Sydney itinerary: Cruising the CBD

Far from being all work and no play, the CBD is rich is shopping, snacking, drinking and party times if you know where to look
Photograph: Anna Kucera
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Shopping, Department stores

Strand Arcade

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Wedged between George and Pitt Streets, the narrow, multi-level thoroughfare houses premium Australian fashion designers, including Jac+ Jack, Lover, Sass & Bide and Sydney darling Dion Lee’s first flagship store. There’s top-notch personal shopping from the staff at the Corner Shop. Plus, vibrant and distinctive jewellery from Dinosaur Designs, natural beauty products at Aesop, a dapper hat collection at Strand Hatters, handmade brogues from Andrew McDonald and stylish clogs from Nordic fashion boutique Funkis.

Restaurants

Work in Progress

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You may know Patrick Friesen as the man behind the burners at Papi Chulo, but in a break from brisket and barbecue by setting up a fried chicken and noodle kitchen inside the Work in Progress bar. Suddenly CBD lunchtimes are a lot more fun than trawling food courts for something to inspire you. Plus, they're licensed so treat yourself to a cheeky James Squire Hop Thief 7 to cut through the spice.

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Smoking Panda
Photograph: Anna Kucera
Bars

The Smoking Panda

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It’s a fairly dire strip of the CBD that stretches from Woolies Metro along Park Street to the corner of Hyde Park. But this unassuming corridor through the city hides its best features well away from street level. Above the Coronation Hotel is a cocktail bar that’s a little bit Chinese, a little bit American and a whole lot of fun. They serve tropical drinks, pan-Asian snacks and some deep southern blues that's a mix just crazy enough to work.

A shot of a group of people singing in a karaoke room at Mizuya
Photograph: Daniel Boud
Things to do

Karaoke bars in Chinatown

After a big day in the city it's time to let your hair down and belt out some awesomely terrible pop music at one of Chinatown's beloved karaoke joints. There's K-Square, the late night party palace, Lantern by Wagaya hidden in an office building and the sleek Mizuya where you order snacks and drinks by touchscreen.

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