A football fan’s guide to Sydney during the FIFA Women’s World Cup
From the opening match to the grand final, Sydney is the home of the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023™. Turn your tournament trip into an unforgettable week of fandom, eating and adventure with this five-day itinerary.
- Kayak Sydney harbour then enjoy a dumpling feast
- Have a traditional Italian breakfast before touring the Sydney Cricket Ground
- Drive a cutting-edge go-kart with a top speed of 65km/hr
- Snack your way through the street food of Little India
- Taste some of the best brews in the country on a Marrickville brewery tour
- Watch the opening match and the grand final of the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023™
DAY ONE: Sightseeing in the city centre
DAY ONE KEY FACTS:
FIFA Fan Festival™ is located at:
- Tumbalong Park, 11 Harbour Street, Sydney, NSW 2000
- An 11min (850m) walk from Central Station
You’ve probably seen Sydney’s icons on postcards and social media, but exploring the harbour in real life offers a completely different angle. 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.
After seeing the Sydney icons in the morning, 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. As the afternoon approaches, so does the game. First, 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 evening starts at Tumbalong Park’s FIFA Fan Festival™, a food, music and football festival running for the duration of the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023™. As well as having big screens showing all the games, the festival will host live entertainment including DJs, panels, freestyle footballer demonstrations, player interviews as well as a delicious food offering, including celebrity chef Josh Niland’s famous tuna cheeseburger. In between matches, test your own skills at the festival’s games – see how fast you can shoot a ball, how long can you juggle and challenge your mates to football putt putt.
DAY TWO: Paddington & Moore Park
Sydney has a thriving cafe culture and, no exaggeration, some of the best coffee in the world. Your second day in Sydney should start with a sample. 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.
Recharge with one of Sydney’s best burgers nearby at Mary’s in the Entertainment Quarter, then spend the afternoon making your own sporting memories at Moore Park Golf (home to a full 18-hole course and a driving range) or the Moore Park Tennis Courts.
On the other side of Moore Park is Paddington, which isn’t just famous for its pretty streets and cafes, it 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.
DAY THREE: Surry Hills & Sydney Football Stadium
Start your day on the other side of the stadium precinct, Surry Hills, a trendy suburb known for good eats and pretty streets. There are many lauded cafes in the neighbourhood, but for two options in one head to Paramount Coffee Project, a trendy cafe with a sunny rooftop space housing one of Sydney's best bakeries, AP House. From there meander through the beautiful streets of Surry Hills, stopping at local galleries on the way. Pop into Brett Whiteley’s Studio to see the famous Sydney painter’s works or M2 Gallery to see emerging Australian artists as well as Archibald finalists.
The edge of Surry Hills borders Moore Park. This afternoon, swap golf clubs and tennis rackets for the wheel of an F1-imitating go-kart at Hyper Karting. Their German RiMO electric karts are cutting-edge and reach a max speed of 65km/hr. When you’re finished on the racetrack, backtrack two blocks to get among the incredible range of food options in Surry Hills. On nearby Cleveland Street there’s a mini pocket of excellent Pakistani restaurants (Lal Qila for a full feast or Student Biryani for a quick and easy biryani) and just around the corner there’s traditional Neapolitan soft-based pizza – a full metre long – at Via Napoli.
By evening it's time for the main event. From Surry Hills it’s just a 20min walk to your seat at Sydney Football Stadium where you’ll witness history at the biggest women’s sporting event in the world.
DAY FOUR: Parramatta & Sydney Olympic Park
Today it’s time to head west. 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. After breakfast, go explore. 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. In the city centre check out the local theatre and arts scene.
Just next to Parramatta is one of Sydney’s most bustling street food scenes, Harris Park, also known as Little India. Wigram Street is the main street, where the heritage federation homes have been refitted as restaurants or street food pop-ups selling flat breads, sweets and fried snacks. Try favourites such as Chatkazz, Dosa Hut and Ginger Indian Restaurant.
Just a few train stops from Harris Park is Sydney Olympic Park, an adventure playground for both international competitors and amateur athletes. Jump into the pool at the Aquatic Centre and see how close you can get to Ian Thorpe’s record, then head to the Archery Centre to see how many attempts you need to take to replicate Simon Fairweather’s gold medal winning score.
Sydney Olympic Park 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.
DAY FIVE: Inner West
The last day in Sydney is an exploration of the inner west, an area historically known for artistic communities and early European migration, and now for its thriving community, diverse eats and late-night options. Start in Newtown at an innovative but comfy cafe like Rising Sun Workshop (Asian-inspired breakfasts next to a motorcycle workshop) or Soulmate Coffee (a relaxed space with great sandwiches and breakfast burgers). Then take a few minutes to explore either the cute, leafy Newtown backstreets or bustling King Street for vintage shops, music stores and a huge range of snack options.
Newtown has one of the best escape rooms in Australia, Cipher Room. Check out this international award-winner for a range of immersive puzzles suitable for newbies or escape room veterans. For lunch, take a short train or bus ride to Marrickville, a hip neighbourhood where Greek, Vietnamese and Sydney’s art communities mix. Both Marrickville and Illawarra Roads are dotted with excellent Vietnamese restaurants such as VN Street Foods and Banh Cuon Ba Oanh, but for Greek, the iconic Corinthian Rotisserie, which has been serving Marrickville’s Greek community for four decades, is a must-try. Then, just up the road, finish your meal at old-school gelateria, Gelato Franco.
Marrickville has more breweries than most cities, so to end this epic five days in Sydney, tour through the best. Starting at the southern end, pop into Batch Brewing Company then The Bob Hawke Beer & Leisure Centre next door (grab a bowl of noodles and a plate of dumplings while you’re there). Just up the road is the beer garden of Philter Brewing and the warehouse brewery Sauce Brewing Co. The final two, just another few blocks down the road, are the award winning Grifter Brewing Co and the one-of-a-kind wild fermented sour beers at Wildflower. If it’s a game night but there are no Sydney matches, go one more block to Vic on The Park, a lively pub with a charcoal grill and multiple screens to catch kick off with other fans.