I love the CBD. Others may detest having to weave their way through hoards of people (particularly during rush hour), but I adore it, and seem to have it down to a fine art – treading carefully so as not to step on anyone, while squeezing like a ninja through the smallest of gaps to make it from A to B. George Street is the best for this, and that’s before you even reach the chaotic free-for-all that occurs on the Park Street intersection when all the little men have turned green.
Pavement traffic aside, the Central Business District of Sydney is wonderful. With TWO Westfields, The Galeries (annoyingly with only one ‘l’), Strand Arcade and – my favourite – the beautiful Queen Victoria Building, days can easily be wasted just on shopping. And, with such a huge selection of the best stores in Australia – Country Road, glue and department store Myer – as well as designer brands Prada, Burberry and of course the classic Louis Vuitton – who could blame you? However, it’s not all just about the shopping; the cosmopolitan heart of Sydney is rich in modern architecture and sights – with the Westfield Tower offering views across the entire skyline – and some of the best fine-dining in the city.
Train: Town Hall and Wynyard are arguably the most accessible, but the CBD is also served by Martin Place and Museum stations.
Bus: Look for buses marked “CITY”. Hop on, hop off. You can’t miss them 😉
Of course, the Hilton is the obvious choice, but Meriton Serviced Apartments on Kent Street are a little out of the hustle-and-bustle and have a gorgeous “home-away-from-home” atmosphere.
Admittedly, there isn’t an awful lot of choice if you value affordability over luxury – you definitely pay for location here – but there are some incredible boutique hotels, B&B’s and guest houses in nearby suburbs (but you’ll have to stay tuned for my coverage on these!!!)
The aforementioned shopping centres are a MUST… Be sure to visit the arcade between Mid City and Westfield for the best street performers in the city.
For beautiful buildings, head to Sydney Town Hall and St Andrew’s Cathedral. Or, if history is your thing, wander to Hyde Park for the Barracks Museum then back between George and Pitt Streets to see the historical Cenotaph. Martin Place and Bridge St are also just a stone’s throw away, for the financial/political centre of the city.
Ride in the Westfield Tower for birds’ eye views of everything.
Take a break from all that sight-seeing and visit Workshop Espresso, opposite the QVB. Serving the best-rated coffee in town (for a city that knows nothing of snow, their iced coffee is like a velvety smooth delicacy of the white stuff), it’s best to hit this place between 10 and midday, or 3pm-5pm, as locals KNOW this is the best place for a cup of joe. However, with only 8 seats, you’ll be stretched for somewhere to park your bum; instead take a walk to the gorgeous Hyde Park only three roads over.
Also try Momo Brasserie for the best breakfast, Kabuki Shoroku for delightful Japanese cuisine and The Baxter Inn at night for a quirky speakeasy vibe and most extensive range of whiskey you’ll ever have the pleasure of being offered.
Filled with three of my favourite things: books, stationery and traditional Japanese homewares (think coasters made from authentic kimono silk, etc), I have spent HOURS in Kinokuniya on a rainy afternoon. They even have their own cafe… This MIGHT be the best bookshop in the world. Find it on the First Floor of the Galeries.
Amidst the craziness (and some self-important snobbery), the CBD is more than worth it. Don’t miss out; instead, do as I did, and make this concrete playground yours <3