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Living in Sydney

Australian Culture

What's normal? Know what to expect.

Culture & Customs

city life

Sydney is made up of hundreds of localities and suburbs each with its own unique character, from Bondi with its stunning blue beaches to the Rocks with its cobblestone streets and hidden passageways. Sydney’s world-class arts, sports and cultural events calendar offers numerous opportunities to get involved in many different aspects of Sydney life and to engage with the histories and the people that make this city what it is today.

More About Sydney

Sydney Harbor

Explore Sydney's Neighborhoods - A City of Villages

Restaurants and Cafes:

The Tea Cosy (33 George St.)

This spot provides one of the most adorable places for tea and a scone.

La Renaissance (French Patisserie, 47 Argyle St.)

It's the best cake and pastries money can buy with a idyllic patio.

Pancakes on The Rocks (Breakfast 24/7, 4 Hickson Rd.)

This restaurant (which can also be found in Darling Harbour) serves up a classic American pancake breakfast.

Ananas (French Classic, 18 Argyle St.)

Want to take your parents somewhere a bit fancy and self described as "glamorous"? Ananas is surely the way to go.

Coffee Cart (Gloucester St.)

Here you'll find the most convenient coffee, located right near school.

Food @259 (259 George St.)

The food court provides an easy (and delicious) way to pick up food from school. There are also great deals after 2PM, including nine dollar fish and chips.

Arts, Parks and Culture:

Museum of Contemporary Art (ArtBar - last Friday of every month, art made by emerging artists)

The Rocks Discovery Museum (Kendall Ln.)

S.H. Ervin Gallery (National Trust Centre, Watson Rd.)

Susannah Place Museum (Cute little historic museum around the corner from Science House, 58–64 Gloucester Street)

Observatory Hill Park (Beautiful views of Northern Sydney, Watson Rd., around the corner from Science House)

Sydney Harbour Bridge & Pylon Lookout (accessible via stairs at 5 Cumberland St.)

Restaurants, Cafes and Markets:

Pancakes on the Rocks (227 & 229-230 Harbourside Shopping Centre)

This restaurant provides the perfect American style pancake breakfast. Hello comfort food brunch!

Chinese Noodle Restaurant (Shop 7, 8 Quay St.)

This is the BEST place for dumplings in Haymarket at a totally reasonable price.

Home Thai (Shop 1 - 2 299 Sussex St.)

Home Thai is always crowded and features reasonable lunch and dinner menu prices.

Chat Thai (20 Campbell St.)

This restaurant might be a little bit on the pricier side, but boasts wonderful lunch time deals (hello 9.90 pad thai) and does takeout. 

Guzman Y Gomez (World Square)

There might be a competition between Guzman y Gomez and Mad Mex, but popular consensus has moved towards the former.

Mecca Espresso (646 Harris St.)

Mecca is the best cafe close to Urbanest.

Paddy’s Market (Hay St. & Thomas St.)

Paddy's is the one stop shop for all produce and by far the best value in town. It's only open Wednesday - Sunday, 9AM - 5PM, and after 4PM the deals generally become sweeter.

Chinatown Night Market (Dixon St.)

On Friday nights head over to Dixon Street for wonderful Chinese street food. Don't forget to grab and emperor's cream puff off of Hay Street!

Arts, Parks and Culture:

Capitol Theater (Musicals and Plays, 13 Campbell St.)

Sydney Entertainment Centre (Music shows throughout the year, 35 Harbour St.)

Australian Maritime Museum (2 Murray St.)

Prince Alfred Park (On the other side of Central Station, Chalmers St.)

CentralPark Shopping Centre (Tons of restaurants, has a brand new Woolworths, 80 Broadway St.)

MaryAnn Street Park (Great dog-watching, MaryAnn St.)

Restaurants, Markets and Cafes:

Bondi Picnic (101 Hall Street)

Check this out for a post-beach brunch. Go for the croissant french toast.

Porch and Parlour (Café, Shop 1, 100 Brighton Blvd.)

This is a good choice for either breakfast or dinner.

Lox Stock and Barrel (140 Glenayr Ave.)

Missing the New York style deli? Head over here for bagels and challah.

Jo & Willy’s Depot (286 Campbell Pde.)

Serving breakfast all day, the pancakes are worth checking out.

Bondi Markets (Campbell Pde.)

Bondi Markets runs every sunday from 10AM-4PM at the Bondi Beach public school. Highlights include a range of bric-a-brac and cool clothes. 

Arts, Parks and Culture:

The Beach!

Event Cinemas (Modern Movie Theater, Level 7 Westfield Shopping Centre.)

Sculpture By The Sea (late October - early November only)

Coogee to Bondi Walk or vice-versa

Restaurants, Cafes and Markets:

The Forresters (336 Riley St.)

Look no further for a cheap meal as they offer $5 steaks on Mondays.

Chur Burger (48 Albion St.)

This student favorite features delicious burgers at $10.

Messina Gelato (386 Crown Street)

Messina is widely known as the best gelato in all of Sydney. You can't visit without trying it at least once!

Paramount Coffee Project (80 Commonwealth St.)

Visit this wonderful brunch place, known for its crab po boy.

Reuben Hills (61 Albion St.)

The brunch here is solid, and be sure to check out the Not Reuben Sandwich.

Four Ate Five (485 Crown St.)

Another brunch place, Four Ate Five is also known for their lunchtime sandwiches.

Surry Hills Markets (Corner of Crown and Collins St.)

Every first Saturday of the month, head over to check out the markets.

Arts, Culture and Parks:

Golden Age Cinema (Very cool Art House Cinema, 80 Commonwealth St.)

M2 Gallery (Pop-up exhibition space, 4/450 Elizabeth St.)

Brand X Studio (Part workshop, part gallery, part retail concept store, 180b Campbell St.)

Brett Whiteley Studio (2 Raper St.)

First Draft Gallery (Emerging artists, 116 Chalmers St.)

Restaurants, Cafes, and Markets:

Cafe Sopra (11 Bridge Street)

This cafe is best for a nice dining experience close to school.

Sakae (116/120 Liverpool Street)

Have a hankering for Japanese? Look no further.

Sydney Mint Cafe (10 Macquarie Street)

Eat here for a lovely dining experience in an old historical building.

Just Pure Bistro (68 Market Street in the Swissotel)

This experience is for those seeking organic upscale dining.

Pendolino (Italian cuisine, Strand Arcade, 412-414 George Street, Level 2)

Pendolino serves Italian food, and features a cafe as well as a restaurant.

Bistro Papillon (98 Clarence Street)

With it's 95% approval on Urbanspoon, Bistro Papillon rightly has a claim to fame for serving delicious (though expensive) French food.

Harry’s Cafe de Wheels (Shop 1, 849 George Street)

If you're looking for a classic Australian haunt with iconic meat pies, this is your one stop shop.

Cafe Guilia (92 Abercrombie St)

This secret gem is an 100 year old converted butcher shop with delicious food.

Hotel CBD (Corner of York and King Streets)

Offering multiple venues inside, this chique building provides a range of dining experiences.

Arts, Culture, and Parks:

Hyde Park (Australia’s oldest park, Elizabeth Street)

Museum of Contemporary Art (Free entrance, 140 George Street)

Art Gallery of New South Wales (Free entrance, Art Gallery Road in the Botanic Gardens)

Royal Botanic Gardens (Perfect picnic spot, Mrs Macquaries Rd)

What to do when you first arrive

Check out restaurants and outdoor markets where you can pick up just about anything you might want. Locate the nearest bus stops.

Head outside and pick up whatever supplies you'll want, as well as anything you might have forgotten at home. 

This seems obvious, but for some reason people forget. Just do it. 

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