Away from the busy CBD but alive with a culture of their own are the funky Inner West suburbs of Glebe, Newtown, Camperdown and Erskineville.
Sydney’s inner-western suburbs have a distinct vibe. They’re home to many young creatives and students, with rental prices in these areas tending to be a little cheaper than in the inner east and CBD. In the heart of this part of Sydney is Newtown, with its popular food and shopping strip along King Street.
Along King Street, you’ll find a delicious selection of food, as well as some great bars and night-time venues. The Marlborough Hotel, affectionately known as ‘the Marly’, is packed to the brim every weekend and offers both live music gigs and DJ sets. Or, take a step back in time at Earl’s Juke Joint. It looks like a butcher’s shop from the outside but once you’re inside, it’s a buzzing 1930s-style cocktail bar with dim lighting and great music.
If you’re after more of a low-key evening, there’s still plenty to do. You can play a round of mini-golf at Holey Moley towards the south end of King Street, or try the tasty treats at artisan ice creamery, Mapo. This spot is known for its unique flavours, like nectarine or matcha ice-cream.
Tucked just behind Newtown is the small, leafy suburb of Erskineville. Here you’ll find The Imperial (known as ‘the Impy’), which pays tribute to the famous Australian film, Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. This bar is a queerfriendly space and often hosts various events for the LGBTQIA+ community. Other great eateries include Kuki Tanuki for Japanese food, Maggie’s Thai and Shenkin for Israeli food.
During the weekend, the Inner West is buzzing with people collecting flowers, clothes and fresh produce from the local markets. The Glebe Markets are a great spot to buy anything from secondhand clothing to beautifully handmade homewares, and just a bit further afield you’ll find the Balmain Market and Rozelle Markets, as well as the fresh food-focused Orange Grove Market (all only a bus-ride away from Glebe).
In the Inner West, you can also visit IKEA in Tempe for cheap furniture and homewares. It’s only a five-minute drive from Newtown train station if you want to take your items home on the day, or you can organise home delivery to anywhere in Sydney.
One of Sydney’s biggest hospitals, the Royal Prince Alfred (RPA) is located in Camperdown on Missenden Road. The hospital offers a 24-hour free translation service if you need to speak to someone in your own language. The Church Street Medical Practice in Newtown and Glebe Family Medical Practice both cover a range of areas including mental health.
If you’re looking for places of worship, there are a few different options in the Inner West. The Sydney Buddhist Centre on Enmore Road in Newtown hosts various meditation classes as well as a Young Sydney Buddhists class. All sessions are funded by donations, so you can just pay as much as you’re able to. On John Street in Erskineville, you’ll find the Turkish Mosque. Here, Khutba is held at 12.15pm each day in both English and Turkish. The Mosque also has Wudu areas for women and men, as well as a women’s prayer room upstairs.
In Glebe, you can hang out at the beautiful parks that line the foreshore, like Bicentennial Park, Jubilee Park and Federal Park. These areas are perfect for a picnic or sports game and are equipped with public toilets and barbeque areas. They can easily be accessed by bus or light rail.
Nearby, Glebe Library is a great spot for borrowing books, plus it has free wifi and printing and scanning facilities.
In Camperdown, Victoria Park Pool contains a 50-metre lap pool and gym, and offers fitness classes throughout the week.
If you’re looking for a unique and fun activity, challenge yourself to one of the three escape room experiences on offer at The Cipher Room in Newtown. You and your friends will have an hour to immerse yourselves in a real-life, puzzle-solving adventure where you’re ‘locked’ in a room and given clues on how to get out. Don’t worry, you’re not really locked in the room – you can leave at any time. It’s all just part of the fun!
If you’re after a true local experience, visit the Young Henrys Brewery in Newtown. This local brewery provides beer to several pubs and restaurants in the area, with the aptly named ‘Newtowner’ a particularly popular brew. You can even take a tour of the brewery if you want to learn about how the beer is made.