Welcome to the neighbourhood

Welcome to the neighbourhood. Who knows Surry Hills better than the people who call it home? Find out what these three residents enjoy most about living in this inner-city village-like neighbourhood.

The social professional

Christina, 36, has been a Surry Hills dweller for nine years. She owns and manages the social media site SurryHills.Sydney and says, “The vibe of the suburb is really progressive; some would say ‘hipster’.” You’re likely to find Christina and her partner catching up with friends at local cafes and restaurants. “The variety of restaurants is exceptional,” she says. “Whenever there’s a new trend in cuisine, Surry Hills tends to be one of the first places you can get it, and picking something new and different to eat each time you go out is really exciting.” Christina suggests the best way to get to know Surry Hills is by walking around its backstreets and laneways. “You get a sense of the creativity and community,” she says. “There are also lots of outdoor spaces to enjoy. I like going down to Prince Alfred Park pool and Harmony Park, and strolling down Crown Street, where there’s always something interesting happening.”

The young family

“Surry Hills is great for families,” says Elise, 37, who has lived in the suburb with her husband Peter, 45, and their Labrador Royce, for more than a decade. The pair have an 18-month-old daughter and say Surry Hills is full of family-friendly facilities. “The local parks and playgrounds are the perfect place to connect with other parents, and Surry Hills library hosts great child-friendly activities.” The pair don’t have far to travel for their daily commute – they both work in Surry Hills offices and their daughter attends a local daycare. “Come the weekend, we love to go out for brunch at a cafe or lunch at a pub – you’ll always find a highchair.” But what Elise loves most about Surry Hills is the sense of community. “All our neighbours like to socialise by holding parties, having dinner and drinks, walking their dogs or having child play-dates together,” she says. “Get-togethers can happen quite spontaneously. For example, recently we ran into a neighbour who popped in for a drink and then stayed for dinner. Then during dinner, another neighbour knocked on our door to share a bowl of fresh figs – he joined us for a drink, too. It’s what we’ve come to expect from Surry Hills – there’s just such a strong sense of community.”

The cultural veteran

For Brian, long-time resident and Chairman of the Surry Hills Business Alliance, one of the suburb’s greatest drawcards is its convenient location. “There’s the rail and then the bus services that go north, south, east and west,” he says. “You’ve got the CBD within walking distance and the harbour, too… we get nice breezes so it’s usually comfortable during hot weather.” But, as Brian points out, you don’t need to go anywhere to find plenty of things to do. “We’ve got a great park, art galleries, a swimming pool and an excellent library. There’s an art gallery on Elizabeth Street that has a good mix of artists and photographers and we also have The Opera Centre for orchestra rehearsals.” Reflecting on the suburb’s growth over the past 30 years, Brian says, “Since I’ve lived here the area has changed, but it’s still got that village atmosphere.”

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