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 Parramatta
The best bars in Parramatta
Their sprawling beer garden is a beaut: a leafy, shaded expanse easy to lose an afternoon in. An adjoining Garden Bar offers a pavilion plus banquettes and...
Combining pub, wine bar and cocktail lounge, the Collector has an outdoor lounge and an indoor courtyard. The restaurant, Chill Bistro, offers unpretentious...
More things to do in Parramatta
The Parramatta Renaissance man
Each year this western Sydney cultural hub hosts an exciting program of theatre, dance, opera, circus, musicals and solo shows. The theatre is also a NT Live...
Old Government House
Set in 105 hectares (260 acres) of parkland, Old Government House was built between 1799 and 1818 on the foundations of Governor Phillip’s 1790 thatched...