One of the most iconic cities in the world, Sydney Australia is a must-visit during your time in Australia. Whether you are flying into it or just passing through, there is so much to see, that you won’t want to rush past it! After spending some time living there, I’ve compiled the top 50 completely free things to do in downtown Sydney to get you excited about exploring the city on a budget!

50 completely free things to do in downtown Sydney

I’ll be completely honest & say that I was surprised at how expensive things are in Australia. I was expecting prices to be a little high, but when I started booking places to stay, I felt a little sticker shock. (There are a few great ways to avoid paying for accommodation too, but that’s a post for another day.) My wallet didn’t want to allow me to pay for both a place to sleep and for daily activities, so I hit the ground, researching.

In my best attempt to explore this city on a budget, I spent most of my time there finding free (or really cheap) things to do without feeling like I missed out! I compiled this list for you to follow in my footsteps & save the cash for ‘can’t miss activities’ further along in the journey!



Most museums in Australia are open to the public and are free to enter. They are a great way to learn the history of the country and gain an appreciation for the culture.

Museum of Contemporary Art

National Maritime Museum

Art Gallery of New South Wales

Manly Museum of Art

Museum of Sydney

Chau Chak Wing

The Rocks Discovery Museum

If art, culture, poilitics and the museums that display them are your thing, definitely check out Sydney’s Cultural Kilometer!


For a massive, international city, Sydney holds a ton of space for nature to co-exist. Huge parks within city limits as well as beaches galore with hiking tracks to connect them all, you will never feel too far from fresh air while in this concrete jungle.

Botanical Gardens

Mrs. Maquire’s Chair??

Hyde Park

Manly Beach

Other beaches-There are so many to choose from! (Link to Sydney page)

Spit-Manly Coastal Walk

Bondi-Bronte Coastal Walk

Brontee-Coogee Coastal Walk

Freshwater-Dee Why Coastal Walk

Gardens on the other side of the Harbor Bridge

If getting into nature & hiking is your thing, check out this map of trails in Sydney!

(Window) Shopping:

Of course, this can be a dangerous one if you are on a budget, but if your will power will allow, the malls in Australia are worth exploring! The indoor/outdoor feel is something the architects and designers strive for and they acheive it in some interesting ways! Markets also lend an opportunity to learn about the wide mix of cultures within the city limits!

Paddy’s Markets

Market City

Westfield Mall

Other Mall (from Manly???)

Weekend Market in The Rocks

Historic sites:

Sydney has a bit of a dark history (like many others in the “Western world”) and a lot of the old buildings that hold historical significance in the city are still standing today! Whether you can enter them or not, the plaques out front teach of the haunting acts that occured in them. The question is: are the buildings haunted still?

Historic Haunted sites in The Rocks

Sydney Museum of History

Sydney’s oldest pub-The Fortune of War

Oldest Hotel-

If haunted history excites you, don’t miss this Haunted History Walking Tour in The Rocks.


Luna Park

Opera House

Opera House Shows

Events at the Botanic Gardens-I watched the Redbull Cliff Diving Championships here (FOR FREE!)

Rotating Exhibits at the Gardens-(I saw Love your Nature)

Walking across the Harbor Bridge

St. Mary’s Cathedral

Explore the city streets

Custom’s House & Events

The Rocks

Hyde Park Barracks

Queen Victoria Building

Rotating Exhibits at The Rocks (ie. LV Museum)

Watch the Ferry boats come & go from the harbor

Walking Tour of the City

Maccallum Pool

Walking Tour of The Rocks

Hang out Under the Harbor bridge

Rotating events in The Rocks (ie. Movies in the laneway, flashmob, photo booths, etc)

While you are out & about, exploring this exciting city (FOR FREE $p), you will obviously have to eat at some point. Although I can’t give you any tips on where to find free food, I can say that TEA PLACE THE ROCKS is a fun experience for a low cost snack & coffee or tea, food stalls in The Rocks Market are affordable for meals, grabbing some grocery store goods for a DIY lunch cuts costs and bakeries with meat pies & sausage rolls are a cheap way to get a feel for Aussie culture through food! Most bars and pubs offer happy hour drinks and appitizer deals.

Other posts to help you explore Australia:

There's always more to explore: