The Best Neighbourhoods in Sydney for Young Professionals

Diners at Longrain in Surry Hills
Diners at Longrain in Surry Hills | © Longrain
Tom Smith

Cafes, culture, close to the city. These are the things that most young professionals look for in a neighbourhood, and these eight Sydney suburbs deliver these qualities in spades. Check out our pick of the best places for Sydney’s 20 and 30-somethings to live and work.

Paddington

Sandwiched between Sydney’s city centre and the salubrious Eastern Suburbs, Paddington is perhaps the most stylish neighbourhood the Harbour City has to offer. Paddo’s elegant Victorian-era architecture provides the perfect home for upscale fashion boutiques, design studios, jewellery shops and art galleries, as well as trendy cafes and small bars that spill out onto the area’s leafy footpaths.

Terrace houses in Paddington

Darlinghurst

While Paddington’s fashion designers occupy the eastern end of Oxford St, Darlinghurst’s nightlife fills the stretch closer to the city. Darlo is the hub of Sydney’s LGBTQI+ community, but there’s plenty more to the neighbourhood than just gay bars — Darlinghurst is home to a colourful collection of inventive cafes, independent retailers, and Sydney’s best small bars and late-night eateries.

Rainbow crossing in Darlinghurst

Balmain

This historic suburb has deep working class roots — it’s where the Australian Labor Party was formed way back in 1891, in fact — but gentrification in recent decades has transformed 2040 into one of Sydney’s most sought-after postcodes. Perched on Sydney Harbour 6km west of the city, Balmain’s old workers cottages are now filled with young professionals attracted to the suburb’s vibrant food and coffee culture.

Leichhardt Oval scoreboard in Balmain

Surry Hills

Surry Hills is another working class area that has been gentrified into one of Sydney’s most coveted suburbs among millennials. “Something for everyone” is a lazy cliche but it rings true when describing Surry Hills’ dining and drinking options — homely Lebanese eateries sit alongside shabby-chic small bars, historic pubs share the pavement with sophisticated speciality coffee joints, late-night small bars are neighbours with some of Sydney’s best restaurants, all on the doorstep of the city centre.

Nomad restaurant in Surry Hills

Redfern

Redfern used to be Surry Hills’ shabby next-door neighbour but it’s changed markedly over the past decade. The neighbourhood is the epicentre of Sydney’s Indigenous community and the home of historic working-class football club the South Sydney Rabbitohs, but that culture is now blended with university students and young graduates who are drawn to Redfern’s central location and rapidly evolving food and drink scene.

Aboriginal flag mural in Redfern

Kirribilli

Straddling the water on the northern side of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Kirribilli is a breezy commute into the city for young professionals. Kirribilli House is one of the Prime Minister’s two official residences but you don’t have to be running the country to live here — the well-heeled neighbourhood contains plenty of well-appointed apartment blocks, leafy parks and refined dining options.

Kirribilli

Bondi

Better known as a haven for backpackers and beach bums, Bondi is also popular with millennials making the 7km journey into the city for work. The suburb’s appeal is obvious, from the miles of golden sand to the array of health-conscious cafes, sophisticated restaurants and lively watering holes, all contributing to a lifestyle that so many Sydneysiders are keen to experience.

Bondi

Newtown

This suburb is the bohemian capital of Sydney, brimming with creative professionals just 4km west of the city centre. To call Newtown ‘eclectic’ doesn’t even begin to cover the variety of cultural offerings the neighbourhood has to offer, including an endless stream of independent boutiques along King St, historic pubs and raucous nightlife, fashionable cafes, much loved craft breweries, plus some of the premier live music venues anywhere in the Harbour City.

Newtown

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