This post was originally published on A Globe Well Travelled in 2018. The content has been revised and updated with fresh information.
There is no place in the world that I feel more at home than I do in Sydney’s Inner West.
Don’t get me wrong, I have many places that I have called home and I love all of them all in their own separate ways, but this part of Sydney has a special place in my heart. It’s the kind of place that I’m always glad to get back to after spending some time away.
That warm and fuzzy feeling of coming home comes specifically when I enter Sydney’s Inner West. This collection of neighborhoods, which I suppose you could compare to one of New York City’s boroughs, is where I’ve always lived since I moved to Sydney in 2012 and I wouldn’t consider living anywhere else.
Newtown is the heart of the Inner West, and it’s known as the place where the hipsters, hippies, students, and indie people hang out. There are plenty of alternative sub-cultures within this community, and you’ll see LGBT rainbow flags hanging all over the place. It’s a wild mix of wonderful people.
Many visitors to Sydney, especially budget travellers, will visit Newtown to check out this super trendy neighborhood. I’ve put together this list of things to do in Newtown for any of you who want to explore this area.
If you’re interested in visiting Newtown during your trip to Sydney, you can book your Sydney accommodation here. I’d suggest staying somewhere near Central Station to make it easy to get around.
How to get to Newtown:
From Central Station, take the T2 line train 3 stops to Newtown Station. To use Sydney’s public transport system, you can use an Opal card. The fare will be $2.50-$3.70 AUD each way.
Newtown is not far from the city, so you could also hop in a rideshare if you’re travelling in a group. It’s a 10 minute drive from Central Station, so the cost should be around $10-$15 AUD each way.
The map below shows the best parts of Newtown to explore.
Where to go + things to do in Newtown:
Newtown Station – This is considered the middle of Newtown. If you start here, you can walk in basically any direction. Head right to visit King Street north (the busiest part of Newtown), or left to visit King Street south which is slightly quieter but still has loads of shops and cafes. If you want to venture off King Street, then take your pick of Enmore Road, Erskineville Road, or Australia Street.
Camperdown Memorial Rest Park – This is one of my favourite spots to hang out in Newtown. Camperdown is a great spot for dog watching, people watching, or day-drinking (which is allowed until 9PM). There are always interesting things to see in this park. I once saw a girl walking her pet rabbit on a leash there. No joke.
Camperdown Cemetery – Founded in 1848, this cemetery is one of the oldest in Sydney. It was once much bigger, but a large part was converted into the connecting park in the 1940s. It’s interesting to walk around the cemetery and see the old tombstones that remain.
The houses around here are also historic. Walk back to King Street via Church Street and you’ll find some of the old row houses. These Victorian-era dwellings were once built cheaply for the working-class residents employed in factories or at the railway workshops, and are ironically now some of the more expensive properties to buy in Sydney.
Enmore Theatre –Many of the buildings in Newtown still have their historic facades from the 1800s or early 1900s. One of the most well known buildings in the Inner West is the Enmore Theatre, which opened in 1908 and is the longest running live music venue in the state of New South Wales. I adore the art deco architecture in its endearing rusty orange colour scheme.
Shopping – It’s easy to spend half a day popping into Newtown’s various boutique stores. Some of my favourites are Pentimento (stationery and books), Monster Threads (giftwares), and U-Turn (recycled/vintage fashion). I’m also a frequent visitor in the local Vinnies thrift shop on King Street north.
Street Art – Newtown hasa huge amount of amazing street art. Some of the famous murals are It’s a jungle sometimes on the corner of Enmore Road and Bailey Street, and the I have a dream mural on King Street (between Eliza and Mary streets). Some of my personal favourites are the Housing Bubble mural on the Urban Hotel, and the large-scale murals lining Camperdown Memorial Rest Park. If you’re interested in learning more about the local artists, you might want to book a spot on a Newtown street art tour.
Where to drink coffee in Newtown:
Shenkin is the place where Rob used to go for his daily coffee (his old co-working space was basically next door). This espresso bar has barely any seating, but they are total pros at making an excellent latte and they have a nice selection of baked treats. Shenkin also have a second location on Erskineville Road which has tables and a more comprehensive food menu.
Brewtown became very popular after it opened, and it’s still one of the best places to get coffee in Newtown. Aside from the fabulous pun name, they also have a great brunch menu which, though a little pricey, is fancy and delicious.
Black Market Roasters in Enmore is a coffee shop that I have visited on numerous occasions. Though the inside is fairly small, it’s a nice place to sit and enjoy the smell of roasting beans. Don’t bother with the food menu here – it’s really coffee that they do best.
Where to eat in Newtown:
The Pie Tin. When this pie joint first opened, Rob and I instantly became regulars! They have a selection of savoury pies (including vegetarian options) so if you haven’t yet sampled a classic Aussie pie, this is a great place to get one. Also, the sweet pies they have are totally drool-worthy and if you’re lucky they might have some Aussie Tim Tam pie for you.
Cairo. This casual Egyptian eatery has pides and plates that taste both fresh and filling. My favourite order is the vegetarian fried cauliflower pocket with tahini, which is just so incredibly good!
Japanese Tapas Shinmachi is a restaurant that Rob discovered, and we’ve been back multiple times. Ordering is done from an iPad at your table, then your small plates of tasty Japanese dishes are brought out from the kitchen minutes later.
Great Aunty Three is where Rob and I go every time we want some hearty Vietnamese food. The street inspired dishes include rice paper rolls, steamed buns, banh mi, pho noodle soup, or rice. It’s super tasty and also reasonably cheap. Oh, and their Vietnamese coffee is a must!
Westwood Pizza on Australia Street is a new kid on the block in Newtown, but they have certainly made an impact. This is now the go-to pizza joint for woodfired deliciousness. They have only a handful of seats and do not take bookings, but the turnover is usually fairly quick if you don’t mind waiting. Alternatively, take your pizza over to Camperdown Memorial Rest Park to eat on the grass.
Hakiki Turkish ice cream have desserts that are guaranteed to satisfy your sweet tooth. The ice cream bar has so many delicious flavours – my faves are the salted caramel or maybe the pistachio, though the Baklava is also a solid choice.
Where to drink beer in Newtown:
Newtown Hotel is one of our regular hangs. This historic pub looks super pretty from the outside with its green facade and decorative balcony, which happens to be our fave spot to sit as the balcony has great views of King Street. Inside is a totally gorgeous old-timey bar and a giant rainbow mural.
The Courthouse Hotel (fondly referred to as ‘The Courty’ by locals) is another favourite pub. Located next to Camperdown Memorial Rest Park, the tree-lined beer garden here is top notch. You’ll find plenty of craft brews on tap, and it even has a secret room filled with Pinball machines. Also, their veggie nachos are to die for.
If you’re into craft beer, then check out Young Henrys. This microbrewery started in 2012 and is now a staple in many Newtown pubs. I’m personally a fan of their classic Newtowner (Australian Pale Ale), Stayer Mid (mid strength) and Cloudy Cider. You can sample the goods at their tasting bar, or even do a brewery tour to learn more about the local beer scene.
Newtown is just one of the awesome day trips you can do from Sydney. I’d definitely recommend getting out of the city to visit some nearby towns, national parks, mountains, and beaches. Here’s where you can find more New South Wales hotels.
*This post is sponsored by AccorHotels. I’m proud to be an honest and transparent blogger, so every opinion expressed on AGWT is truly what I believe in!