Immediately to the east of the City Centre and also adjacent to City South is an area of laneways, nightlife, cafes, pubs, bars and entertainment. Sometimes referred to as the "Inner East" it is an area where many choose to stay, and many more visit.
From the tiny wine and tapas bars to the "Klondike-like saloons", the City East is one of Sydney's favourite areas to visit for a night out.
The central location also makes it a popular place to stay for budget and upmarket travellers alike.
In addition to the entertainment and commercial aspect of the area, the district is home to many people, and boasts some of the most densely populated and lively postcodes in Australia.
The following areas and suburbs make up the City East district:
|Kings Cross |
Kings Cross is the city's red light district, busy all hours of the day and night. The area, which is called "the Cross" by locals, is a lies within the larger surrounding suburbs of Potts Point, Elizabeth Bay and Rushcutters Bay.
|Darlinghurst & East Sydney |
Darlinghurst & East Sydney is the area lying between Oxford St and William St. Good eating, including Sydney's original "Little Italy". The Darlinghurst section of Oxford Street including Taylor Square is the centre of Sydney's world-famous gay scene.
Woolloomooloo is on the harbour, and a rough naval areas is now gentrified, with finger wharf apartments and modern Australian bars and restaurants in an historical setting.
Paddington is one of the Sydney's premier boutique shopping areas. Everyone will enjoy a daytime stroll through the area, with its great coffee shops and pubs.
|Surry Hills |
Surry Hills is terraces and quaint parks, and an ideal place to fraternise with the locals in the many down-to-earth pubs. The Crown St area has some of Sydney's best eating — tapas, Asian, Middle Eastern and Indian food. Great for a night out.
|Moore Park |
Moore Park is for sports, and the entertainment quarter — football, cricket, movies, shopping, markets, circus and restaurants.
Trains and a maze of bus routes run through the area. From the city, its often possible to walk to where you want to be. Parking is restricted nearly all the time on any day of the week, although cruising around the back streets is an option if the parking fairy is smiling upon you.
Kings Cross can be accessed by bus or train to Kings Cross Station, which is on Darlinghurst Road. The train station exits deliver the visitor into the southern end of the main Kings Cross entertainment district. The 323, 324, 325, and 326 buses also run from Circular Quay, up Elizabeth Street and along William Street. You can also walk from the City Centre to Darlinghurst Road in around 20-30 minutes.
Oxford Street has a long strip of night clubs, bars, restaurants, fashion boutiques and other retail activities running its length. It starts in East Sydney at Hyde Park and runs through Darlinghurst, Taylor Square and on to Paddington. You can use the train station at Museum to enter Oxford Street from the Hyde Park end. This station is just near the start of Oxford Street, and you can walk the length of it in 45 minutes or so. The 'strip' unofficially ends around Queen Street in Woollahra. If you want to get directly to your destination, you can catch one of the stream of buses that go up Oxford Street. Routes 333, 392, 397, 373, 394, 399, and 377 run from Circular Quay and Elizabeth Street and up Oxford St at least as far as Taylor Square.
Surry Hills is adjacent to Central station and runs up the hills to the east toward Moore Park. Walk east from the station through Sydney's commercial fashion quarter and up toward Crown Street. Crown Street is serviced by bus routes 301, 302, and 303.
Woolloomooloo lies to the north of William Street across from the Domain and the Royal Botanic Gardens and runs down to the old wharves at Woolloomooloo Bay. Stairs link Art Gallery Road down to the finger wharves. The walk will take around 20 minutes from the city or Martin Place or St James Station. The walk is slightly shorter from Kings Cross Station, but a little less scenic, just follow Victoria Street from the station north to the water. Alternatively the 311 bus links Woolloomooloo, Kings Cross, Darlinghurst Road, Oxford Street and Railway Square every 15 minutes or so. If you are driving, you can park in The Domain car park, which is a short walk away, or cruise around the back streets if you are feeling lucky.
Moore Park has a frequent bus service from the city. Consider the Metrobus 10, which leaves Town Hall every 10 minutes or so. The 392, 394, and 396 all continue from Oxford Street along Moore Park. You can buy a combined train/bus ticket from any station to Moore Park. During events extra buses run to Moore Park from Central Station. These buses leave from near the Chalmers St exit. These buses do not accept Multi tickets, but do except combined train/bus tickets to Moore Park. During events you may want to consider just walking from Central - you will see many people doing the same, the walk will take around 30 minutes. There is a multi-storey parking lot at Fox Studios (The Entertainment Quarter) which sometimes offers free parking for 3 hours, but charges a flat fee during events. Traffic around the area can be congested during events.
To get around the area, most locals walk. Expect to see lots of other pedestrians around Oxford St, William St and Darlinghurst Road most times of the day and night.
Kings Cross can be a jam for cars both in peak hours on weekdays, and late at night.
Almost everywhere has either limited parking (one to two hours) or parking meters. Expect to pay for parking if you drive. Moore Park has three hours free parking, except during sporting or large entertainment events, when you can expect to pay a larger flat fee.
Museums and galleries
- 1 Australian Museum, 1 William St (Opposite Hyde Park on the corner of William St and College St), ☏ . 9:30AM to 5PM daily (except Christmas day). With an international reputation in the fields of natural history and indigenous studies research, community programs and exhibitions, the Australian Museum was established as Australia's first museum in 1827 with unique and extensive collections of natural science and cultural artefacts. The skeleton room, displaying hundreds of animal skeletons, including a blue whale hanging from the roof, is an attraction in itself. There is a cafe next to the entrance that can be accessed without requiring payment for admission to the main exhibition area. general admission adult $15, concession $8, children (15 and under) free, family $30, temporary exhibitions attract an additional fee.
- 2 National Art School Gallery (Old Darlinghurst Gaol), Forbes Street, Darlinghurst, ✉ email@example.com. 10AM-4PM, closed Su. The National Art School is housed in a beautiful sandstone prison precinct built in the 1840s.
- 3 Australian Centre for Photography, 257 Oxford Street, Paddington, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Tu-F noon-7PM, Sa Su 10AM-6PM. ACP established in 1973. The ACP initiated the first major retrospectives of work by photographers such as Max Dupain, Olive Cotton and Merv Bishop, and organised the early public displays of photographs by Bill Henson, Tracey Moffatt, William Yang and Trent Parke and has presented works by international photo-artists such as Bernd & Hilla Becher, Manuel Alvarez Bravo, Larry Clark, Joan Fontcuberta, Nan Goldin, Roni Horn, George Platt Lynes, Ralph Eugene Meatyard, Duane Michals, Pierre Molinier, Erwin Olaf, Martin Parr, Man Ray, Cindy Sherman, Wolfgang Tillmans and William Wegman. Free.
- 4 Sydney Jewish Museum, 148 Darlinghurst Road, Darlinghurst, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. The museum documents the Holocaust and explores the history of the Jewish people worldwide and in Australia. $15 for adults, $12 for seniors, $9 for students. Children under 10 enter free.
Please see the City Centre article for more comprehensive details on The Art Gallery of New South Wales and other nearby public Art Galleries and Museums
The City East precinct is home to an extensive range of private art galleries with a high concentration in the Paddington area.
- King Street Gallery on William (Contemporary Australian art), 177 William St, Darlinghurst, ☏ , fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. King Street Gallery on William represents a range of Australian artists, and features changing exhibitions throughout the year.
- Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery (off Hampden Street), 8 Soudan Lane, Paddington, ☏ , fax: , ✉ email@example.com. Tu-F 10AM-6PM, Sa 11AM-6PM. The gallery represents over 30 artists, who have had significant shows and whose works are held in major collections nationally and internationally. This gallery has supported work that is challenging and at the forefront of contemporary art practice.
- Blender Gallery (also incorporates The Just Shoot Lomography Shop), 16 Elizabeth Street, Paddington (off Oxford Street in the centre of Paddington), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Tu-Sa 10AM-6PM. Exhibition space over several levels in a typical Paddington terrace. Blender is an outlet for Australian and international photographers, collectors and enthusiasts.
- Brettt Whiteley Studio (Look for the big burnt match), 2 Raper Street, Surry Hills (down a couple of back lanes, best approached from Devonshire Street near Ray Hughes Gallery, left into Davies St and left into Raper St), ☏ (M-F), (Th-Su), toll-free: 1800 679 278, fax: , ✉ email@example.com. Studio of the late Brett Whiteley is now an art museum that is managed by the Art Gallery of New South Wales. The museum is a tribute to the life of Brett Whiteley, considered by many to be one of Australia's most gifted, best known and controversial artists.
- Ray Hughes Gallery, 270 Devonshire Street, Surry Hills (between Crown and Bourke Streets), ☏ , fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Tu-Sa 10AM-6PM. This established gallery has a wide range of interesting work from many artists spanning several cultures and styles including works on paper, canvas and others.
- 5 El Alamein Fountain, Fitzroy Gardens entrance (at the top of Darlinghurst Road). Designed by Robert Woodward and erected in 1961 as a memorial to the Ninth Division during World War II. The fountain has a "dandelion head" sphere of mist at the top of a tall stem and has been imitated globally on many occasions. A favourite meeting place for many travellers and locals.
- 6 Paddington Reservoir Gardens, Cnr Oxford St and Oatley Rd, Paddington. Interestingly designed gardens built in the old reservoir.
- 7 Elizabeth Bay House (Historic Houses Trust), 7 Onslow Avenue, Elizabeth Bay, ☏ , fax: , ✉ email@example.com. Open Tu-Su 10AM–4:30PM, closed M (except for public holidays), Christmas Day and Good Friday. Built between 1835-1839 and once "the finest house in the colony", this colonial mansion preserves the lifestyle of some of Sydney's wealthiest early settlers, Colonial Secretary Alexander Macleay and his family. Designed by the most fashionable and accomplished architect of the day, John Verge, Elizabeth Bay House is a superb example of colonial architecture and is elegantly and authentically furnished in the style of 1839–1845. Guided tours are available on request. Prices: adult $7, child and concession $3, family $17.
Although the district is densely populated and space is certainly at a premium, there are parks and open spaces around.
- 8 Moore Park (City east precinct), ☏ , (24-hour Ranger assistance), ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. The main body of the park is open 24 hrs/7 days per week however some areas may be restricted or annexed as venue sites or parking areas during major events. To the south east corner of this part of Sydney, this 115-hectare open park area has sport fields used by local the local community, bike and walking tracks run through the park area and Kippax Lake, a small lake near the sports stadiums is a pleasant area for picnicking or relaxing on days without major functions in the adjoining facilities. There is one gas-operated barbecue on the western side of Moore Park near South Dowling Street. This park is part of a green zone connecting thru to the Centennial Park a little further to the east and the greater Moore Park area to the South east. Moore park adjoins the Sydney Football Stadium, the Sydney Cricket Ground and the Fox Studios entertainment quarter. This section of the greater Moore Park area often hosts large performance events such as concerts, exhibitions and Big Tent Circus events. Open access to all park areas except for groups of 50 or more persons requiring registration and fee payments. Special events may have entry prices fixed by the event managers and special event car parking may attract charges.
- 9 Rushcutters Bay Park, Adjacent to Royal Cruising Yacht Club and extensive private mooring facilities at Rushcutters bay (turn off New South Head Road and park on New Beach Rd). Open access all hours. Busy on weekends with walkers, people exercising their dogs, picnickers and local people playing informal ball games. The park has a cafe located toward the centre near the water that serves light meals, drinks and other refreshments.
- 10 Green Park, 301 Darlinghurst Rd, Darlinghurst. A small pleasant area just opposite St Vincents hospital.
- 11 Beare Park, Ithaca Rd, Elizabeth Bay. A picturesque spot right on the Harbour on Elizabeth Bay, this is a popular place for picnics and a bit of inner-city sunbathing.
- 12 Trumper Park Oval, Cnr Glenmore Road and Hampden Street, Paddington. Primarily used for cricket (turf pitch), Trumper Park is also a good quiet spot to relax or get some sun. Between Edgecliff railway station and Trumper Park there is a bushy sloping area where it is possible to camp discreetly away from any public gaze. The toilets in Trumper Park are opened at 5AM. The shops around Edgecliff Railway station have a great range of good value high quality groceries.
- 13 Embarkation Park, Victoria Street, Potts Point. Great views of the CBD skyline and parts of the harbour. This is one the most popular places in the Inner East to watch the New Years Eve fireworks shows. The park may be locked at night.
Some of Sydney's other large and popular parks and gardens lie just beyond the boundaries of the district. The Royal Botanic Gardens, Domain and Hyde Park form part of the north-western boundary of the district and lie in the City Centre. Centennial Park and the 'greater' Moore Park area is just to the south-east of the district in the Eastern Suburbs.
- Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras. Australia's biggest celebration of gay and lesbian culture, the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras comprises a two-week festival including a fair, exhibitions, fundraising events and parties. The first Mardi Gras was held in 1978, more as a political demonstration. However over the years following it has developed into a large scale cultural festival. The Mardi Gras season culminates in a colourful night-time street parade which winds its way up Oxford St to Taylor Square before turning down Flinders St, and ending up at the Showgrounds. The all-night party that follows the parade is a Sydney institution.
- Oxford St Rock and Roll Walk of Fame, Oxford St, Darlinghurst & Paddington. Download the podcast from the City of Sydney website and do a walking tour of past and present landmarks from the Sydney rock'n'roll scene.
- 1 Entertainment Quarter (Fox Studios Australia), 122 Lang Road, Moore Park. Contains an open air shopping strip, bars and cafes, weekend markets, cinemas, and a number of live television events. It is next to Fox Studios, which is an active film studio and not open to the public. However the nearby entertainment facilities include cinemas, restaurants, bars and promenade areas that are open to the public. There is no entrance charge to access the entertainment quarter. Ample parking in multi-storey carpark.
- 2 Darlinghurst Gaol, Forbes and Liverpool Streets, Darlinghurst. Darlinghurst Gaol was founded in 1822, and is a complex of sandstone penal buildings which now house the National Art School. The complex features several early 19th century sandstone buildings, including a central circular watchtower. There is no signage but the complex is free and open to visitors during business hours. If the large gate on Forbes St is closed, try the gate on Liverpool St. Captain Moonlight, a bushranger, was the last man to be hanged in NSW, outside Darlinghurst Gaol on Forbes St.
Movies and theatre
- Chauvel, Oxford St, Paddington. Two cinemas in the old Paddington Town Hall. Focus on alternative and arthouse.
- Palace Verona, 3a & 17 Oxford St, Paddington. Cinema on Oxford St focussing on arthouse and foreign films.
- Hoyts Entertainment Quarter, Building 215, Entertainment quarter, Lang Rd, Moore Park, ☏ . Cinema experiences and films range from international to local film festivals. Includes IMAX 3D Hollywood blockbusters and documentaries. Facilities for wheelchair-users and hearing-impaired.
- Belvoir Street Theatre, 25, Belvoir Street, Surry Hills, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Classical and contemporary stageplays.
- Griffin Theatre Company, 10, Nimrod Street, Kings Cross, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. New Australian stageplays.
There are numerous live music venues scattered throughout the inner east area, catering to all sorts of music from local up-and-coming bands to international touring acts.
- Hordern Pavilion, The Entertainment Quarter, Lang Rd, Moore Park. With a capacity of up towards 10,000, the Hordern is a common choice for touring bands. It has played host to the likes of Sigur Ros, Interpol and many others. See website for upcoming shows.
- Oxford Art Factory, 38-46 Oxford St, Darlinghurst. Indie and underground venue, capacity 500-600.
Sydney is well known for its beach culture but people do not have to go all the way to the coast to have a swim. There is a long tradition of Public baths in Sydney. Some of the old ones remain, such as at North Sydney at the base of the Sydney Harbour Bridge next to the Luna Park entrance. Several of these Public baths or swimming centres are directly adjacent to the City east precinct or are within walking distance.
- Cook and Phillip Park Aquatic and Fitness Centre (opposite the north eastern corner of Hyde Park near St Mary’s Cathedral), 4 College St, Corner William St, East Sydney, ☏ , , fax: , ✉ email@example.com. M-F 6AM-10PM, Sa Su and public holidays 7AM-8PM, closed on Good Friday and Christmas Day. Centre provides world-class swimming, fitness, sporting and recreational facilities including a gym. Sited within a picturesque parkland setting. Swimming facilities include an eight-lane 50-m heated indoor pool and a wave machine. Adult $6.00, concession $4.50, family $16.00, additional family member $2, spectator $2.70.
- 14 Andrew (Boy) Charlton Pool, 1C Mrs Macquaries Rd, The Domain, (access from below at the western end of Wooloomooloo bay or from Art Gallery Road), ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Sep–Apr, non-daylight saving: daily 6AM-7PM, Daylight Saving: daily 6AM-8PM. A famous yet paradoxically little known location overlooking Wooloomoloo bay and near to the Botanic gardens. It was a popular swimming location with Indigenous Aborigines before the arrival of Europeans in Australia. The pool was also the venue for the sporting triumphs of Australian swimming legend Andrew Boy Charlton in the 1920s and is believed to be the birthplace of the Australian Crawl or freestyle swimming stroke. Adult $5.50, concession $4.10, family $15.30, additional family member $2, spectator $2.70.
- City of Sydney swimming centres are closed on Good Friday and Christmas Day.
Moore Park is one of the main sporting precincts in Sydney. Most weekends during winter will feature games of any one the three football codes played in Sydney. Cricket and soccer are played in summer.
The Sydney Football Stadium, known commercially as Allianz Stadium, is a rectangular pitch catering for rugby league, rugby union and soccer, while right next door the Sydney Cricket Ground hosts cricket and Australian Rules. A number of clubs are based at Moore Park:
- Sydney Roosters (formerly Eastern Suburbs District Rugby League Football Club). Play in the National Rugby League. Games from March to September, with possible "finals series" (local term for playoff) matches extending as late as October.
- New South Wales Waratahs, Volvo Centre, Allianz Stadium. Play in the Super Rugby competition in rugby union. Games from February to July, with possible finals series matches extending as late as August.
- Sydney Swans. Play in the Australian Football League. Games from March to September.
- Sydney F.C. play in the A-League soccer competition during summer.
Home to a huge range of boutique shopping, fashion, quirky gift stores, book shops, and everything in between. Great for an afternoon's window shopping and casual discovery. Max out your credit card at one of the many higher end clothing and accessory shops running down Oxford Street. Featuring some of Australia's most popular brands and designers - Sass and Bide, Lisa Ho, Morrissey, Scanlan and Theodore and Kitten. Be sure to explore the side streets such as Elizabeth St and especially William St for the newer, funkier labels such as Ginger and Smart and the ever present Collette Dinnigan.
- Paddington Fresh, 242 Oxford St (Just across the road from the Church in Paddington), ☏ . Fresh produce markets.
- Paddington Markets, 395 Oxford St. Every Saturday 10AM-5PM. Held in the grounds of Paddington Uniting Church, just off Oxford St. Paddington Markets has been in operation since 1973 and is a stylish stall venue for designers, jewellers and craftsmen. Not many true bargains to be had, but perfect for unusual gifts and clothing, as well as some mainstream items. Fantastic for people-watching.
- The Bookshop, 207 Oxford St, ☏ . M–W 10AM–10PM, Th 10AM–11PM, F Sa 10AM–midnight, Su and public holidays 11AM–11PM. Trading for over 20 years, the Bookshop is one of Sydney's premier retailers of gay and lesbian books, magazines, calendars and DVDs. Great for a browse.
Crown Street, Bourke Street, South Dowling Street
At the 'off' Oxford Street end of these three streets can be found a developing precinct of some eclectic and more edgy shops than many of those on the Darlinghurst section of Oxford Street.
- Wheels and Doll Babies, Crown St, Surry Hills/Darlinghurst (Just around the corner from Oxford St at the first side street). Edgy biker and hooker-style alt club and street clothing.
- Aperitif, 7 Kellett St, Kings Cross, ☏ . Daily 6PM-3AM. Hidden away in a leafy corner of Kings Cross. With the kitchen open until 2AM most nights of the week, this is one of the few options in Sydney for a late night meal that doesn't involve standing and looking up while ordering. Spanish menu featuring tapas and other plates best for sharing.
- Bootleg Bar and Italian Food, 175 Victoria St, Potts Point, ☏ . Good simple Italian food in cosy but trendy surrounds. Eat or just enjoy a drink or two at the bar.
Darlinghurst & East Sydney
There are two main eating strips in the Darlinghurst & East Sydney area. Victoria St in Darlinghurst is home to a good array of quality restaurants for all budgets. East Sydney is Sydney's original Little Italy and many Italian restaurants are to be found on and around Stanley St.
- A Tavola, 348 Victoria St, Darlinghurst, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Daily 6PM-late. Italian pasta restaurant. Patrons sit at a huge communal table which dominates the room. Good food and service.
- Almond Bar, 379 Liverpool St, Darlinghurst, ☏ . Funky Middle Eastern restaurant reflecting the Syrian background of the owners. Carol and Sharon Salloum are warm and charming hosts.
- Bar Reggio, 135 Crown St, East Sydney, ☏ . Daily for lunch and dinner. Popular East Sydney pizza and pasta restaurant from early evening until late at night. Can be very noisy, but lots of fun for larger groups. Pizzas $20-24, pastas $13-18.
- Bill and Toni's, 74 Stanley St, East Sydney, ☏ . Daily 11AM-10PM. One of the original restaurants of Little Italy on Stanley St. Pastas, but the schnitzel with cheese is a highlight. Have your post-prandial coffee and gelato or cake in the San Siro coffee lounge downstairs. Under $15.
- Buffalo Dining Club, 116 Surrey St, Darlinghurst, ☏ . W-Sa noon-11PM, closed Su-Tu. A cosy Italian restaurant that fills up quickly and for good reason too. The menu is small enough to fit on a chalkboard, though the waitstaff will walk you through it anyway. A meal usually starts off with cheeses such as buffalo and burrata paired off with side dishes, and a selection of cured meats like beef carpaccio. The star is their cacio e pepe, a simple dish of spaghetti, cheese and pepper, mixed together in a giant Parmesan wheel right at your table.
- Thada Thai Cuisine, 245 Victoria St, Darlinghurst, ☏ . Thai food that's always fresh, good and quick. Takeaway or eat in the casual and bustling restaurant. One of several Thai places in the immediate vicinity.
- The Bunker, 399 Liverpool St, Darlinghurst. Tiny cafe in the middle of Darlinghurst, coffee, snacks, breakfast and lunch.
- Tigerbakers Cafe, 292 Victoria St, Darlinghurst. Relaxed and welcoming. The walls and tables feature the work of local artists and are constantly changing.
- Tropicana Caffe, 227 Victoria St, Darlinghurst. Daily 6AM-late. A Sydney institution, with Ferrari-driving Eastern suburbs socialites rubbing shoulders with taxi drivers. Breakfasts, foccacias, salads, pastas, main dishes, cakes and coffee. The Tropfest short film festival started in this cafe in 1993. Decide what you want from the menu board first, spot a free table and tell the cashier your table number when you order and pay. Breakfast around $10, focaccias $8-10, salads $10-12 and mains under $20.
It's also worth having a wander to the 'Paddo' Five Ways which is north of Oxford St in central Paddington. It's a loosely Parisian-inspired collection of cafes and restaurants nestled among five corners which meet at one roundabout. Coffee at Heeley's is highly recommended.
The finger wharf at Woolloomooloo is home to some of the most exclusive (and pricey) restaurants in the district. Lunch on the wharf is a favourite of Sydney's high-flying banking and business types, as well as the occasional media or sporting celebrity. Beautiful views of the Sydney skyline and Woolloomooloo Bay.
- Akis, Woolloomooloo Wharf. Fine Indian food.
- China Doll, Woolloomooloo Wharf. Asian/Chinese cuisine.
- Harry's Cafe de Wheels. A piece of Sydney history, right on the water at Woolloomooloo. Stand up against the van, and grab a pie, peas and mash. There are another couple of franchises open now, in Capitol Square and at the airport. Ignore them, this is the original, and it isn't about the pies. Open early, and late.
- Kingsleys, Woolloomooloo Wharf. Surf'n'turf. Don't forget your expense card.
There are a huge number of restaurants on Crown St between Oxford and Cleveland Sts and down some of the side and parallel streets like Foveaux St and Bourke St. Quality tends to be pretty good as rents are high and bad/unpopular places tend to close down quickly.
There are also a number of cheap but tasty South Indian restaurants on Cleveland St between Bourke and Crown Sts.
- Bills, 359 Crown St, Surry Hills (Just south of Foveaux St.), ☏ . Daily 7AM-10PM. Cafe renowned for its scrambled eggs, sweet corn fritters and ricotta hotcakes. A Sydney favourite when it comes to brunches. Also has branches in Darlinghurst (433 Liverpool St) and Woollahra (Queens Court, 118 Queen St) Expect to pay $40-50 for two with coffees and juices.
- Billy Kwong, 3/355 Crown St, Surry Hills, ☏ . Daily dinner from 6PM. The signature restaurant from TV chef Kylie Kwong, this is definitely a cut above most other Chinese restaurants. Produce is seasonal and mostly organic. No bookings, so get there at 5:45PM to line up or leave your mobile number and have a drink or two at the Dolphin hotel across the road.
- House, 202-210 Elizabeth St, Surry Hills, ☏ . Daily noon-midnight. Authentic north-eastern (Issan) Thai cuisine. There is a nice outdoor area and an adjacent pub where you can wait for your table. Price is around $30 pp.
- Jazushi, 145 Devonshire St, Surry Hills, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Japanese and European food. There's an open air bar up from the restaurant section with nice seating although a limited selection. Mains $20-40.
- Maya Sweet House, 470 Cleveland St, Surry Hills (Just east of the intersection with Crown St), ☏ . Delicious and cheap South Indian vegetarian restaurant that specialises in thalis, dosas, idlis and other treats. Also has a good range of Indian sweets such as gulab jamun and a range of burfis. There is a tandoori (ie. non-vegetarian) restaurant upstairs. Mains $8-15.
- Toko Restaurant & Bar, 490 Crown St, Surry Hills, ☏ . A good local sushi restaurant. The dishes are light and tasty, but not particularly large. Beautifully fitted-out interior. They don't accept dinner bookings so arrive early or be prepared to spend up to 1 hr at the bar on busy nights.
Kings Cross is the red-light district, but don't let that put you off it if that is not your scene. There are many pubs and nightclubs here, but it is still strip clubs that are the most prominent. There are brothels and some street prostitution as well. The strip clubs aren't the sort of place you would go for a drink and regard the entertainment is a sideshow. They also tend to be a bit dingy, where the nightclubs and pubs in the area generally are bright, with a vibe. Due to the licensing laws and the state government's reaction to fatal brawls, the drinks on sale are limited and expensive, lockouts occur at 1:30AM and last drinks is at 3AM.
- 1 El Rocco/Bar Me, 22/154 Brougham St. Daily 5PM-midnight. Sydney's oldest jazz cellar once played host to the likes of Sarah Vaughan and Frank Sinatra. Now it has a small friendly bar upstairs and a downstairs room with regular performances of music, cabaret and comedy. Get some pizza from Bash, the Syrian guy next door.
- The East Sydney Hotel, Cnr of Crown & Cathedral Sts, Woolloomooloo, ☏ . They call themselves the last "Country Pub" in Sydney and are proud to have no poker machines in the building. Nothing fancy here, but the place is relaxed and down-to-earth. Good drinking.
- The Tilbury Hotel, 12–18 Nicholson St, Woolloomooloo, ☏ . A popular spot with the CBD after-work crowd during the week, while on weekends the upstairs balcony is a good place to enjoy some quiet(ish) drinks and music. Food is served in the contemporary style, Italian restaurant downstairs or eat at the bar from the cafe menu.
- The Midnight Shift, 85 Oxford St. Gay venue that has a leather bar upstairs, and a bar downstairs. The downstairs bar is open daily and hosts popular drag shows on Wed-Sun. Upstairs has a cover charge and downstairs is free.
- The Stonewall Hotel, 175 Oxford St (between Crown St and Taylor Square). Drag shows, dancing and cocktails. Spread across 3 floors. The bottom floor tends to play the camp 1980s/90s hits and hosts the drag shows, whereas the top two floors play dancier music.
Bars and pubs
- The Columbian Hotel, 117 Oxford St (on the corner of Crown St.). One of the most popular gay bars in the area, especially with straight people. The beautiful people sit at the open table facing the street to be seen.
- The Oxford Hotel, On the corner of Oxford and Burke St is a great place to visit. The basement contains Gilligan's, home to the famous Oxford Smash cocktail.
- Palms, 124 Oxford St. Gay bar/dancing area underground. Music is anywhere between the 1970s and today. Attracts a mixed, generally friendly and unpretentious crowd. Very small, so expect long queues on Saturdays.
Darlinghurst & East Sydney
- Royal Sovereign Hotel (Darlo Bar), 306 Liverpool St, Darlinghurst, ☏ . Trendy retro-styled pub with a couple of bars and a bottle shop. A good place for a quiet drink or to get a big night started. There is an outdoor area with a bar on the first floor.
- The Green Park Hotel (Darlo Bar), 360 Victoria St, Darlinghurst, ☏ . Popular neighbourhood bar, attracts a diverse clientele of locals, staff from the nearby St Vincent's Hospital, as well as gay guys. Burgers from a local restaurant, The Burger Joint, can be ordered at the bar.
- The London Tavern, 85 Underwood St, Paddington, ☏ . Cosy local favourite tucked away in amongst the terrace houses of Paddington.
- Royal Hotel, 237 Glenmore Rd, Paddington, ☏ . Located in a prime position at the Paddo Fiveways, the Royal is a good spot for a drink before having a meal at one of the surrounding restaurants, or at the hotel.
The area hosts some of Sydney's most prestigious hotels, and some of the less desirable places! The Sydney landmark, the Boulevard Hotel is near the Cross, on William Street. This area is the hotspot for backpackers in Sydney - Hostel joints are everywhere and bring a wonderful influx of young independent travellers to the area which really add to the vibrance. There are also a few mid-range hotels scattered around.
The Kings Cross area is one of the main backpacker hubs in Sydney. The majority of the backpacker hostels around the Victoria St area will not accept travellers with Australian passports. Some won't accept New Zealand travellers or those above a certain age.
- Jolly Swagman Backpackers Sydney Hostel (Backpackers Sydney Hostels), 27 Orwell St, Kings Cross, toll-free: 1800 805 870. Safe and clean accommodation with free breakfast, pick up, 24-hr internet access. Friendly staff, but fussy - no refunds or transfers, threaten to throw out your possessions if not left on the bed. Will arrange Sydney day tours and travel including bus passes and east coast packages. Dorms from $33, private rooms from $76.
- Funkhouse Backpackers, 23 Darlinghurst Rd, Kings Cross. Upbeat hostel famous for its friendly social atmosphere and funky murals.
- 1 Lido Suites, 2 Roslyn St, Kings Cross, toll-free: 1800 060 954. Check-in: 2PM, check-out: 10AM. Studio rooms with basic kitchenettes. From $99.
- Vibe Hotel Rushcutters, 100 Bayswater Rd, Rushcutters Bay (entrance off New South Head Rd, heading east), ☏ , fax: , ✉ email@example.com. Modern hotel with well appointed rooms, next to a park with good access to the city centre, walking distance from Kings Cross and Sydney Cruising Yacht Club at Rushcutters Bay, large secure car park under hotel, has a rooftop swimming pool with a view of Sydney Harbour.
- Sullivans Hotel, 21 Oxford St Paddington (situated on the main drag between Paddington and Darlinghurst), ☏ , fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Visitors suggest trying to get a courtyard facing room, as those facing Oxford St can be noisy Standard rooms from $135/night.
- The Sebel Surry Hills Sydney, 28 Albion St, Surry Hills, ☏ .
- Cambridge Sydney Hotel, 212 Riley St, Surry Hills (turn south of Oxford St), ☏ , fax: , ✉ email@example.com. approx $110-190/night.
- Post Office (Potts Point), 50-58 Macleay St, Potts Point.
- Post Office (Corner of Oxford St and Wentworth Ave), Suite 1 Gnd Flr 1 Oxford St. Darlinghurst (opposite south east corner of Hyde Park).
- Post Office (Paddington), 246 Oxford St, Paddington 2021.
Contact number: Australian national contact: 13 7678, International contact +61 3 8847 9045
- City Gym Sydney, 107–113 Crown St, East Sydney. Heading north out of Darlinghurst is one of the premier fitness and bodybuilding gyms in East Sydney.
- Fitness First, 63 Oxford St, Darlinghurst.
Surry Hills and Paddington have many yoga centres and training facilities.
- Body Mind Life, Level 1, 84 Mary St, Surry Hills, ☏ . Vinyasa Yoga integrates yoga postures and breath to effect your body, mind and spirit.
- Ashtanga Yoga, 17 Oxford St, Paddington (Verona Centre), ☏ .
- Bikrams Yoga College of India, 256 Crown St, Darlinghurst (Nearby to Oxford St, on the corner of the little lane running parallel), ☏ , (mobile), fax: . Created to build a strong body and nervous system, classes are conducted in a room heated to 38 °C.
For a serious medical emergency you should call 000 from any phone for immediate attention of the emergency services.
- Darlinghurst Medical Centre, 213-219 Darlinghurst Rd, Darlinghurst, ☏ . 24-hour medical clinic a few minutes walk south of Kings Cross down Darlinghurst Rd. General practitioners, minor accident/emergency treatment and other services. No appointments.
- St Vincent's Hospital (for accident and emergency (see Sydney Childrens Hospital listing for paediatric A&E services)), Victoria St, Darlinghurst (Follow the signs at the Accident and Emergency entrance of the Hospital), ☏ . 24-hour emergency department and serious trauma centre. NSW Health Department.
- Sydney Children's Hospital (for paediatric accident and emergency care), High St, Randwick, ☏ . 24-hour emergency department and serious trauma. NSW Health Department. Please see Eastern suburbs article for more detail including Royal Hospital for Women, Randwich for maternity care
- Sydney Hospital and Sydney Eye Hospital, Macquarie St (at the top (east) end of Martin Place, where it meets Macquarie St), ☏ . small 24-hour emergency department, general hospital with specialist eye hospital. NSW Health Department.
Kings Cross is frequented by drug-users, sex-workers and drinkers, all of whom influence the general vibe of the locale. The area is lively, well lit and always full of travellers and residents going about their business all days and nights of the week. Most people there don't cause problems. Ignore the touts and stay out of fights. Be careful in the less well-lit laneways and alleys as, although they are rare, muggings and violence do occur. The area is popular with large groups of men, and sexist leers and remarks are not uncommon.
Be a little careful on Friday and Saturday nights along Oxford Street, particularly the stretch from around Taylor Square to Liverpool St/College St. There are a lot of late-night venues here and the area is very popular for bucks' parties and the like. If you keep to yourself and avoid large groups of males, it's very unlikely that you'll find trouble.
Surry Hills gets its share of drunks as well at night, so be aware of alcohol-fueled violence. During the day it has a light, residential feel, and you should have no problems. At night there are quiet laneways, and overall the area is quiet. Keep to the main roads.
Problems are unusual at Moore Park. Sporting events and concerts in Sydney tend to be convivial, with any rivalries limited purely to banter.
Call 000 for immediate emergency services assistance or 131444 for NSW Police Service, non-emergencies.
- Surry Hills Police Station (Level 3, Sydney Police Centre), 151-241 Goulburn St, Surry Hills (turn off Oxford St into Riley St and the Police Centre is on your right hand side at Goulburn St. — the large police centre is impossible to miss), ☏ , fax: . Open 24 hours.
- Kings Cross Police Station is located close to the El Alamein Fountain in Fitzroy Gardens.
The City East area is a wonderful place to stay as it is central to so many of Sydney's attractions and gives access to transport such as rail and bus services to explore further afield. It is also close to the airport making it an easy destination for an international or interstate arrival or departure. Many attractions are within walking distance, including the Central Business District, Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour. The inner Sydney area, often referred to as the 'Inner City' is a great place to walk with many parks and gardens to take a rest in and most areas of the city and nearby inner city areas have cafes, bars and restaurants in abundance to help keep thirst and hunger at bay.
City Centre The busy centre of government and finance, but also home to many famous attractions. The city has many fine restaurants, museums and art galleries, the botanic gardens and the Domain, the Conservatory of Music, a large public library and plentiful shopping for all tastes and budgets.
The Rocks Just to the west of Circular Quay on the headland that provides the city end to the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Look west toward the inner harbour Goat island and the old maritime suburb of Balmain and east toward the Opera House and the small island of Fort Denison. Now a cosmopolitan area with many tourist oriented shops, bars and an at times rowdy nightlife in some parts. The Rocks includes the first colonial village of Sydney, many old workers' cottages and the iconic Harbour Bridge at the far end on Millers Point.
Darling Harbour This precinct is home to an extensive leisure and entertainment area immediately to the west of the Central Business District (CBD). See restaurants, boardwalks, aquariums, wildlife, and museums including Australian National Maritime Museum all by foot or above by monorail.
City South The Haymarket, Chinatown and Central Station area is home to markets, cafes, Chinese culture and cuisine, and some cheaper accommodation and shopping.
Eastern Suburbs For more shopping look at Double Bay in the shopping quarter toward the water for upmarket boutiques and other shops and also along New South Head Road. Also Woollahra, Rose Bay and further on to Vaucluse for shopping restaurants, cafes and historical attractions.
City West The fish markets, Powerhouse Museum, find a maritime pub for a drink, visit the Star City Casino and the old docks area of the inner west containing art galleries, exhibition spaces, apartments and restaurants.