and discover Sydney by day or night.
First things first – eat your way around Chinatown. There’s a bite for every budget, whether you’re hankering for Cantonese, Uyghur, Japanese or Thai. After you’ve had your culinary fill, walk it off. The precinct is home to some excellent art, architecture and shops. You’ve just got to know where to look.
Flick the switch above, and we’ll dim the lights to show you the best things to do once the sun goes down. You can also explore more inner-city suburbs here.
There’s no such thing as an ordinary night in Chinatown. Feast your way through Sydney’s best Asian cuisine, no matter the size of your budget, appetite or entourage. Then, stay up late dancing, shopping, listening to live music, gazing at public art or… eating your second dinner of the night.
Flick the switch above, and we’ll turn on the lights to show you the best things to do pre-6pm. You can also explore more inner-city suburbs here.
The opening scenes of The Matrix – where Neo gets into the car – were shot in Chinatown. Head to the bridge underpass on the corner of Campbell and Elizabeth streets, ideally on a drizzly day, to recreate the scene for yourself.
Chinatown is edged by Goulburn Street, Elizabeth Street and the pedestrian-friendly Goods Line. Get there by public transport — all trains stop at the nearby Central Station — then continue your adventure on foot.
The 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art never fails to impress. The not-for-profit gallery has a rotating roster of new works that explore the links between Australia and its regional neighbour, Asia. It’s a surprising, visionary oasis in the middle of Chinatown’s hubbub.
The Capitol Theatre building was originally home to the New Belmore Markets in the 1890s, before being converted to a hippodrome for the Wirth Bros circus company. It was developed as a theatre in 1928, and narrowly escaped demolition in the 1980s. The theatre was restored in the 1990s to the tune of $30 million.
Chinatown sits on the southern point of Sydney’s CBD. Get there by public transport — all trains stop at the nearby Central Station — then continue your adventure on foot. Trains usually run until midnight, but if you miss the cutoff, grab a Nightride bus which runs until 4.30am.
Hunt down Chinatown’s hidden (or not-so-hidden) street art — the artworks positively glow at night. Jason Wing’s In Between Two Worlds, hidden on Kimber Lane (just off Dixon Street) is an awe-inspiring installation that explores heaven, earth and spirits and takes cues from Chinese and Aboriginal spiritual motifs.
Don’t be fooled by the snaking line at Emperor’s Puffs. It moves quickly, thanks to the efficient cast iron machine that churns out the creamy cake-puffs, oozing with golden custard. They’re a steal at 35 cents, or if you’re flush with cash, fork out a dollar for three puffs.
There’s a growing cafe culture in Chinatown, which means you’re only ever a stone’s throw from a decent cup of coffee.
Wear your stretchy pants. The precinct is bursting with amazing culinary specialties from the Asian region.
Drop some cash at Chinatown’s duo of Japanese cheesecake shops, or pick up some blooms, bargains or blues records.
From galleries and street art to oft-forgotten architectural delights, there are many art gems in Chinatown to discover.
Head to some old-school, kitsch arcade game parlours, escape rooms and public outdoor areas (with free table tennis).
We asked, you answered. These are the spots you love to frequent during the daylight hours.
We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again – you’re spoilt for dinner choices in this area. Here are some of Sydney’s favourites.
Who doesn’t love a drink with their dinner? These restaurants serve top-notch meals for you to pair with your own BYO wine of choice.
Chinatown’s not the most obvious place to get your live music fix. Lucky you, we’ve scoured the hidden venues for your listening and dancing pleasure.
Depending on your sensibilities, you can buy trinkets, desserts or designer sneakers at Chinatown’s eclectic collection of night-time retail haunts.
From hidden street art to 8000-seat theatres to a bustling weekly night market, the Haymarket area has an intriguing mix of cultural adventures.
We asked, you answered. Here are your favourite haunts for when the sun goes down and the streets of Haymarket and Chinatown come alive.
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