Thinking about where to move in Sydney? It’s tough to choose a suburb in one of the best cities in the world. Sydney suburbs are both varied and have a high standard of living.
Claiming any suburb in Sydney is the best is very subjective. Affordability, good schools, decent commute times, night life, low crime rates, culture, beach access, the criteria for best suburb differ as much as one Sydneysider to another.
To make our guide clearer we have split up our best suburbs in categories: most liveable, most fun, and most family friendly. So, whatever your criteria for best suburb are, you’re likely to find a good match here below:
Sydney is continuously rated one of the most liveable cities in the world! According to the Urban Living Index (an ongoing measure of the liveability of Sydney suburbs) and Domain’s list of most liveable suburbs, the main criteria are access to school and employment, amenities, accessibility, low crime, with a price tag relative to quality of life. The suburbs that consistently rank on the top of both lists are among the inner-city suburbs, the Inner West and lower North shore.
According to the above criteria, these suburbs rated the highest in liveability in 2022:
Proximity to the CBD and North Sydney’s commercial hubs, public transport routes galore, and access to cafes, restaurants and the harbour, Milson’s Point is one of the most liveable suburbs in Sydney. The downsides are access to schools and affordability of housing.
Though it is the furthest away out of the suburbs to the CBD, it has great public transit to Chatswood, North Sydney and Macquarie Park, all big employment hubs. With a vibrant foodie culture along Willoughby Road and cosy cottages, good schools, and parks it’s a balance of both worlds for professionals with young families.
Being close to Central station and the CBD gives Surry Hills a double-edged sword: access and public transport is phenomenal, but the crime rate leaves something to be desired. However, it’s got parks, schools, and a variety of boutiques, restaurants, and bars! It also has top marks for employability.
Marrickville used to be highly industrialised but thanks to gentrification, a wave of restaurants, pubs, and cafes, the construction of the new library and good schools have improved this old suburb’s liveability. High levels of traffic and noise from overhead flight paths are the biggest cons!
Newtown attracts students, hipsters, and young urbanites with its eclectic mix of vegan cafes, multicultural restaurants, bohemian shops, vintage and thrift shops, street art, theatres, and bars. Many vouch that this suburb has the best food and will give you the best night out!
On the other hand, the living spaces are small (as is usual for the Inner West), crime rates are high and there can be a lot of congestion along King St.
Darlinghurst is known for its bars, cafes, nightlife, galleries, and shops. Oxford St is famous for the Mardi Gras parades and has the best LGBTIQ bars and drag shows in all of Australia and some may argue, the Southern Hemisphere. However, with few schools, small green spaces and parks, and higher crime rates it’s not a very family friendly area.
Underground bars, Michelin starred restaurants, luxury retailers, some situated in the iconic QVB building, the CBD still offers some of the best entertainment and nightlife in Sydney. Of course, due to the congestion, high density living spaces, noise, and incidences of crime, often only young child-free professionals opt to live here.
Most family friendly
For many Sydney families, affordability, space, and access to schools is very important and Southwest Sydney and Western Sydney offer all of these. Suburbs such as Westmead, Parramatta, Liverpool, and Bankstown have access to hospitals, schools, parks, while still providing quantity for price in terms of living space. For Sydneysiders with a higher budget, these suburbs also offer family friendly living with a few more extras.
Close to the beach and parklands, some of the Eastern suburbs’ best schools, and to the train station and Westfield at Bondi Junction, Queens Park would appear to have it all! Of course, the downside to this is that homes here come at a high price point.
Lane Cove is a fantastic area to raise children in with leafy parks and playgrounds, a library, an aquatic centre. It is also one of the safest suburbs in the whole city. Lane Cove National Park is a favourite among locals for its easy walking trails, cycle friendly roads, beautiful flora, and large playground. Its downsides are the lack of public transport, lack of entertainment and nightlife, and generally high traffic getting into the city.
Large houses, proximity to great schools, nearby shops and restaurants, Baulkham Hills offers comfortable suburban living with family-friendly entertainment. Compared to the other suburbs in this list, it is more affordable. Access to the CBD is limited but for many working in the neighbouring industrial hub, Norwest, this is not a requirement!
Oatley is an ideal suburb for families with its access to the Georges River, leafy walking trails, an adventure playground, and good schools. It’s also very safe and is only a 30-minute train ride from the city. Due to its high liveability and its waterfront properties, it is also one of the priciest suburbs in Sydney’s South.