Sydney is well known globally for its iconic attractions and outstanding natural environments. They’re must see experiences on any first trip to the city. While it’s true that those of us who live here never quite take this ‘surface Sydney’ for granted, underneath it all – like any major global city – Sydney’s a boiling cultural cauldron of diverse and vibrant local communities – perfect terrain for any maverick traveller worth their salt.
You can literally see the world in Sydney – check out 52 suburbs, a fantastic and actually quite beautiful project recently completed by local blogger and photographer Louise Hawson, currently showing at the Museum of Sydney and you’ll see what I’m on about.
Here’s a few ideas around Sydney’s Inner West to get you started:
NEWTOWN and neighbouring ‘burb Enmore is a melting pot of alternative lifestyles, home to students, writers, artists, musicians, environmentalists and some of the best food, fashion, music and bookshops in town. It’s still a relatively cheap place to stay and play, though its proximity to the city and good transport links have driven up rents and house prices in the last few years.
MARRICKVILLE also enjoys a bohemian vibe, with some calling it the “new” Newtown in response to a recent influx of young professionals, artists and musicians. Marrickville has always been a centre for Sydney’s large Greek community, though you’ll just as soon think you’re in South East Asia, with a wide range of restaurants catering to the suburb’s thriving Vietnamese community.
BALMAIN is where actress Rose Byrne and musician Josh Pyke spent their formative years, and the suburb claims a strong working class heritage as the birthplace of the Australian Labor Party back in 1891. It’s another creative suburban hub, and home to stylish cafés, bistros, pubs, restaurants and boutiques.
LEICHHARDT is a neighbouring suburb to Balmain and home to Sydney’s Little Italy, complete with its own Piazza – a bonifide Italian Forum off the main drag, Norton Street. If you’re looking for the best Italian coffee, pizza, pasta and gelato, head down to Leichhardt, and, well, when in Rome.
We’ve barely scratched the surface of Sydney’s cultural underbelly – whether you’re in Sydney to stay or just to visit, do yourself and the city justice, look beyond the coathanger the sails, and the budgie smugglers and soak up the opportunity to travel the world in Sydney.
Tell us about your experiences of Sydney’s suburbs – the best food, best nightlife, best cultural experiences? We’d love to hear from you – just add your comments below.