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Studded with imposing edifices, long lean Martin Place was closed to traffic in 1971, forming a terraced pedestrian mall complete with fountains and areas for public gatherings. It's the closest thing to a main civic square that Sydney has.

GPO Sydney, a beautiful colonnaded sandstone Victorian palazzo, is located at 1 Martin Pl. 5 Martin Place was Australia’s first steel-framed ‘skyscraper’. The State Savings Bank building at number 48 is a beaut of an example of interwar beaux-arts architecture.

Near the George St end of Martin Place you’ll find the Cenotaph, commemorating Australia’s war dead. Abutting Martin Place on George St is the former Commercial Banking Corporation of Sydney – an impressive marbled edifice, worth a look if you’re passing by. At the Macquarie Street end is the Reserve Bank of Australia, and other major bank headquarters line the street as well.

In 2014 the Lindt cafe at 53 Martin Pl was the site of a 16-hour siege, ending in the death of two hostages and the gunman.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby City Centre & Haymarket attractions

1. 5 Martin Place

0.03 MILES

Built in 1916 to be the headquarters for the then-state-owned Commonwealth Bank, 12-storey 5 Martin Place was Australia’s first steel-framed ‘skyscraper’…

2. GPO Sydney

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As iconic in its time as the Opera House, this beautiful colonnaded sandstone Victorian palazzo (built 1874) was once Sydney’s General Post Office. It has…

3. State Savings Bank Building

0.12 MILES

The Commonwealth Bank has taken over the old State Savings Bank building: it’s a beautiful example of interwar beaux-arts architecture, featuring green…

4. Wynyard Park

0.16 MILES

Above Wynyard train station is this rare wedge of downtown greenery. Surrounded by skyscrapers and spindly plane trees, it has a certain Manhattan vibe to…

5. Australia Square

0.18 MILES

Generally acknowledged as Australia’s first major office tower, Australia Square (1968) was designed by archi-phenomenon Harry Seidler. His 50-storey…

6. Sydney Tower Eye

0.22 MILES

The 309m-tall Sydney Tower (still known as Centrepoint by many Sydneysiders) offers unbeatable 360-degree views from the observation level 250m up. The…

7. St James’ Church

0.22 MILES

Built from convict-made bricks, Sydney’s oldest church (1819) is widely considered to be architect Francis Greenway's masterpiece. It was originally…

8. Reserve Bank of Australia Museum

0.23 MILES

Hidden inside the Reserve Bank is this surprisingly interesting museum detailing the history of Australia's banknotes, from pre-Federation to the polymer…