11 hacks to make Sydney life easier and cheaper

When you’ve been around these streets long enough, you learn some ways to game the city. Keep these hot tips in your back pocket to hack your Sydney life for the better.

1. The fine-dining hack

It’s no secret that Sydney is exy city, especially when it comes to fine-dining experiences. When your wallet doesn’t stretch wide enough to accommodate your tastes for Sydney’s finer dining scene, there are still ways to taste the high lift. From ordering off the bar menu to timing your visit to coincide with happy hour, check out the best ways to dine at the finest restaurants in Sydney for less.

2. The public transport hack

For glitzy views without the price tag, hop on a ferry around the scenic waterways of our fair harbour city. Here are our seven favourite ferry trips for some inspiration. For an extra saving, catch your ride on the weekend – while the Sunday $2.50 cap is no longer, you can now travel as much as you want around the entire public transport network for just $8.90 a day on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. 

3. The underground hack

When the heavens open, Sydney can get pretty wild. To avoid the downpour dramas, head downstairs in the CBD. You can get to a surprising number of places through the underground connections spanning from Town Hall to the QVB and Westfield, and even as far as Wynyard and Barangaroo.

4. The cut-price movies hack

While we love the escapism (and surround sound) of a movie theatre, cinema ticket prices can sometimes be enough to convince us that lying in bed watching a Netflix show is the preferable option. Get a great deal by heading to the Dendy Newtown on a Tuesday for $12 tickets – and find out more cheap ticket hacks here.

5. The library card hack

You might not have seen one since your primary school days, but we promise you, they still exist. The City of Sydney has a bunch of fantastic libraries around the city that have collections you can order from online for pick up at your convenience. If you’re looking for a new release, librarians can order those in, too. And borrow glossy magazines without the glossy price tag. Plus, library cards come with a free Kanopy subscription, an online streaming service with a wide range of films, both arthouse and mainstream. And did we mention that all of those services are free?

6. The art hack

If you somehow managed to pull yourself out of bed on a weekend for a gallery expedition after one too many wines the night before, the only thing worse than trying to interpret the likes of Kadinsky with a splitting headache is navigating the weekend crowds. Fortunately, if standing on your tip-toes to get a view of the art isn’t your dream weekend to-do, you can get an art fix outside of normal opening times with Art After Hours at the Art Gallery of NSW. Visitors can explore the collections between 5-9pm on Wednesdays. Throughout summer, many of the city’s museums and galleries have jumped on the train of shutting their doors late one night a week

7. The cheap theatre tickets hack

Keep an eye out for ways to see theatre without breaking the bank, such as snagging discounted tickets for under-30s, or using discount outlets like Lastix. Check out our hacks for cheap theatre tickets, here

8. The secret beach hack

Sure, we love the good ol’ nostalgia of the pavilion and the Bondi Rescue vibes at the popular show’s namesake beach, but sometimes you just want a stretch of sand where you can spread out sans the heaving throng of beachgoers. Don’t tell anyone, but we’ve rounded up Sydney’s best secret beaches. If you’d rather bake in your birthday suit, we also have you (un)covered with our pick of Sydney’s best nudist beaches.

9. The hidden bar hack

Perhaps a queue down a random alleyway has caught your attention, or a glimmer of light under a doorway has caught your eye. From a rooftop oasis hidden in an unassuming office building to a swinging hot spot that shares an entrance with a Subway sandwich shop, Sydney has some stellar hidden bars – you just need to know where to look. We have you covered for the city’s best hidden bars.

10. The pee hack

No, seriously. When you’ve just gotta go, nothing is worse than having to hover over a toilet seat in awkward discomfort in an ill-lit, inexplicably damp public toilet surrounded by the poop equivalent of the Battle of the Somme. For full-bladder salvation, your best bet is finding a loo big enough that you won’t be disturbed and busy enough that wee hitting water isn’t publicly broadcast. Our suggestions include the QVB’s Ladies’ Powder Room (for the upper-crust shopping wee), Chippendale’s White Rabbit Gallery (for a chic contemporary arty wee), and an unlikely porcelain palace in a suburban shopping centre (for the busy parents’ zen wee). Read more of our favourite peeing spots (not even kidding) here.

11. The secret spot hacks

From a free museum and primo lookout in a pylon of the Harbour Bridge, to the Rocks’ own attempt at a ‘walk of fame’, the city has secrets to share in little-known hideaways and often overlooked corners. Check out our favourite best-kept-secret-spots in Sydney.