People playing soccer on the Domain.

Administered by the Royal Botanic Gardens, the Domain is a large grassy tract east of Macquarie St, set aside by Governor Phillip in 1788 for public recreation. Phillip’s intent rings true: today’s city workers use the space to work up a sweat or eat their lunch. Large-scale public events are also held here.

Sculptures dot the park, including a reclining Henry Moore figure, and Brett Whiteley’s Almost Once (1991) − two giant matches, one burnt − rising from the ground near the Art Gallery of NSW.

On the lawn in front of the gallery is the Speakers’ Corner.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby City Centre & Haymarket attractions

1. Speakers’ Corner

0.09 MILES

Recline on a patch of lawn in front of the Art Gallery of NSW and listen to religious zealots, oddballs, political extremists, homophobes, hippies and…

2. Art Gallery of NSW

0.11 MILES

With its neoclassical Greek frontage and modern rear, this much-loved institution plays a prominent and gregarious role in Sydney society. Blockbuster…

3. Calyx

0.16 MILES

This striking exhibition pavilion in the Botanic Garden incorporates a cool, curving glasshouse space with a living wall of greenery that requires some 18…

4. Parliament House

0.17 MILES

Twin of the nearby Mint, the venerable Parliament House (1816) has been home to the Parliament of New South Wales since 1829, making it the world’s oldest…

5. Sydney Hospital

0.17 MILES

Originally the Rum Hospital, built by two Sydney merchants in return for a monopoly on the rum trade, Australia’s oldest hospital has a grand Victorian…

6. State Library of NSW

0.18 MILES

Among the State Library's over five million tomes are James Cook’s and Joseph Banks’ journals and William Bligh’s log from the mutinous Bounty. It's worth…

7. Hyde Park Barracks Museum

0.18 MILES

This noble brick building was designed by the convict architect Francis Greenway to house prisoners arriving in the colony. Now a flagship museum, the…

8. The Mint

0.18 MILES

The stately Mint building (1816) was originally the southern wing of the infamous Rum Hospital, built by two Sydney merchants in return for a monopoly on…