The world’s largest women’s sporting event is now underway! For the first time ever in the Southern Hemisphere, FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023™ will see Sydney host 11 matches through to 20 August 2023, including the coveted Final where the US team is favored to take home the victory.
Sydney recently hosted WorldPride and it’s a very friendly LGBTQ+ destination all year round, especially in February-march for the Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras. But if you happen to also be Down Under for the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023™ we have our top five things to do this month.
FIFA Fan Zone
Located within one of Sydney’s most popular tourist destinations, the FIFA Fan Festival in Darling Harbour’s Tumbalong Park is an outdoor event hub where locals gather for leisure and entertainment. Fans will be able to test their football skills, watch live performances and indulge in delicious food and beverage offerings in this iconic location, including celebrity chef Josh Niland’s famous tuna cheeseburger. Before you hit the Fan Festival, get loaded up with football merch. Mick Simmons in the city stocks Matildas jerseys but a little extra travel will take you to Alexandria’s Ultra Football, which has a huge range of jerseys (including a big selection of national teams) as well as their usual epic collection of football merch. The Fan Festival zone will be open to punters from 20 July to 20 August.
City of Sights
Sydney is very much a City of Sights. You’ve probably seen Sydney’s icons on postcards and social media, but exploring the harbour in real life offers a completely different angle, and will ensure you leave with memories beyond football. See the Sydney Opera House illuminated by the rising sun with a Sydney Harbour Kayaks sunrise tour and follow it up with a BridgeClimb walk to the summit of the famous Sydney Harbour Bridge, showcasing unparalleled views of the city. After a distinctly energetic morning of sightseeing, refuel with a Sydney tradition – yum cha. The Eight, famous for both the range and quality of its dim sum, is one of the city’s best.
Between one of the many footie games, make sure you see the city from a different perspective via Dreamtime Southern X, an Aboriginal-run tour company that has been providing culturally immersive tours around The Rocks (a historic colonial neighbourhood) for more than two decades. Ahead of the world famous Sydney Opera House turning 50 this October, Sydney Opera House Hidden House Tour is being run. This tour will take 10 visitors at a time into back-of-house spaces to see the inner workings of this complex building including the Concert Hall’s world-famous organ.
Sydney Football Stadium and Coffee and Pub Culture in Paddington
Sydney has a thriving cafe culture and, no exaggeration, some of the best coffee in the world. In the leafy, historic suburb of Paddington try Morris for a modern Australian iteration or Barbetta for a traditional Italian breakfast and cappuccino. Paddington is a short walk from both the Sydney Football Stadium and Sydney Cricket Ground. The former is where you’ll be watching the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023™ unfold and at the latter you can do a tour that takes you through the 100-year history of the ground plus its most celebrated sporting legends and epic moments.
Paddington also has an incredible density of great pubs. Start at The Unicorn, a pub that’s made a name for itself through its old-school pub culture combined with new elements (have a look at the natural wine list). From there make your way to award-winning Paddington pubs like The Village Inn, The Paddington, The London, Paddo Inn, Four In Hand Hotel and The Lord Dudley. If there’s no Sydney game on, finish at The Light Brigade, a pub with a popular rooftop and sports bar for you to watch all the games playing outside of Sydney. If the game is on, take the 10min walk to Sydney Football Stadium.
And as always, Sydney’s gay golden mile, Oxford Street, has bars and cafes to explore for some LGBTQ+ nightlife.
Sydney Olympic Park and Stadium Australia in Parramatta
If you have done most of the city centre sights, then hop a train and travel west to Parramatta. Parramatta has a diverse and rapidly growing cafe scene and one of the newest players is Misc, a trendy restaurant nestled into Parramatta Park with a menu and interiors tailor-made for Instagram. If you’re looking for a more humble and homey setting, then settle into Circa Espresso in central Parramatta. The cafe is a local institution that’s been winning awards for its coffee and Middle Eastern-influenced fare since opening in 2010. The park where you started the day overlooks Parramatta River and it’s full of World Heritage-listed colonial sites, including Elizabeth Farm and Hambledon Cottage, some of the oldest colonial buildings in Australia.
Paramatta is also home to one of the most storied stadiums in the country, Stadium Australia, the ground where Aloisi scored to put the Socceroos in the 2006 FIFA World Cup™. For the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023™, the epic stadium will host the opening game between the Matildas and The Republic of Ireland, one match from every round of the finals and the Final itself.
New Hotel Openings in the Harbour City
The Harbour-city has seen a rush of accommodations open in time for the FIFA Women’s World Cup, including Sydney’s newest luxury hotel, the Capella Sydney. For generations, the Department of Education building in Sydney’s Sandstone Precinct has stood quietly, its golden facade forming an unassuming backdrop to the rhythm of the city. Reawakening as Capella Sydney, the heritage-listed icon will welcome guests inside its walls for the very first time, setting a global benchmark for luxury accommodation, cuisine and cultural immersion. Embedding visitors in the beating heart of the city’s commercial, cultural and hospitality precinct, Capella Sydney also marks the first property under the Capella Hotels and Resorts constellation to open in Australia.
Following the culmination of the FIFA Women’s World Cup and going into the Sydney spring season, the new W will be opening. The W brand is known globally for turning traditional luxury on its head with futuristic interiors, game-changing Whatever/Whenever service and buzzing communal spaces. The newly built hotel is part of the ground-breaking development The Ribbon, set to elevate the skyline on Darling Harbour with its wavy, shimmering design. There are 585 rooms decked out in signature bold W style, and inside guests will find a Living Room bar, two-story rooftop bar and a Level 29 WET Deck with heated infinity pool overlooking Darling Harbour.
Revel in the Delights of the Southern Highlands
With world-class stadiums and picturesque trails backed by grand-scale nature, New South Wales is the perfect spot to see legendary athletes in action – and to lace up your own trainers and challenge yourself.
Pack the pleasures of a long holiday into a short break by savoring the idyllic scenery, charming villages, delectable local produce and wines, and abundant outdoor activities of the New South Wales Southern Highlands, just a 90-minute drive from Sydney’s city centre.
And if the footie all becomes too much, switch sporting gears and step back in time at the Bradman Museum & International Cricket Hall of Fame, in cricket legend Sir Donald Bradman’s hometown of Bowral, the largest town in the Southern Highlands. Immerse yourself in interactive experiences that transport you to the 1930s and 40s and scenes of some of Sir Donald’s most iconic innings. And be absorbed by innovative displays with live game footage from around the world, touch-screen kiosks, fascinating memorabilia and a contemporary art gallery.
Find out more about what to do in Sydney during World Cup.