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Most read stories of 2019

Time Out Sydney’s top 10 most read news stories of 2019

Written by
Maxim Boon

As the year draws to a close, you may well have found yourself pondering the last 12-months. Where have we been? What did we do? It's time to look back and take stock.

Here at Time Out, we find the best way to do this is by combing through the newsworthy events that occupied the minds of Sydneysiders. We’ve looked over a year’s worth of stories and found the headlines that grabbed your attention the most. Here are the top ten moments of 2019, as reported by Time Out and read by you.

World-renowned Ace Hotel will open its first Australian location in Surry Hills

Photograph: Supplied

The new Darling Harbour Sofitel, which opened in early 2019, is the first in a slew of five-star hotels to break ground in Sydney in recent years, with the under-construction W-Hotel, also in Darling Harbour, and the huge Crown Resort development hot on its heels. Announced on October 10, the news that the Ace Hotel – a world-famous luxury brand with outposts in the US and London – would also be planting its flag in central Sydney by 2021, had you daydreaming about bougie staycations and rooftop cocktails.

Our favourite signs from today’s massive Sydney Climate Strike 

Photograph: Time Out Sydney

More than 50,000 Sydneysiders converged on the Domain on September 20, in a huge demonstration urging the government to take greater action on climate change. It was a serious act of protest, but there were some hilarious burns in placard form that added a bit of razor-edged humour to the proceedings. Here were some of our faves.

The Backstreet Boys are bringing their show to Sydney

Photograph: Supplied

Was it sexual? Not particularly. But the announcement of the Australian comeback tour of the ‘90s boy band sensation did deliver an irresistible combo of guilty pleasure and nostalgia that had Time Out’s social media following hooked. The American quintet arrives on our shores for the first time in five years next May.

Sydney’s lockout laws to be lifted in the CBD from January 14, but will remain in Kings Cross

Photograph: Supplied

Published on November 28, this report represented the culmination of six years of stories, chronicling the lockout’s impact on the night-time industries, the Keep Sydney Open and Unite for the Night campaigns, the select committee investigation into the economic and reputational impact on Sydney’s economy, and the long-awaited promise of repeal.

Sydney ferries are suspended as the city chokes on record-breaking smoke

Photograph: Flickr/AegirPhotography

The worst air pollution emergency in NSW history struck Sydney on December 10, as a thick blanket of smoke, ash and dust swept into the city, the result of hundreds of out of control bushfires. Beaches were turned black by burnt debris raining down on the harbour waters, and visibility and air quality were so unprecedentedly poor, Sydney’s fleet of ferries were ordered to remain in port.

Hope for the Hopetoun: legendary Surry Hills pub set to reopen in 2020 after a decade

Photograph: Supplied

This once lively music venue (and one-time Hugh Jackman haunt), on a prominent corner of Bourke Street, had become something of a head-scratcher for many locals. This prime piece of real estate, located in one of the priciest suburbs in the city, had sat empty and seemingly derelict since 2009, with no signs of activity or impending development. The owners came forward on November 19, with a pledge to renovate the old pub, which they've held on to all these years despite several overtures from potential buyers. They plan to reopen the venue at some point in 2020 – mystery solved.

New on-demand Sydney buses will ferry you directly to the new Sydney Metro

Photograph: Supplied

News, on June 14, that Sydneysiders would be able to summon a bus at the click of an app, to shuttle them to the new metro line between Tallawong to Chatswood, caused quite a stir on Time Out’s social media channels. And with good reason: with journeys of less than three kilometres costing just $2.20 and capped at $3.66 for longer trips, this money-saving, ultra-convenient, on-demand spin on public transport was a stroke of genius by Transport for NSW.

Bushfires reach Greater Sydney, pumping more smoke into the city

Photograph: Supplied

News the bushfire emergency, that had raged in rural NSW for weeks prior, had finally reached the city limits brought into grim focus the scale of the environmental crisis unfolding before Sydney’s eyes. It marked the start of several weeks (which is now predicted to eventually last for months) of severe air pollution in the city centre.

Bunnings stores across NSW are hosting a pet adoption drive 

Photograph: Unsplash

One story with more cute than you could wag a puppy’s tail at was the news that DIY giants Bunnings would be helping fur babies all over NSW find their forever homes, by hosting a series of animal adoption days. This feel-good story melted our hearts, and it clearly melted yours too.

Night Noodle Markets will be banned in Hyde Park from 2020

Photograph: Supplied

Our most read story of the year, published on October 17, revealed one immutable truth: no one gets between a Sydneysider and their noods. Well, apart from the City of Sydney, apparently. Citing the damaging impact on Hyde Park’s lawns, officials made the wildly unpopular decision that the beloved Night Noodle Markets would no longer be allowed to set up shop in the central CBD location. It had already drastically shortened the length of the markets from 18 days to just eight, but even this provision was deemed insufficient to save the ailing turf, so the pop-up palooza of Asian street eats will have to move, quite literally, to pastures new when it returns in 2020.

Still in the mood to reminisce? Check out our pick of the most memorable moments of the past decade.

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