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The Jolly Swagman Backpackers Guide to Sydney Neighborhoods!

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Newtown

Newtown is the refuge for freaks and fairies, hippies and hooligans; where no two people look alike and no two shops look the same. People say Newtown is selling out and is being replaced by the likes of Marrickville and Enmore, but that’s all bullshit. Newtown is just as vibrant as ever – with its bustling cafes, vintage fashion stores, and quirky bars. It’s right around the corner from the University of Sydney so there’s also a big student population keeping it young and fun. Every night of the weeks feels festive and alive in Newtown, and there’s always something going on!

Newtown

Newtown

Glebe

The infinitely stroll-able suburb of Glebe feels more like a village than a suburb of Sydney, with its quiet, leafy streets and local grocers. It’s a haven for book-lovers, boasting a heap of quality bookstores, both new and second hand – the famous one being Gleebooks, Sydney’s favourite independent bookstore. Several great new bars and restaurants and turning Glebe into a popular nightlife spot, and you’re sure to stumble upon some life music or stand-up comedy any night of the week. On Saturdays, glebe is home to the beloved Glebe Markets, a haven of antiques and vintage clothing stalls!

Marrickville

Marrickville is hailed as the new-found home of all manner of creative and edgy types, chasing the cheap rent! It’s also home to a large immigrant population, giving it a vibrant international feel not to mention some great food!  Cornerstone Cafe is one of the greats – famous for sourcing all their ingredients from their own backyard! Organic food stores, innovative cafes and bars, and some of the hottest live music venues make Marrickville an awesome place to explore, any day of the week. If you’re lucky you might even stumble upon an underground warehouse party!!

Cornersmith in Marrickville

Cornersmith in Marrickville

Bondi

Bondi’s got all the great coffee and buzzing nightlife of Newtown or Marrickville but with an added element of chilled-out beachy-ness. Full to the brim with smokin’ surfer dudes and beach babes, Bondi is certainly the hottest Sydney Suburb. With some great galleries and boutique fashion outlets, Bondi is fast becoming the trendy hub of the Eastern Suburbs. Check out the awesome weekend markets and the famous Aqua Bumps gallery for some wicked surf photography! Or just sit back with a takeaway coffee and watch the surfing!

Bondi

Bondi

Paddington

Paddington’s proximity to the College of Fine Arts, or COFA, makes it a popular base for artsy types and fashion fanatics. Best avoid Paddington if you have a tendency to invest heavily in high-end boutique fashion; otherwise, you’ll emerge exhausted and broke, although, admittedly, looking fabulous.  The further you go up Oxford Street, the pricier it gets, and it also seems to get posher! It’s well worth a wander, though, with some excellent galleries, restaurants, and bars. The Paddington Markets on Saturday also a Must-see!!

Coogee

Coogee is a quieter, quainter version of Bondi, but with just as much character. Coogee Bay road still has an art-deco feel to it; and boasts some great cafes, restaurants, fish n’ chip shops, and surf shops. The Coogee Bay Hotel and the Palace both have wicked beer gardens that are always busy from about 11 am onwards (it’s never early to start drinking here in Oz!). For the best fresh juice and smoothies around, go to Melonhead!

Melonhead in Coogee

Melonhead in Coogee

Kings Cross

Kings cross is no longer the vile underbelly that it once was, in fact, it’s become quite the arty farty area – with tonnes of art galleries and boutiques and some fantastic restaurants. The quiet and leafy Victoria road is lined with quaint family-friendly cafes and restaurants. Check out Wilburs Place for fine-dining quality food for under $20! The Kings Cross Organic and Farmers Market on Sunday mornings is also definitely worth a look.

Balmain

Balmain is the very definition of Charm – the colonial architecture, narrow laneways, happy young families, the smell of good coffee and fresh pastries in the air…it feels a bit like a town in Europe!  Fast becoming known for its vibrant cuisine, Balmain is bursting with innovative restaurants to try, like Efendy, a modern Middle-Eastern restaurant serving beautiful, lovingly-made food in a buzzing environment.  There are also some iconic pubs in Balmain that have been there for yonks and are definitely worth a look (and a cold beer)!

Surry Hills

Surry Hills is famous for vintage shopping, good coffee, and great bars. It seems to be the centre of the vintage inspired diner-esque pubs like The Carrington, The Norfolk, and The Foresters. The Oxford Street end of Crown street is lined with second-hand and vintage clothing outlets whereas the Cleveland Street end boasts all the best cafes, restaurants, and bars. Check out Cafe Lounge on Crown Street for the comedy, pizza, and tropical vibes!

For the best Sydney holiday, come and stay at Jolly Swagman Backpackers Sydney.

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