NEWTOWN At A Glance
Bohemian by nature, Newtown is a neighbourhood that thrives on the fringe. Eclectic and artsy with elements of grit, Newtown has established a name for itself on the local and international art and theatre scene. The focal point is King Street, which is both a foodie’s destination and a place to nab a quirky find. From the main hub to the narrow backstreets, Newtown likes to push the boundaries.
Eclectic mix of dining, bars, theatre and the arts.
Keep an eye on the everchanging street art. The performing arts, bar and food scenes are some of the best in the city.
Andrew Aiken, artist of King Street’s iconic uncommissioned mural, ‘I Have a Dream’ was convicted of murder in the UK.
Offbeat and arty, Newtown has evolved from its blue-collar roots into an area that oozes all things bohemian. Although in more recent times the neighbourhood has seen a wave of gentrification, the locals have remained true to their eccentricities and the newbies have embraced them.
All the action takes place in and around King Street, a 9 km stretch that flows down into Enmore Road. With quirky holes-in-the-walls nestled next to established brand names. King Street is the place to eat, drink and shop at all hours of the day and night.
On and off the street, Newtown is a living and breathing art space, from galleries confined within their bricks and mortar to bold uncommissioned three storey high murals that make political and social statements. Street art here is more than an expressive outlet for some – it’s a way of life for the masses.
When it comes to live music and performing arts, Newtown is a hub. It has the highest concentration of theatre and art spaces in Sydney. Many budding artists had their first break here. The Sandringham (aka The Sando), Enmore Theatre and Leadbelly (formally The Vanguard) are local institutions, especially in the indie rock scene.
Only moments from the University of Sydney, Sydney’s CBD and the Carriageworks, this neighbourhood has an addictive vibrancy.
Densely populated Newtown has evolved from its working-class roots, when locals mainly consisted of workers in nearby factories, warehouses, brickyards and the Eveleigh Railway workshops. The 1960s and 70s saw an influx of university students and those seeking a more bohemian lifestyle.
Today, Newtown is a melting pot of ethnicities, cultures and socio-economic backgrounds. Struggling students and cashed-up professionals, mingle with creatives, young families and a strong gay community. This eclectic mix works, bringing a unique authenticity to this inner-city neighbourhood.
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The main artery in and out of Newtown is a 9 km stretch (including Enmore Road) that has an eclectic mix of shopfronts, cafés, dining, bars and boutique shopping, all vying for the attention of the heavy foot and vehicle traffic.
From the iconic ‘I Have a Dream’ and ‘Map of Africa’ to popup works that disappear before the paint dries. Street art is a defining feature that tells a story of the evolving neighbourhood, as well as addressing political and social issues on a broader level.
With the highest concentration of theatre and art spaces in Sydney, Newtown knows how to bring the arts to life, with Enmore Theatre, New Theatre and King Street Theatre being the big players on the scene.
The area’s diversity is played out on the plates of Newtown’s dining scene from award-winning restaurants to non-descript holes-in-the-walls.
Held every Saturday, these community-centric markets focus on local artisans’ wares as well as local produce.
Whether it’s the beautifully restored Victorian terrace houses and mansions with iron lace balconies, or the compact terraces built out of necessity for the influx of blue-collar workers during the 1800s. Newtown architecture oozes history.