Top 10 things to do in Sydney during the day

Whether you're in Sydney for a weekend or a week, there's an exciting choice of things to see and do during daylight hours.

You could refresh your wardrobe for the coming season, linger over lunch with friends, frolic in the cool clear ocean, take a walk in a coastal park or sip a delectable cocktail in an upmarket alfresco bar with harbour views. To help you plan your perfect Sydney day, here are some of the top daytime experiences that locals recommend to visiting friends.

1. Hit the shops

The retail experience in Sydney is out of this world. From local designer boutiques to premium brands from around the world, it's all there for the buying. And if you want to snap up a bargain, head to Birkenhead Point Outlet Centre. You can catch the exclusive Shopper Hopper ferry direct from Darling Harbour or Circular Quay for some Sydney harbour sightseeing on the way.

2. Cool off in an ocean pool

Bronte Beach, between Bondi Beach and Coogee, is a quieter local favourite with a large sheltered rock pool that's perfect for kids. There's also a free public swimming pool dating from 1887 that's set into the cliff and filled directly from the sea. Pack a lunch or BBQ food to enjoy at the park or head to one of the popular local cafes. A walkway south through an historic cemetery leads to sheltered Clovelly Beach, a favourite with snorkelers.

3. Relax at the Coogee Pav

Get into the Sydney surfside lifestyle with a swim at Coogee Beach followed by a lazy lunch at the Coogee Pavilion. The Pav, as it's known, is at the northern end of the beach. Keep an eye out for the blue and white striped dome, which looks a bit like a giant beach umbrella. From gelato and juice on the ground floor to the heavenly Rooftop bar and restaurant, The Pav ticks a lot of boxes.

4. Engage your brain at MCA Sydney

Sydney's Museum of Contemporary Art, located at The Rocks, is a place to wander and wonder. The amazing exhibitions cover every form of modern art - painting, sculpture, electronic, photography, kinetic and more. Every piece is designed to make you think, feel and understand. Entry's free and the MCA Café has some of the best views in the city.

5. Chill out at one of the best beaches in Sydney

A favourite on Sydney's northern coast, Palm Beach occupies a wooded peninsula with a long ocean beach on one side and more sheltered inner beaches on the other. The result is a sublime combination of great surfing, swimming and coastal park walks. You can start your Palm Beach adventure with a delicious lunch at one of the delicious local eateries, like the ever popular Boathouse, set over the water at Palm Beach.

6. Walk to Barrenjoey Lighthouse

The headland at Palm Beach is Sydney's most northern point. It's a small part of the vast Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park and features a lighthouse and keepers' cottages built in 1881 from local sandstone. One of the best walks in Sydney, the easy hike to the top takes around 30 minutes and the views are truly spectacular. It's the perfect way to walk off a delicious lunch at one of Palm Beach's popular restaurants.

7. Lunch at Grounds of Alexandria

Discover a beautiful oasis in what was once a disused industrial car park. Grounds of Alexandria, just south of the CBD, is a Sydney favourite for long relaxing lunches with family and friends. It's also a top spot for breakfast. Onsite eateries include the lively Café and The Potting Shed, with its locally harvested produce, craft beers, wines and cocktails. There's also The Garden for backyard BBQ favourites, healthy bowls and (on the weekends) wood fired pizzas. Kids love the spacious outdoor feel here, complete with chickens and a pig called Harry Trotter.

8. Head for the House Bar at Barangaroo

Set right on the waterfront on the western side of the CBD, the ground floor House Bar at Barangaroo House is the perfect place for a leisurely afternoon in the city. In addition to classic cocktails, spritzer pitchers, craft beers and international brews, the House Bar offers a deliciously relaxed menu of small bites, salads, sharing platters, gourmet burgers and more.

9. Unwind on the deck at The Newport

Overlooking a calm inner harbour in one of Sydney's northern beach suburbs, The Newport is a local favourite for lunch and laid-back afternoons. Here several eateries share a vast outdoor deck beneath umbrellas and shady trees. You'll find delicious seafood dishes, gourmet burgers, fresh Asian flavours, tasty salads and authentic Italian pizza. There's also a great selection of smoothies, juices, cocktails and wines. If you're travelling with children, they'll love the games area.

10. Tour a boutique distillery

In the suburb of Rosebery, about 5km south of Central Station, there's a local boutique distillery with a huge international reputation. The handcrafted gins, whiskeys, vodka and rum at Archie Rose have exceptionally beautiful flavours. Book a one-hour distillery tour to learn how they make these sought-after spirits and finish with a guided tasting of the distillery's finest. The bar's open until late, if you want to make a night of it.

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