The gems in this historic district lie within footsteps of a grand hotel.

The stay

InterContinental Sydney

From the baby grand in the foyer to the butler’s entry in the kitchen and the Byredo body products in the bathroom-slash-dressing room, the Presidential Opera Suite at the InterContinental Sydney is home-away-from-home luxury. Level-29 views of the Harbour Bridge, Opera House and Royal Botanic Garden are reflected in the cool greens and blues of the interior furnishings, which spill outside onto a private terrace complete with fireplace. The suite is one of three new premium designs unveiled following the relaunch of the 509-room hotel, located in Sydney’s heritage Treasury Building. While guests have automatic access to the Club InterContinental lounge two floors up or can be distracted by the views from the rooftop Aster bar, sunsets are best shared at the 14-seat dining table back in the suite. The vast circular bathtub overlooking the eastern harbour? Keep that to yourself.

The gallery

Museum of Contemporary Art

Make a beeline for the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA), at the western end of Circular Quay. Visit on a Friday night to experience local and international exhibitions after dark along with live performances, artist talks and workshops, plus some late-night shopping at one of the beststocked art bookstores in the city.

Admission is free and the gallery provides tailored support to anyone with access requirements.

The café

Drop into Bar Mammoni for pastries and sourdough ciabatta made from flour milled at neighbouring Grana, inside Hinchcliff House. Set yourself up for the day with an espresso (sipped standing, Italianstyle) or better still, a Breakfast Gimlet with milk-washed gin, marmalade and fresh lime.

The bar

Bar Messenger

Enter through a door masquerading as an ornately framed painting and you’ll discover Bar Messenger, a former filestorage room that’s been transformed into an intimate speak-easy. From Wednesday to Friday the bar draws the city’s office crowd but on Saturday, theatregoers bring a sophisticated Jazz-Age atmosphere, fuelled by the glow of rose-glass lamps on dark timber tables and an Australian-focused wine list that can be sampled with a toastie of gruyère, ricotta and pecorino.

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