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Things to do in Australian Capital Territory

Top recommendations from locals

From sightseeing to hidden gems, find out what makes the city unique with the help of the locals who know it best.
Museum
“The Australian War Memorial is Australia's national memorial to the members of its armed forces and supporting organisations who have died or participated in wars involving the Commonwealth of Australia, and some conflicts involving personnel from the Australian colonies prior to Federation. The memorial includes an extensive national military museum. The Australian War Memorial was opened in 1941 and is widely regarded as one of the most significant memorials of its type in the world. The Memorial is located in Australia's capital, Canberra. It is the North terminus of the city's ceremonial land axis, which stretches from Parliament House on Capital Hill along a line passing through the summit of the cone-shaped Mount Ainslie to the northeast. No continuous roadway links the two points, but there is a clear line of sight from the front balcony of Parliament House to the War Memorial, and from the front steps of the War Memorial back to Parliament House. The Australian War Memorial consists of three parts: the Commemorative Area (shrine) including the Hall of Memory with the Tomb of the Unknown Australian Soldier, the Memorial's galleries (museum) and Research Centre (records). The Memorial also has an outdoor Sculpture Garden. The Memorial is currently open daily from 10am until 5pm, except on Christmas Day. Many people include Anzac Parade as part of the Australian War Memorial because of the Parade's physical design leading up to the War Memorial, but it is maintained separately by the National Capital Authority (NCA).”
  • 63 locals recommend
History Museum
“The National Museum of Australia, in the national capital Canberra, preserves and interprets Australia's social history, exploring the key issues, people and events that have shaped the nation. It was formally established by the National Museum of Australia Act 1980. The museum did not have a permanent home until 11 March 2001, when a purpose-built museum building was officially opened. The museum profiles 50,000 years of Indigenous heritage, settlement since 1788 and key events including Federation and the Sydney 2000 Olympics. The museum holds the world's largest collection of Aboriginal bark paintings and stone tools, the heart of champion racehorse Phar Lap and the Holden prototype No. 1 car. The museum also develops and travels exhibitions on subjects ranging from bushrangers to surf lifesaving. The National Museum of Australia Press publishes a wide range of books, catalogs and journals. The museum's Research Centre takes a cross-disciplinary approach to history, ensuring the museum is a lively forum for ideas and debate about Australia's past, present and future. The museum's innovative use of new technologies has been central to its growing international reputation in outreach programming, particularly with regional communities. From 2003 to 2008, the museum hosted a Talkback Classroom, a student political forum. The museum is located on Acton Peninsula in the suburb of Acton, next to the Australian National University. The peninsula on Lake Burley Griffin was previously the home of the Royal Canberra Hospital, which was demolished in tragic circumstances on 13 July 1997.”
  • 51 locals recommend
Park
“Interesting free tours, Great playground and fantastic walks and views across the Capital. ”
  • 50 locals recommend
Art Gallery
“Magnificent collection full of interest and variety. Go for the Aboriginal artwork, Asian collection and sculpture garden by the lake.”
  • 56 locals recommend
Mountain
“Hike or drive up the mountain for uninterrupted views of the Capital - don't forget your camera!”
  • 39 locals recommend
Lake
“Walk, run or ride a segway around this picturesque lake to take in the local sights. ”
  • 41 locals recommend
Science Museum
“Discover three times the fun on your next visit to Canberra with a 3infun ticket! Get up close and personal with an elite athlete at the Australian Institute of Sport, venture into the delightful world of miniature buildings at Cockington Green Gardens and bend both mind and muscle on a visit to Questacon – The National Science and Technology Centre. 3infun recognises that once is never enough, so a ticket includes a FREE return visit to one of the participating attractions. For more information visit www.3infun.com.au”
  • 51 locals recommend
Travel Agency
“13 minutes driving from our flat to the parliament house. Free entrance for visitors. Under 2 hours free parking on weekdays. 3 minutes walking to the old parliament house. ”
  • 34 locals recommend
Zoo
“Spend the day, you are welcome to bring your own food and drink into the zoo (with the exception of alcohol). The zoo has several areas within the grounds that can cater for anything from a simple picnic or BBQ to a large family or corporate event whilst being surrounded by some of the zoo’s most amazing animals. The grassed areas, picnic tables, covered gazebos and cabanas are all shared facilities and are free to use on a first come basis. ”
  • 27 locals recommend
Travel Agency
“Old Parliament House, known formerly as the Provisional Parliament House, was the seat of the Parliament of Australia from 1927 to 1988. The building began operation on 9 May 1927 after Parliament's relocation from Melbourne to the new capital, Canberra. In 1988, the Commonwealth Parliament transferred to the new Parliament House on Capital Hill. It also serves as a venue for temporary exhibitions, lectures and concerts. On 2 May 2008 it was made an Executive Agency of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. On 9 May 2009, the Executive Agency was renamed the Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House, reporting to the Special Minister of State. Designed by John Smith Murdoch and a team of assistants from the Department of Works and Railways, the building was intended to be neither temporary nor permanent—only to be a "provisional" building that would serve the needs of Parliament for a maximum of 50 years. The design extended from the building itself to include its gardens, décor and furnishings. The building is in the Simplified or "Stripped" Classical Style, commonly used for Australian government buildings constructed in Canberra during the 1920s and 1930s. It does not include such classical architectural elements as columns, entablatures or pediments, but does have the orderliness and symmetry associated with neoclassical architecture.”
  • 26 locals recommend
Art Gallery
“My pick of all the national cultural institutions: beautiful building, accessible art, interesting and often quirky exhibitions. A good way to get to know Australian people.”
  • 30 locals recommend
Athletics & Sports
“Mount Ainslie Lookout is the place to go to get a sense of Walter Burley Griffin's design focus for Canberra. From the top of Mount Ainslie you can see many of Canberra's main tourist attractions including ANZAC Parade, the War Memorial, old and new parliament house, Reconciliation Place, the National Museum of Art and many other buildings of interest. ”
  • 29 locals recommend
Capitol Building
“The Parliament of Australia officially the Federal Parliament also known as the Commonwealth Parliament ”
  • 19 locals recommend
Shopping Centre
“City center has everything you need including retail outlets, supermarkets, cinema, cafe & restaurants.”
  • 18 locals recommend
Place to eat
“Kingston's Landmark Sunday market inside an industrial former bus depot, with food, apparel, music, arts & crafts.”
  • 33 locals recommend
Library
“Great place to work, study or relax. Usually has some historical exhibits running inside. ”
  • 28 locals recommend

Top restaurants

Shopping Centre
“City center has everything you need including retail outlets, supermarkets, cinema, cafe & restaurants.”
  • 18 locals recommend
Restaurant
“Monster Bar has become the poster child of Canberra ‘cool’. The main dining area is worth a visit. The menu is mostly share plates of local produce. Try to get a table near the fireplace. Reservations highly recommended”
  • 25 locals recommend
Gastropub
“Great bar style food and drinks. Open till midnight most nights, later on the weekend. Sport on the big screen. Beautiful views outside. ”
  • 18 locals recommend
Restaurant
“Great Asian fusion place down near Canberra centre. Stays open longer than most. ”
  • 20 locals recommend
Bar
“If you love drinking beer it's highly recommended. No preservative, no headaches, nice and fresh. ”
  • 26 locals recommend
Meal Takeaway
“This is one of the best burger places in Canberra. We recommend tre Brod Chicken!”
  • 22 locals recommend
Café
“Bottom of Marcus Clarke St, New Acton (Look for the Modern Man sculpture out the front – you’ll know it when you see it) Crowded, quirky and friendly. Mostly local produce. *Our favourites: Porridge or the Ricotta & Honey Toast 7 am Monday to Saturday, 8 am on Sundays. Dinner from 6pm Tuesday – Saturday. ”
  • 19 locals recommend
French Restaurant
“Fine dining at Griffith shops. Very exclusive and bookings required. I've only been here once many years ago but if you want to spoil yourself this might be the place. One of the smartest restaurants in Canberra.”
  • 9 locals recommend

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