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Newtown, Sydney Travel Guide

Newtown Summary

Pros

  • Hip and offbeat inner-city neighborhood 
  • Top-notch drinking spots include microbreweries, cavernous pubs, and rooftop cocktail bars
  • A-list eateries and great vegetarian restaurants
  • Incredible street art -- much of it privately commissioned 
  • Ethical ventures include non-profit eateries and social enterprise projects 
  • 19th-century terrace buildings and uber-cool warehouse conversions
  • Home to the Enmore Theatre -- one of Sydney’s oldest live music venues
  • 15-minute bus ride to Sydney’s CBD

Cons

  • Lacks typical bucket-list tourist attractions
  • The unorthodox charm won’t be to everyone’s taste
  • Hotel options are limited

What It's Like

Newtown is a hip inner-west suburb with a lively vintage, craft beer, and dining scene. It’s one of Sydney’s more unconventional neighborhoods; a multi-cultural hang-out for hipster professionals, LGBTQ locals, young families, and fashionable students who are all drawn to its eclectic, free-and-easy atmosphere. 

Newtown is packed with varied drinking spots. The best bars are scattered along King Street and Enmore Road, where chic wine dens and rooftop cocktail bars sit a few doors down from authentic pubs. Then there are the breweries. Craft beer is big news all over Sydney, and Newtown holds some of the city’s top microbreweries. 

King Street is also dominated by its bright and bold boutiques. For quirkier purchases like vintage vinyl and retro ware, head to South King Street (known locally as SoKi). As well as being a great spot for second-hand goods, Newtown has a strong ethical bent. It’s home to shops where the focus is on giving something back to the local community, as well as an innovative non-profit vegetarian restaurant that should top the list for non-meat eaters (or anyone, really). Other more traditional eateries include American-style burger joints, Chinese restaurants, farm-to-table fine dining establishments, and hole-in-the-wall bakeries. 

The architecture in Newtown is a joyful mishmash of 19th-century pastel terraces, filigree-style houses, and uber-trendy converted warehouses. It’s also important to venture away from the main roads for one key reason: street art. This little suburb could give Melbourne’s Laneways a run for its money. The side streets and back alleys here are plastered with an astonishing array of everything from political slogans to huge intricate murals and abstract graffiti. Many of the works were privately commissioned. Others, like the iconic "I Have a Dream" mural, were created by a group of Sydney mural artists back in the ’90s. There’s a rich music scene, too. The Enmore Theatre is one of Sydney’s oldest live music venues. Built in 1908, it’s hosted some of the world’s biggest bands over the years, including Oasis and The Rolling Stones. 

Where to Stay

Newtown only has a handful of accommodation options -- a couple of budget guesthouses and lodges, and a mid-range hotel with an outdoor pool. The gem here is The Urban Newtown, which is near South King Street and is tricked out in neighborhood-appropriate industrial decor. In any case, keep in mind that you'll need to rely on buses, trains, or cabs to get to city-center destinations and the eastern neighborhoods like Darlinghurst and Bondi.

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