Looking for things to do in Surry Hills? Check out our top tips to discover Surry Hills the local’s way.
Sydney is a city of villages offering endless opportunities for exploration. Surry Hills, Sydney's inner city pop-culture capital is famed for hip coffee joints, fashion boutiques, trendy pubs and of course the Oxford Street precinct, home to the world famous Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras. Surry Hills is lined with terraced houses on leafy streets, never more than a stones’ throw from an art gallery or a wine bar. It is also home to the Surry Hills Markets, which promises local produce and vintage goods.
Nicholas manages Accor Pacific Social Media and has a big passion for bottomless brunches. A Surry Hills local and true socialite. If it’s worth seeing, eating, drinking or visiting in Sydney’s East, Nick’s done it, posted it to Instagram and ready for the next!
Getting around in Surry Hills
Surry Hills is accessible via Central Station and the Eastern Distributor, there are also buses that run through the suburb, check out Transport NSW to plan your trip. This vibrant community however is best explored on foot or by bicycle as you’ll want to stop as you please to explore the streets and laneways brimming with pocket bars, cafes and specialty shops.
Surry Hills Cafes
If you've only got a day or two to explore you need to start it right by finding a good Surry Hills Café. Hailed as Sydney’s prime drinking and dining district, Surry Hills has a multitude of brunch-perfect dining options.
Lumiere - 13/425 Bourke St.
A two minute walk from Taylor Square, Lumiere serves all-day breakfast with a lunch menu that also starts from 7am. Whether it's a Kimchi Chicken Burger at 7am, or smashed avocado on toast at 2.30pm, you can order the meal you prefer at the time you like.
The menu features all the usual breakfast favourites and as the name suggests, fusion specialties like French toast are up for grabs too. Effie and the team will treat you like part of the family the second you walk in, which makes this place extra special.
TIP: Lumiere is famous for its $69 bottomless brunch, which includes two-hours of free-flowing mimosas.
Reuben Hills - 61 Albion Street, Surry Hills
Sleek local favourite, Reuben Hills is a Surry Hills institution open every day of the year except Christmas Day and Boxing Day. A boutique micro roaster, this is a great place to get a good coffee fix and enjoy an assortment of South American inspired dishes you can eat all day. Reuben Hills doesn’t take bookings, so it’s best to get there early for a table, otherwise you’ll likely be queuing outside for a while. It’s worth the wait to get your hands on Wagyu salt brisket, soft fried eggs and smoked cheese on tostadas.
Suzie Q Coffee & Records - 1/18 Hutchinson Street Surry Hills
Café dining with a difference is on the menu at Suzie Q Coffee & Records. Here you’ll experience a warm welcome and a serve of delicious food accompanied by a soulful playlist. Select from the all-day menu that celebrates seasonal, wholesome ingredients including House Granola with seasonal fruits and Aussie favs with a twist like Avocado, Macadamia, Chilli and poached eggs on top.
This place also drops frequent ‘after dark’ Wine and Dine specials, so it’s well worth keeping an eye on their socials for upcoming events that may coincide with your visit.
Neighbourhood - 16 Buckingham St, Surry Hills
If you’re all about good coffee and want to grab the perfect blend to sip on the go, Neighbourhood Speciality Coffee is the perfect ‘hole in the wall’ coffee joint in Surry Hills, trading Monday to Saturday. So, keep things simple, mingle with the locals and grab your favourite blend paired with a flaky pastry or filled bagel.
Surry Hills Restaurants
For an authentic Italian restaurant with a ‘less is more’ approach and BYO to boot, Vacanza (414 Bourke Street) will satisfy. Voted in the top ten Sydney Pizzerias in the SMH Good Food Guide you can’t go past an authentic stone baked pizza with the perfect ratio of crunch and bubbling cheese topping. There’s also a selection of delicious pasta and share plates to choose from, in addition to a children’s menu if you’re bringing little ones along.
For those looking for an immersive Surry Hills dining experience, head to Premiere at Universal Sydney (85-91 Oxford Street). Settle in for a cheeky two-hour cabaret drag performance whilst you dine on a three-course meal, complemented by a two-hour beverage package. This fancy dining experience is like no other and definitely worth checking out during your next visit to Sydney.
Loud and proud, Chin Chin Sydney (69 Commonwealth Street, Surry Hills) packs a sensory hit with its trademark punchy dishes and buzzy dining space. Occupying heritage-listed Griffiths Tea building, the interior is rustic with its stripped back walls and exposed brickwork, adding to the gritty style of this edgy restaurant. Gather your friends, sit back and enjoy South East Asian inspired dishes packed with flavour and spice, perfect for sharing.
Surry Hills Pubs
There’s a lot of choice when it comes to Surry Hills pubs so if you’ve worked up an appetite you won’t have to look far.
This one’s a bit of a cheat as it’s not strictly in Surry Hills but we couldn’t miss East Village Sydney in Darlinghurst (234 Palmer Street). A short ten minute walk from central Surry Hills, this rooftop oasis has one of Sydney CBD's best views.
From the street this pub is unassuming, but head up the stairs (be prepared, you're in for four flights) you’ll discover sweeping skyline views of Sydney from the Terrace that can be enjoyed year-round due to its retractable roof, cushy fans and heating. Take a seat and order from juicy burgers, bowls and bar snacks on offer whilst soaking up the buzz of Sydney’s social scene.
TIP: You can enjoy a cool beer or cider-on-tap from the Terrace.
For those that enjoy an upscale pub feed, the Dolphin Hotel (412 Crown Street, Surry Hills) is for you. Its normal full service dining experience is on hold until restrictions ease, however you can still dine in stylish surrounds and enjoy a range of dishes from rustic fish burger and fries to juicy herb roasted chicken cacciatore.
Hit The Dove & Olive (156 Devonshire St, Surry Hills) on a weekend and you’ll enjoy a roast with all the trimmings at this traditional Aussie pub. There’s also more than 26 dedicated craft and Australian beer taps here, making this venue a leader in Sydney craft beer. If you’re not sure which to choose, there’s a $15 paddle option for those that want to try a selection of sample beers to increase the chance of finding a favourite.
Things to do in Surry Hills
Surry Hills is renowned for boutique fashion with pre-loved, sustainable and vintage shopping being a big deal locally. There’s also an abundance of specialty stores from boutique cheese emporium to acclaimed coffee roasters, plus galleries and vibrant community spaces. Here’s a few you should not miss during your visit.
Brett Whiteley Studio
2 Raper Street, Surry Hills
Located centrally in Surry Hills you can visit the former workspace and home of celebrated Australian artist Brett Whiteley. Managed by the Art Gallery of NSW, visitors can experience this significant artistic space, with its work-in-progress paintings, reference books and graffiti wall featuring quotes and imagery.
Having won the acclaimed Art Gallery of NSW Archibald, Wynne and Sulman prizes several times it’s well worth a visit to this artistic space, in the heart of Surry Hills, to learn about the creative life and works of this artist.
Shop 16, 425 Bourke Street Surry Hills
If you’re looking for somewhere a little different to visit in Surry Hills try Formaggi Ocello. This cheese lovers’ emporium offers a selection of over 200 cheeses from a variety of European destinations and from local Australian producers.
You’ll also find other gourmet delicacies including olives, oils and crackers perfect to fill any picnic basket before heading off to a green space to unpack, relax and enjoy. You can also dine-in at the charming café offering a cabinet filled with sandwiches, paninis and salads to go with your long black.
Of course you can opt for a handpicked cheese board too, but with the huge variety of cheese on offer you might just need a little help from the experts to select the best options for your palette.
Shop 16, 425 Bourke Street, Surry Hills
A getaway would be incomplete without an ice cream, even in the heart of urban Sydney; cue Gelato Messina. An institution in this part of town, Gelato Messina is-famed for its large range of unique flavours (some sure to raise an eyebrow or two). The team are passionate about the origin of their ingredients so you can be sure you’re consuming fresh creamy goodness.
Shannon Reserve Surry Hills
450 Crown Street, Surry Hills
If you’ve got young kids in tow you’ll know that a park or play area is essential for their enjoyment (and your sanity). Shannon Reserve is right in the heart of Surry Hills on Crown Street with a new play area fit out with fort, swings, slides and ample seating for caregivers. It’s right across the road from Messina Gelato too, making it a great place to stop and recharge with a creamy treat.
Shannon Reserve is also home to the monthly Surry Hills Markets. An integral part of the community, these markets showcase handmade, recycled and vintage goods that best illustrate the diversity in this city pocket. Pack your re-useable bag and browse through the items on offer from clothing, homewares and accessories – you’re sure to find a holiday treasure to take home to commemorate your trip.
Surry Hills Shopping
314 Crown St, Surry Hills
C's Flashback second-hand clothing would have to be one of Sydney's best when it comes to pre-loved clothing. Whether you normally rock the vintage style, or have a costume party that needs some funky threads, this place is packed with rare and outlandish items sure to turn heads.
Unit B/180 Campbell St, Surry Hills
Zoo Vintage Emporium is another retro fashion store find. Step back in time, you’ll be transported to the dizzying heights of the 70s disco era. Browse through gorgeous heels, handbags to make your grandma jealous, shirts, T’s, accessories and more to transform your look.
The Oxford Street strip from Hyde Park all the way up into Paddington is brimming with fashion boutiques selling high-street fashion, vintage, recycled and hard-to-find pieces to make your wardrobe sing.
Centennial Park Sydney
If you’re looking for more scenery or a dedicated track to run or walk, head over to Centennial Park. Centennial Park is located centrally to Surry Hills, Bondi Junction and Moore Park and is a leafy green paradise amidst the city buildings. This park is Sydney's largest of the three that make up the Centennial Parklands and boasts multiple ovals, kids play areas, bike hire stations, horse riding, eateries and freshwater ponds that attract a wide variety of native birdlife.
Paddington Reservoir Gardens
251-255 Oxford St, Paddington
Explore a place of peace and relaxation just a short walk from Surry Hills at Paddington Reserve Gardens (Corner of Oxford Street & Oatley Road, Paddington) situated beneath bustling Oxford Street. Once a functioning water source for the city, this space has been reimagined into a gorgeous sunken garden. Grab yourself a coffee and find a peaceful space to sit and reflect near the central water feature, fringed by the restored original brickwork and archways.
Surry Hills Accommodation
A packed itinerary means you’ll need accommodation in Surry Hills Sydney. For upscale and budget accommodation closest to Surry Hills, check out these Surry Hills accommodation options. If you want more central Sydney accommodation there’s plenty to choose from, whether it’s a budget hotel perfect to rest your head, to a premium experience in a luxury Sydney hotel.