A trendy corner of Sydney’s Inner West, Balmain is packed with culture, history and colonial architecture. With exclusive designer boutiques and homey coffee shops, Balmain is a cosmopolitan suburb with tranquil harbour settings only minutes from Sydney’s CBD.
Things to do
The first place to head in Balmain is Darling Street, the area’s beating heart and cultural epicentre. Lined with uber-cool boutiques, cosy cafes and hip restaurants, it’s an ideal place to get a feel for what Balmain is all about. If shopping’s your cup of tea, then browsing the offerings at Darling Steet’s many independent stores is an absolute must.
Paying a visit to Balmain’s colonial pubs and restaurants is as much a historical pursuit as it is gastronomic. The London Hotel is the oldest, which dates back to 1870 and remains a firm favourite with locals. Each evening the place comes alive as customers sip on craft ales, tuck into classic pub grub and soak up the history at this Balmain institution.
On the weekends the Balmain market, Australia’s third oldest, plays host to a range of vendors selling everything from handmade jewellery to vintage books and artisanal cupcakes. With a vibrant atmosphere, this is a wonderful place to grab a bargain, get chatting with the locals or simply come and soak up the ambience.
Visitors can reach Balmain by taking the ferry from Circular Quay to Balmain East Wharf. To see Balmain’s swathes of gorgeous colonial buildings and cosy townhouses up close, its best to get around on foot. If all the walking takes its toll, then you can always jump a local bus or taxi, which are plentiful in this well-connected suburb.