The Inner South is home to youthful, arty and student-friendly suburbs like Redfern, Waterloo and Chippendale (known as ‘Chippo’ to locals).
Chippendale is a small suburb packed with terrace houses and is just a short stroll away from Broadway Shopping Centre which houses everything you’ll need, including supermarket chains and big stores like H&M. Chippo is also home to one of the city’s best coffee spots, Brickfields, where you can buy delicious baked goods, too. Once you’ve got a coffee in hand, you can explore the White Rabbit Gallery on Balfour Street, which exclusively exhibits 21st-century Chinese contemporary art.
Chippendale backs onto the popular Central Park shopping complex and a Palace cinema, which offers student discounts. You’ll find lots of great eateries both inside and around the complex, including Spice Alley, a strip of food vendors selling a variety of cheap and cheerful Asian cuisines every night of the week, and Anita, which does excellent gelato.
Not far from Chippo is Redfern, an area with strong cultural significance for Australia’s Aboriginal community. It’s where the Black Power movement was first born, and since the 1960s, the area has been the meeting point for political activism and protest around Aboriginal peoples’ rights.
The area is home to a selection of great bars, like Bart Jr. (named after a local neighbourhood cat), Arcadia Liquors and Moya’s Juniper Lounge (for ginlovers), as well as mouth-watering food options. Try Breadfern for a weekend pastry or RaRa Ramen for some seriously good ramen.
Binding Chippendale and Redfern together is Cleveland Street. Along the street, you’ll find jazz bar Venue 505, which offers free entry Monday to Wednesday with local artists taking the stage for a jam session. If you’re after a unique drinking and dining experience, just across the road is Mjølner, a Viking-inspired restaurant and cocktail bar.
Connecting the Inner South to the Inner West is the suburb of Waterloo. The area is quite industrial, but you’ll find lots of fantastic cafes dotted throughout. The centrepiece of Waterloo is Danks Street, which boasts plenty of great eating experiences, from Vietnamese favourite SO 9, to Middle Eastern-inspired Kepos & Co. Art-lovers should check out the Brenda May Gallery for young, emerging artists and Utopia Art Sydney, which highlights Aboriginal artists.
The adjacent suburb of Alexandra is also the place to go to stock up on cheap household items and plants from Bunnings Warehouse, or kitchenware from outlet store Victoria’s Basement.
Youthblock Youth Health Service on Abercrombie Street in Darlington (right behind Redfern train station) offers free and confidential counselling and health services for people aged 12 to 25 years old. If you need someone to talk to about money, family or relationship problems, or you have questions about your health or sex life, this is the place to go.
Myhealth Medical Centre Central Park in Chippendale offers a range of services, including psychology. Mandarin-speaking doctors are available. Redfern Station Medical Centre and Waterloo Medical Centre also provide a number of services.
For all things health and fitness you can go to the National Centre of Indigenous Excellence (NCIE) on George Street in Redfern. This community sports centre has a small gym, a heated indoor swimming pool, and a basketball court for hire. If you’re not a confident swimmer, you can join one of the ‘Learn to Swim’ classes, or try a range of fitness classes like yoga, Pilates, spin class, strength class and body pump. Student memberships are available.
There are several churches in the area including one1seven Church Redfern, St. Benedict’s Catholic Church in Chippendale, and Hillsong’s Waterloo Campus. Redfern is also home to Redfern Mosque.
When researching Sydney, you may have already seen highly-Instagrammable cafe Grounds of Alexandria (known as ‘The Grounds’) popping up on your feed. This place is packed with people on the weekend and offers a variety of food stalls, florists and produce vendors, as well as a small selection of farm animals – the resident pig, Kevin Bacon, always draws a crowd.
For a very unique night out, head to The Bearded Tit on Regent Street in Redfern. It’s worth visiting just to see the eccentric decor alone. The venue hosts a variety of fun events that celebrate all things quirky and LGBTIQA+ friendly, from underwear parties to singles date nights.