Culture in Sydney on a Budget
by Alex Johnson
No doubt that even finding cheap flight deals; you just spent around $1500 flying to the great land down under. G’day. Chances are you’ve also flown into Australia’s largest city, the beautiful Sydney but that doesn’t make up for the fact that you just spent almost two grand travelling here, so you’re in no hurry to be spending more than you need to be. Don’t worry, there is plenty to see and do to really experience what Sydney has to offer.
Art Gallery of New South Wales
For those of you that consider yourselves art lovers, the Art Gallery of New South Wales is the perfect place for you, and even better general entry to the gallery is FREE. The Art Gallery of NSW is one of Australia’s largest galleries, and is home to thousands of art works. Even if you’re not a fan of art, the architecture of the building should be enough to entice you to enter!
The gallery is home to an extensive permanent collection which is often overlooked by major exhibitions shown at the gallery. When exploring the permanent collection you’ll get an understanding of Australian history through art, with artefacts from Aboriginal Australians, colonial arts, contemporary art, as well as international art. The gallery also plays host to an array of exhibitions, which can incur a cost to enter.
If you’re looking to experience the Australian beach lifestyle, then look no further than in Sydney! Yes, Bondi is Australia’s most famous beach and is flocked by residents and tourists alike however it really encapsulates the beach lifestyle Australia is known for. Head on down there on a hot day and you’ll see people of all walks of life, all ages, friends, family, or by themselves make the pilgrimage down to the sands! Whether they’re there for a game of beach soccer, to surf, or a bake in the sun, everyone is there.
I would recommend taking public transport, as the beach is easily accessible via bus, and street parking is scarce and often expensive. If you’re looking to get to the beach but don’t love the crowds be sure to check out Bronte, Manly, Balmoral, Milk, and Tamarama beaches!
Museum of Contemporary Art
As you can probably tell from the name, the Museum of Contemporary Art is one of Australia’s most notable contemporary art institutions. Showcasing the best of local and international artists and everything from new artists to veterans, the Museum of Contemporary art is located on the beautiful Circular Quay.
The MCA is dedicated to collecting, preserving, exhibiting, and interpreting contemporary art. Like the Art Gallery of New South Wales the MCA has a permanent collection that is free to view, but special events and exhibitions will incur a cost to visit. Additionally due to its location, there is always something to see and do in Circular Quay once you’ve finished up at the MCA.
Chinatown Night Markets
Sydney’s culture is foundationally based on multicultural diversity, respect, and tolerance. Experience buzzing street stalls similar to what you’d find in South East Asia with Dixon Street in Chinatown’s weekly night markets held every Friday! During Chinatown’s night markets you’ll find stalls selling fad trinkets like fidget spinners, small retail jewellery stores, toys, and balloon animals. On the other side you’ll find the food stalls with everything from Japanese takoyaki and Hong Kong dragon beard candy to Korean BBQ beef.
Be sure to come early as the markets are much loved by locals and tourists alike so it can get very busy. If you find yourself not full enough from the street food, you won’t have to walk far at all until you find a great eat, as both sides of the street are lined with different Asian cuisine restaurants.
Watch an NRL Game
Australians love their sport whether its soccer, AFL, NRL, netball, tennis, or golf, we love it all. However, in Sydney there is a general favouritism towards NRL and when we watch games; we really get into them seeing as 10 out of the 16 clubs are based in New South Wales! As you can see, sport is heavily embedded in our culture, so to really get the experience head down to Allianz Stadium, grab yourself a beer and meat pie, and cheer your heart out! Tickets to each game will set you back around $20 for the cheapest seats, but prices vary depending on seat choice, arena, and match.
Yes Sydney is often voted one of the world’s most expensive cities to live in, but it doesn’t mean you need to break the bank to visit! These are just a few places where you can truly see and experience the culture of Sydney, but there are plenty of other current events that pass through the city!
Alex is a 23 year old lover of life, interior design & adventure. After moving to Sydney when finishing a journalism degree, he began his blog Inspire A Better Life to positively influence others to get out there and see all life has to offer. Join Alex as he discovers this life one day at a time, documenting his thoughts and other along the way!
This article was published in November 2017.