
Another thing we love about Bondi Beach is that it’s surprisingly affordable when it comes to accommodation. In this neighborhood, you can easily find budget and mid-range hotels and guest houses.
Bondi Beach Budget Hotels
- Wake Up! Bondi Beach is a hostel perfectly situated near Bondi Beach, with a rooftop terrace offering gorgeous panoramic views of Bondi Beach and its surroundings. It has free Wi-Fi throughout the property. As a guest, you can try some of the hostel’s complimentary activities, such as rooftop yoga classes, personal training sessions, and walking tours along the Bondi coastline.
- The Village Bondi Beach is a two-star hotel very close to Bondi Beach. The hotel provides comfortable air-conditioned rooms, free Wi-Fi, and a private bathroom. There’s also a guest laundry, kitchen, TV room, and a shared lounge.
Bondi Beach Mid-Range Hotels
- Hotel Ravesis is a charming three-star hotel conveniently located near three beaches — Bondi Beach, Tamarama Beach, and Bronte Beach. All rooms at the hotel have free Wi-Fi, air conditioning, an en suite bathroom, and a balcony. Some rooms also offer balcony sea views.
- Village Bondi Beach is a three-star hotel across the road from Bondi Beach. The rooms are air-conditioned and have free Wi-Fi, tea and coffee-making facilities, and an en suite bathroom. Some rooms also offer a balcony with sea views. As a guest, you can relax on the shared terrace or enjoy a meal at the on-site bar and restaurant.
Bondi Beach Luxury Hotels
- QT Bondi is a four-star hotel just five minutes away from the sandy shores of Bondi Beach. It’s stylishly adorned with quirky décor and colorful walls featuring original artwork by artist Shaun Gladwell. All rooms have free Wi-Fi and a fashionably decorated en suite bathroom with a bathtub, Kevin Murphy toiletries, and a hairdryer. As a hotel guest, you can use the amenities at the Pacific Bond shopping center, including Speedo’s fitness center.
4. Darling Harbour, Pyrmont, and Haymarket (Chinatown)
Darling Harbour, Haymarket (Chinatown), and Pyrmont are three small neighborhoods in central Sydney adjacent to each other.
They faithfully represent one of the most dynamic parts of the city and are a perfect choice if you want that busy city feel and also if you’re a particular fan of Asian cuisine.
Darling Harbour is a waterfront area that sealife enthusiasts and, in general, animal lovers simply adore. Why so? Well, there, you can find SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium, Wild Life Sydney Zoo, and the Australian National Maritime Museum.
Pyrmont is a suburb just west of Darling Harbour. It has undergone a striking transformation throughout the years — what used to be an industrial area is now a hip waterfront district.
This neighborhood is also home to the famous Pyrmont Bridge, a swing bridge that connects Pyrmont and the city center, offering magnificent views of the city. Haymarket (Chinatown) is one of Sydney’s liveliest and most culturally diverse neighborhoods.
With a wide selection of authentic Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese, and Malaysian cuisine, it’s probably the closest place in that part of the world where you can feel like you’re in Bejing, Bangkok, or Hanoi.
Even just walking through Chinatown will make you feel like you’re in Asia because you’ll immediately notice the characteristic red lanterns and the many shops selling Asian spices and other delicacies.
The well-known Paddy’s Markets are also in Chinatown. These markets have freshly harvested spices and herbs from local vendors that captivate your senses and tempt you into buying some for your home.
Darling Harbour, Pyrmont, and Haymarket Budget Hotels
- Sydney Central Inn is a two-star hostel accommodation in Haymarket, just five minutes away from the core of Chinatown. You can choose between mixed dormitory, twin, and triple (private) rooms with shared bathrooms and a TV. You can use the free Wi-Fi throughout the hostel, cook in the shared kitchen, and relax in the lounge area. It’s perfect for a budget-friendly stay.
- Nomads Sydney is a two-star hostel right next to Darling Harbour. The hostel has dormitory-style rooms and private rooms with private bathrooms and free Wi-Fi. You’ll love the complimentary daily pancakes in the morning and the pasta lunch on Wednesdays. You’ll also love the fabulously organized events for its guests, where you get to listen to live DJs, play pool competitions and beer pong, dance to the silent disco, and do trivia nights if you’re a pub quiz lover.
Darling Harbour, Pyrmont, and Haymarket Mid-Range Hotels
- Great Southern Hotel Sydney is a three-star hotel in Haymarket, Chinatown. The hotel is located in a historic 19th-century building in the heart of Sydney, just fifteen minutes away from Darling Harbour. The rooms are comfy, with classy and minimalistic decorations, air conditioning, free Wi-Fi, tea and coffee making machines, and private bathrooms.
- Ibis Sydney Darling Harbour is a three-star hotel from the famous Ibis Budget brand in Darling Harbor. The hotel has a lovely restaurant, free parking, a bar, and beautifully-lit rooms with great city views. Each room has free Wi-Fi, tea and coffee-making facilities, and a private bathroom.
Darling Harbour, Pyrmont, and Haymarket Luxury Hotels
- Fraser Suites Sydney is a five-star hotel in Darling Harbour. It has a fitness center, a spa, and sauna, an indoor swimming pool, and private parking. The luxuriously decorated rooms all have free Wi-Fi, TV, and views of the city skyline.
- Novotel Sydney Darling Square is a four-star hotel with a fitness center and indoor pool. The rooms are stylish and modern, and each has a minibar, TV, free Wi-Fi, tea and coffee maker, and en suite bathrooms. All rooms have fantastic views of Darling Harbour, the Chinese Gardens, or Chinatown.
- Meriton Suites World Tower is a five-star hotel in Sydney’s landmark World Tower on the 61st floor and above. The luxurious suites are air-conditioned, have free Wi-Fi and floor-to-ceiling windows, offering gorgeous panoramic city views. In addition, the hotel guests have access to an indoor pool, a hot tub, a sauna, and a 24-hour on-site fitness center.
Manly is another highly popular beachside suburb, only a short ferry ride from Sydney’s city center. Surfers from all over the world come here because the beach, weather, and water currents are good for surfing.
Manly Beach has loads of places where you can quietly unwind while staying at the beach and gazing at the ocean. The area provides a wealth of exciting opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts.
You can go on scenic walks along the coast, where you’ll be surrounded by lush, wild bushland and stunning views of Sydney Harbor. For example, the Sydney Harbour National Park is a five-minute drive to Manley Beach (40 minutes by foot if you’d rather walk).
It’s a beautiful national park where you can hike, do picnics, and bathe on secluded beaches. Manly is a more peaceful beachfront area perfect for families with small children and generally people who look for a more chill area to stay at.
Granted, there’s barely anything to do in terms of entertainment and cultural events, but it’s a special place where you can think of nothing but the beach and the bush trails — if that’s your thing, of course.
And the good news is that it’s really easy to find all kinds of accommodation options here, regardless of your budget. Be it budget hostels and motels, or mid-range and five-star luxury suites, Manly has it all.
Manly Budget Hotels
- Stoke Beach House is a hostel that’s very close to Manly Beach. Daily breakfast is included in the price, and as a hostel guest, you can also try the complimentary yoga classes offered four days a week. All rooms are dormitory-style with shared bathrooms.
- Manly Bunkhouse is a hostel super close to Manly Beach. It has female and mixed dormitories. All rooms have private bathrooms, while some even feature a kitchenette. The hostel has a communal kitchen, a sunny garden where you can relax, and barbecue facilities.
Manly Mid-Range Hotels
- Stay@Hotel Steyne is a three-star hotel is near the beach, very close to Manly Wharf, from where you can take ferries to and from Sydney Central. All the rooms are equipped with a Wi-Fi connection, an espresso machine, and a wardrobe. Some rooms also have views toward the beach and sea. The hotel’s Magic’s Bar plays live music from Thursday to Sunday. This gives you an opportunity to sip cocktails, listen to good music, and admire the incredible sea views.
- Q Station is situated in the Sydney Harbor National Park, close to Manley Beach, and it’s rated three stars. All in all, it’s a peaceful accommodation option because the rooms overlook the Sydney Harbor, and there’s a private beach that you can use as a hotel guest.
Manly Luxury Hotels
- Manly Pacific Sydney MGallery Collection is definitely a luxury option (it’s located on the beach and is a 5-star hotel). Most rooms have a balcony, while some even come with ocean views. If you’re one of those people who exercise on their vacation, you’ll be happy to know that the hotel has a fitness center and an outdoor swimming pool.
- Sebel Sydney Manly Beach Hotel is another luxury option (4 stars) on Manly’s Beach. All rooms in the hotel have free Wi-Fi, spacious bedrooms, luxury en suite bathrooms, and balconies. Some rooms also have ocean views. In addition, the hotel has two pools and an on-site restaurant and bar where you can dine in the evening.
So, Where Should You Stay in Sydney?
|🏙️ Best for Sightseeing
|💵 Most Budget-Friendly Area
|🏄♀️ Best for Surfers
|🌉 Best for Dynamic Nightlife
|🏞️ Best for Nature Lovers
Sydney is truly a world metropolis, filled with exciting things to see and do. So, naturally, it’s pretty tough to pinpoint one exact spot and say: this is where you should stay in Sydney!
Whatever area you choose, you won’t be wrong because every corner of this glistening city has something to offer!