12 Best Places to Live in Sydney
There’s a reason why Sydney – Australia’s oldest, largest, and busiest city – attracts so many foreigners each year.
Moving to Sydney will introduce you to a melting pot of people, cultures, and experiences. You’ll have access to a plethora of job opportunities, excellent education facilities, countless food and drink options, and of course, some of the world’s best beaches.
But that still leaves one burning question: which area of Sydney will you move to? We’ve listed the 14 best places to live in Sydney below, to help you find the perfect new home.
Once you’ve found your perfect area, it’s onto the serious stuff. Unfortunately, whether you’re renting or buying, finding a new home in Sydney can be difficult and stressful.
Best areas for cheap property
Sydney property prices have increased roughly 5.8% year-on-year, and show no signs of slowing down. As with any city, the further you stray from the city centre, the more affordable the house prices become.
We’ve focused on areas within a 10-20km radius of the city centre, to make sure you still get that inner-city magic. If you’re happy to live further out of the city, you might be able to find even cheaper options.
Located right next to Sydney’s airport, roughly 10km from the capital's Central Business District (CBD), Arncliffe is a residential suburb with some of the cheapest house prices in the city. But what prices can you expect?
The average price for a house in Arncliffe is AUD$1,230,000 (– a figure that's grown by 18.3% in the past year, so get it while you can – while an apartment will cost you an average of AUD$670,000. If you’re not ready to buy just yet, you can rent somewhere for an average of AUD$610 per week.
Although you won't find an endless list of food venues or an eclectic nightlife, you’ll only be about 20 minutes away from the CBD by train.
2. Croydon Park
Slightly further west, you’ll find Croydon Park – another quaint, homely neighbourhood with lots of green space and a tight-knit community. On average, a house here will cost you AUD$1,248,000, while an apartment will cost you AUD$620,000.
Not ready to commit to a house just yet? You can always rent a house for around AUD$615 a week.
Similar to Arncliffe, Croydon Park won’t give you the same buzz as the city centre, but it’ll only take you about 21 minutes to get there by train.
The view of Sydney's Harbour never gets old, no matter how long you live there for
Best areas for green space
Waverly is nestled cosily between Bronte Beach – practically down the road from the world-famous Bondi Beach – and Centennial Park. Although this area is fairly close to Sydney’s CBD, there are plenty of nature spots to explore.
Bordered by beautiful gardens, Centennial Park is perfect for anyone trying to connect with nature in the middle of the hustle and bustle. Although it started out as a swampland, the park is now one of Sydney’s largest, finest, most popular outdoor spaces – and it's a mere four kilometres from the city centre.
4. Terrey Hills
Terrey Hills is perfect for anyone wanting to live a quiet life a little further out of town. Located 25km north of the CBD, this area is actually considered as part of the Forest District.
Bordered on two sides by Kuring-Gai Chase National Park, Terrey Hills truly is a paradise for nature lovers. Whether you’re after a twenty-one-kilometre horse riding trail or a trek to a handful of mesmerising waterfalls, this suburb has it all.
What’s more, if you’re working in the CBD – or just want to visit for a day trip – it’ll only take 20 minutes by car or 40 minutes on the train.
Want to get away from the hustle and bustle? Find a bit of peace at this corner of Centennial Park
Best areas for schools
There are a lot of great schools in Sydney – and Carlingford is home to the best of the best.
James Ruse Agricultural High School, a co-educational school in Carlingford, has been top of the leaderboard for success ratings in Sydney for quite some time. Located on a five-acre farm, this school offers students the opportunity to study practical and theoretical agriculture as part of their secondary school education.
You’ll also be a stone’s throw away from Murray Farm Public School, Carlingford Public School, and Carlingford West Public School.
This is also one of Sydney’s more family-friendly areas. Plus, you’ll benefit from the slightly cheaper house prices found in Western Sydney.
6. Baulkham Hills
Another family-friendly suburb, Baulkham Hills is located in the leafy Hills District. You’ll be pleased to know there’s also a lot of green space, where your little ones can burn off some energy after school.
With the second-best success rate in the city, your children will be in good hands at Baulkham Hills High School – a combined secondary school for years 7-12. This selective co-educational secondary school has been praised for its “diverse and inclusive learning community”.
In Baulkham Hills, you’ll also have access to Matthew Pearce Public School, Crestwood High School, and Model Farms High School.
Best areas for culture
7. Central Business District (CBD)
If you see Sydney on TV, chances are the footage will be of the CBD. Admittedly, living here will cost an arm and a leg, but if you can afford it, you’ll have one hell of an experience.
If you’re looking for things to do in the area after work or on the weekends, this is exactly the place you want to be – especially if you're a newcomer. Pop over to the Circular Quay and visit the Sydney Opera House, one of the world’s greatest architectural phenomenons. Spend the evening strolling along the harbour to The Rocks, the oldest part of Sydney, established in 1788 when convict-bearing ships came to set up the first colony of New South Wales.
Marvel at the 8,900 plant species and native wildlife at the Royal Botanic Garden. And if you need to get an art fix, head over to the Art Gallery of NSW, which features Australian, European, and Aboriginal art.
Feeling hungry after all this exploring? Make sure you dip into some delicious delicacies in Chinatown, which sits on the harbour.
If you want to steer clear of the touristy stuff, but still want a daily dose of culture, Newtown – often labelled as Sydney’s coolest neighbourhood – is the way to go. Simply walking down King Street, the main strip, is a treat for the eyes.
Caked in street art and lined with historic facades from the 1800s or early 1900s, this iconic strip is packed to the brim with independent retailers, record stores, bookshops, and vintage boutiques.
Home to a huge student population, Newtown also boasts plenty of music venues, quirky bars, and fun eateries.
Best areas for food
9. Surry Hills
No matter where you settle in Sydney, you’re guaranteed to have great food options around the corner. But Surry Hills is in a league of its own, with everything you could possibly want right on your doorstep.
Whether you’re after home comforts, Indonesian, Italian, Greek, seafood – you name it, it's there. Some of the most popular food spots on Surry Hills include:
- Firedoor – With its unique take on grilled food, here you can enjoy high-quality fare cooked over a naked flame, which brings out the natural flavours
- Poly – If you’re into wine, make sure to pop by Poly. This wine bar is accompanied by a delicious set menu and a la carte options – modern Australian dining at its best!
- Porteno – This one is for the meat eaters. A mix between an Argentinian BBQ restaurant, a wine store, and a tapas eatery, there’s a lot to enjoy at Porteno
You’ll also be spoiled for choice regarding local pubs. In fact, Surry Hills’ pub The Dolphin was named Bar of the Year in the Good Food Guide, thanks to its sustainable wine and its work showcasing Australia’s best chefs at one-off events.
10. Potts Points
This small inner-city suburb is home to a huge array of bubbly bars and excellent restaurants. Italian, Greek, French, Japanese, Mediterranean, and South-American – many with panoramic harbourside views that you can take in while tucking into your meal.
Some of the most popular restaurants in Potts Points include:
- Monopole – Here, you’ll have over 500 wines to choose from to go with the delicious menu. A favourite among locals and tourists alike, Monopole is a must-see. Its sister restaurant, Yellow, is also perfect for any vegetarian fine-diner
- The Butler – This trendy bar and restaurant has a casual French-colonial vibe to it – picture botanical wallpaper and wicker furniture. As well as the impressive cocktail list and bottomless Sunday lunch, the terrace overlooking the city is what steals most peoples’ hearts
- The Apollo – Bringing the Mediterranean to Sydney, Apollo specialises in Greek hearty food to fill up on after a long day of exploring
Aussies are spoilt for choice with beaches, but none can top Sydney's world-famous Bondi Beach
Best areas for nightlife
The truth is, you’re likely to find lots of eclectic bars in almost all the inner suburbs of Sydney – but none of them do it as well as Darlinghurst.
Once one of Sydney’s grittiest suburbs, Darlinghurst is now the city’s LGBTQ+ hub – the heart and soul of the party.
If you find yourself struggling to choose where to go, just head on down to Oxford Street. The street is packed with party-goers every weekend – with most places staying open until at least 5am.
Sip cocktails in the swish underground bar 77, dance the night away at the under-the-sea-themed tiki nightclub The Cliff Dive, take in some booming live music at Oxford Art Factory, or release your inner drag diva at Arq.
12. Darling Harbour
Another spot for any avid club-goers, Darling Harbour’s range of venues will leave you with great memories and a sore head the next morning.
You could spend your night venturing through Home – Sydney’s largest clubbing venue. Its three levels, eight rooms, and world-class DJ lineups are not to be missed. Alternatively, you can dance to some golden oldies at The Retro. Or why not spend the night at the popular EDM venues The Marquee or Chinese Laundry?
Both Darlinghurst and Darling Harbour are located in the inner city – an eye-wateringly expensive place to live. If you get your kicks from clubbing or bouncing from bar to bar, your best bet is to look into nearby inner-city suburbs, which might not be so pricey.