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Once the working-class home to Sydney’s rag trade and one of the most dangerous and vice-ridden neighbourhoods in the city, the streets of Surry Hills were the stomping grounds for nefarious underworld types like the notorious 'razor warrior' Kate Leigh. A century on, those gangsters would barely recognise the oh-so-trendy heart of the Eastern Suburbs, with its classy cafés, five-star dining, thriving bar scene and culture hubs – not to mention the soaring house prices.
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What's Surry Hills known for?
This veritable urban food court is a playground for those who like their eating top-quality and eclectic. There are a rich mix of world cuisines on offer in the area, from Middle Eastern to Japanese, French to American barbecue, and more or less everything in between. Fans of Italian food are particularly well-served by multiple restaurants where you can find authentic wood-fired pizza and pasta dishes that any Nonna would be proud to call their own. A thriving café culture has also made Surry Hills one of the most popular weekend brunch destinations in Sydney, where many of the city's best baristas ply their trade.
How do I get to Surry Hills?
Whether you're travelling by bus, train or light rail, it's very easy to reach this CBD-adjacent suburb. The brand spanking new L2 Randwick to Circular Quay line of the light rail stops on Devonshire Street, a hop, skip and jump from bustling Crown Street, and Central Station sits on the suburbs fringe at the bottom of Foveaux Street (top tip: prepare your thighs to feel the burn, as the climb up Foveaux, Sydney's steepest hill, is seriously gruelling). By bus, Surry Hills is your oyster, with services from multiple Sydney neighbourhoods routed here.
Surry Hills truly is the city's heartland. It's right next the CBD and the equally trendy 'burbs of Darlinghurst, Redfern, Paddington, Haymarket and Ultimo, as well as sharing its eastern boundary with Moore Park and its south-western edge with Prince Alfred Park and swimming pool. The Entertainment Quarter just a five-minute light rail ride away on the L2 line towards Randwick.
Map of Surry Hills
If you only do one thing
Surry Hills Market is cute as a button and has produce and products from some of the city's top artisans. Held on the first Saturday of each month at Shannon Reserve on the corner of Crown and Collins, it features more than 60 stallholders (although currently, space is limited due to repair work following storm damage earlier in the year) selling everything from vintage fashion and eco-minded beauty products to antique bric-a-brac and handmade ceramics. It has now resumed, after a shutdown-related hiatus, and now offers hand-san and social distancing cues to make sure patrons are safe while they shop.