Whether you’re after a great coffee or a cheap meal, a gallery or a bookshop, or a small bar or a busy pub, the hip Inner East has it all.

HIGHLIGHTS

If there’s something hip happening in Sydney, it’s probably happening here.

At the start of March each year, Surry Hills holds the starting point of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, which lights up Oxford Street in one of Australia’s biggest, and most fabulous, draw cards.

If it’s kitsch or vintage, you’ll find it in Surry Hills. Check out Zoo Vintage Emporium for your more niche shopping needs.

The Badger and Fox Gallery, or the Mark Hanham Gallery on Crown Street, are always full of exciting new exhibits. For cutting edge, creative, and challenging live theatre, see a show at the Belvoir Street Theatre, one of Australia’s most respected theatre companies.

The famous Bourke Street Bakery is a must visit, but be ready to line up. The shop is tiny and bursting with fresh bread and amazing pastries. While their carrot cake is widely acknowledged as the best ever, they’re also famous for their tarts, pies, and local hero, the pork and fennel sausage roll.

The coffee in Surry Hills is sensational. The mad scientists at the Reformatory Caffeine Lab will push your coffee knowledge to its limits and deliver you one of the best brews you’ll ever taste. For a more relaxed feel, take a seat at Reuben Hills, and munch down on one of their South American-inspired all-day breakfasts.

If shopping and cafés aren’t your thing, get outdoors in Centennial Park, a beautiful, wide-open space in the heart of the thriving suburbs. Here you can hire a bike, take a self-guided tour with the History Walking Tour app, or just relax with a picnic on the lush green grass.

The nearby Hordern Pavilion is one of Sydney’s favourite live music venues and plays host to some of the biggest acts in music, both national and international.

COMMUNITY FACILITIES

The Surry Hills Library and Community Centre caters to many students’ needs. The Library is open late for all your studying needs and features a dedicated local history collection, as well as a significant LGBTQI+ lifestyle section, free Wi-Fi, even a toy library, and hosts readers’ groups on the fourth Tuesday of every month.

For more vigorous pursuits, the Queens Park outdoor fitness station is the perfect option to break up a trip to Centennial Park, around which you can take a relaxing jog, or take advantage of their bicycle hire service. If you’re after a few laps of a state-of-the-art swimming facility, the Prince Alfred Park Pool has something for everyone, from classes for all ages, a dedicated children’s area, and an outdoor gym just outside.

As well as specialising in sports, family, and women’s health, the Surry Hills Medical Centre can help you out with all your health needs, with dentists, optometrists, physiotherapists, and more, all in one convenient location.

FREE & FRUGAL

While Surry Hills is home to some of Sydney’s fanciest restaurants, there’s also some good cheap eats to be had.

El Loco is a Mexican-style cantina at the back of the Excelsior Hotel on Foveaux Street – tacos are just $5, so you can grab more than one. The vibe is relaxed and street-style, just right for a busy Friday night.

Pablo’s Vice on Goulburn Street is your go-to place for quality coffee and breakfast, in a bright red hole-in-the-wall café. Pick up some toast and coffee for $7, or a bacon and egg roll and a coffee for $10. At Relish Food Co., their scrambled egg breakfast rolls will set you back just $8.90. It doesn’t get better than that.