As the strip of land where European settlers chose to step ashore in 1788, The Rocks is essentially the birthplace of modern Sydney. Over the last 200-odd years, it's morphed from a rowdy, raucous settlement of convicts, soldiers, sailors and street gangs to a thriving, modern precinct boasting a range of funky bars and restaurants.
If history floats your boat, step back in time on The Rocks self-guided walking tour, or wait outside historic Cadman's Cottage every evening at 6pm for the I'm Free Tour; you'll explore the laneways, pubs and heritage buildings and learn stories of the precinct's shady past.
Tourists and Sydneysiders alike flock to the area to take in the markets – on Fridays, you'll want to bring a healthy appetite to The Rocks Foodies Market and its mouth-watering stalls! The fun (and the exquisite food) continues on Saturdays and Sundays at The Rocks' Weekend Markets, where over 200 stalls sell designer clothing, accessories, homewares, jewellery, photography and souvenir gifts.
The area is a well-known creative and cultural arts hub, too, whether you're visiting the Museum of Contemporary Art or stumbling on artisans, poets or bespoke craftsmen as part of The Rocks pop-up project. Be sure to check out the Argyle Gallery and The Rocks Discovery Museum too.
Upcoming events in the area include The Rocks Aroma Festival in July, where you can taste coffee, tea, chocolate and spices from around the world – and enjoy live music, belly dancing, capoeira and more.