Today, Parramatta is home to many of the nation’s oldest buildings and also some of its newest. The city’s reputation as a commercial capital is well earned – it is truly Sydney’s second CBD, with the fourth-biggest Westfield in Australia and, in Church Street, a lively al fresco “eat street”. But Parramatta is more than that.
The hum of industry has also made it a hotbed for artists, musos, chefs, retailers and visionaries. Parramatta’s streets have found themselves abuzz with pop-up shops, art studios and reactivated laneways. On the breeze you’ll smell artisan bread-making, coffee couture and the aromas of ancient and contemporary cuisines. Film events are flickering to life in cinemas, bars and beneath the stars, and Riverside Theatres offers a smorgasbord of song, dance and unique performances. Festivals are descending on the precinct, and they all speak of Parramatta as a place of colour, culture and creativity. Here, bars are bistros and band venues. Restaurants double as wineries and microbreweries. Arcades house galleries, bakeries, yum cha palaces and amazing shops and boutiques. Markets spill onto footpaths and into civic squares.
The best restaurants in Harris Park
As you step off the train at Harris Park, the first thing that hits you is the rich scent of aromatic spices. The community has one of the highest Indian populations in the state, and there are 20-plus Indian restaurants located within a stone’s throw from the station. You’ll also find tailors and sari shops with colourful, bejewelled outfits, plus grocery stores where you can stock up on bitter melons, a kilo of peeled garlic for $6, or ten different brands of ghee and Bollywood DVDs.