Things to do in Newtown

Newtown Sydney Australia

If you’re looking for somewhere for shopping and eating (two of life’s essentials) then look no further than Newtown, a suburb in Sydney’s inner west. Once a farming area in the 19th century, Newtown is now a cosmopolitan hub brimming with culture. Not only does it host Sydney’s best eat street (King Street), there are also many specialist stores where you can find vintage fashion, old records, books, antiques and home wares. Newtown is also a university town, situated next to the University of Sydney, so the suburb has that modern, student vibe.

There is a lot of fine architecture to be seen, if you’re into that kind of thing, with the Quadrangle at the University being one of the most beautiful buildings in Sydney. Newtown is located on the Inner West and South CityRail lines, so Central Sydney is just a stone’s throw away.

Need a place to stay?

If you’re looking for a place to stay in Newtown short-term, look no further than The Abbey On King. This backpacker accommodation is perfect for travellers who have a budget at the front of their mind. Located on the bustling King Street, The Abbey charges just $22.50 per person per night for a dorm room. If you’re not one for sharing personal space, a single room will set you back $50 per night, and a double room is $60 per night.
However, if you need something more long-term, the flat shares are still pretty cheap. You can get a room in the heart of Newtown for $120 – $180 per week, depending on how fussy you are. The suburb is popular with students, so inexpensive, convenient flat shares are easy to come by. In fact, most rooms above $200 per week are actually in neighbouring suburbs, such as Camperville and Darlington.

Keep yourself busy

Newtown is saturated in culture and is home to many artists, musicians and writers. It’s difficult to find any sort of hint of pretentiousness. The suburb has a great music scene, with many folk, punk and funk artists visiting local venues. The Marlborough Hotel has an initial swanky feel to it, but don’t be put off. It features special student deals throughout the week on food and drink, and The Cellar bar hosts DJs, who play their music loud below the posh cocktail bar. The Sandringham Hotel, another cool live music venue, often plays to small crowds. From the outside, it looks a bit shabby, but ask anyone and they’ll tell you it’s all part of the authenticity. ‘The Sando’, as locals affectionately call it, also has a bistro downstairs with food all for under $10. Bargain.

The Sydney Fringe Festival also takes place in Newtown and features everything from cabaret to comedy. It begins in early September and brings colour and culture to the suburb for just over three weeks. For something more permanent, alternative theatre lovers should check out the programme for The King Street Theatre. On it, you’ll find an eclectic mix of unique performing arts performances that will leave you feeling weirdly nurtured and catered for.

Let’s go vintage

The Cream on King is the best of vintage in Newtown and has all the greats from the 70s to the 90s, and we’re not talking about Led Zep or the Spice Girls. This moderately priced boutique has cute floral blouses, retro heels and custom-made leather jackets. Another second-hand shop to check out while you’re on King Street is Scraggs House of Fashion. If you’re looking for that statement jacket or one-off pair of trousers, look no further. There is also a bargain bin, where an abundance of cheap ties and scarves can be found.

Another clear winner in the clothing shop stakes is Monster Thread. Less vintage, but more whimsy and bizarreness, this place is the dream shop for those who have seen it all before. They’re known for their cool printed t-shirts, but they also sell creative accessories, like necklaces with bears and pipes on, and owl earrings. Everything is affordable and original.

Visit Gould’s Book Arcade if you’re feeling inspired. This magnificent Aladdin’s cave is packed full of books with genres you’ve never even heard of. It also contains stacks of vinyl’s, old videos and CDs. This place is geek heaven and is open until midnight should you require extra browsing time.

Time to eat… and drink!

As mentioned before, Newtown is famous for its choice of restaurants and cafés, so just head to King Street for a winning choice of food and culture. However, if you’re feeling a little too spoilt for choice, then seek out The Pie Tin. This artisan café serves a whole range of sweet and savoury homemade pies with a choice of ciders and ales to complement your selection. A pie with two sides is just $11, a deal not to be missed out on.

Turkish food has become very common in Sydney, but Matee Turkish Grill is the best you’ll find. Fresh ingredients, generous portion sizes and an authentic feel has made Matee very popular with the locals. Twelve Newtown is a great, chilled-out place to go to with your mates. This restaurant is known for its delicious pizzas you can also BYO wine. A good place for sophisticated dining is Rubyos, which serves modern Australian tapas. The idea is ‘to graze’ so you get a certain amount of smaller dishes to pick and choose from.

Now your stomach is full of delicious food, it’s time to seek out a bar. Look no further than Funky Bar. Located on King Street, along with everything else, this place is never too far away and serves very fancy cocktails. You can get beer and wine here, but the main attraction is the cocktails, although at $16 a pop your bill might rack up quicker than you were expecting, there are some original, ‘funky’ creations, though, so it could be worth it.
Lose yourself in the culture

Newtown is a colourful and cultured suburb of Sydney, with authenticity at its heart. It has that vintage feel, with the array of second-hand boutiques and shops selling old records and books. It’s easy to feel like a local here as they all mooch about the same as visitors do. There are over 100 restaurants, cafes and bars, most of which are located on King Street, and also some theatres and live music venues. You might be thinking that it’s impossible to be bored in Newtown – and you’re probably right.

King Street is the main attraction of the suburb and runs right through the centre. Flat shares are inexpensive and will always have a prime location to the hub of Newtown. Travelling in and out of the area is easy by train, so there’s nothing to worry about there either.

Overall, Newtown is perfect for: culture geeks, vintage lovers, students, foodies and those of you who miss East London and Camden.

By Georgina Deacon