The inner-west suburb of Leichhardt, traditionally known as Little Italy, is a buzzing precinct with lots of Italian eateries along Norton Street and a revamped Palace Cinema for a night out at the movies. The open-air Italian Forum shopping centre and the annual Italian Festa food festival are other well-known local institutions. This sought-after location also has some great cafes, bookshops and wine bars.
Local playgrounds, a wide range of schools, and an aquatic centre make Leichhardt a popular choice for families, who find that living here gives them both the convenience of the city and lots of outdoor activities for kids. And its leafy streets and community spirit mean that many who have grown up in Leichhardt tend to stick around. Read on to find out more about this unique Sydney suburb.
What are Leichhardt houses like?
The housing stock in Leichhardt is varied, reflecting the area’s diverse population. From modern apartments with shared swimming pools for city professionals to renovated heritage cottages for families, classic terrace homes and some quirky studios and renovation projects, there are lots of options here.
It’s easy to see why the area is so popular with families, professionals and downsizers alike and why many of those who grew up here are keen to stay.
Leichhardt’s local attractions
Pioneers Memorial Park
This big green space opened in 1941 as a tribute to the pioneers of the area. A playground and off-leash area for dogs make the park popular with locals. Peaceful and leafy, it’s also great for a picnic, with the cafe strip nearby.
Leichhardt Park Aquatic Centre
At the northern end of Leichhardt is an expansive aquatic centre. With indoor and outdoor pools, including an Olympic-length pool, a kids’ pool and one for toddlers, plus a cafe, creche and gym, it’s a wonderful asset to the area.
The character-filled Palace Norton Street cinema has eight theatres and runs a varied programme, including international films. You can even order wine and cheese to enjoy with your movie. This is a cinema that people will travel from across the city to visit for film festivals, so it’s a great venue to have on your doorstep.
Leichhardt is known for its buzzing restaurant scene, in particular its authentic Italian restaurants. Here are a few of the best:
A local institution since opening its doors in 1952, Bar Italia on Norton Street is the place to go for cannelloni, gelato and coffee, as well as more traditional cooked breakfasts.
Also on Norton Street, this famed bakery makes many of its products bite-sized so you can try more than one at a time. The unique pastries and cakes by talented chef Penelope Ransley include date creme brulee, pineapple tarte tatin, and salted macadamia tart. If you don’t have a sweet tooth you can try sausage rolls, quiches and sourdough bread.
Penny Fours Facebook
An upmarket Italian restaurant and bar, this restaurant’s menu uses quality local ingredients, such as Sydney rock oysters and local seafood and beef. Imported cheeses and Italian staples such as pizza and tiramisu round out this smart eatery.
This bustling restaurant is ideal for a coffee or a family meal. Its regulars love the housemade gnocchi and pastas, as well as the simple kids’ meals.
A wide choice of local schools makes Leichhardt a top pick for families. Nearby schools include St Fiacre’s Catholic Primary School; Leichhardt Public School; Taverners Hill Infants School; Annandale Public School, Orange Grove Primary and Sydney Secondary College.
Public transport in Leichhardt
Light rail and buses on Parramatta Road and along the main streets make Leichhardt a convenient suburb for commuting. Residents also appreciate its central location, seven kilometres from the CBD, which makes commuting a breeze.
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