The annual Time Out list of the ‘World’s Coolest Suburbs’ has been released, and two Australian suburbs have officially made the top 10. This year, it’s kind of a big deal, given how much time we’ve all been spending at home and in our local areas.
Based on the opinions of locals, the annual Time Out rankings surveyed thousands of people around the globe to uncover the world’s “coolest neighbourhoods”. Up to 38,000 people took the index survey this year to share what makes their city a great place to live right now for fun, food, culture and community.
To quote Time Out: “But right now, more than ever, it’s cool to be kind. So 2020’s coolest neighbourhoods are still the ones with a fascinating mixture of people, innovative and inclusive food, drink, arts and culture, affordable rents and living costs, and that hard-to-define buzz that draws people from across the globe. But this year, more than ever, they are the areas where people, community and businesses have helped each other through shared tribulations: places that represent the soul of the city.“
Here’s the Top 10:
So what makes Yarraville and Marrickville some of the coolest suburbs in the country?
Melbourne has always been the cultural capital of Australia, but 2020 has definitely halted the usual action. Going through two tough lockdowns in 2020 has meant many of the city’s cornerstones – live music, café culture, world-class arts and restaurants – have been put on hiatus.
“For a relatively small suburb, the cross-section of food, drink and things to do here is pretty remarkable, ranging from landmark, Art Deco cinema Sun Theatre to restaurants like the Indigenous-owned restaurant Mabu Mabu and tiny, contemporary Australian fine diner Navi. With an epicurean edge and a perfect balance of residential and recreational, right now there’s no place like Yarraville”, said Rebecca Russo of Time Out Melbourne. The suburb is also being celebrated for its strong community spirit, with locals running (socially distanced) events to help everyone keep their spirits up.
Sydney can be a pretty tribal city, with specific ’hoods defined by their cultural niches: China Town in Haymarket, Little Italy in Leichhardt, the backpacker bubble in Bondi, the gay village on Oxford Street. Marrickville, on the other hand, is a true melting pot, and this diversity is surely the X-factor behind its ascent as Sydney’s trending suburb.
It’s a place of surprising dualities, where the artisan bakers at Two Chaps and the stylish sommeliers at Where’s Nick share the same curb as a no-frills Vietnamese sandwich shop like Marrickville Pork Roll (the best bánh mì in the city, according to reviewers) and the dive-bar vibes of the Marrickville Hotel. Waves of Portuguese, Vietnamese, Italian and Greek migrants have added to the richness of Marrickville’s culture, spearheading the emergence of perhaps the most eclectic food scene in the city. Streets lined with Federation-era houses and leafy enclaves protect the suburb’s all-are-welcome essence.
“As per the typical rules of gentrification, artists and queer creatives have also been key in turning this once-industrial corner of the city into a highly desirable postcode – but the twist is that these communities have stuck around even as middle-class families have increasingly embraced Marrickville as home. Despite its proximity to the eye-wateringly pricy inner city, Marrickville has managed to remain affordable and inclusive, largely thanks to the continuing absence of soulless high-rise developments and juggernaut hospitality franchises. Long may it last,” comments Maxim Boon, from Time Out Sydney.