George Street – Sydney’s original high street
During my three week stay there, I walked up, down, along and around George Street numerous times, always enjoying it.
The street is 3 km long and leads you through a number of precincts and along architecture from various dates and styles.
Thanks to the many high rise buildings and the architectural styles, George Street reminds me of Manhattan, NY. Same kind of atmosphere.
When exploring George Street by foot, you come across shopping malls, small shops, cafes, restaurants, bars, street art and churches.
It is a very busy street, with an endless stream of pedestrians as well as of motorized traffic. This will change as soon as the planned Light Rail there is up and running.
Unfortunately the pavements of George Street are lined with begging homeless people. It’s a sad phenomena. (More about homelessness in Sydney in another article soon.)
How to get the most out of your stroll along George Street
Here are my personal tips for exploring George Street by foot:
- it does not matter where you begin or end
- think of walking up along one side and walking down along the opposite side of George Street
- or walk in a rectangle: walk up or down George Street, take a side street to Pitt Street and walk back to your starting point via Pitt Street
- if you’re tired, take the free bus 555 that goes up and down George Street all day long.
- don’t forget to look up. Many of the buildings have beautiful masonry and ornamentation high(-er) up it’s facades
- you can go underground (shopping) in Queen Victoria Building and end up (in other shops) at the other side of the road
- look ‘sideways’, into alleys and lane ways. You might see something interesting.
- have some change in one of your pockets or in your wallet. Decide before leaving your hotel upon an amount to hand out to homeless beggars during your walk. E.g. have 5 AUD in change. Stick to that amount. Once it’s finished…too bad for the other beggars. This way you do not have to think, decide and deliberate with yourself the whole time. “Should I give something, yes, no, how much, to whom… ” No, you made a -tiny- plan and you stick to it. Simple.
- stop for a cappuccino here, a sandwich there and a fresh juice in the next restaurant or cafe. Take your time and enjoy.
- it’s not primarily a residential area, but moreover it’s offices, businesses, retail, food and beverages, so it’s at it liveliest on weekdays during the daytime.
Curly Traveller’s favorites
These are some of my favorite places on this walk:
- Queen Victoria Building – for the architecture and for the super fun store Monster Threads. The shops in QVB are very high-end, but the shops below ground level are affordable.
- Strand Arcade – for the beautiful architecture and the cool boutiques. Unfortunately both QVB as Strand Arcade are way above my budget, so it’s mainly just window-shopping for me.
- World Square – I like the vibe on the square during daytime and there are some nice shops and eateries. Like: The Burger Project, with yummie and healthy burgers in a cool decor.
And like the Typo shop. I am a huge Typo-fan! They have stationary and loads of fun, decorative and creative stuff.
If you like tea, then there is T2, for ‘everything tea’.
The art on the square is cool too!
- for books: Kinokuniya and Dymocks; two huge bookstores.
- in need of a coffee break during your stroll? Check out this list of coffee places around George Street. Besides the Starbucks across our hotel, I enjoyed the cuteness and good coffee of My Sweet Memory that also serves desserts and sells stationary.
- street art: Angel’s Place (Forgotten Songs) and a cool mural at a wall in Dungate Lane (off Pitt Street)
If you have a lot of time -like I did- you can spread out your explorations to the precincts that George Street leads you through. Walk around in the blocks to the left and right of George Street to experience different atmospheres.
Walking through a city is the best way to see a lot and to grasp the essence of a place anyways, as far as I’m concerned.