With a beautiful skyline of high rises, Parramatta is a hub of business, dining, and culture that can be spotted from all around Western Sydney. It sits on the Parramatta River on the traditional land of the Burramattagal people of the Dharug nation. For many years, it has been transforming into a second CBD and so it’s no secret that Parramatta is a pumping place to visit any day of the week. Now, adding to the area’s appeal is its Purple Flag accreditation certifying Parramatta as officially primed for a night out. Zooming in, we find Parramatta Square to be a buzzing and jam-packed area to explore in and of itself.
Parramatta Square is a one-stop shop for travel, food and culture in Parramatta and is fantastic both day and night. Opened in 2020, you enter the precinct stepping out of the train station on the northern side of the railway.
As soon as you emerge from the station, you’ll see the open space of the square, which is a pedestrian-only precinct beginning at Church Street in front of St John’s Cathedral all the way to Smith Street. During the day you’ll see many workers who occupy the office spaces all around the Parramatta CBD. It certainly has the hustle and bustle of a future metropolis.
For coffee, you’re spoilt with many excellent café options. You might want to start your day right with an award-winning croissant or pastry from Threefold Pastry along with a coffee made by their baristas. Or if you want something refreshing, Soul Bowl does a range of fruity smoothie bowls and juices. You’ll also find Chambers Fine Coffee which does delicious specialty coffee and brunch favourites.
Make sure to take time and enjoy the open space public domain, which is conveniently equipped with umbrellas, beanbags, tables, and even table tennis. Whichever direction you look, you’ll see the stunning high-rise buildings reflecting the light and creating a beautiful aesthetic effect.
Explore PHIVE (5 Parramatta Square), the community hub housing Parramatta City Council and Parramatta Library. We love the well-lit areas perfect for an afternoon reading, and a popular community study space. Designed by award-winning French architect Manuelle Gautrand in partnership with Lacoste + Stevenson and DesignInc, this building is built sustainably for net zero carbon.
On the Smith Street end, you won’t miss the eight-metre vertical vintage bus. As reflective as the surrounding buildings, this chrome bus public artwork was created by Claire Healy & Sean Cordeio and represents the 1960s bus used by legendary Parramatta Eels coach Jack Gibson for the first-grade team. No matter if you’re a Rugby League diehard fan or not, this artwork is very striking and adds to the Square’s arty character which can be appreciated by all.
Parramatta Square’s many lobbies are also full of culturally significant artworks. Investing in works from Indigenous and well-known Australian visual artists, the developers of Parramatta Square have ensured high-class artwork commissions add to the visual splendour of their public areas. Walk through the lobbies and spot the many impressive works of art.
The sculptural work ‘Points of Intersection’ by Yioryios Vasilios Papayioryiou is another artwork that gives the area its vibrance and culture. Spot it outside 4 Parramatta Square.
Indigenous artist from the APY Lands in South Australia Yaritji Young’s work ‘Honey Ant Dreaming’ is a colourful depiction of the dreamtime story of honey ants, which are an important food source to Young’s people. Opposite, you’ll spot a huge boat replica of the ‘Rose Hill Packet’, the boat used by Europeans to deliver goods from Sydney Cove to Rose Hill (modern-day Parramatta). You’ll also find ‘The Parramatta Tapestry’ by Chris Kenyon, which is a massive tapestry depicting the riverbank. These three works can be found inside 6 Parramatta Square.
Part of the Purple Flag accreditation includes a diversity of food and drink options, and Parramatta Square has many fabulous options open early until late.
No matter what time you visit, you simply don’t want to miss crowd favourite Harvey’s Hot Sandwiches. Who doesn’t love a roll packed with meats, sauces and everything in between? You’ll find pastrami, bacon, coleslaw, pickles, Philly cheese, the list goes on. A crowd favourite is their No. 1 which is a grilled beef fillet sandwich dunked in their very popular dipping gravy – delicious. Unlike many other sandwich shops, Harvey’s are open until at least 8pm (check their website for exact times) every night of the week.
A great time to visit this area is at dusk and into the night. Enjoy the reflection of the sun setting as it hits the beautiful skyscrapers around Parramatta. Look up, and what you’ll see is bound to make an impressive photograph.
Across the square is the stylish wine and dine venue Ruse Bar & Brasserie. With excellent indoor and outdoor areas, Ruse is a very good option for an afternoon or evening wine or cocktail. Their food menu is also fantastic for lunch and dinner – you’ll love their decadent woodfire grilled meat or their very popular Ruse Burgers.
Another cult favourite is Mamak. Boasting seriously good Malaysian food, Mamak’s Parramatta store brings their famous rotis and curries to Western Sydney. For an incredibly tasty and meal that you’ll never forget, save your appetite for their Roti Canai (best to order one per person because these will blow you away). You’ll love any of their dishes including Kari ayam (chicken curry), Nasi Lemak, Mee Goreng, and their very popular satay skewers. Enjoy the full Malaysian experience by ordering their classic Malaysian sweetened teas Teh Tarik, and for dessert, the paper-thin Roti Tisu with ice cream.
There’s simply so much to see and do just within Parramatta Square. And with venues opening until late, with plenty of activities and public sites to see, Parramatta has become even more of a destination within Western Sydney.