Whether it’s the promise of brekky pho or the racks of vintage threads that gets you out of bed in the morning, these markets keep us coming back for their local produce, creative wares and delicious snacks. Since you're planning an early start, why not make the most of it with these 90 things to do before 9am then find afternoon blooms at the best florists in Sydney. Or jam-pack your time off with our list of the best things to do this weekend.
RECOMMENDED: 50 things to do in Sydney at least once in your life.
Sydney's best markets
Go for the pho stand for a traditional Vietnamese start to the day. There’s a bibimbap stall that will even replace the rice with shredded cauliflower if you don’t believe in cheat days, and a classic bacon and egg roll for creatures of habit. Chef Josh Niland of Fish Butchery and Saint Peter has a permanent stall selling inventive seafood. His prawn toast is a certified hangover buster, and cooked items change with the tide.
You’re spoilt for choice for truss tomatoes, plump berries, technicolour capsicums and leafy greens. The popularity of the bacon and egg rolls from Bowen’s has reached celebrity status, with queues long enough to make you think Bieber is signing autographs at the end of the line.
There are rows upon rows of eccentric and colourful vintage clothes, alongside hand-crafted jewellery, accessories and new clothing designed by locals. There are vintage stalls scattered all around the market, but the smaller section just off Derby Lane at the back of the school is a goldmine and a slightly quieter place to scour through racks and try things on.
Bar Pho has been a staple of the weekly produce and snack fare for the past eight years, and the warming basil, beef and star anise-spiked stock makes a solid argument for passing on the usual bacon and egg breakfast. This stall along with Fritter House (try the lion’s share with chipolatas, sour cream, two big corn fritters, bacon and salsa) and the Raclette Shack (oozy cheese-topped potatoes are always a great idea at 10am) make the markets an excellent brunching destination.
You can pick up Hass avocados for $3, lush green veggies like broccoli, leeks, fennel and spinach, plus earthy Dutch cream potatoes and boxes of free range eggs. Alongside the two main produce stalls at the church end of the street, there are fresh-cut flowers such as flowering gum for $25 and eucalyptus for $12, but also more weathered bunches of roses and dahlias.
Many of the stallholders return week on week, like the elderly Japanese couple selling Bonsai trees and the Spanish shoemakers selling espadrilles. It’s predominantly an art, clothing and design market – and alongside the kitsch bric-à-brac and Australiana-print tea towels you’ll find straw hats for $35 from local milliners and soft Tunisian-made ‘Turkish’ towels from young Eastern Suburb entrepreneurs.
The schoolyard of the Rozelle Public School has been a hive of weekend crate digging for more than 20 years, and while some stalls have almost earned long service leave, there are always newcomers keen to swap their good and chattel for some cold hard cash. You can find bargains for less than you’d spend on a coffee – it’s all about the chase.
The curated Sunday offerings are diverse enough to ensure you have a gloriously full basket and belly. They also pack up at a hangover friendly 2pm, meaning you can scarf a crackling spiked pork pancake and impulse buy a house plant without having to get up at sparrow’s fart.
Entertainment Quarter has been home to a fresh produce and arts and crafts market for 20 years, and in 2018 market experts Madelienne Anderson and Rebecca Fox took over the show, adding EQ to their list of market spaces around Sydney, from Watsons Bay to Cronulla. There are up to 70 stallholders peddling gourmet cheeses, ripe cherry tomatoes and piping hot gozleme.
Every Friday from 4pm, the main strip of Chinatown transforms into a vibrant night market selling Asian street food, desserts and gifts. You’ll find yum cha favourites like har gow and mango pancakes from East Ocean, or have the joy of pulling apart Mamak’s fluffy roti canai without waiting 40 minutes in line outside their permanent eateries.
Every Sunday you’ll find locally grown produce and homemade goodies in between the beloved Tramsheds cafés, restaurants and boutique stores. Regular stalls are manned by favourites like Annandale Honey for all your nectar needs, Jodie McGregor Flowers brightening up the shed with fresh blooms and Mirrool Creek and Galston’s Game Farm catering to carnivors.
When we visited there were only two stores flogging fruit and veg, however there’s plenty of food to take home. Find everything from lengthy flat beans to exotic-looking chillies, trays of fresh berries and eggs to Shepherd’s Artisan Bakehouse’s traditional crusty Italian spelt and rye, and Patisserie Bruni’s family sized quiches and Burgundy beef pies.
This community-focused market has taken place in the St Andrews Church grounds since ’77 and still pops up there each Saturday. The focus is on homewares and arts and craft, with stalls selling everything from live plants to chunky jewellery and antiques.
There’s a new sustainable, environmentally-focused market joining the mix of Sydney’s regular shopping events. The Flour Mill Markets, which come from the fresh minds behind the Erskineville Farmers’ Market, will be dedicated to fresh produce, dairy-based goods, colourful blooms, locally crafted pottery and other fun trinkets every second Sunday of the month.
The main square hosts an organic food and farmers’ market every Saturday, and on the first Sunday of the month they close off Main Street for the Sydney Boutique Markets: more than 50 stalls selling womenswear, kidswear, jewellery, candles and the like.
Sydney markets open every day
The 150-year-old institution spans two locations – Haymarket and Flemington – and as well as the usual food, fashion and bric-a-brac, Paddy’s stallholders hawk knock-offs, tourist tat and so many mobile phone covers.
Get up early and catch the noisy wholesale fish auctions: they start at 5.30am, with tours for public starting at 6.40am. It’s the largest market of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere, and you won’t find more varieties of fish on sale anywhere outside Japan – it trades more than 100 species a day and over 1,400 tonnes of fish a year.
It’ll be an early morning trip – it opens in the dark hours and you wanna be an early bird – but if you can get yourself up then the effort is more than worth it. Flower shopping is about seeing what’s on offer and buying the most divine blooms on the day.
Grow your own greens
Find the all-natural remedy to city-slicker-sickness right here in Sydney. These plots of land give concrete-bound Sydneysiders a taste of the countryside, without having to commit to a green-change. You can volunteer as a farm hand, get to know adorable barnyard flocks, learn a little about Indigenous agriculture, and even taste the Sydney-grown produce at farmers’ markets and on-site eateries.