Shopping in the heart of Sydney is a pleasure compared to the haggling in south east asia and hustle and the bustle of other cosmopolitan cities. Most of the large department stores and shopping centres are within a few blocks of each other and if it's raining you can make your way around under cover using the intricate system of malls, arcades, interconnected department stores, tunnels and overhead walkways that link four blocks of local and international outlets.
Shops are generally open from 9-5pm Monday through Friday (with the exception of Thursday when most stores will open until 9pm), 9-4pm on Saturday and some stores in the city will open on a Sunday but hours vary so it's best to call up and check. Almost all outlets accept the major credit cards like AMEX, Diners, MC, Visa and some city stores will accept JCB cards. You can also use Maestro or Cirrus electronic network debit cards in most stores.
The Queen Victoria Building was a purpose built shopping centre opened in 1898 celebrating Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee. In more recent years the building was largely neglected and fell in to a state of disrepair until the early 1980's when the Centre was painstakingly restored to its original grandeur. Today the QVB is one of the most stunning examples of Victorian architecture in Sydney. The Centre now houses a superb collection of 190 designer label and specialty stores and excellent eateries. The QVB occupies a full block along George Street between Town Hall and Market Street. For more information visit www.qvb.com.au.
The Strand Arcade is a more hip and groovy version of the QVB. The Strand was opened in 1892 and was almost destroyed by fire in 1976. The resident shopkeepers restored the building which now houses some of Australia's top designer labels, jewellers, boutiques and beauty salons. The Strand extends from the middle of Pitt Street mall through to George Street, a block towards Circular Quay from the QVB. For more inforomation, visit www.strandarcade.com.au.
Shop, eat or relax in a beautiful, stylish environment. Skygarden is located in the Centre of Sydney's business & shopping district between Pitt Street Mall & Castlereagh Street. The centre is open 7 days.
Choose from a superb collection of international and Australian fashion labels including Von Troska, Baubridge & Kay, Filomena Natale, Keith Matheson and Hardy Brothers Jewellery.Get the low down on the best books, magazines, CDs and DVDs from Borders, the biggest bookstore in town. With free live music, film groups, book signings and story times for kids, Borders is like no other bookstore.
For a feast for the eyes and mouths, head to Sydney's boldest Chinese restaurant, the new but already legendary, Sky Phoenix serving the largest selection of yum-cha in the CBD. Yum-cha lunch is available Monday to Sunday from 11am-3pm, and A la carte dinner operates Monday to Saturday from 5pm-11pm.
Skygarden also has a dedicated home wares floor on Two. Choose from a range of gifts, decorator pieces, kitchenware and furniture. Then have your parcels delivered to your door, courtesy of the Skygarden free home delivery service.
Piccadilly houses some of Sydney's more interesting and innovative fashion retailers. With over 40 specialty stores and boutiques from footwear to home wares the centre is a great place to pick up an interesting gift for someone special. The centre is located opposite the Hilton Hotel in Pitt Street, a 5 minute walk from Town Hall railway station.
Grace Bros' city department store is the retailer's flagship store. The seven levels and mezzanine floor are more like an exhibition space than a store. Grace Brothers boasts the biggest range of cosmetics in Australia and commits a whole level to the latest and greatest appliances and computer equipment. The store is a landmark in itself, situated on the corner of Market and George Streets.
David Jones is Sydney's oldest department store and one of the world's only department stores still trading under its original name. After refurbishing the George Street store in 1877, David Jones boasted the city's first hydraulic lift and now stocked furniture and furnishings. Today the store still stands by its founder's original commitment, to sell "the best and most exclusive goods" and to carry "a stock that embraces the everyday wants of mankind at large." The stores are located at 65-77 Market Street & 86-108 Castlereagh Street. The nearest railway stations are St James and Museum.
At the southern end of Pitt Street Mall you will find Centrepoint which houses over 130 specialty stores and forms the foyer to the 305 metre high AMP tower. Other shopping areas in or close to Pitt Street Mall include the Glasshouse and the MLC Centre which are linked to one another via a covered overpass. Further down towards the Quay is Chifley Plaza, home to a selection of the world's most famous and stylish international brands.
There are also some excellent markets around Sydney throughout the week and every weekend where you can pick up anything from new and preloved clothes and hand crafted furniture to mouth watering home baked food.
Keep in mind that if the feet hurt or you like to play hard ball when it comes to shopping then an organised guided shopping tour may be your best option.
Much like other centres listed such as the QVB and The Strand Arcade, Broadway Shopping Centre (originally the old Grace Bros. site) was built around the turn of the century and still retains many of its original fixtures and fittings, including the pair of glass domes a top the Model & Moxham buildings. Broadway Shopping Centre includes over 125 specialty stores, a 500 seat Food Court and a 12 screen Hoyts cinema.