Read Caption
Sydney's New Year's Eve fireworks display illuminates the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge. (Photograph by Andrew Waton, Getty)

Laura Bronner is an American expat who has been living in Sydney for the last two years. After graduating from college, she set off on what was supposed to be a year of travel; that was almost four years ago. Since then she has lived and traveled all over New Zealand and Australia.

Read more about her Australian adventures and where she’s off to next on her An American Abroad blog and on Twitter @usaabroad

Sydney Is My City

When someone comes to visit me, the first place I take them to is Circular Quay. Standing at the ferry terminal with the Harbor Bridge to the left and the Opera House to the right is my favorite place to start showing off Sydney.

Autumn is the best time to visit my city because it’s warm enough to go to the beach during the day, but still cool enough not to be suffocated by the humidity.

You can see my city best from Cremorne Point just to the north of the Harbor Bridge.

Locals know to skip Darling Harbor and check out the Rocks instead.

Kate Owen Gallery and the Spirit Gallery are the places to buy authentic, local souvenirs. Be sure there is a certificate of authenticity to let you know the Aboriginal artist is receiving compensation for their work.

My city’s best museum is the National Maritime Museum because it’s interactive and fun for kids and adults. Read about Sydney Harbor’s interesting history, then head aboard the full-scale model of Captain Cook’s H.M.B. Endeavor or climb into the depths of a submarine.

If there’s one thing you should know about getting around my city, it’s that public transport can be expensive and it won’t get you to every place you want to go.

The best place to spend time outdoors in my city is on the harbor. Rent a kayak or hop on the ferry to Manly for an amazing view and a cool breeze.

My city really knows how to celebrate New Year’s Eve because the fireworks display in the harbor is the most spectacular thing you’ll ever see. Splurge on a boat ticket and watch the fireworks explode around you.

You can tell if someone is from my city by the way they talk about their coffee.

Just outside my city, you can visit the Royal National Park, the second oldest National Park in the world (just after Yellowstone). It has walking trails that weave along cliff sides and up and over sand dunes.

My city is known for being centered around the world-famous harbor, but it’s really all about the suburbs.

The best outdoor market in my city is the Pyrmont Grower’s Market that takes place on the first Saturday of every month. There is fresh and organic produce, artisan meats and cheeses and homemade pastries.

Four Ate Five in Surry Hills is my favorite place to grab breakfast, and Harry’s Café de Wheels is the spot for late-night eats.

My city’s biggest sports event is NRL. Watch it at any of the eight Sydney teams’ stadiums.

When I’m feeling cash-strapped, I go to Chinatown to feast on $10 meals in the Eating World food court.

To escape the crowds, I go to Milk Beach in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs. It’s quiet and secluded and there’s never a tourist in sight.

The dish that represents my city is anything on a Saturday brunch menu and coffee is my city’s signature drink.

The Queen Victoria Building (or QVB as it’s known) is my favorite building in town because the architecture stands out among the newer style of glass office buildings.

The most random thing about my city is the game of two-up, an old gambling game that is only allowed to be legally played in New South Wales on ANZAC Day.

Ice Skating on Bondi Beach during Christmas in July could only happen in my city.

In the spring you should dine al fresco at one of the many Sydney cafes, then explore the Botanical Gardens while all of the flowers are in bloom.

In the summer you should seek shade. The heat of the midday sun is very strong, but cooler evenings make sunset beach strolls the perfect way to end a work day.

In the fall you should do the spit to Manly walk, a ten-kilometer (six-mile) hike along Sydney’s Northern Shoreline. Finish with a beer at 4Pines on Manly’s Esplanade.

In the winter you should check out Vivid Sydney, a light festival that takes over Circular Quay using the iconic buildings of the harbor as its canvas.

If you have kids (or are a kid at heart), you won’t want to miss Taronga Zoo. You can spot all of Australia’s famous animals. Don’t miss the bird show; the view is spectacular and the animals aren’t too bad, either.

In 140 characters or less, the world should heart my city because where else can you drive 15 minutes out of a bustling city center and lay on a quiet beach for three seasons out of the year?

> Related: