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Where to Shop and Eat as a Student in Sydney

Feb 1, 2022 11:30:00 AM / by Cara Pizzorusso

After two years of border closures (due to COVID-19 precautions), CAPA Sydney is ready to welcome back students who plan to study and intern abroad. If you're looking for somewhere that has the city atmosphere with access to the best nature and food, Sydney is the place to be. In this post, we've lined up recommendations on where to shop and eat in the city. Add these places to your list before you go!

I studied and interned abroad with CAPA Sydney in the summer of 2017, and now I am CAPA’s Marketing Coordinator. Sydney will always be one of my favorite places. This global city is incredibly diverse, welcoming, and creative, and Australia is home to some of the most breathtaking natural landscapes I’ve ever seen. 

As CAPA prepares to welcome students back to the CAPA Sydney Center after almost two years of border closures, I’m excited to share some of the markets, cafes, restaurants, museums, galleries, beaches, and attractions I loved in Sydney. Many of these places are located close to the CAPA Center in the Ultimo neighborhood of New South Wales.

A view of Sydney and the Sydney Harbour Bridge from across the city and water

Caption: A view of Sydney and the Sydney Harbour Bridge from across the city and water.

Where to Shop in Sydney

Here are some of my favorite spots for everything from inexpensive souvenirs to one-of-a-kind handmade and vintage items.

  • Glebe Markets

A vibrant outdoor flea market with vintage clothing, handmade items, jewelry, books, food, and tons of unique treasures. Glebe Markets is open every Saturday from 10am to 4pm!

  • Paddington Markets

Another popular Saturday market is Paddington Markets. This outdoor market has been around since 1973, and sells Australian-made or designed products, from clothing and accessories to soaps, candles, and art prints. Be sure to stop by on a Saturday between 10am and 4pm when they’re open!

  • Paddy’s Market

Paddy’s Market in the Haymarket neighborhood of Sydney (right next to Chinatown) is a lively indoor market that sells t-shirts, art, books, jewelry, and tons of souvenir items at relatively low prices compared to what you’ll find elsewhere in the city. If you promised your friends back home that you’d bring them back a keychain, this is the place to pick up some budget souvenirs. Paddy’s also sells fresh fruits and vegetables, seafood, and more. Check their website for opening hours.

  • Central Park Mall

Central Park Mall in Sydney

Caption: Central Park Mall in Sydney.

If you walk from Central Station to the CAPA Center, you’ll pass by the iconic Central Park Mall, and its creative architecture is sure to catch your eye. This upscale mall contains shops, a food court, an outdoor green space, a movie theater, and more. It’s open daily from 10am to 8pm.

  • Broadway Sydney Shopping Mall

Broadway Sydney is a one-stop shopping center located within a short walk of the CAPA Center. Here, you’ll find Coles and Aldi supermarkets, Target, H&M, Sephora, an Apple store, cell phone stores, a food court, and much more. It’s essentially a mall with major supermarkets inside. They’re open every day.

Where to Eat in Sydney

In Sydney, you’ll find incredible, authentic food from all over the world. While this brief list below is by no means comprehensive, these are the places I found myself returning to multiple times throughout my summer abroad. Here are my favorite spots for comfort food, meals on a student budget, and sweet treats.

  • Spice Alley

CAPAStudyAbroad_Sydney_Spring2019_Elizabeth Westermeyer_Drunkdumpling

Caption: A dumpling meal.

Spice Alley is a food hall serving Asian food for dine in or takeout. Here, you’ll find a variety of food options from Vietnam, Singapore, Thailand, China, Japan, Malaysia, and Southeast Asia. Personally, I found Spice Alley to be one of the best places to eat on a student budget. The prices are reasonable, the portion sizes are generous, and you can count on having a tasty meal here. Spice Alley is located within walking distance to the CAPA Center, and they open at 11am daily.

  • Fork and Grind Cafe 

The Fork and Grind is located directly across the street from the CAPA Center, so you may end up stopping here on many weekdays. Here, you’ll find friendly staff, delicious coffee, and lots of options for breakfast and lunch. My go-to order for a mid-morning snack was a chai latte and a slice of banana bread (served warm with butter on top!).

  • Pancakes on the Rocks

Pancakes on the Rocks

Caption: Plates of pancakes from Pancakes on the Rocks.

While Sydney has no shortage of amazing food options from around the world, sometimes you’re craving food from home. Pancakes on the Rocks is as close to an American diner as you’ll find in Sydney. They serve a wide range of comfort-food options for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert, but no matter what time of day you go, I’d recommend getting the pancakes. You can get either buttermilk or chocolate pancakes (or one of each) with the option of adding a variety of toppings including fruit, ice cream, and Nutella. They have multiple locations across the city, including The Rocks location, which is open 24/7.

  • Gelato Messina

Gelato Messina has over a dozen locations across New South Wales, and you’ll have a choice of 40 gelato flavors at each shop. Their flavors include Blood Orange, Boysenberry, Chocolate and Hazelnut, Dulce de Leche, Panna Cotta with Fig Jam and Amaretti Biscuit, Passionfruit, Salted Caramel and White Chocolate, Tiramisu, and many more! They make everything from scratch (including the chocolate that’s made in-house), and they even have their own dairy farm to supply the fresh milk that goes into every batch of gelato. You can taste what a difference these high-quality ingredients make! 

Stay tuned for part two of this blog post, where I’ll share my recommendations for places to visit in the city—from art galleries and museums to parks, beaches and more!

Bondi to Coogee Beach View

Caption: Bondi to Coogee Beach view.

Learn More about the CAPA Sydney Program

Topics: Sydney, Australia, Food Abroad, Why Study Abroad