It's time to see your own city with fresh eyes. International travel might still be off the cards for the moment – but why not adopt a traveller's mindset in your own home and check out our ideal Sydney staycation itinerary?
First of all, check in to your swanky digs. Our pick for central location and style? The Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel Sydney's location and gorgeous foyer will make you feel like you've touched down in a cosmopolitan oasis as soon as you walk in through those mile-high glass doors. Plus, right now, they're offering 20 per cent of your entire stay when you book online before November 30 – and the best bit? You can book now to stay well in advance, until the end of September 2021.
Radisson Blue Plaza Hotel Sydney, like all of Radisson's properties internationally, has activated the the Radisson Hotels Safety Protocol. That means that social distancing has been implemented throughout the hotel; disinfection of all hotel areas has increased; hand sanitiser and gloves are provided in public areas; and rooms are equipped with a range of sanitisers, among other measures.
Now, the reason you're here: it's time to explore. Just steps past the hotel's sandstone facade – très European – you'll find yourself in the thrumming heart of the city. On weekends, it clears out of the pressed-suited, power-walking commuters, and gives way to a more relaxed pace. You might think you've been around this block a few times, but you'd be surprised at the gems glittering below the surface. Skittle Lane is a bright, architecturally minded café serving fresh-roasted beans in a slick setting. Sit and watch well-heeled city slickers grab and go, or join them, and take your coffee on a walk down to King St Wharf, and angle northwards towards Barangaroo.
Once you're there, you've probably worked up an appetite – check out Devon Café for inventive, Asian-inspired twists on classic brunch fare (the Japanese omelette sando with a lashing of furikake mayo is always a hit) or settle down by the waterfront for Anason's take on Turkish cuisine, accompanied by a fresh simit – a type of sesame seed-encrusted bagel – from a cart parked out front. Stroll around the Barangaroo Reserve for some calming, green space afterwards.
Closer to your digs at the Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel Sydney is quaint laneway gem Since I Left You – no Melbourne, you don't have the monopoly on laneways – and you've got a wealth of culinary options to choose from afterwards. CBD dining has a reputation for leaving something wanting when it comes to atmosphere, but if you know the right spots you won't be at a loss for a vibe: think Mr Wong for luxe-casual Cantonese share plates, Mejico for inspired Mexican dining, or old-school French underground spot Hubert if you'd rather spend an evening being serenaded by a grand piano in 1950s Paris.
After a restful night's sleep in a lush, spacious Radisson room or suite – special mention to those light-blocking curtains – it's time for a Sydney mainstay: Sunday brunch. While not every café is open on weekends, head over to the Fine Food Store for light, fresh fare, or grab a table at the Museum of Contemporary Art's Sculpture Terrace for blindingly beautiful views and a good dose of modern Australian art on your way in.
Once you've digested enough to turn your explorer mode back on, approach Sydney from an unexpected angle. Stroll over to the home of the world-renowned BridgeClimb in the Rocks: it's a tourist favourite, but for good reason. The views are surreal, the hosts' knowledge unparalleled, and there's a strange sense of camaraderie that accompanies the donning of the ridiculous grey jumpsuits for the experience. If you'd rather stay a little closer to the ground, the harbourside Pylon Lookout offers overarching views of the Harbour (and the sneaky photo op that we know you're really climbing up for). Time to quell that racing heart with a stiff drink? Check out Employees Only, where perfectly mixed cocktails and 24-carat gold flaked steaks are only the top-line offering – this underground bar is also decked out with an on-site tarot card reader, as well as burlesque shows on weekends.