After waxing lyrical about St Kilda, I figured it was only fair to celebrate a musical hotspot a little closer to home. While the Sydney CBD might boast big-name venues like the Sydney Opera House, State Theatre, and Sydney Entertainment Centre (for the time being anyway), it’s a bit too touristy for my tastes. If you really want to get a sense of the spirit of Sydney music lovers, head to Newtown instead.
See Live Music
Image credit: Lauren Katulka
You wouldn’t be a music lover if you didn’t come to Newtown wanting to see live music. Newtown’s biggest venue is the Enmore Theatre, an intimate space where I’ve seen some of my favourite acts including Joshua Radin, Counting Crows, and John Mayer. Death Cab for Cutie, James Reyne, and Blood, Sweat, and Tears will all play here in the coming months.
I also love a dinner and show at the Vanguard, and the pokie-free policy at Newtown Social Club (formerly Sandringham Hotel). Bench Wine Bar has live jazz every Thursday night and soul on Sunday evening. One of my favorite Voice contestants, Mitch Anderson, also plays at Newtown’s Cooper’s Bar every Wednesday.
Attend the Newtown Festival
Top Aussie acts like The Whitlams, Sarah Blasko, and Thundamentals have all performed at the Newtown Festival. The event celebrates the best of the local area with music, food, beer, a dog show, and a kids’ zone. It hits Camperdown Memorial Rest Park on November 8 this year. It’s free to attend, but please drop a few dollars in the collection buckets to help support the Newtown Neighbourhood Centre.
Shop Up a Storm
Newtown has some of my favourite music-related shops, so make sure you stop by when you’re visiting. Egg Records has an eclectic range of new and used vinyl, CDs, and music memorabilia. If you like punk music, you’re going to love Repressed Records. This independent record store has a great range of new and used vinyl, T-shirts, and even zines (remember zines?). Pete’s Musicians Market is the perfect place for expanding your musical instrument collection. Pete sells new and second-hand instruments, including many rare collectibles. The collection of funky electric guitars is something to behold.
Where to Stay
Newtown is popular amongst young people, so its accommodation options tend to be fairly basic but really affordable. Australian Sunrise Lodge’s King Street location puts you close to everything. With a swimming pool and barbecue area, Billabong Gardens claims to be Sydney’s best value budget accommodation. If you really want to see how the locals live, skip the hotels in Sydney and consider staying at an Airbnb property.
How to Get There
When I visit Newtown, I tend to catch a train from Central Station. If you prefer to bus it, the numbers 423, 426, and 428 leave from Circular Quay and travel through major inner-city locations like Eddy Avenue, near Central, and George Street before stopping at Newtown. There’s plenty of parking if you want to drive, but I wouldn’t recommend tourists navigating Sydney’s notorious traffic.
This post was written as part of the #HipmunkCityLove project. Which Sydney suburb do you love most?