50 Enjoyable Things To Do in Perth City | Local’s Epic List

perth written in huge letters with patterns on them advertising things to do in perth city

Our hometown of Perth is a small city in the Australian state of Western Australia. Some of the best things to do in Perth city include exploring the city’s culture and history, dining out, walking through one of the many parks, and seeing local wildlife.

The City of Perth is popular with tourists who visit for its picturesque scenery, world-class restaurants, and sunny weather.

This article lists all the incredible things to do in the centre of Perth from locals, one of which was born and lived in Perth for over 50 years!

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links (of which we use) so we may receive a small amount of commission if you buy something through them. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. You can read the full disclaimer here.

Free or Cheap Things to do in Perth City

Perth has many natural attractions, cultures, and buildings to explore that are entirely free.

Swan River (Derbarl Yerrigan)

In Dreamtime, the Darling Scarp represents the body of the Wagyl (rainbow serpent/snake), who created rivers, waterways, and lakes – including the Swan River.

Situated on the edge of Perth’s CBD, the riverside has dual-use paths where you can walk, ride, or skate. The 10 km ‘bridges’ walk around the river (crossing at the Narrows Bridge and the Causeway Bridge) will take about two and a half hours. Allow time to stop for photos, a coffee in South Perth, a detour to Heirisson Island, a drink at The Point, or a gelato at Elizabeth Quay.

If that sounds too much, hop on the ferry from Elizabeth Quay to South Perth and walk from there.

Alternatively, hire a bike from About Bike Hire and ride around the river. It’s an easy flat ride, suitable for children.

If you’re a water sports enthusiast, you can sail, windsurf and kayak along the river. There are a couple of places on the Swan River that hire out kayaks and Stand Up Paddleboards – Funcats Watersports in South Perth and About Bike Hire near The Point, in the Point Fraser Causeway car park.

The Swan River is a great place to see the sunset in the city and beautiful at night when lights reflect on the river in South Perth.

view of a river and city skyline on a summer day
Perth’s Swan River

Barracks Archway

Elder Street & Malcolm St

Walk to the top of St George’s Terrace to view this iconic historic building, once part of a large military barracks designed by Richard Jewell. It was built by convict labour in 1866 to accommodate the Enrolled Pensioner Force (also known as ‘Pensioner Guards’), who guarded the convicts on the prisoner ships to Western Australia. These British soldiers had an option to continue as convict guards or remain as settlers with a 10-acre plot of land.

Most of the convict work moved from Fremantle to Perth around 1860, so accommodation was required for the Enrolled Pensioners and their families. The Pensioners’ Barracks, built in a Tudor gothic castle style, had two wings and 120 rooms.

Between 1900 and 1904, the Barracks were converted to offices for The Public Works Department, which remained there until 1966.

old tudor castle style building
Pensioner Barracks before demolition, 1966 by SLWA

Unbelievably most of this beautiful building was demolished in 1966 to make way for the Mitchell Freeway, leaving just the entrance. Unfortunately, the Brand government wanted to remove the arch, as the entrance is known, so Parliament House had a clear view down St. George’s Terrace. Thankfully, the public won, and the arch remained.

Other buildings designed by Richard Roach Jewell are boys’ schools in Perth and Fremantle, Wesley Church, the oldest section of the Treasury Buildings, Perth Town Hall, Perth Goal, and Government House.

historical red brick archway entrance in tudor style
Barracks Archway, St George’s Terrace

Government House

13 St Georges Terrace

Perth’s Government House is a heritage-listed home of the Governor of Western Australia and a place for visiting dignitaries to stay. It is the second permanent Government House – the first built in 1837 was deemed inadequate by the fifth Governor of Western Australia, Governor Arthur Edward Kennedy (1855-1862), due to  leaking roofs, termites, and porous walls.

The Foundation stone of the second building was laid on 17th March 1859, but was not completed until 1864. Designed by Lieutenant Colonel E.Y.W. Henderson in a Jacobean style, Government House has a Gothic feel and is one of the finest heritage buildings in Perth.

The beautiful 3.2 hectare garden is open to the public every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday between 12 pm and 2 pm (except for Public Holidays or otherwise advised).

red brick gothic style house with grey roof
Government House Perth

St. Mary’s Cathedral – Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Victoria Square

Bishop of Perth Rosendo Salvado laid the foundation stone of St Mary’s Cathedral in 1863, which was blessed and opened in 1865. The architect and master mason, Joseph Ascione, designed the cathedral in the Norman Gothic style.

In 1924, Bishop Patrick Clune CSsR, the first Archbishop of Perth, started to raise funds for a new Cathedral. The foundation stone was laid in April 1926 and opened (despite being incomplete) four years later. Architect Mr. MF Cavanagh designed it in the English Perpendicular Gothic style with large stained glass windows.

It wasn’t until 2006 that the Cathedral was closed to complete the construction and reopened in December 2009.

inside a cathedral with white ornate ceiling and white pillars
St. Mary’s Cathedral

St. George’s Cathedral

38 St Georges Terrace

St George’s Cathedral is the principal cathedral of the Anglican Province of WA and the metropolitical Diocese of Perth. It was designed by Sydney architect Edmund Blacket and is a great example of Victorian Academic Gothic architecture, one of only a few cathedrals constructed of handmade bricks.

The foundation stone was laid on 2nd November 1880, but the first service wasn’t until August 1888.

In June 2001, the cathedral was listed on the Western Australia Heritage Register.

gothic style cathedral with red bricks and grey tile roof and large windows
St George’s Cathedral

Street Art

If you’re looking for some amazing Perth Street Art, take a walk around the city. There’s art everywhere – it’s easy to find in the lanes and streets. There are not only works of art by Australian artists but many international ones.

A great tour is this Perth Street Art Tour by Oh Hey WA. Over the two hours, your guide will take you around Perth’s streets and laneways showing you murals and sculptures from Indigenous, local, and international artists. 

street mural of a girl with black hair and a red dress holding a red umbrella
Timothy Rollin street art in Perth

Art Collective WA

Cathedral Square

This not-for-profit organisation is run by leading Western Australian contemporary artists. You can visit the gallery to view their artwork and buy any that catch your eye.

Open Wednesday to Friday 11 am – 4 pm and Saturday 12 pm – 4 pm or by appointment.

City of Perth Library

 573 Hay Street/ Cathedral Square

Pop into Perth’s city library to relax, read the paper or a magazine, or have a coffee in the café. Visitors can explore the ceiling artwork, outdoor terrace, and floors for young adults and children.

Kings Park

Kings Park is a picturesque, inner city park offering panoramic views of the Swan River, city, and Darling Range. The flower and plant displays in the botanical gardens are stunning, and the picnic areas on the landscaped lawns are beautiful. There are also extensive playgrounds for children to enjoy themselves, and it’s all free!

Kings Park is one of Perth’s most popular tourist attractions, with six million visitors annually from around Australia and overseas.

lots of pink wildflowers
Spring in Kings Park

Jacob’s Ladder

1 Cliff Street, West Perth

Jacobs Ladder, just outside Kings Park, is a popular place for a workout in Perth. At most times of the day, you’ll see people running up and down the 242 stairs. It’s one of the ways to access Kings Park from the city on foot.

steps leading to park next to a green building
Jacobs Ladder

Stirling Gardens

Corner of St George’s Terrace and Barrack Street

This small historical park, next to Government House, is the oldest garden in the City of Perth. Colonial botanist James Drummond first used the area as an acclimatisation garden in the 1830s, and in 1845 it became Perth’s first botanical garden. The gardens are named after Governor James Stirling, the first Governor of Western Australia.

You will find kangaroo sculptures, a huge Moreton Bay Fig tree, and a water feature in Stirling Gardens. It’s a quiet escape from the city – I used to enjoy having lunch under the shade of the trees when I worked in Perth.

sculpture of a kangaroo in gardens
Kangaroo sculpture in Stirling Gardens

Supreme Court Gardens

2 Barrack Street

Supreme Court Gardens, close to the Swan River and Elizabeth Quay, are over 100 years old and feature mature trees and garden beds. The area was planted in 1920 following the reclamation of the Swan River in 1903.

This park has public toilets and plenty of benches to rest while enjoying the flora.

The Supreme Court and the old Court House, the oldest building in the city, are in the gardens, which connect to Stirling Gardens.

John Oldham Park & David Carr Memorial Park (Narrows Interchange Park)

Mounts Bay Road

These pretty parks are linked by a passage under the Narrows Bridge, close to the city. Hidden away here, you will find beautiful waterfalls, water features, a playground, walking and cycling paths, barbecues, toilets, and exercise equipment.

Elizabeth Quay

Head to Elizabeth Quay for a nice walk around the inlet with restaurants and cafes, bars, playgrounds, luxury hotels, and boat tours.

high rise buildings by the river
Elizabeth Quay

London Court

647 Hay Street

This open-air shopping arcade sometimes has art installations and fake snow at Christmas (summertime for us!). Built by wealthy gold businessman Claude de Bernales in 1937, the Elizabethan-inspired arcade is a contrast to the modern Hay Street Mall.

a small lane filled with shops and brightly coloured umbrellas suspended from the air
London Court

Family Things to do in Perth City

Perth Zoo

20 Labouchere Road, South Perth

Not technically in the City of Perth, but only a short ten-minute ferry ride from Elizabeth Quay to South Perth. Home to more than 1200 native and exotic animals, including some of Australia’s most endangered species, Perth Zoo is one of the most popular Perth attractions.

meerkat on guard at perth zoo
Meerkat at Perth Zoo

Perth Mint

310 Hay Street

The Perth Mint is Australia’s official bullion mint, built in the 19th century to refine gold from the Gold Rush. It’s a popular tourist attraction where you can take a tour and buy souvenirs, including Australian coins, gold, silver, and platinum. The mint is housed in a grand heritage building, one of Western Australia’s oldest heritage sites.

a limestone brick building with big green heavy door
Perth Mint

WA Museum Boola Bardip

Perth Cultural Centre

The WA Museum closed in 2016 and re-opened in November 2020 under the new and improved name Boola Bardip, meaning “many stories” in Whadjuk Nyoongar. It is free to enter until 10th October 2022.

Our favourite exhibition is Ngalang Koort Boodja Wirn, where you learn about Aboriginal culture, ancestral connections, law and lore, and their experiences. Don’t miss the huge blue whale skeleton suspended from the ceiling in the heritage-listed Hackett Hall.

Water Labyrinth

Forrest Place, Murray Street Mall

Children will love running through this interactive water sculpture by Danish artist Jeppe Hein. Jets spray water into the air, creating nine “rooms” that allow you to stay dry until the water stops. You can watch from one of the cafes overlooking the Water Labyrinth while your kids cool down on a warm day.

It runs daily from 10 am to 6 pm unless there’s an event in Forrest Place. 

Remember to bring dry clothes for the kids!

water jets spraying water into the air
Water Labyrinth, Forrest Place

BHP Waterpark

This Elizabeth Quay water playground is an excellent space for families to enjoy an interactive water feature that uses jets and lighting. Parents and carers can relax on one of the benches or the decking.

a brightly coloured water playground with jets of water coming from the ground
BHP Waterpark Elizabeth Quay

Heirisson Island

You can visit Heirisson Island as part of the 10 km Bridges walk or from Riverside Drive (access is via The Causeway Bridge). The island is an important part of Nyoongar heritage, and you’ll see a statue of Whadjuk Nyoongar warrior Yagan which represents his strong leadership and resistance fighting during the early settlement of the Swan River Colony.

You may see some Western Grey Kangaroos on the island, which were brought onto the island in 1998.

a wild western grey kangaroo
Kangaroo on Heirisson Island

Kings Park’s Playgrounds

Head up to Kings Park for a choice of playgrounds – Rio Tinto Nature Playground, May Drive Parkland, Poolgarla Family Area, and Saw Avenue Picnic Area. Our girls loved the nature playground and the “dinosaur” playground (aka May Drive Playground) the best when they were younger, and we spent hours there.

lake and playground
May Drive Parkland, Kings Park

DFES Education & Heritage Centre

25 Murray Street

The Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) Education and Heritage Centre is housed in Perth’s first purpose-built fire station, which operated from 1901 to 1979. This museum has interactive displays, historical documents, and a fire engine to explore.

DFES’s Education and Heritage Centre is open from 10 am to 3:00 pm on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays and is free to enter.

an old fire station building
Perth’s Old Fire Station

Fun Things to do in Perth City

Catamarans

Funcats Watersports hire catamarans that you can sail around the Swan River in. Our family enjoys this activity, and they’re easy to use as long as you listen to the instructions and pay attention to the wind direction.

Wander the Laneways

Spend a fun morning wandering around the laneways in Perth.

Wolf Lane is one of the coolest, with street art, restaurants, bars, and coffee.

Howard Lane is another trendy lane with bars and street art.

For boutiques, Shafto Lane has you covered, and you can stop for some lunch and a drink at one of the eateries along the way.

McLean Lane,  behind the Pier Street Car Park, features artworks, original cobblestones, stunning feature lighting, and Hifumiya, Perth’s first Japanese udon noodle house.

laneway with light fixtures that look like buckets
Light Features in McLean Lane

Bridge Climb

The 370m suspension pedestrian Matagarup Bridge provides access between East Perth and Burswood. The bridge quickly became a Perth icon and lights up in different colours to support major local, state, and international events.

Matagarup, meaning a place where the river is only leg deep, allowing it to be crossed, is the name given by traditional land owners to the area around Heirisson Island. The flowing arches represent the Wagyl, a water-serpent of great importance to local Noongar culture, and a pair of swans.

You are now able to climb & zip line from Matagarup Bridge.

See Prices here

bridge over a river
Matagarup Bridge

Sky Dive

Riverside Drive

Tick sky diving off your bucket list with this 14,000 ft Perth city sky dive where you’ll experience 60 seconds of freefall. Float over the coast and see stunning aerial views of the Swan Valley and Perth.

Bottomless Brunch

The Bottomless Brunch has been a favourite fun thing to do lately. There are many places where you can enjoy a boozy brunch in Perth. Some of the most popular are:

tables set with white linen with large windows of views over perth skyline from up high
Perth’s revolving C Restaurant

Strike Bowling & Escape Room

Forrest Chase

Strike Forrest Chase offers ten bowling lanes, two karaoke rooms, and two escape rooms.

Comedy Lounge

413 Murray Street

Visit Perth’s live comedy club for laughs from some of the funniest stand-ups from Australia and around the world.

Romantic Things to do in Perth City

Helicopter Ride

Departs Crown Towers

Enjoy a six-minute scenic helicopter ride over Perth with your loved one. This scenic flight takes you over Perth’s iconic sites, including Kings Park, Optus Stadium, Elizabeth Quay, and the Swan River, perfect for celebrating any occasion.

See prices here

aerial view of a river with green parkland and city buildings
Aerial view of Perth & Swan River by Tourism Western Australia

Gondola Ride

Romantic Gondola rides are not just for Venice. Perth has its very own Gondola tour, which departs from Elizabeth Quay.

Despite being modelled on the traditional Venice gondolas, this one is very much Western Australian. The hand-crafted vessel was designed and made in Perth from solid Western Red Cedar.

You can choose a 15-minute, 30-minute, or an exclusive one-hour sunset tour.

a black gondola on the river with a gondelier paddling and tourists in the boat
Perth’s romantic Gondola ride

Rooftop Bars

I love rooftop bars and always hunt them out on our trips. Perth has some cool ones of their own, some with scenic views of the city and Swan River, making a romantic afternoon or evening.

Some of my favourite rooftop bars in Perth are:

  • 18 Knots Rooftop Bar @  DoubleTree by Hilton Waterfront
  • The Aviary
  • Rooftop at QT
  • Songbird Bar @ The Ritz
  • Aurora Rooftop Bar @ The Melbourne 
  • Henry’s Rooftop @ The Reveley
  • Hadiqa
  • AGWA Rooftop Bar

Watch the Sunset

Pack a picnic and head up to Kings Park to watch the sunset over the city. It’s one of the most romantic spots in Perth and the location for many weddings, including ours.

a couple sitting on a picnic rug looking at the city and river with a pink sky at sunset
Kings Park & Botanical Garden by Garry Norris Photography

Moonlit Outdoor Cinema

Kings Park is also the location of Moonlit Cinema, held during summer at May Drive Parkland, showing the latest releases, contemporary and classic movies.

Private Water Bike Tour & Picnic

This water bike tour is perfect for a special celebration or romantic date – glide along the river and see the spectacular views of Perth’s city skyline. After, relax with a beautifully styled, fully catered picnic on the banks of the Swan River overlooking the city.

These water bikes are safe, stable, easy to use, and suitable for most ages and abilities.

If you don’t want a picnic, there’s also a Sunset, Bubbles, and Brews Water Bike Tour.

See price options here

Harvest Your Own Pearl Experience

Barrack Square, Elizabeth Quay

This unique experience allows you to harvest your own pearl straight from the oyster. Your guide will reveal fascinating information about pearl harvesting and techniques while you sip on sparkling wine and enjoy canapés.

You will then harvest your own pearl, valued between A$500 and A$5,000, which you get to keep.

The private hour tour ensures a romantic and personalized experience ideal for a couple.

Find out more here

oyster with pearl inside
Pearl in its shell – Willie Creek Pearls

Quirky Things to do in Perth City

Locate a Secret Bar

Add some fun to your drinking destinations with these secret hidden bars:

a glass of red wine on a wood table along with a candle glowing and a menu saying andaluz bar
Andaluz Bar & Tapas

ANZAC Bell Tour

Elizabeth Quay

Ring the historic bells during an interactive chiming demonstration and learn about the meaning behind the ANZAC Bell. This tour includes seeing the 6,500 kg ANZAC Bell ring at midday, and you’ll receive an ANZAC Bell medallion, which you can take to the Perth Mint for free engraving.

The Observation deck is a lovely place to see stunning views of the Swan River and Perth City.

See availability here

a tall glass bell tower nest to tall hotel with blue sky
Perth’s Bell Tower

Things to do in Perth City at Night

Twilight Hawker Markets

Forrest Place

Take a trip around the world as you enjoy authentic flavours from across the globe. Experience Perth’s best International Street Food Market every Friday from 14th October 2022 to 24th March 2023.

Dinner Cruise

Barrack Street Jetty

Admire the city’s twinkling lights as you cruise along the Swan River while enjoying dinner and listening to live music. Australian wine, beer, soft drinks, coffee and tea are included in this dinner cruise, and you can buy spirits from the bar.

See prices here

city skyline at twilight with lights twinkling
Elizabeth Quay, Perth by Tourism Western Australia

His Majesty’s Theatre

825 Hay Street

For those looking for a bit of culture, book tickets for a show at Perth’s His Majesty’s Theatre. The Edwardian Baroque’ building was constructed in the early 1900s and is now home to the Western Australian Ballet and Opera.

opulent Edwardian Baroque theatre with yellow windows
His Majesty’s Theatre

Flight Club Darts

383 Murray Street

UK dart experience Flight Club allows you to play with friends in a semi-private playing area, which holds up to twelve guests. Social Darts is A$18 per person.

The bar has a nostalgic fairground vibe and serves classic cocktails, including sharing trophy cup cocktails for two. Food is mainly sharing plates, although there are a few individual options.

Perth Small Bar & Street Art Tour

Yagan Square

This popular small bar and street art tour by Oh Hey WA allows you to discover the city’s street art scene and trendy small bars in small groups of less than ten. Your guide will take you to Perth’s newest and coolest independent venues, where you’ll enjoy discounted drinks.

See prices here

large black rodent painted on a red brick wall
Wolf Lane Perth street art

Tours of Perth City

Perth Hop On Hop Off Bus

You can get around the city for free on the CAT buses. However, if you are short on time, the Hop On Hop Off Bus takes you to the major attractions and includes a commentary. Read the full Hop On Hop Off Perth Bus review here or book tickets here.

Swan River Cruise

Barrack Street Jetty

To see the city from a different perspective, book a Swan River Cruise departing from Barrack Street Jetty. You’ll see riverfront attractions like the Bell Tower and Kings Park and glide past affluent riverside suburbs to reach Fremantle, where the river meets the Ocean.

See prices here

Perth City Riverside Segway Tour

Barrack Street Jetty

A different way to see the city is on a segway tour. This one-hour tour takes you past the Bell Tower, through Elizabeth Quay to the base of Kings Park to explore John Oldham Park, where you’ll see hidden areas of parkland,  beautiful fountains, and waterfalls.

Find out more here

tourists on a segway tour with yellow jackets standing on segways
Perth Segway tour at Elizabeth Quay

Walking Tour by Oh Hey WA

AGWA Cafe

This 4 km walking tour by Oh Hey WA explores the streets and laneways of Perth to discover food, art, and architecture. Your guide will tell you stories of Perth, learning about the history and culture on this two and a half hour tour.

Find out more here

Two Feet & a Heartbeat Walking Tour

This two-hour walking tour takes you to one of Perth’s most beautiful buildings, the historic State Buildings, the heritage precinct, the old theatre district, and former educational sites.

Coffee or tea at a local café is included in the price.

See prices here

Perth City Scenic Seaplane Flight

Take off and land in the Swan River on this 20-30 minute scenic seaplane flight. See a birds eye view of Perth from the Cessna 208 Amphibian.

Read terms and conditions

Save money planning your holiday

Flights: We use different sites to get the best possible price for flights. Check matrix.itasoftware.com to get an idea of the cheapest dates, but you can’t book through this site. Compare the cost of flights with Kiwi.com and try different routes.

Accommodation: We mainly use Booking.com for accommodation as they consistently have the lowest rates with free cancellation on most properties. We also book through Stayz for private accommodation as they are usually cheaper than Airbnb.

Car Rental: To compare rental car company prices, we use Discover Cars, an award winning car rental comparison website. They offer competitive pricing in over 10,000 locations worldwide and are highly-rated.

Tours: We use third-party sites ViatorGet Your Guide & Klook due to their free cancellation policies, instant confirmation, price guarantees, and mobile ticketing. We occasionally book through Red Balloon too.

Mobile: Telstra has the best coverage in Western Australia. We buy our sims through Boost who provide 4G/4GX coverage on full Telstra 4G Mobile Network. With up to 82GB for 28 days or 240GB for 12 months, unlimited national calls & text, and international inclusions on selected plans, you’re sure to find the right prepaid SIM for you. See plans here.

Travel Insurance: Cover-More protects the travel dreams and experiences of more than 15 million people worldwide every year (including us!). Part of Zurich Insurance Group, they cover 22 countries across five continents with leading positions in the USA, Australia, Brazil, Argentina, Ireland, India and New Zealand. Protect your trip against several COVID-19 scenarios during the current coronavirus pandemic. 

50 Enjoyable Things To Do in Perth City | Local's Epic List

Western Australia Travel Guide

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