Style meets taste in this trendy inner Sydney neighbourhood that’s home to sophisticated art galleries, boutique shopping and delicious dining. Paddington deserves its reputation as a fashion destination, blending pop-up markets run by emerging designers with flagship designer boutiques. You’ll also find a high concentration of pubs, cafes, restaurants and bars.
Things to do
With its leafy streets and rows of beautifully renovated terrace houses, there’s no denying Paddington is a pretty suburb. If you can, try and visit in October or November when the jacaranda trees bloom and the streets are covered in purple flowers. Paddington Reservoir, a heritage-listed public park, is another scenic spot in the area, while the glorious Centennial Parklands are a stone’s throw away.
Oxford Street is the main artery, home to stylish boutiques, great pubs, charming cafes and colonial-era architecture. Opposite the historic Victoria Barracks – where convicts built the sandstone Main Barracks from 1841 to 1846 – is fashion hub The Intersection, located on the corner of Oxford Street and Glenmore Road, and where you’ll find leading Australian designer brands.
For fledgling designers, Paddington Markets is the place to visit, held in the courtyard of Paddington Uniting Church on Oxford Street. Savvy shoppers flock to this Saturday market, established in 1973, that helped launch Dinosaur Designs and fashion luminaries such as Sass & Bide and Zimmermann.
Further along Oxford Street is the Chauvel Cinema. Discover its eclectic mix of movies and old-world charm thanks to its position in the heritage-listed Paddington Town Hall, built in 1891. The famous Sydney Cricket Ground is a short walk south from the Town Hall, where you can join a behind-the-scenes tour and visit the museum for sporting history.
William Street, off Oxford Street, is a little laneway with big attractions. It’s home to pubs, restaurants, art galleries and an eclectic range of fashion boutiques in lovely 19th-century terrace houses, including the elegant designs of Sonya Hopkins and fine hats at Neil Grigg Millinery. Indulge your sweet tooth at Just William Chocolates and enjoy a glass of bubbles at popular wine bar 10 William Street.
Tucked into Paddington’s backstreets is the charming Five Ways, a junction of streets with a number of cafes, shops and bars. A short stroll away, splendid city views await from the Royal Hotel Paddington’s rooftop. Other leafy laneways will reveal some of Sydney’s best art galleries, including Global Gallery, Cooee Art Gallery and the Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation.
Neighbouring Woollahra, especially along Queen Street, is dotted with more high-end boutiques, provedores, cafes and restaurants. Pop into the Olsen Gallery, then enjoy dinner at the French-inspired Bistro Moncur, I Maccheroni if you’re in the mood for Italian or Chiswick Woollahra for seasonal fare from the kitchen garden.
Eat & drink
Paddington serves up a delicious range of restaurants and cafes. Get your caffeine and brunch fix at Morris, Paddington Alimentari, Barbetta or Infinite Bakery. Buon Ricordo is a fine-dining Italian restaurant that's been a local favourite for over 30 years. For a farm-to-table experience, visit Fred’s or enjoy expertly-prepared sustainable seafood at the acclaimed Saint Peter.
When it comes to pubs, you’re also spoilt for choice, with everything from British-style corner pubs and inviting beer gardens to glammed-up gastropubs. The long list of options include The London, The Village Inn, Royal Hotel Paddington, The Lord Dudley, Light Brigade Hotel, Bellevue Hotel, Four In Hand, Paddo RSL, Paddo Inn and The Unicorn.
For cocktails, head to the Latin American-themed Tequila Mockingbird at Five Ways or the speakeasy-style Charlie’s Parker’s on Oxford Street. For an extensive wine list in a cosy setting, you can’t go past The Wine Library in Woollahra.