From world-renowned attractions, incredible shopping precincts, cool festivals, beautiful beaches and a mouthwatering foodie scene, there’s plenty to entice visitors to Sydney. But for a more leisurely pursuit that can combine two or more of these things, consider checking out some of Sydney’s bustling markets.
The following list isn’t necessarily about the markets reserved only for early-risers. Sure, there are the morning markets rewarding early birds with first pick of bargain food and clothes, but some markets best perused at brunch o’clock or even when the sun sets to get the full atmospheric effect of why Sydney does markets so well. From foodie havens to markets celebrating local art and design, here is the ultimate list of best markets to shop local. And the best part? All are easily accessible from the centre of the city.
Since opening its doors three years ago in the leafy inner city suburb of Forest Lodge, Tramsheds (named for its former life as a tram depot) has become a popular destination for foodie lovers. The eatery precinct, just across the road from Jubilee Park light rail station, is home to an array of food retailers and restaurants who are all about innovation and creativity in the kitchen. As such, it wasn’t long before Tramsheds hosted a weekend market of its own: the Sunday Growers Markets is the place to pick up seasonal produce, fresh breads, preserves and pickles directly from local providores. There’s also an ever-changing workshop schedule where you can learn anything from wine tasting to ceramics. On occasional Saturdays, there’s also a dedicated Artisans Market for locally made beauty products, art and fashion. Says artist and exhibitor Shana Danon of Emilio Frank Design: “Tramsheds is one of my favourite spaces to pop-up – a gorgeous, light-filled space surrounded by gourmet makers.” As for her tips on where to eat while market-browsing? “I have a sweet tooth – so I’m always happy to indulge in Gelato Messina. As a stallholder, the coffee from Bodega 1904 keeps me going through busy days! For savoury, I recommend Bekya for Egyptian food. They serve a delicious dish called koshari – lentils, rice, macaroni, chickpeas, tomato salsa and fried onions.”
Every Saturday and Sunday, The Rocks’ cobblestoned laneways are filled with the stalls of the Rocks Markets, lending a charming ambience to the neighbourhood. Taking place every weekend between 10am and 5pm, the market brings together local fashion, handcrafted jewellery, independent artists, talented artisans and fragrant food stands, plus a food-only market on Friday nights after work.
Perched just across Parramatta Road from Sydney University in an area crawling with students, artists and creatives, Glebe Markets are always well populated with hipsters rummaging through the racks of vintage clothes on a Saturday. There’s also live music and plenty of food stalls to enjoy after you’ve sniffed out a bargain among the second-hand threads.
The wholesale fish auctions kick off at 5.30am, but if you don’t feel like waking up before dawn to witness a hall full of fishmongers screaming at each other, you can pop in for an oyster or some ocean-fresh sashimi later in the day. Sydney’s fish markets are the largest in the Southern Hemisphere and sell more varieties of fish (100-plus) than any market outside Japan. The site has been slated for a massive redevelopment, so catch it while you still can.
Visit these Sunday markets to add some shopping to your sand, surf and sunshine at Sydney’s most famous beach. The Bondi Markets are big on artisanal goods – candles, cosmetics, homewares and other bits and pieces that appeal to fashionable Eastern Suburbs types – as well as tasty snacks like pho and steamed buns to enjoy in the Bondi Beach Public School’s sunny grassed area.
Asian food aficionados flock to Haymarket seven days a week, but Sydney’s Chinatown shines brightest every Friday night. Bathed in the neon lights of Chinatown’s dumpling houses and yum cha palaces, Dixon Street is crowded with market stalls cooking cuisine from every corner of the continent – Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Mongolian, Vietnamese, you name it.
Only the finest produce from around New South Wales makes it into the Carriageworks Farmers Market, easily the best of its kind in Sydney. About 70 regular stallholders represent the state’s premier producers in this industrial-chic space in Redfern each Saturday morning, peddling a mouthwatering selection of fruits, vegetables, chocolate, nuts, olives, honey, pastries, chutney, wine, truffles and bread, plus plenty more organic and biodynamic food.
Mention ‘markets’ in Sydney and you can be sure Paddy’s will be among the first names to pop up. Paddy’s Markets in Haymarket and Flemington are institutions of the Sydney market scene, and their younger sibling, the Paddy’s Night Food Markets, has proven equally popular since launching in 2017. On the first Saturday night of every month, the Paddy’s Flemington car park becomes a food truck paradise where hungry visitors can fill up on (Instagrammable) loaded fries, burgers, bao, gourmet hot dogs, waffles, cream-filled crêpes, wood-fired pizzas and more. On any given night, there’ll also be live music, games and classic cars to check out – be sure to check out their Facebook page for event updates before you go.