Sydney’s an expensive city. There’s no way around it. But still, there are plenty of cheap things to do in Sydney, if you only know where to look – and luckily, you’ve come to the right place. So, perhaps it’s time to be kind to your wallet and take advantage of these iconic Sydney staples without burning a hole in your pocket. Here are some of Secret Sydney’s favourite affordable things to do to enjoy Sydney on a budget.
1. Take the ferry to Manly and back
The Circular Quay to Manly ferry ride is one of the best ways to explore much of what Sydney is famous for on a budget. For just $9.90, you get to see some of the most iconic structures in the city up close and personal. The ride is especially beautiful around sunset with the Opera House and Harbour Bridge standing tall against the sun.
2. Wander the winding paths of Wendy Whiteley’s Secret Garden
Lavender Bay’s ultimate hidden gem is a lovely spot for a wander, commanding a delightful view of the Harbour Bridge whilst ushering you through leafy paths lined with beautiful plants. Technically this option is entirely free to visit, but since we’ve never been able to finish a visit without a pastry from nearby Loulou in hand, it merely counts as cheap for us. No regrets, though.
3. Head down to Chinatown for some delicious and cheap food
There are so many cheap spots for Asian food in Chinatown you’ll be completely spoilt for choice. Head over to Chinatown Noodle King or Chat Thai for a bite and take in all the laidback vibes of the Haymarket suburb. While you’re at it, add a stroll down Darling Square to your list, as you can find some amazing street art and libraries in the area and enjoy them for cheap.
4. Try some of the best coffee and views in town at The Grounds
We’re big fans of The Grounds and we make no bones about it. For just under $10 you can get your hands on their rich, buttery coffee in the city or at their Alexandria venue. Apart from the coffee itself, The Grounds also provides a number of stunning photo ops and is rightfully one of the most photographed locations in the country.
5. Sweat it out at the No Lights, No Lycra weekly dance party
For anyone who loves dancing but is too conscious of doing so in public — No Lights, No Lycra presents the perfect solution. Every Thursday, the lights go off at their locations and visitors let their hair down to groovy dance numbers without any inhibitions. It’s the perfect mid-week stress buster and costs only $10.
6. Explore a weekend market
From vintage finds to vinyl records to exclusive memorabilia, Sydney market culture is a whole vibe and it’s doubtful you’ll go back home empty-handed. Check out our list of all the brilliant markets in Sydney where you can grab a thing or two for as cheap as $10. There’s a lot you’ll need to rummage through though to get your hands on some real treasure.
7. Try the most Instagrammed cake in the world
The iconic strawberry watermelon cake at Blackstar Pastry is both great to look at and eat. A real treat for your Instagram and taste buds — you can get a wholesome slice for just $9. You might think it’s a bit steep for a slice of cake, but it’s worth every penny.
8. Watch a movie at the legendary Ritz Cinema
Watching a movie at the classic Ritz cinemas is an essential to-do for film buffs in the city. And if you sign up and become a member, you just have to pay $10. The beloved Randwick cinema is a fun activity if you’re exploring Sydney on a budget. You can choose from a diverse selection of movies all year round, right from classics to new releases.
9. Plan a road trip to the Royal National Park
There is so much to do in the expansive Royal National Park that even locals who have grown up in the area end up stumbling upon hidden gems from time to time. This is another ‘Sydney under $10’ staple that must be experienced. There are several National Park walks and bus services that start at just $10. Find more info here, and see all the breathtaking National Parks you’ve got to visit near Sydney here.
10. Explore the street art in Sydney
Sydney has an interesting street art culture that has certainly taken a life of its own in recent times. If you want to explore Sydney on a budget, head to our gorgeous city’s hidden lanes and alleyways without spending a dime.