Don’t let the dozens of skyscrapers and thousands of commuters fool you — the business hub of Chatswood is also one of the liveliest suburbs on Sydney’s leafy North Shore. From brunch and yum cha to live music and public art, this is the best Chatswood has to offer.
Chatswood might be one of Sydney’s biggest business districts, but there’s plenty of fun stuff to see and do in the neighbourhood, too. Take a look at where to begin.
Restaurant, Thai, $$$
As soon as you hop off the train at Chatswood’s huge, modern railway station, the first thing that hits you in the face is the fragrance of Asian cuisine. The neighbourhood is home to countless eateries from every corner of the continent — Kam Fook and Fook Yuen serve some of Sydney’s best yum cha, the smell of Vietnamese bakeries wafts down the Victoria Avenue thoroughfare, and there’s a veritable smorgasbord of first-class southeast Asian restaurants, including trendy Thai joint Khao Pla.
The other thing you can’t miss when you visit Chatswood is the series of shopping centres dotted around the neighbourhood. The suburb is the retail hub of the North Shore — Westfield Chatswood is a seven-storey giant containing almost 300 stores, Chatswood Chase is a stylish mall full of many upmarket retailers, and the Mandarin Centre provides a home for plenty of Asian outlets.
It would be easy to stroll through Chatswood without noticing all the public sculptures on display, but keep an eye out and you’ll spot lots of interesting pieces of art. There’s a yellow tower made of recycled car panels at the gates of the train station, a series of roses nearby, colourful railings lining Victoria Avenue, and the slabs of granite that form ‘Ripple’ at the top of the railway stairs.
Cafe, Contemporary, $$$
The thousands of office workers who pile into Chatswood every day slurp up plenty of coffee, which means there are heaps of good cafes around the neighbourhood. Allure Cafe & Co. serves a mouth-watering brunch, Crazy Uncle Frankie’s has revamped Chatswood institution Lid & Jar, and Elbow Room Espresso brings inner-city calibre coffee to the North Shore.
The Concourse is one of the North Shore’s most important cultural hubs, hosting a crowded calendar of events and performances throughout the year. Live bands, symphony orchestras, arts festivals, theatre shows and musicals, speaking tours and moonlight cinema screenings during summer are a few of the events locals can look forward to.
The North Shore has a well-earned reputation for being leafy, thanks to green public spaces like the many that exist in Chatswood. Chatswood Oval hosts cricket and football year-round, Beauchamp Park contains the shady Hammond Playground, Bales Park has well-maintained facilities, and the Chatswood Golf Club sits on the banks of the Lane Cove River in the west of the suburb.
Market, Street Food, $$$
Chatswood’s vibrant food and drink scene doesn’t end at the front door of its many restaurants, with the Chatswood Mall Market bringing food stalls to Victoria Avenue every Thursday and Friday. There’s cuisine from Taiwan, Germany, Japan, Malaysia, Belgium, Africa, Spain, Greece, Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong, Italy, Mexico and Nepal, but Malaysian street food is the specialty — try classics like coconut pancakes and pork buns.
Boronia is a century-old Federation-style brick cottage located in South Chatswood, which was bequeathed to the Willoughby District Historical Society in 1988 and transformed into a museum that focuses on the domestic, working and cultural life of the Chatswood area over the past 100 years. The museum is open every Sunday between 1pm and 4pm.
Chatswood is one of the North Shore’s most dynamic suburbs thanks to the influence of Asian culture, and you can learn a little more about Japanese traditions with two great workshops in the area. The Shodo Japanese Calligraphy Workshop is a meditative experience with an internationally-exhibited calligraphist and the Ikebana Floral Art Class introduces participants to the elegant practice of flower arrangement.
Pub, Pub Grub, $$$
Sure, Chatswood isn’t renowned for its nightlife, but after a long day of shopping, visiting parks and practicing Japanese calligraphy, there are a few decent places to grab a drink. Newly opened neighbourhood bar 465 The Avenue is a stylish exposed-brick space, Chelsea Hotel and the Orchard are popular favourites, and Strike Bowling is great fun.