Top choice in City Centre & Haymarket

Dixon St is the heart of Chinatown: a narrow, shady pedestrian mall with a string of restaurants and insistent spruikers. The ornate dragon gates (paifang) at either end have fake bamboo tiles, golden Chinese calligraphy and ornamental lions to keep evil spirits at bay. Chinatown in general (though not necessarily between the dragon gates) is a fabulous eating district, which effectively extends for several blocks north and south of here, and segues into Koreatown and Thaitown to the east.

This is actually Sydney’s third Chinatown: the first was in the Rocks in the late 19th century before it moved to the Darling Harbour end of Market St. Dixon St’s Chinatown dates from the 1920s. Look for the fake-bamboo awnings guarded by dragons, dogs and lions, and kooky upturned-wok lighting fixtures.

On Hay St, the Golden Water Mouth sculpture represents a symbolic fusion of China and Australia. A little further down Hay St, Paddy’s Markets fills the lower level of a hefty brick building. It started out in the mid-19th century with mainly European traders, but these days the tightly packed market stalls are more evocative of present-day Vietnam. Beyond Paddy's Markets, there's some great cheap eating to be done in the area around Thomas and Quay Sts and Ultimo Rd.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby City Centre & Haymarket attractions

1. Golden Water Mouth

0.09 MILES

On Chinatown's Hay St, the surreal Golden Water Mouth sculpture drips with gilt and water. Formed from a eucalyptus trunk from Condobolin, the destination…

2. Chinese Garden of Friendship

0.17 MILES

Built according to Taoist principles, the Chinese Garden of Friendship is usually an oasis of tranquillity – although one increasingly dwarfed by…

3. Dr Chau Chak Wing Building

0.23 MILES

Opened in 2015, this university business school was donated by the father of an alumnus and designed by Frank Gehry. It's a striking sight, all windows…

4. Tumbalong Park

0.23 MILES

Flanked by the modern Darling Walk development, this grassy circle on Darling Harbour’s southern rump is set up for family fun. Sunbakers and frisbee…

5. Darling Walk

0.24 MILES

The environmentally conscious Darling Walk development is one of Darling Harbour's newer blocks of restaurants and offices, all wrapped up in a curvy…

6. Powerhouse Museum

0.25 MILES

A short walk from Darling Harbour, this cavernous science and design museum whirs away inside the former power station for Sydney’s defunct, original tram…

7. Christ Church St Laurence

0.25 MILES

Step off Sydney’s main drag into this calming 1845 sandstone church. The rather charming neo-Gothic interior is atmospheric, with dark wooden fittings and…

8. Central Station

0.33 MILES

Sydney’s main railway station was built in 1906 on top of an old convent and cemetery (watch out for ghosts). The 75m Gothic clock tower was added 15…