5 COOLEST Neighborhoods in Sydney [October 2019!]

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5 COOLEST Neighborhoods in Sydney [[date]!]

From its iconic landmarks to its pristine beaches, Sydney is often thought of as the first giant leap in a tourist’s holiday down under!

Much of Australia’s surf culture and world-renowned art trends have spread all over the world. It is no wonder why so many travelers would want to get a look at this vibrant city first hand.

Other than the world-famous Opera House, tourists may find themselves scratching their heads as to where to start their Sydney adventure.

That’s exactly why we put together this guide explaining the best neighborhoods in all of Sydney! 

Put together by our team of travel experts, we have created a simple yet informative list of the best hotels and neighborhoods in all of Sydney

By the end of this article, YOU will know Sydney both inside and out, just as well as any local Australian would. From sunbathing on Bondi Beach to drinking wine in Darling Harbour, you will know the city of Sydney like the back of your hand.

These are our best picks for where to stay in Sydney.

Table of Contents

Quick Tips – Where to Stay in Sydney

Where to Stay in Sydney

Looking for a specific place to stay? These are our highest recommendations for places to stay in Sydney.

Best Budget Hotel in Sydney – The Pod Sydney

The Pod Sydney

The Pod Sydney is the best budget hotel in Sydney

For solo travelers who are wanting budget accommodation but high-end quality, look no further than The Pod. This Japanese inspired capsule hotel puts each guest into their own private bunk complete with a privacy curtain, reading light and outlet.

Located in Sydney’s CBD, The Pod’s guests are only minutes away from the city’s hottest attractions and even the main train station.


Best Mid-Range Hotel in Sydney – Studio 8 Residences

Studio 8 Residences

Studio 8 Residences is the best mid-range hotel in Sydney

These adult only apartments are sure to give guests the best taste of living the Australian high-life! Each of these modern studio apartments is complete with a flat-screen TV, balcony and fully equipped kitchen.

End each day barbequing on the hotel’s roof-top terrace with gorgeous views of the city.

Good weather is important! So to help, we created this guide of the best times to visit Sydney!

Best Luxury Hotel in Sydney – Park Hyatt

Park Hyatt

Park Hyatt is the best luxury hotel in Sydney

With phenomenal views of the harbor overlooking the Sydney Opera House and Harbor Bridge, you will wake up every morning having your breath taken away.

Park Hyatt pampers its guests not only with incredibly comfortable rooms, but also with a wellness center, spa, gym, and even a heated pool. With top class service and luxury amenities, visitors are sure to only be given the best of everything Australia has to offer!


Sydney Neighborhoods Guide


The complete guide to where to stay in Sydney will show you everything you need to know about this diverse and eclectic city

Sydney is internationally known for being a city of trendsetters. This city has some of the most original art and fashion as well as a club scene which puts the rest of the world to shame.

Other than its youth culture, Sydney boasts striking natural beauty from its lush gardens, tranquil harbors, to relaxing beaches.

Regardless if you will be hiking the coast or taking in the local culture, Sydney has something for everyone! On that note, with the help of our ultimate guide to the 15 best things to do in Sydney, you’ll be able to find an amazing day trip at a budget that works for you.

Sydney’s downtown is quite small but has a sprawling suburb which stretches out for miles. To pick just one neighborhood to base yourself out of for the entirety of your vacation may seem like a daunting task, but is actually a lot simpler than you would think.

The CBD is home to some of Sydney’s most iconic landmarks such as the Opera House and Harbour Bridge. Often associated with the nearby Haymarket, the CBD has the best shopping and upscale dining in town.

Hotel Jules Insider Tip

Just Northeast of the CBD you will find the quiet historic dock of Woolloomooloo and the hip artsy neighborhood of Surry Hills. Surry Hills and nearby Darlinghurst boast some of the coolest cafes and bars in town.

Southwest of the CBD lays Darling Harbour, which is home to many choices for fine dining restaurants as well as the largest dance clubs in town.

You may be a little overwhelmed now, but after viewing our guide you are sure to find the best neighborhood in Sydney for you!

Plus, you can also check out our brilliant guide to the 17 best hotels in Sydney will help you save time and money while in Australia’s lively city! If you’re travelling to Indonesia, be sure to check out Canggu’s most incredible areas for 2019.

Sydney’s 5 Best Neighborhoods to Stay in

Now let’s take a look, in greater detail, at the best neighborhoods to stay in Sydney. Each is a little different from the last so be sure to check out which is right for you!

Neighborhood #1 - Bondi Beach

(Where to stay in Sydney for your first time)

Bondi Beach, Sydney

Bondi Beach is our pick for where to stay in Sydney for your first time

Bondi Beach is our pick for where to stay in Sydney on your first time

The first thing that may come to mind when mentioning Australia’s most famous city would be, of course, the Sydney Opera House.

While the Opera House is the most iconic landmark in the city, the sheer number of tourists doesn’t make the Opera House the best representation of the soul of Sydney.

For those who truly want to be immersed in Sydney’s beach culture, look no further than Bondi Beach! The pristine sands and tranquil waves are the perfect backdrop for the colorful local flavor which takes place on Sydney’s most famous shore!

Skateboarders, surfers, weightlifters, musicians, and just your average sunbathers all make Bondi Beach come alive!

Other than the vibrant beachfront, Bondi is home to some of the best bars, cafes, boutique shops and restaurants in all of Sydney.

The reason Bondi Beach is world famous is not only because of its gorgeous soft yellow sands and turquoise water, but it’s also the culture which truly has put Bondi Beach on the map!

Things to See and Do in Bondi Beach

  • Surf or lounge on one of the best beaches in the world: Bondi Beach!
  • Skate or just watch the many skateboarders and rollerbladers at Bondi Skatepark.
  • Gaze out across the breathtaking Bondi Beach from the Bondi Iceberg Baths.
  • Hike from Bondi to Coogee on this scenic walking trail showcasing some of Sydney’s most secluded and spectacular beaches.
  • On the weekend shop at the Bondi Markets, an open-air market where hipsters and artists sell their wares on the street.
  • Support Aboriginal art at Cooee, Australia’s oldest Aboriginal Art Gallery.
  • Grab a drink at one of Bondi’s lively bars such as The Anchor or Neighbourhood Bondi.

Where to Stay in Bondi Beach

Best Budget Hotel in Bondi Beach – Bondi Backpackers

Bondi Backpackers

Bondi Backpackers is the best budget hotel in Bondi Beach

For the most bang for your buck, look no further than Bondi Backpackers!

With stunning panoramic views of the beach from their rooftop lounge, free WiFi, personal training classes, and even barbeques every Friday, this hostel has everything to ensure guests have the best Bondi experience imaginable!


Best Mid-Range Hotel in Bondi Beach – Bondi Beach House

Bondi Beach House

Bondi Beach House is the best mid-range hotel in Bondi Beach

For those wanting to feel truly at home at Bondi Beach, the charming and cozy Bondi Beach House awaits you. Tastefully decorated like a quaint Australian home, guests feel like they are part of the family when entering this guesthouse.

Each room has free WiFi, a flat-screen TV, as well as a refrigerator and microwave. Your Bondi oasis is just a few minutes away from the beach and the rest of your Australian adventure!


Best Luxury Hotel in Bondi Beach – QT Bondi

QT Bondi

QT Bondi is the best luxury hotel in Bondi Beach

QT Bondi is a combination of luxury comfort with alternative flare. The hotel is completely state-of-the-art but decorated with bright colorful pictures showcasing Bondi’s youth culture.

Each of the apartments at QT makes you feel as if you are stepping into a homey apartment. These studio apartments include a balcony, TV, free WiFi, and kitchen facilities.


Neighborhood #2 - Woolloomooloo

(Where to stay in Sydney on a budget)

Woolloomooloo, Sydney

Woolloomooloo is the best place to stay in Sydney on a budget

Woolloomooloo is nestled smack in-between Sydney’s CBD and the hopping neighborhood of Darlinghurst. This unique location puts tourists in walking distance of all the action Sydney has to offer.

Woolloomooloo is one of Sydney’s oldest and most historic neighborhoods. For over a hundred years artists, poets, musicians have all called this area home. This district was also the spot where British ships docked as early as 1856. To this day it is still the location of the East Australian Naval Fleet base.

Other than the area’s naval history, the old port town of Woolloomooloo has transformed many of its wharves and warehouses into some of the trendiest bars, cafes, and boutique shops in all of Sydney.

Woolloomooloo is one of the few parts of town where you can see a bit of old Sydney. With novelty stores and coffee shops amongst some of the most historic buildings in the city, tourists are sure to fall in love with Woolloomooloo!

Things to See and Do in Woolloomooloo

  • Sip your morning coffee while smelling the roses at this café/floral shop called Petal Met Sugar.
  • Get a taste of local culture at the weekend Kings Cross Market.
  • Walk the Finger Wharf, the world’s longest timber-piled wharf now home to the hottest bars and upscale restaurants.
  • Learn about Australian military history at the Royal Australian Navy Heritage Centre.
  • Pig out with a pie at Harry’s Cafe de Wheels, an antique pie cart located near the wharf.
  • Tour Australian colonial history at the Elizabeth Bay House.
  • Wine and dine with great views of Sydney from The Butler.

Where to Stay in Woolloomooloo

Best Budget Hotel in Woolloomooloo – Blue Parrot Youth Hostel

Blue Parrot Youth Hostel

Blue Parrot Youth Hostel is the best budget hotel in Woolloomooloo

The Blue Parrot Youth Hostel offers budget accommodation in an extremely welcoming atmosphere which is perfect for meeting other travelers and learning more about Sydney as a whole.

This simple hostel includes a beautiful terrace, free WiFi, laundry service, and a location which is a short walk away from Sydney’s most popular neighborhoods!


Best Mid-Range Hotel in Woolloomooloo – Waldorf Woolloomooloo Waters Apartment Hotel

Waldorf Woolloomooloo Waters Apartment Hotel

Waldorf Woolloomooloo Waters Apartment Hotel is the best mid-range hotel in Woolloomooloo

There beautiful, centrally located apartments are tourists’ home away from home while staying in Sydney. Each fully furnished apartment has high ceilings, a fully equipped kitchen, living/dining room, and TV.

Just minutes away from many parks, restaurants, and supermarkets, guests will feel like a local when staying at Waldorf Woolloomooloo Waters Apartment Hotel!


Best Luxury Hotel in Woolloomooloo – Ovolo Woolloomooloo Hotel

Ovolo Woolloomooloo Hotel

Ovolo Woolloomooloo Hotel is the best luxury hotel in Woolloomooloo

Located in the heart of Woolloomooloo, the Ovolo Woolloomooloo Hotel is just minutes away from the historic wharf and the Royal Botanical Gardens.

This luxury hotel includes several relaxing lounges, a fitness center, and even an indoor pool. Each of the rooms and suites is equipped with free WiFi, minibar, flat-screen TV, and breathtaking views of the city or ocean.


Neighborhood #3 - Darling Harbor

(Best area to stay in Sydney for nightlife)

Darling Harbor

Darling Harbour is the best spot in Sydney for nightlife

Just minutes away from Downtown, Darling Harbour is home to some of the most upscale restaurants and shops during the day, but when night falls in turns into the hottest center for nightlife in the country.

During the day visit the Sea Life Aquarium or the Wild Life Zoo to get an intimate look at some of the world’s most fascinating creatures. Afterward, take a relaxing stroll through the Chinese Friendship Garden and relax in the bamboo shaded pavilions.

Darling Harbour and Darlinghurst are both in fierce competition for having the best nightlife in all of Sydney. While Darlinghurst may have more small intimate clubs, Darling Harbour takes the cake for its sheer intensity and amount of people.

Clubs such as Home and Marquee Sydney are the best places in the city to dance to both international and local DJs with the most spectacular visuals imaginable.

From a family-friendly harbor front boardwalk during the day to a jumping club scene at night, Darling Harbour has something to offer travelers of all ages!

Things to See and Do in Darling Harbour

  • Shake to the music at the many clubs such as Home, Marquee Sydney, or The Retro.
  • Explore life under the sea at the Sea Life Aquarium.
  • Find Zen at the Chinese Friendship Garden.
  • All hand on deck at the Australian National Maritime Museum, home of several retired navy warships.
  • Taste some real Australian cuisine at the Waterfront Grill.
  • Pose with your favorite stars at Madame Tussauds Wax Museum.
  • Hop on the carousel, the second oldest carousel in all of Australia.

Where to Stay in Darling Harbour

Best Budget Hotel in Darling Harbor – Wake Up! Sydney Central

Wake Up Sydney Central

Wake Up Sydney Central is the best budget hotel in Darling Harbor

Located just a short walk away from the harbor, Wake Up! Sydney Central puts their guests so close to the action that the hotel’s bar hosts live bands and DJs.

Wake Up! also has an onsite restaurant, lounges,  laundry service, as well as free WiFi. For those who want the party to never stop, Wake Up! Sydney Central is the hostel for you!


Best Mid-Range Hotel in Darling Harbour – The Ultimo Hotel

The Ultimo Hotel

The Ultimo Hotel is the best mid-range hotel in Darling Harbour

Just outside of Darling Harbour, on the edge of Chinatown is the cozy Ultimo Hotel. This hotel is decorated in a modern minimalist fashion which is sure to keep guests feeling a sense of tranquility when returning to their rooms.

The Ultimo Hotel offers rooms from a snug single to a spacious courtyard suite, all of which are provided with free WiFi, a flat-screen TV, and refrigerator.


Best Luxury Hotel in Darling Harbour – Astral Tower and Residences at The Star

Astral Tower and Residences at The Star

Astral Tower and Residences at The Star is the best luxury hotel in Darling Harbour

This luxury hotel anticipates their guests every need by providing only the best fine dining, bars, and buffets in the city! Astral Tower’s luxury suites range from having one to four bedrooms, all of which are provided with free WiFi.

After a day of exploring Sydney, you can unwind at the Astral’s spa, sauna, fitness center, or heated pool.


Neighborhood #4 - Surry Hills

(Coolest place to stay in Sydney)

Surry Hills

Surry Hills is the coolest place to stay in Sydney

Surry Hills is our pick for the coolest place to stay in Sydney

With the number of trendsetters and snappy dressers in Surry Hills, merely sitting at an outdoor café while people watching can be considered one of the neighborhoods main attractions.

Surry Hills is truly the capital of cool for all of Sydney. Other than it being home to a large population of hipsters, Surry Hills boasts the best restaurants, cafes, music, and bars.

Surry Hills is often paired with the nearby neighborhood of enclave of cool: Darlinghurst.

Between these Surry Hills and Darlinghurst, tourists will have so many vintage clothing stores, bars, and bookshops to keep themselves entertained with for days!

Unlike Sydney’s beaches and various touristy monuments, foodies will find most of their time spent café hopping in the morning, sending their taste buds to heaven in the evening, and dancing all night long in Surry Hills!

Things to See and Do in Surry Hills

  • See the vintage clothing shops take to the streets on the first Saturday of every month for the Surry Hills Market.
  • Start your day off right with breakfast from the Bourke Street Bakery.
  • Spice up your life with some Indian food at Masala Theory.
  • Catch a film at the Golden Age Theatre, a refurbished classical cinema showing anything from black and white movies to new releases!
  • Cool off with the best ice cream in town at Gelato Messina.
  • Enjoy the fresh air as your stroll through Prince Alfred Park.
  • Support local art at Badger and Fox Gallery or Brett Whiteley Studio.
  • Sip on cocktails at the popular Dead Ringer bar.
  • Sing, drink, dance, and game at the hottest Japanese karaoke bar in town: Goros!

Where to Stay in Surry Hills

Best Budget Hotel in Surry Hills – Big Hostel

Big Hostel

Big Hostel is the best budget hotel in Surry Hills

Big Hostel puts their guests between the bustling CBD and the cool Surry Hills, allowing the perfect mix of big city adrenaline and suburban hipster charm.

This modest hostel has a rooftop patio with a barbeque grill and sun terrace to make you feel that Sydney truly is your oyster.


Best Mid-Range Hotel in Surry Hills – Cambridge Hotel Sydney

Cambridge Hotel Sydney

Cambridge Hotel Sydney is the best mid range hotel in Surry Hills

This award-winning hotel offers its guests the best service, as well as an indoor pool and hot tub. Each room is complete with a flat-screen TV, tea/coffee maker, WiFi, and some rooms even include a balcony.

Smack in between Surry Hills and Darlinghurst, Cambridge Hotel guests are sure to always have excitement waiting for them as soon as they leave their hotel room!


Best Luxury Hotel in Surry Hills – Pullman Sydney Hyde Park Hotel

Pullman Sydney Hyde Park Hotel

Pullman Sydney Hyde Park Hotel is the best luxury hotel in Surry Hills

Pullman Sydney pulls out all the stops to make sure that guests have a vacation that they will remember for a lifetime. The hotel boasts 2 restaurants, a rooftop pool, patio, fitness center, spa, and even a sauna.

Each of the rooms at the Pullman has stunning views of the city and are included with an LCD TV, desk, and free WiFi.


Neighborhood #5 – Sydney CBD

(Best neighborhood in Sydney for families)

Sydney CBD, Sydney

Sydney CBD is the best neighborhood in Sydney for families

The CBD is our pick for best neighborhood in Sydney for families

Staying in the center of the iconic city of Sydney puts all of the most postcard-worthy scenes of the city within your grasp.

Not only will you have the best views of the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbor bridge from the CBD, but all of the best museums, aquariums, and parks are also just a few minutes walk away.

In the CBD tourists can easily walk or take buses to some of the more distant attractions or even take a harbor ferry to get some better views of the city!

Escape from the hordes of selfie-snapping tourists and get a different angle of the Sydney Opera House from the refuge of the Royal Botanical Gardens! With free entry and over a 1,000 specimen in the park, the gardens make a perfect place to unwind!

Sydney’s CBD puts people in the heart of all of the action and gives you all of those picture-perfect moments you have been itching for.

With easy access to places all throughout the city and many things to do nearby, the CBD is the perfect place for families!

Things to See and Do in Sydney CBD

  • Snap a selfie or even catch a show at the Sydney Opera House.
  • Cross the Harbour Bridge and look out across the city of Sydney.
  • Dance to the beat at one of the hottest clubs in town: Chinese Laundry.
  • Escape the hustle and bustle of downtown at the Royal Botanical Gardens.
  • All aboard the Harbour Ferry, giving tourists some of the best views of the city.
  • Ponder the meaning of various pieces of art at the Art Gallery of New South Wales.
  • Climb to the top of Sydney Tower and wonder at Sydney’s skyline.

Where to Stay in Sydney CBD

Best Budget Hotel in Sydney CBD – Sydney Harbour YHA

Sydney Harbour YHA

Sydney Harbour YHA is the best budget hotel in Sydney CBD

Sydney Harbour YHA stands as the standard for all other hostels in the world. This award-winning hotel offers stunning views of the Sydney harbor, all from the comfort from the rooftop lounge.

The hostel offers a TV room, billiards, and a fully equipped kitchen. Just minutes from the most iconic sights in Sydney, the Harbour hostel will be your guide to the closest landmarks and the furthest of destinations.


Best Mid-Range Hotel in Sydney CBD – The Russell Hotel

The Russell Hotel

The Russell Hotel is the best mid-range hotel in Sydney CBD

Nothing can be better than staying in a piece of history. You can do just that by staying in Russell Hotel, which has its origins stretching as far back as 1887.

Other than the hotel’s antique old-world allure, Russell Hotel offers a rooftop garden, restaurant, bar, lounge area, and library.

With its comfortable rooms and indisputable charm, guests are sure to have a holiday to remember!


Best Luxury Hotel in Sydney CBD – The Langham Sydney Hotel

The Langham Sydney Hotel

The Langham Sydney Hotel is the best luxury hotel in Sydney CBD

Spoil yourself with a luxury vacation by staying at The Langham, located right next to the gorgeous Sydney Harbour.

Other then the resorts panoramic views of the city and harbor, this hotel also is home to its own tennis court, spa, pool, bar, and tearoom.

The hotel’s elegant rooms are sure to relieve you of any stress and prepare you to go back out and enjoy the rest of your Australian dream holiday!


Final Thoughts on Where to Stay in Sydney

Sydney is a vibrant culturally diverse city. After a week you may think you have seen everything the city has to offer, but then it will surprise you with something new. From the parties on the beaches to the hipster cafes, Sydney is truly a city full of life.

To recap, Surry Hills is our top pick for best neighborhood in Sydney. With a less touristy atmosphere than the CBD and tons of art, cafes, and bars to choose from, tourists are sure to always find quaint little shops to explore.

Bondi Beach House snags the top prize for being the best accommodation found in all of Sydney. This idyllic bed and breakfast hotel makes guests feel right at home minutes away from one of the most beautiful beaches in the entire world. Book your room well in advance, rooms go fast!

Many people come to Sydney with little expectations. After getting your mandatory photo of the Opera House you can then dig deeper into true Australian culture.

Sydney will take you to the most unique bars, liveliest parties, and serene beaches. At the end of your holiday don’t be surprised if you are saying “Oi, Oi, Oi” in your sleep!

Have we missed anything? Let us know in the comments below. Have a safe and exciting journey to Sydney!

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About the Author Nicola Smart

Gin lover. Coffee addict. Nicola has traveled the world for 7 years and is a staff writer for Hotel Jules. Born in London, Nicola first got the taste of travel studying abroad in Barcelona. Since then she's been hooked - traveling the world non-stop. Passionate about green travel and vegan lifestyle, Nicola spends more of her free time staring at maps wondering where she will head to next!

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