The Top 10 Neighborhoods to Explore in Sydney

From the gorgeous beaches of the Eastern Suburbs to the artsy Inner West, there is so much more to Sydney than its famous Harbour landmarks. If you're looking to get off the beaten track, there are a bunch of dynamic and diverse neighborhoods to explore. Here's our guide to the 10 best.

01 of 10

Bronte

Aerial view of Bondi Beach

Simon Strupath / EyeEm / Getty Images

 

Tucked in between the busier beaches of Bondi and Coogee, Bronte feels a world away from the city. The free Bronte Baths and spacious beachfront park are perfect for families, and the 3.7-mile Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk passes right by the beach.

There are lots of delicious food options, too: Three Blue Ducks serves up sustainably sourced modern Australian food while the Bogey Hole Cafe is a local favorite for brunch.

02 of 10

Newtown

Houses in Newtown


Westend61 / Getty Images

 

In Newtown, you'll find yourself immersed in live music, theater, and street art. King Street is a cafe and restaurant hub, including some of the city's best vegan options like Lentil As Anything and Golden Lotus. Enmore Road is the neighborhood's shopping strip, dominated by vintage and thrift stores like SWOP and Route 66. For cultural events, check out the Enmore Theatre and the Vanguard, or follow the crowd to Young Henry's brewery on weekend afternoons.

03 of 10

Balmain

Restored terrace houses in Balmain

 Courtesy of James Horan; Destination NSW

An affluent harbourside enclave, Balmain is home to some of Sydney's prettiest historic architecture and you can take a self-guided walking tour past the late-1800s terrace houses. The luxury boutiques on Darling Street highlight some of Australia's top designers, and the Balmain Market offers more affordable wares every Saturday.

The Cottage Bar and Kitchen is a local institution, known for long lunches and its light-filled courtyard. At Nútie, you can find organic, gluten-free donuts for dessert.

04 of 10

Surry Hills

People outside a cafe on a leafy street in Surry Hills

 Courtesy of Destination NSW

Surry Hills has grown from a crime-plagued slum back in the early 20th century to a hip, foodie paradise. Try Sydney's incredible Asian fusion cuisine at Chin Chin, or go for classic, affordable Indonesian at Medan Ciak. Butter, may be the city's most hipster venture with a fried chicken and champagne bar.

While you're in the neighborhood, don't miss the Brett Whiteley Studio, the former home of one of Australia's most influential and troubled artists which provides a window into his life and creative process.

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05 of 10

Leichhardt

A table filled with Italian dishes

Courtesy of Moretti Ristorante Pizzeria 

The Italian community in Sydney has a long history, growing significantly during the post-war period. Today, Leichhardt is Sydney's Little Italy, packed with pizzerias and cafes. The restaurant scene is centered on Norton Street, as well as the European-style Italian Forum piazza.

Bar Italia, complete with Italian flag awning, has been leading the neighborhood in gelato, espresso, pizza, and pasta since 1952. Just down the street, Aperitivo is one of only five restaurants in Sydney to obtain membership of the True Neapolitan Pizza Association (Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana).

06 of 10

Manly

Manly Beach

 

Yannik Photography / Getty Images

Manly is the closest of Sydney's Northern Beaches to the city center, just a half-hour's ferry trip away. You can catch the ferry from Circular Quay, following a route that has been in operation since 1856 and still only costs a couple of dollars.

Manly Beach is famed for its surf, but the more sheltered Shelly Beach is just around the corner. There's plenty more to see and do: The Corso, a pedestrian strip that runs perpendicular to the beach, is full of laid-back dining venues, and there are also some great hiking trails close by at North Head.

07 of 10

Coogee

Coogee Ocean Pool

 

Rachel Hope / EyeEm / Getty Images

Coogee is another relaxed beachside neighborhood, this time with three ocean pools, plenty of green spaces, and calm waves in summer. The Coogee Bay Hotel is right on the beach, with a pretty beer garden and a family-friendly food menu.

For something lighter, head to the Asian-inspired Lion and the Buffalo cafe. You can start or end the Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk here, or just soak up the sunshine on the wide sandy beach.

08 of 10

Milsons Point

View of the Harbour Bridge and Opera House from Milsons Point


Pailin S. Kulvong/ Getty Images

 

A tiny neighborhood on the northern side of the harbor, Milsons Point hosts some of the city's biggest attractions. Here you'll find Luna Park, a retro-style amusement park, the northern end of the Harbour Bridge, and the North Sydney Olympic Pool.

Make the most of it by walking across the bridge and take in the scenery, then recharge at Wendy's Secret Garden, a lush wonderland cultivated by Brett Whiteley's wife Wendy at their family home and now open to the public.

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09 of 10

Darlinghurst

Oxford Art Factory music venue

 Courtesy of Destination NSW

After dark, inner-city Darlinghurst is where it's at. Sydney's small bar scene has exploded over the past couple of years, with themed spots like Shady Pines Saloon and Big Poppa's creating a unique atmosphere. Check out Club 77 for techno music, the Cliff Dive for hip-hop, or the Oxford Art Factory for live shows. Oxford Street is also the heart of LGBT nightlife in Sydney, with legendary club ARQ dominating the scene.

10 of 10

Glebe

Jacarandas bloom outside a hotel in Glebe

 Courtesy of Destination NSW

Glebe is known for its heritage buildings and bohemian atmosphere, just west of Sydney's Central Business District (CBD). The neighborhood is popular with students at the nearby University of Sydney, with bookstores like Gleebooks and cafes like Sonoma Bakery catering to the creative crowd.

Every Saturday, the Glebe Markets offer a selection of the best vintage and handmade clothes and homewares. Stop in at the Little Guy for an Aperol Spritz and some live music after a long day's sightseeing.

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