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If you are visiting the harbor city of Sydney, but only have a day to see some sights, you need to plan carefully. Not only will you need a definitive plan of what to see, but you’ll also need a pretty good idea of where to go and when so that as little time as possible is spent going from place to place. 

We’ve gathered a solid list of the best things to see when you’re in a time crunch, giving you a full day of memorable experiences from morning to night. Before you go, however, it’s crucial that you be able to move about unencumbered so you’ll need to find somewhere to put your luggage. There are tons of great options for luggage storage in Sydney, and the best ones will only cost you a few dollars for a whole day of secure baggage storage.

sydney sight seeing

Get Your Bearings At The Tower Eye

The Sydney Tower Eye is the tallest building in the city, and while you’re there soaking up breathtaking views, you can also get a bite to eat and get your bearings before heading out into the city. The Tower Eye opens at 9 am and is only closed for Christmas, so chances are good that you’ll be able to get 360-degree views of the city you’re about to explore, no matter when you happen to visit. The best part about stopping here first is that if you plan on hitting other spots on this list, you can often get discounted tickets at the Tower Eye in various attraction packages.

Shopping Along Market Street

When you leave the Tower Eye, take a walk up and down Market Street and take some time to visit the shops along the street both large and small. You’ll be able to see the first flagship stores for big names like Grace Brothers and David Jones, as well as locations that sell uniquely Australian goods alongside a wide range of international items.

Art Gallery Of NSW

Following Market Street to the northeast will eventually bring you to Art Gallery Road, which is where you’ll find the Art Gallery of New South Wales. Open most days of the year from 10 am to 5 pm, visiting will give you a taste of the unique Australian culture from both Indigenous & Aboriginal cultures, but also from the European colonist cultures. There are 5 floors to the gallery, so you can do the whole thing in a few hours, just make sure you keep an eye on the clock.

The Royal Botanic Gardens

Following Art Gallery Road north you’ll find Macquaries Road, where the Royal Botanic gardens are housed. The gardens are an incredibly beautiful exhibition of the breathtaking flora native to Australia as well as internationally. Each separate garden is made to highlight a different family of plants, including ferns, roses, palms, and many more.

Circular Quay

Leaving the Royal Botanic Gardens and traveling west will bring you to Circular Quay, which is the focal point of the Sydney Harbor and the iconic attractions nearby. The quay is a great place to experience other attractions nearby since it is in the middle of many things and gives you some flexibility regarding your attraction choices. This is also a prime spot to hop on a ferry for a round-trip tour of the harbor itself, giving you a unique view of many local landmarks.

Visitor’s Center

The Sydney visitor’s center is on Wheat Road and is an invaluable resource for those who are visiting the city. You can get all the information you need for your afternoon adventures and attractions, as well as local history. Plentiful walkways, malls, and parks dot the immediate vicinity, giving you plenty to keep yourself entertained before lunch.

Get A Bite To Eat

Once you’ve gotten familiar with many of the offerings at Circular Quay, be sure to stop into one of the many cafes or restaurants to fuel up before your next few stops. Not only will you be able to get some unforgettable food, but on most days there is also live entertainment such as musicians and other buskers that will add to your enjoyment.

The Opera House

Keeping up the momentum after the quay, you’ll be able to see the world-famous and instantly-recognizable Sydney Opera House on Bennelong Point. If you haven’t already, make sure you get plenty of selfies and family pictures near the Opera House, it is one of the most frequently photographed sights in the entire world. You can even get a behind-the-scenes tour, for an even more opera-centric experience.

Catch A Boat

If you didn’t take the chance earlier, be sure you stop at the East Circular Quay and check out the ferry and harbor cruise schedules. This is one of the most beautiful and relaxing ways to experience Sydney, and the ferries will also make stops at sights like the Taronga Zoo and Watson’s Bay.

See The Night Cityscape

Sydney during the day is beautiful, but it’s nothing compared to the lively and breathtakingly illuminated nighttime cityscape. The areas of Chinatown, the Spanish Quarter, and the full length of George Street are always on full display and will give you plenty more photo ops.

Dinner On The Harbor

Once you’ve experienced all that the day has had in store for you, all that’s left is to have a relaxing and delicious dinner to wrap up your amazing day. Darling Harbor boasts a long list of great restaurants, though the eateries right on the harbor will have slightly higher prices. 

Make The Most Of 24 Hours In Sydney

Visiting Sydney is something many people only dream of, so if you have the opportunity to visit for even a single day, it’s important to make the most of your time. By following our list of must-see attractions, not only will you avoid spending extra time getting from place to place, but you’ll have the chance to experience things that will create lifelong memories.

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