Sydney Customs House

Sydney Customs House is an architectural landmark with a rich heritage

Square and facade of Customs House
Square and facade of Customs House cc licensed photo by zayzayem

Whether you just want to admire the beautiful architecture, enjoy some fine dining with a stunning view, or check out one of the temporary exhibits, Customs House is a great place to visit. Admission is free and access is easy due to its location at one of Sydney's major transportation hubs.

Featuring beautiful Georgian architecture and sandstone block construction that is very common in this region, the Customs House was first completed in 1845 and consisted of two stories. Its many expensive windows providing an expansive view of shipping activities in the harbour made Customs House an ideal location for headquarters of Australian Customs in Sydney. Customs was responsible for controlling the importing of goods and immigration of people into Australia and for the taxation of trade. Customs house was used for this purpose right up until 1990.

In 1887 the Customs House was expanded to three stories followed by several more additions over the years. After ownership was transferred from the Australian Government to the City of Sydney in 1994 it underwent one more major restoration in 2003.

Today this major historic landmark welcomes visitors. It is now home to a branch of the Sydney public library. Inside you will find a spectacular circular staircase and also a magnificent 1:500 scale model of Sydney's Central Business District, which is viewed from above through a glass floor. There are also rotating exhibitions on various subjects throughout the year.

Customs House is a great place to come for a meal or refreshments. On the main level and Customs Square you can enjoy a relaxing meal, drink or coffee in the Parisian style bistro called Quay Bar, or in Young Alfred Restaurant. On the rooftop the Sydney Cafe, one of Sydney's finest restaurants offers fabulous views from its sunny outside terrace to go along with their fine cuisine.

If you are visiting Sydney during the last week in May or the first weeks of June, you simply must check out the VIVID SYDNEY display on the facade of the Customs House (Click on the 'Photos and Video' Tab to see a video of this event).

Nearby attractions:Justice and Police Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art, Museum of Sydney, Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney Opera House, Government House and The Rocks.

Facts For Your Visit

Fee: No

Open Now

Hours This Week:
  • Monday: 8:00 AM – 12:00 AM
  • Tuesday: 8:00 AM – 12:00 AM
  • Wednesday: 8:00 AM – 12:00 AM
  • Thursday: 8:00 AM – 12:00 AM
  • Friday: 8:00 AM – 12:00 AM
  • Saturday: 10:00 AM – 12:00 AM
  • Sunday: 11:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Address: 31 Alfred St, Sydney NSW 2000, Australia

Phone: (02) 9242 8551

Official Website: Sydney Customs House

Map of nearby accommodations:


Line Nearest Station Walking Time
T2, T3 or FerryCircular Quay1 minute

How to get to Sydney Customs House by

Exit at Circular Quay Station and cross the street.

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Rated 4.4 out of 5Customs House Star Rating

5 Star Rating Historic building with an amazing model of Sydney City visible beneath a transparent floor on ground level. There is a library inside the building with books, magazines and newspapers. Lounges are available to experience comfortable reading. Customs House is a nice place to visit and relax, and is easily accessible by public transport, being in walking distance of Circular Quay train station and wharves.

John Lodge - 5 days ago

4 Star Rating I just discovered the library for the first time, it spans three levels. The ground is more like a museum with a great model of the city. There is a decent restaurant on the top floor

Rowan Kos - 14 days ago

5 Star Rating I go here for quiet time at the City Library where there are comfy lounges and newspapers. Outside the busy plaza has a bar and coffee on offer, with the colourful passing parade.

Julie Whitfield - 19 days ago

5 Star Rating Very nice and cool place. The library is awesome. They organise events too now and then. Keep a watch on their website for more info.

Shrey Patel - 21 days ago

4 Star Rating Great place to visit for locals and tourists alike. It's easy to get to as it's just across from Circular Quay Ferries and Train Station. Inside you'll find a see through floor and library upstairs. You can book tours. They even have events you can book for and eat at. There is a room you can book for functions.

L TS - 1 month ago


2012 VIVID SYDNEY display transforms the facade of Customs House

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