A Day at Circular Quay in Sydney Harbor

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Your first stop in Sydney will inevitably include a trip to the harbor and really it should, it is the most beautiful and active harbor I’ve ever seen. There is so much going on around The Quay that you’ll have no trouble spending an entire day in this area.

First, take a stroll up and down the steps of the Sydney Opera House and wander around the backside to watch the ferries streaming back and forth to Manly beach. If you can, try to spot the Sydney Harbour bridge climbers and contemplate if it’s something you’d like to do yourself.
If you’re hungry, head down to the Opera bar. Nestled right under the opera house near the water, the Opera restaurant and bar has mostly outdoor seating, with a few tables undercover. From this vantage point, you’ll be able to shift your gaze from the Sydney Harbour Bridge to the majestic Sydney Opera House all the while making sure those ballsy Sydney seagulls don’t steal a hot chip from your plate. Watch it, because they will.
After you’ve had a bite, wander slowly around the harbor, taking in the sights of street performers and beautiful sounds of street musicians. Over the course of the weekend that I stayed in the Sydney CBD (central business district) I discovered a handful of new favorites. There is some serious talent hanging out at the harbor waiting to be discovered or simply playing in-between gigs.
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If it’s the weekend, the street artisan market will be in full swing. Wander the long way around the harbor (past the big cruise ships and the Park Hyatt) until you see the bridge overhead. Wander through the lovely lawns of the park and take a rest under the bridge on the Adirondack chairs. Then hit up The Rocks Market. Simply head down George street until you see Argyle Street and you’ll run into it. Weave through all the market stalls, following the market onto Playfair Street. If you’re feeling an afternoon snack or brew, the market streets have ample offerings in the way of food stalls and sitdown restaurants.
After some shopping in The Rocks, roam back towards George Street and The Quay and you’ll see the back entrance of the Museum of Contemporary Art. It’s free of charge so enjoy and leave a donation on your way out if the experience spoke to you.
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After art comes gelato. There are a plethora of places nearby, I had Royal Copenhagen, it was divine. I highly recommend the passionfruit, but go ahead and sample them all first.
Take a nice rest on the lawns in front of the art museum while you watch tourists enjoying the harbor for the first time and locals making their way home from work. Let flocks of Australian white ibis invade your spaces as you listen to your new favorite street musician.
If you’re feeling energized, walk back up through the rocks to the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Stroll to the center or climb up into the Pylon Lookout and watch the golden hour cast a beautiful color on the city of Sydney with soft yellow light. If that sounds like too much work, head into the Sydney Theatre Company, or one of the other dozen theaters, take a seat, and enjoy the show.
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