Things to do in Newtown & Enmore, Sydney Australia

May 11, 2023

This guide for things to do in Newtown & Enmore features an extensive list of vintage and second-hand stores, unique gift shops, coffee shops and cafés and there’s a few recommendations for restaurants and spots to enjoy artisanal gelato. 

I put this list of things to do in Newtown & Enmore, NSW Australia, after a trip to Sydney where I spent a good part of my trip staying in the two neighbouring suburbs. Many of these recommendations originally come from my best friend who has called Sydney her home for 10 years and is a local to Newtown and Enmore. Other spots are ones my fiancé and I happily stumbled across and truly that’s the best part about Newtown & Enmore, you really can just find a gem anywhere in the area just by going for a little stroll.

I was working on my things to do in Sydney blog post when I realised I had so many recommendations for just Newtown and Enmore that it made sense to give this travel guide its own space here on Postcards from Hawaii. So here it is, my recommendations of things to do in Newtown & Enmore.

Gabriella and her best friend, Amy-Olivia.

Why stay in Newtown or Enmore when visiting Sydney?

On a two week trip to Sydney to visit my best friend my fiancé and I spent the first part staying in Newtown. It was equal distance from her and the heart of Sydney and came highly recommended by her. Newtown ended up being my favourite area in Sydney and I miss it every day.

Newtown and Enmore are two neighbouring suburbs found in Sydney’s Inner West in the state of  New South Wales, Australia. They are both popular for their bar and restaurant scene and adored for their vintage and second-hand shops. They are just a 20 minute drive from both Sydney Harbour and the airport and an easy 30mins drive to Bondi Beach.

In the mornings, an easy pace sees cafe doors open and welcome in locals both picking up their coffees on the way to work and sitting down with friends for a catch up over their avo toast. By the afternoon the streets are filled with people darting in and out of vintage stores, celebrating their found treasures and no matter the day of the week, come the evening, every restaurant is filled with smiling people and conversations of a day well spent with a drink well earned.

If you want to avoid the high costs of staying in Sydney’s CBD or some of the cities most popular beaches, but still want somewhere that feels alive and has so much to offer both day and night, Newtown or Enmore are the neighbourhoods for you.

Hands pouring water into drinking glasses

Where to stay in Newtown

The Urban Newtown is where we stayed during the first part of our trip. It’s a boutique hotel in the heart of Newtown, located on Enmore Road.

Our collective impact on the environment and community is at the forefront of The Urban Newtown’s design and functionality. Wooden key cards has drastically cut down their plastic consumption and within the courtyard on level 1 is an urban jungle of plants nourished by rainfall and a curated collection of local artists. 

Wooden hotel key card at The Urban Newtown

The industrial design of rooms cuts out arguably unnecessary thrills whilst providing the basics, it’s not the kind of room you should plan on spending a lot of time in but hey, that’s why you’re in Newtown right? At The Urban Newtown you are in the most ideal location for the best restaurants, coffee shops and vintage shops.

Courtyard garden in The Urban Newtown hotel

Second-hand & vintage shopping in Newtown & Enmore

All of the vintage and second-hand stores listed below carry all inclusive clothing.

Newtown Vintage 313

313 King St, Newtown NSW 2042, Australia

With two levels, Newtown Vintage 313 boasts being the largest vintage store in Sydney. If you hope to shop here then be sure to block off ample time in your diary because you can easily spend hours searching the racks and trying on pieces from a huge variety of decades.

It’s easy to feel intimated by their floor-to-ceiling, folded piles of denim and countless baskets of neckerchiefs but the staff here are on it. If you tell them what you’re looking for and the size they will make it their mission to bring you pieces to try on to help you find what your heart desires.

Whilst waiting for my bestie to try on her finds, I watched one store assistant repeatedly pull Mom shorts from a Jenga-tower of denim until the girl in the fitting room found the pair that put a smile on her face.

If your arms get tired, they’ve got you. They’ll hold any definites behind the till and all maybes out back until you’re ready to try them on. 

Route 66 Vintage & Western Attire

Shop 2/82-84 Enmore Rd, Newtown NSW 2042, Australia

Route 66 was the first shop I stepped into when I arrived in Sydney on this trip and ended up becoming one of my favourites. 

Route 66 was started by an Aussie couple in the 80s who were inspired by their road trip on Route 66. They started collecting second-hand clothing and accessories with the dream of opening a store in Melbourne. A loss of one of the founders led to their Melbourne stores closing but the Sydney one survived the inspired couple and still has a strong fanbase today.

Vintage western attire is still at the heart of Route 66 but racks are lined with various decades of treasures. I got the most gorgeous pink, 60s babydoll dress.

Route 66 pricing is reflected in its curation and care. Don’t expect bargains like that at Vinnies or Salvos but you will get clean and well preserved items and most importantly a bespoke service. There’s nothing like staff that encourage you to play dress-up, genuinely hype you and pick out pieces you might like based upon what you’re trying on.

Gabriella in a pink dress

Storeroom Vintage

47 Enmore Road, Newtown, NSW 2042

Storeroom Vintage originally started as a stall on Glebe Market selling second-hand tees. They now have two stores, one in Surry Hills and the other on Enmore Road in Newtown, where you’ll find pieces from the 90s and 00s along with their own collection of up-cycled items. 

Uturn

286 King St, Newtown NSW 2042, Australia

Uturn has been selling vintage and second-hand clothing since 2005 and now has four stores and an outlet across Sydney in Bondi, Surry Hills, Rozelle, Punchbowl and Newtown.

Expect to find everything from affordable second-hand, day-to-day pieces to designer and stand-out vintage piecesI never thought I’d find retro ski-suits in Bondi Beach!

Vinnies

187 King St, Newtown NSW 2042, Australia

Vinnies is the string of charity/thrift stores ran by the St Vincent de Paul Society, a Catholic organisation originating in France, that helps to make a difference to the lives of disadvantaged people.

As Vinnies both provides for and raises funds for communities in need, you can expect very good prices for a huge variety of second hand goods. The Vinnies in Newtown sells clothing, toys, books, and homeware.

My bestie picked up the most amazing pair of handmade cotton shorts hereyou never know what you’ll find buried in the racks.

Good Times Vintage

Shop 1/441-443 King St, Newtown NSW 2042, Australia

Good Times Vintage is the only vintage shop on my list of recommendations that isn’t on Enmore Road but it’s only a six minute walk from either Route 66 or Newtown Vintage 313 (both in opposite directions to each other).

Good Times Vintage is an eclectic mix of second-hand (I refuse to call my childhood vintage) 90s clothing and outrageously fabulous pieces that you’d likely see on the fields of Glastonbury or Coachella. 

I picked up a pair of bedazzled hot pants which I am more than excited to wear this summer with some disco ball earrings I picked up a few stores down from Good Times Vintagemore about Sinki below.

Shopping in Newtown & Enmore

Sinki

Sinki is an accessories shop that specialising in handmade earrings. Their pre-made collection lines every wall, window and counter space in Sinki’s petite storefront and includes all kinds of popular snacks, shapes, icons and phrases.

Or you can dig deep into their treasure-chest wall of draws filled with all manner of charms and trinkets that can be made into a custom pair of earrings to your exact liking.

I got such a fun pair of disco ball earrings that are round, 2D laser-cut mirrors so they look like I’m getting ready for a night at the roller rink and not hanging festive baubles from ears (they do have those too if that’s your jam!).

Earrings sold in Sinki

Costume Party

Shop 5/546 King St, Newtown NSW 2042, Australia

Costume Party is exactly as it reads on the can, it’s a costume store. It’s not a particularly tasteful one, there’s more stereotypes than holes in their neon fishnet tights on the shelves of that store. The afro wigs worn on white people have GOT TO GO. However, take a right turn and you’ll find a bunch of fun sequin shorts, studded crop tops and disco balls of all sizes. 

Hands

279 Australia St, Newtown NSW 2042, Australia

Hands is a lifestyle and homeware gift shop selling handmade pieces. If you love hand painted plates, funky shaped candles, berets that look like strawberries and hair claws in the shape of just about every animal, flower and fruit you could imagine, then Hands gift shop has your name written all over it, in an imperfectly perfect font too no doubt.

Follow Hands on Instagram for a free hair accessory when shopping in store.

Hands is located just a couple of shops away from an amazing café specialising in the beloved Aussie treat, lamingtons. Read more about Tokyo Lamington below.

Coffee shops & cafés in Newtown & Enmore

Tokyo Lamington

277 Australia St, Newtown NSW 2042, Australia

Tokyo Lamington is where we headed for my bestie’s birthday elevenses treat and it was sublime. 

Lamingtons are an Australian sweet treat made from layers of sponge or butter cake, dipped in chocolate and rolled with desiccated coconut. They’re always cube shaped and delicious. 

Hot Cross Bun Lamington at Tokyo Lamington

Tokyo Lamington is where you’ll find all sorts of unique takes on this Aussie classic in Newtown. 

Core flavours such as Fairy Bread, which is filled with a popcorn frosting and covered in rainbow sprinkles, are alway on the menu whilst themed flavours change with the seasons. We were visiting over Easter so the flavours we tried were hot cross bun (absolutely delicious) and carrot cake. 

I highly recommend taking a tea/coffee break at Tokyo Lamington when you’re in Newtown & Enmore.

Carrot Cake Lamington

The Living Story

147 Enmore Rd, Enmore NSW 2042, Australia

The Living Story is a South East Asian plant-based and gluten free café and restaurant located on Enmore Rd in Enmore. It’s open every day of the week as a café and a restaurant for dinner on Fridays to Sundays.

It’s a very cute café that can easily trick you into thinking you’re on vacation in Bali and it’s a top choice for anyone wishing to eat particularly healthy or for those with dietary restrictions.

The Living Story café

We had breakfast at The Living Story a couple of mornings and we highly recommend the mango & turmeric smoothie and their healthy banana marble bread which is naturally sweetened with pumpkin, taro and sweet potato.

Also The Living Story is open from 7am on weekdays which is particularly useful for those suffering from early-morning jet lag.

Shenkin

129 Enmore Rd, Enmore NSW 2042, Australia

239A King St, Newtown NSW 2042, Australia

Shenkin has a location in both Newtown and Enmore plus a third one close by in Erskineville. The Newtown location is an espresso bar, ideal for a pit stop whilst the Enmore Shenkin is best for brunch.

Heads up, Shenkin is a favourite brunch spot with the locals on weekends so expect a long wait and slower service.

Breakfast at Shenkin

Shenkin is a middle eastern inspired café and has the most incredible brunch dishes including Sabih which is their crispy puff pastry rolled with eggplant (aubergine), in-house hummus, umba, spicy coriander, tahini and boiled egg served with a side of house pickles. It’s a festival of flavours in your mouth. 

It’s the perfect cure for the morning after, if you can face being in public. If not (we’ve all been there) grab an egg & bacon bap from Allan’s Cake Hot Bread for under five bucks. I cannot tell you how much that hit the spot after a late night out.

Black Market Coffee

2/86 Enmore Rd, Enmore NSW 2042, Australia

Black Market Coffee is a small batch coffee roaster and wholesaler. Their beans are roasted just outside of Adelaide’s CBD and you can catch them in Enmore. 

As roasters, Black Market Coffee prides themselves on the quality and flavour of their beans. This is not the place to order long drinks masked by syrups and milks, keep it simple and let their blends do the talking.

Turquoise coffee cup at Black Market Coffee

Brewtown Newtown

6-8 O’Connell St, Newtown NSW 2042, Australia

Need to catch up on some emails because someone had the audacity to imply you should be working or a place to lurk with your laptop, mysteriously writing some novel or screenplay that might never see the light of day? Brewtown Newtown has plenty of seating to do just that.

Brewtown Newtown roasts their own coffee and are damn proud of it too. They’re all about the quality and science behind a good cup of coffee. 

Newtown Brewtown is also home to Loaded Bakehouse and is where you can get some too-good-to-be-true desserts like their 9” Biscoff Donut Cake, Tim Tam Cronut and Loaded Gaytime Brownie.

Black Star Pastry

1/325 King St, Newtown NSW 2042, Australia

Black Star Pastry has seven coffee shops located across Sydney and Melbourne. When you’re in Newtown you can find them on King St within a cream brick building, behind a black door.

Pop in for a delicately layered cake, a decadent croissant or perhaps the cake they’re best know for creating: their insta-famous strawberry watermelon cake that the New York Times labelled “The World’s Most Instagrammed Cake”.

Ice cream in Newtown & Enmore

Cow & The Moon

181 Enmore Rd, Enmore NSW 2042, Australia

If you’re in Enmore and need to cool down with a scoop or two of gelato then Cow & The Moon is the place to be.

Cow & The Moon is a family run gelateria that has 26 rotating flavours at all times. Some popular flavours worth trying are Fig & Mascarpone, Turkish Delight, Strawberry Balsamic Panna Cotta and Black Sesame. They also have a wide selection of sorbets if you are dairy free.

Cow & The Moon is on the corner of Enmore Rd and London St and is open until 10pm on weekdays (11pm on weekends) helping you to soothe your late night ice cream cravings. They can also be found in Wollongong.

Ice cream counter at Cow & The Moon

Messina

262 King St, Newtown NSW 2042, Australia

If you’re in Newtown and have a craving for gelato then Messina is the place to go. In fact, they’re the place to go all over the place with 19 stores in NSW.

Messina has a cult-like following and for a good reason. Their flavour concoctions are like something out of Willy Wonka’s factory. Expect to be delighted by flavours you wouldn’t usually taste in ice cream and combinations that you’re not entirely convinced should be together. 

Scoop of ice cream in a cup at Messina

I’ve loved Messina since my first trip to Australia in 2016 and nothing has changed.

Of Messina’s 40 flavours, 35 remain the same whilst 5 change seasonally. Some incredible flavours include You Cannoli Live Once which is a creme patisserie gelato with pistachio fudge, pistachio praline and cannoli shells, So Wrong It’s Right which is a cream cheese and caramel gelato smashed with white chocolate potato chips smothered in caramel sauce and a panna cotta gelato with fig jam and amaretti biscuits throughout.

Restaurants in Newtown & Enmore

Odd Culture

266 King St, Newtown NSW 2042, Australia

Odd Culture in Newtown is a natural wine bar serving European dishes with an Asian flare and is ideal for a celebration with friends or a date night with someone special. Their menu features a variety of small plates boasting thoughtful and rich flavours.

“Newtown’s watering hole for the weird and wonderful.” – Odd Culture Group.

Wine pouring at Odd Culture

If you found yourself particularly enjoying a glass or bottle of vino on their menu then be sure to pop into the Odd Culture Bottle Shop next door to their Newtown restaurant to bring it home. 

If you’re closer to Enmore then they also have The Duke of Enmore which is a live music venue serving wood-fired pizza.

Pâté and potato chips at Odd Culture

Mary’s

6 Mary St, Newtown NSW 2042, Australia

When my bestie took me down a backstreet off King St, through what looked like derelict church doors and into what I assumed was a cult, I questioned her taste for the first time in the 13+ years I’ve known her. 

The interior of Mary’s in Newtown can’t really be described better than a dive bar with satanic undertones but let me tell you, their burgers were devilishly delicious. 10/10 lunch spot after a day spent trawling the second-hand shops, which is exactly what we did.

Do yourself a favour, skip a trip to the washrooms here.

Queen Chow

2/167 Enmore Rd, Enmore NSW 2042, Australia

Queen Chow is a Cantonese restaurant in Enmore serving Hong Kong street food. It can be found sitting atop Queens Hotel pub.

My bestie’s Pops took us here for dinner to celebrate her birthday on our second evening in Sydney (which was so sweetly nostalgic) and between the 8 of us, every plate was cleaned. I can dream of the sauce the steamed market fish bathed in and their take on burrata served with Chinkiang vinegar, crispy chilli and fried bread was on another level to so many that I’ve had.

Ceviche at Queen Chow

Let me know in the comments below if you find any of these recommendations useful and have visited any of them!

Do more on & for the planet, Gabriella 

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