Discover the eclectic heart of this Sydney inner city suburb, filled with some of the city's best options for drinks, dinner and more than its share of culture.
By Alissa Jenkings
Once home to Sydney's rag trade, this buzzing inner city neighbourhood has converted its industrial warehouses into swanky gallery spaces and million-dollar apartments. On the southern reaches of Sydney's city centre, Surry Hills is a place of contrasts, of streets lined with blossoming jacaranda trees, upscale boutiques and renovated terrace houses, as well as edgy dive bars and the odd colourful character. But the area's most defining trait is an ever-changing food scene. It's home to some of the best coffee in the city, and there's no shortage of new eateries, serving everything from New York-style bagels to award-winning Japanese fare.
- Sample the excellent coffee, brunch and dinner options
- Peruse the high-end boutiques and funky vintage stores on Crown Street
- See a live performance at the acclaimed Belvoir Street Theatre
How to get there
Sydney's Central Station is on the western fringe of Surry Hills and services all city train lines. Buses run from the city centre to Crown Street in the heart of Surry Hills and take 25 minutes. Surry Hills is about a 20 minute taxi ride from Sydney Airport.
Top things to do in Surry Hills
Shop the boutiques along Crown Street
Crown Street is undoubtedly the retail gem in Surry Hills. Music lovers needn't go past TITLE for everything from vinyl records to books and CDs. Upcycled clothing never looked as good as the range at vintage hotspot Cream on Crown, while Somedays is a nod to Nordic fashion. More elegant than eclectic, Collector Store is like a gallery of homewares and fashion from local and international designers, on par with The Standard Store, which stocks an impressive range of handpicked pieces showcasing the finest fabrics and designs from around the world. You'll also find Parisian fashion label APC on Crown Street — it's the first store in Sydney for the French brand, known for minimalist designs and raw cut denim.
Eat at some of Sydney’s best cafes and restaurants
Surry Hills is a foodie delight. Bourke Street Bakery, Bills and Four Ate Five are longstanding breakfast favourites with incredible coffee. Artificer Coffee has a food-free coffee menu that's as minimalist as its floor-to-ceiling American oak interior. Paramount Coffee Project does a delicious take on American Deep South breakfasts, while Reuben Hills offers a South American twist. Butter is an unexpected hybrid of fried chicken restaurant, sneaker store and Champagne bar, while Nomad is all about Mediterranean fare to share. At the higher end of the culinary spectrum is Toko, serving award-winning Japanese. Longrain is a Sydney institution, famed for its impeccable South-East Asian cuisine.
Bar hop around Surry Hills
There's a bar for every occasion in Surry Hills, from a relaxed afternoon brew in The Beresford's outdoor beer garden, to dancing the night away at The Soda Factory, complete with diner-like booths and retro tunes. Among the biggest crowd pleasers is the recently renovated Dolphin Hotel, with buzzing bar areas, dining room, and open-air terrace all in a contemporary three-level design. Tapping into the small bar movement is the blink-and-you'll-miss-it Button Bar, decked out with dark timber, candlelight and an extensive cocktail list. Wine lovers ought to visit MV Bistro & Wine Bar for Italian classics matched with quality wine.
See a performance at the Belvoir Street Theatre
As the professional home of Belvoir, one of Australia's most celebrated theatre companies, this theatre stages impressive performances year round. It showcases the talents of some of the country's biggest playwrights, directors, actors and designers. It's a surprisingly intimate experience, seating just 350 patrons in the Upstairs Theatre and 80 in the Downstairs Theatre. Many of Australia's most famous actors have performed here, including Geoffrey Rush, Cate Blanchett, Judy Davis and David Wenham. Alternatively, see a cult classic or a new release film at the historic Golden Age Cinema and Bar. Once the screening room for the Paramount Pictures film company, it's been reinvented as a popular Art Deco entertainment space.
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