The Sydney Opera House is so much more than opera – and we know that seeing a Sydney Opera House show is on the bucket-list for many visitors. Both in and around the city’s famous landmark, there are heaps of other things to do. Here’s what you shouldn’t miss:
Find Your Perfect Shots
Even though the Sydney Opera House, with its iconic ‘sails’, is already one of the most photographed buildings in the world, you’ll still want to put your own spin on your photos.
The Opera House is different from every angle and vantage point, and it’s got its own local characters. Try to spot Benny (named after Bennelong Point), the long-nosed fur seal, lounging on the northern waterside steps near the concert hall. Don’t get too close though – seals need their personal space, too.
If you’re determined to make the perfect shot of Sydney Opera House in its entirety, hop on a ferry at Circular Quay to Kirribilli, Manly, or Watsons Bay to get the perfect vantage point from the harbour. Or climb new heights with BridgeClimb Sydney – a trek to the top of Sydney’s equally famous landmark, the Sydney Harbour Bridge, will definitely get you a breathtaking photo. On BridgeClimb, trained photographers are provided.
All-Access Sydney Opera House
With several theatres, a studio, and a concert hall, shows at the Sydney Opera House offer something for everyone. Choose from dramatic theatre, musical theatre, classical music, cabaret, dance, comedy, films, talks, and, certainly, opera.
For those interested in the building and its history, take a behind-the-scenes guided tour to learn some fascinating Sydney Opera House facts. The perfect rainy day activity, this tour takes roughly an hour, and runs daily from 9am to 5pm. Another intimate, small-group Backstage Tour (this one runs nearly 2.5 hours from 7am) gives you access to what goes on behind the velvet curtains and includes breakfast in the green room with performers and artists. Sydney Opera House operates a total of eight official tours.
Wine, Dine and Fine Views
The area in and around Sydney Opera House has some of the finest dining options, in both treats and views.
Opera Bar is iconic, as is its menu classic: graze on high-end pub staples like a cob loaf fondue and the group option for fish and chips – the Fisherman’s Feast. A table facing the Harbour Bridge on the raised promenade is most coveted for its sweeping views of spectacular Sydney Harbour, live street entertainment, and people-watching. A tip: if you can’t get outdoor tables here, try next door at Opera House.
The most underrated view of the Opera House is probably from the inside – Bennelong, located under one of the Opera House sails, is a fine-dining experience helmed by Chef Peter Gilmore. Expect Australian seasonal food and wine at its best, and the envy of everyone looking in. A meal at Bennelong – or a drink at their bar – is as memorable as any show you’ll see here.
Art, Art Everywhere
There is always something happening outside the Sydney Opera House, too.
The building’s forecourt plays host to a number of events every year, recently welcoming such luminaries as Oprah Winfrey and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex amid large crowds. Sometimes, the Opera House displays performances outside; Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour, Sting, Florence and the Machine, Crowded House, and The Wiggles have all performed here in recent years.
Plus, every year for three weeks, the Sydney Opera House becomes a centrepiece of Vivid Sydney – the city’s annual festival of lights, music, and ideas. At Vivid, the sails of the Opera House become a mesmerising canvas of colour and culture. And the forecourt makes for a great starting point for exploring the rest of the festival around Circular Quay.
Shopping at the Sydney Opera House Shop digs up a trove of unique gifts and mementos – from a Sydney Opera House Tea blend by T2, to a Monopoly Sydney Opera House Collector’s Edition.
Of course, this is just the tip of the Bennelong Point sails – ask your Hilton Concierge about what’s on during your stay. They’ll have access to the latest information on the Sydney Opera House shows and events and can help you with tour, restaurant, or ticket bookings.