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Places to meet your friend who's always late

Your mate may not be reliable, but these places are. Here's where to meet for the punctual and patient among us. Scope them out while you wait

When you’re waiting for a friend who’s always late, Town Hall steps just won't cut it. Avoid the bus fumes, pigeons, rapidly dying iPhone and makeshift seats with this essential list of places to pass the time. While most of them are in the middle of the city, they’ll make you feel miles away – making the wait not only shorter but also worthwhile.

Art Gallery of NSW

Pretty much everything here is free – from the permanent collection to the temporary exhibitions to the people watching. The high ceilings and views over Woolloomooloo make it a great space to escape the city and wander about, even if it's just aimlessly.

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Sydney

Chinese Garden of Friendship

If you've got some spare change ($3 for concession, $6 for adults), the Chinese Garden of Friendship is the ideal place to meditate and take a breather from the city (or take a selfie). Here you'll find waterfalls, exotic plants, koi carp in the lakes and weeping willows spread over its one-hectre of enclosed space. 

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Sydney

City Amusements

Waiting for a friend doesn't have to be filled with impatience and aimless scrolls. Here, you can pass the time on the Dance Dance Revolution machine (one of the last ones standing in the CBD), laser tag, bumper cars, air hockey or bishi bashi machines. 

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Haymarket
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Customs House Library

If you're running early around Circular Quay, drop by Customs House Library. It's a great place to sit and peruse a selection of daily papers for free. 

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Circular Quay

Gaffa Gallery

Tucked to the side of Town Hall you'll find the charming Gaffa Gallery. Always a hub for new ideas and up-and-coming artists, the Gaffa is the perfect place to visit if you've got time to kill. After all, it's better than being threatened by the pigeons circling those Town Hall steps.

 

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Sydney
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Kinokuniya Sydney

If you pride yourself on punctuality there's no need to feel bitter about friends who don't. At least not at Kinokuniya. This CBD sanctuary is an abundance of novels, art books, music, stationery and manga which you can browse at your leisure. If you're in luck you'll be able to grab a spot at the Town Hall lookout.

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Sydney

Mitchell Road Antique and Design Centre

No matter how many times you look around here you'll always find something new. The many antiques, vintage clothes, accessories, furnishings and retro homewares sprawl across a maze you could traverse for hours – an ideal meeting spot for the friend who's always "5 minutes away".

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Alexandria

Royal Botanic Gardens

When you live and work in a city it's easy to forget the best parts about the city itself. These gardens are just a 5 minute walk from Martin Place and are filled with a breathtaking selection of flowers, picturesque fountains and harbour views.

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Sydney
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The Wild Rover

If you ever find yourself waiting around Surry Hills, duck into this whiskey den for some peace and quiet or a decent bar chat. It's an easy way to let the afternoon slip by. Well, that's always easier with a whiskey sour in your hand.

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Surry Hills