Sydney's Chinatown is a colourful mixture of asian culture, shopping and cuisine. The area's distinctly oriental architecture, street lanterns and archways confirm it as a showpiece for Australian Chinese culture.
In more recent years Chinatown has extended from the bounds of Dixon, Hay and Sussex Streets to encompass a much larger area bounded by George Street in the east and Darling Harbour in the west. The spatial expansion of Chinatown is complemented by the influx of east asian immigrants bringing with them exotic cooking styles and cuisines. The eateries in Chinatown serve up authentic asian dishes throughout the day until 4am in some cases. The food halls leave a little to be desired with respect to ambience but they make up for their shortcomings through being particularly good for their variety of cuisine and exceptionally reasonable prices.
There is a 'pedestrian only' mall along the section of Dixon Street bounded by two Paifangs, one at the Goulburn Street end in the north and one at Hay Street in the south. The paved mall is considered the heart of Chinatown and leads through the centre of the older, more established section. The distinctly Chinese style of buildings that line Dixon Street mall are home to many of the district's excellent restaurants. This area is popular with tourists and is home to an eclectic mix of asian grocery stores where you can buy Chinese medicinal herbs, clothing, homewares and exotic foods.
If stocking up on herbal medicines or your favourite thai green curry paste is the main game then Chinatown is your best bet.
At the southern end of Dixon Street is Market City. This building houses a range of specialty shops including Sydney's largest Asian supermarket and a host of big name factory outlet clothing stores. On the ground floor of the building is Sydney's famous Paddy's Markets.
Chinatown also hosts a number of performances throughout the year in line with the Chinese calendar celebrations. Sydney's Chinese New Year Festival is held in Chinatown over 3 weeks in February and is one of the largest and most spectacular Lunar New Year celebrations outside Asia.
Admission to Chinatown is free.
Chinatown is an easy 15 minute walk from Central railway station. A light rail service operates from Central to Haymarket, just outside Chinatown. The nearest Sydney Explorer stop to Chinatown is stop number 17.