Chippendale is small as far as Sydney suburbs go, but it punches way beyond its weight with a vibrant arts scene and a funky inner-city vibe. Its small size makes it the perfect place to wander, enjoying thought-provoking street art and uncovering hidden gems. The once grungy industrial neighbourhood has transformed into a creative hub with cutting-edge galleries and performance spaces.
One of the biggest surprises is the astounding collection of contemporary Chinese art at the White Rabbit Gallery. You can get lost in here for hours, exploring four floors of paintings, photography, sculpture, video art, drawing and installations. There is also a mini cinema, library and gift shop, but it’s the teahouse we love the most, whisking us away to another time and place.
For performance arts, head to the Seymour Centre at the University of Sydney, where events range from festivals and large-scale theatre to small, independent productions. Look out later this month for the world premiere of The Museum of Modern Love, adapted from Heather Rose’s prize-winning Australian novel.
Delve deep into the fabric of Chippendale on a 90-minute walking tour with the Australian Architecture Association. Its knowledgeable volunteer tour guides reveal aspects of Sydney history that might surprise you, and they’ll tell you all about the incredible amount of planning and design that has gone into the 5-star green-rated Central Park complex.
Built around the old Kent Street Brewery, dating back to 1835, it’s hard to imagine this area was once a slum. Restored terrace houses and heritage buildings nestle amongst modern buildings with a striking tall vertical garden. For more art appreciation, visit the Japan Foundation Gallery on level 4 of Central Park mall to view traditional and contemporary Japanese works.
There’s a great range of galleries, shops and restaurants in Kensington Street, from cheap and cheerful to high-end. Enjoy hawker-style meals in Spice Alley, or fine wine and cheese at Handpicked Cellar Door.
Other Chippendale watering holes to put on your list include Zigi's Wine Bar, The Rose Hotel and The Duck Inn (both with attractive beer gardens), Sneaky Possum (for casual bites and craft beers) and Lord Gladstone (check out the upstairs gallery for exhibitions and gigs).
When you tire of wandering, escape to the inner sanctum of the newly refurbished Adina Apartment Hotel Sydney Chippendale, in a quiet location just metres from the action. Reopening mid January in 2022, the Adina's retro-styled apartments are set around a leafy courtyard with an outdoor plunge pool. And, with just 42 rooms, it's perfect for people looking for an all-in-one venue for weddings, parties or anything.
The hotel is an easy walk or taxi ride to numerous other inner-city precincts like Redfern, Ultimo, Surry Hills and Newtown. Redfern is home to Atomic Beer Project, known for its craft beers and pan-Asian food, and great bars such as Bart Jr, The Noble Hops, Mjolner and Moya’s Juniper Lounge. Listen to some jazz while enjoying an artisan gelato from Redfern’s Ciccone & Sons – think yummy flavours such as tiramisu or crème brulee.
A 10-minute walk from the hotel brings you to Carriageworks, which has a couple of powerful art installations during Sydney Festival, along with six world premieres by leading performing-arts companies. It also has a wonderful farmers market every Saturday. A 15-minute walk brings you to the University of Sydney’s Chau Chak Wing Museum with 18 incredibly diverse exhibitions, while a 20-minute walk brings you to the Powerhouse Museum with its fabulous Robert Rosen: Glitterati exhibition.
** Peace of mind when you stay with us: Introducing Clean Touch. Note some activities listed may be subject to Covid restrictions.**