Parramatta City is situated in the Darug Nation with the traditional land of the Burramattagal People. Known as Sydney’s second city, Parramatta is home to several commercial and residential towers, defining the skyline, as well as a wonderful collection of cultural attractions and eateries. With so much to see and do in this city – you will definitely be looking to plan your next day before your first day is even over.
Today, Parramatta is a hub within Greater Sydney, both commercially and culturally diverse. Traditionally having a large European influence due to the settlement, Parramatta has become one of the most culturally diverse areas within the west. Walking the streets of Parramatta you are greeted with influences from a number of cultures. These influences are made visible through the food offerings, places of worship and supermarkets that line the many streets.
Parramatta Park is the green centre of the city, and home to one of the earliest Aboriginal cultural heritage sites in Greater Sydney. With the Parramatta River running throughout the park, archaeologists have been able to determine the site was heavily used by Aboriginal people drawn to the area for its fresh water and other natural resources.
Today, Parramatta park is sprinkled with historic sites dating from pre-colonisation through to the convict era, and present day. One of the major attractions is Old Government House.
Old Government House played a significant role during the convict era and was also the Country Residence for the first ten Governors of New South Wales. Apart of the National Trust, Old Government House is open to the public for tours and events. It is open to the public to walk the grounds, and you are also able to purchase tickets to tour the interior of the building.
Spend a few hours walking through Parramatta Park, seeing all it has to offer. Stumble into the Rumsey Rose Garden, located on the southern end of the park adjacent to Pitt Street, boasting one of the largest collections of heritage roses in Australia, before grabbing a quick bite to eat, or a tea from the Gatehouse Tea Rooms located within the Macquarie Street Gatehouse.
After refuelling, head down to Parramatta River. The river runs from the park into the CBD of Parramatta and is beginning to define the city with new developments springing up along it. Down on the foreshore of the riverbank, between Church Street and Wilde Avenue, you will get some great views of the river against the backdrop of Parramatta City. Take a walk and meander along this green space to explore the city further.
Heading up into the new Meriton ‘Eat Street which can be found facing the river, between Wilde Avenue and Church Street, you will be treated with more than enough options to keep the whole family happy. Eat street runs back along the river up into Church street where the construction of the new light rail is taking place. Try one of the many options such as The Meat & Wine Co., Holy Basil a Laos-Thai fusion restaurant, Ginza Izakaya a casual dining Japanese restaurant or ALEX & Co.
Located right in the Eat Street district of Parramatta, ALEX&Co is the perfect combination of restaurant and bar. With a vast Mediterranean influenced menu offering everything from Salads to pizza, pasta, and more. Their drinks menu is also something to be considered, with a huge selection of bespoke and custom cocktails, as well as beers and wines.
After lunch, take a walk through the streets of Parramatta. The new development happening around this area is truly something historic. While walking through the streets, take notice of the juxtaposition between the new buildings right next to some of the older heritage ones.
Walking up Smith Street towards Macquarie Street, you will find one of Parramatta’s newest and greatest attractions – Parramatta Square. Described as a natural response to the drive and growth of Parramatta City, Parramatta Square transports you to a modern CBD surrounded by towering buildings and eateries. The palm trees throughout the square are reminiscent of a city oasis – a perfect place to sit and recharge.
The Square is home to several public artworks in the form of sculpture, wall paintings and signage, all drawing back to the history of Parramatta. In terms of eating and drinking, you’ll be again, spoilt for choice with crowd favourites Betty’s Burgers, Fishbowl, and Rivarino Gelato all at your fingertips – or perhaps try something a little more bespoke such as Ruse Bar and Brasserie, a beautifully designed European inspired bar and restaurant spanning both indoor and outdoor seating, or LilyMua contemporary restaurant mixing the cultures of middle eastern and Asian cuisines creating something truly unique.
While in the Square, be sure to check out the newly opened Powerhouse Parramatta Community Space to learn more about what the Parramatta Powerhouse museum will be like once it opens its doors.
To finish your day off, head down Macquarie street and stumble upon a little café aptly titled ‘Mac Street Coffee’. This hole in the wall cafe is an escape from the busy streets of Parramatta. Walking into the space you’re greeted with an array of vintage and eclectic pieces of furniture and art, as well as the delicious smell of coffee and sweet treats. Their current blend is The Cats Pyjamas by Seven Miles coffee roasters and goes down a treat!
If time permits, be sure to check out one of the other great venues in Parramatta such as Club Parramatta, Mr Phillips Coffee, Ginza, Sahra by The River, Kouzina Greco or Threefold Pastry.
Being a city within itself, we were only able to fit the offerings found within the CBD into this blog. We can’t wait to get back out to Parramatta and explore the suburban areas and see what they have to offer!