Think you've seen the majority of Sydney's major attractions? If so, on your next visit to the Emerald City it might be time to get off the tourist track and discover these top places where Sydneysiders live and play, says Leah McLennan.
1. Secret Foodies
Eating and meeting
Secret Foodies, hosted by Ms Darlinghurst, is Sydney's surprise dining experience for people who love food and meeting new people. Guests purchase a ticket unaware of where they're going or whom they'll meet until two hours before the event. They are then taken on a food journey with the chef, learning about the philosophy and passion behind their meal.
2. 2 Danks Street
What for? Food and art
There's an exciting urban renewal happening in the gritty buildings of Waterloo. One example is 2 Danks Street, a complex of 10 independent galleries in an old warehouse. Danks Street is also home to dozens of unique cafés and restaurants - one of the best is the French House, a café fully decked out in the style of an old-fashioned Parisian patisserie.
Details: 2 Danks Street, Waterloo; 2danksstreet.com.au
3. The School
What for? Make-it-yourself lessons
The School is nothing like you will remember from your childhood days. In a beautiful studio in Rosebery, Megan Morton, one of Australia's leading stylists, offers tuition alongside the best-of-the-best craftspeople. Book in to learn everything from the science of styling to how to decorate cupcakes and make a flower bomb (no crafty experience required).
Details: 85 Dunning Avenue, Rosebery; theschool.com.au
4. Food trucks
What for? Snacks
Forget the greasy kebab or late night burger; Sydney food trucks are dishing out some top quality street food at all hours of the night. Two out of 10 trucks so far have hit the streets as part of the City of Sydney's 12-month trial. Drop by Cantina Mobil for scrumptious Mexican street food or Eat Art Truck for a pulled pork bun or a hot chocolate cake with dulce de leche.
If you've only got a short time in Sydney you can't go wrong with Kitchen by Mike, a feast for the tastebuds and the eyes. This buffet style café, run by ex-Rockpool chef Mike McEnearney, serves organic, biodynamic and just plain irresistible dishes. In the same warehouse space you'll find the showroom of Australian-made designer furniture group Koskela.
Details: 85 Dunning Avenue, Rosebery; koskela.com.au
6. The Grounds
What for? A coffee roasting class
If you love the caffeinated bean then this class is perfect for you. Coffee lover and expert Jack Hanna runs roasting and coffee appreciation classes from this heritage-listed warehouse.
Details: Building 7A, 2 Huntley Street, Alexandria; groundsroasters.com
What for? Theatre and markets
Carriageworks is one of Sydney's most exciting creative precincts in the edgy suburb of Redfern. On the site of the old Eveleigh Rail Yards you'll find a stunning centre that hosts physical theatre, music, dance and visual arts. Farmers' markets are held here every Saturday and artisans' markets take place on the first Sunday of the month.
Details: 245 Wilson Street, Redfern; carriageworks.com.au
8. The Racecourse Drive-in Cinema
What for? A movie
You may have to beg, borrow or steal a car - but whatever you do don't miss a visit to the drive-in at the Royal Randwick Racecourse. This film experience is a nostalgic treat with movies running throughout August and September.
Details: Royal Randwick; racecoursedrivein.com.au
9. Bentley Bar
What for? A wine or two
Hard-core wine nerds seek out this bar to pore over one of Australia's most comprehensive wine lists. Here you can savour a limited edition drop from a choice of over 600 drops recommended by award-winning sommelier Nick Hildebrandt.
Details: 320 Crown Street, Surry Hills; thebentley.com.au
10. Adriano Zumbo
What for? Dessert
If you're a lover of all things sweet then while you're in Sydney hunt down an Adriano Zumbo patisserie (Manly, Rozelle and Balmain) for the ultimate pig-out experience. Zumbo's latest venture is a sushi-style dessert train at The Star casino. Forget gambling at The Star - grabbing colourful macarons off a conveyor belt is much more fun.