Living in Glebe

Glebe is something of a village-style suburb sitting on the peripheries of Sydney city. While close to the city centre itself, this community has a feeling that it's determined to keep some autonomy from the hustle and bustle of the CBD. Its proximity to both the business district and at least two universities means this place is an eclectic mix of students, professionals and enduring locals who have held court since before the suburb became a trendy and convenient option. Glebe's personality and pulse splays outward from its one long artery, namely Glebe Point Road, which begins at Broadway (close to the junctions of Surry Hills, Newtown, Chippendale and Camperdown) but unravels itself directly away towards an increasingly quieter and more "economically healthy" sliver of the suburb. The more remote you are positioned down Glebe Point Road, usually, the more privileged.

Housing

Housing in Glebe is varied, and the costing and availability of dwellings exists accordingly. Those fortunate enough to be comfortable "of the wallet" would find themselves well located at the furthest point of Glebe in one of many older Victorian townhouses or semis, all beautifully restored and deceptively small from the outside. This is also an area for new development on the waterfront areas of the bay which can be dominated by more modern homes with less character.

Alternatively, for those less fiscally confident, there are ample multi story townhouses around, with visible scarring from a healthy student share accommodation history, small bedrooms and slimline, obscure backyards. These are affordable and still have a bohemian charm to match your multitude of second hand boho clothes and furniture available readily in the local shops and markets. Apartment living is also an option in Glebe, though not quite as prevalent.

The socio-economic ladder is visibly tilted away from Broadway, and the lower end of it is nestled behind Broadway shopping centre, with a set of small units and houses all government owned (housing commission). This lower income section of Glebe isn't generally open to travellers to live within, however it is the thoroughfare to many great parts of the area. If living very close to this area, car and housing security is advised. Although not particularly dangerous, small petty theft is something to be prudent about.

People

For around 20 years Glebe had prided itself on its artistic, community-minded approach to city living. It is only in the last 5-7 years that, much like many parts of Sydney, it has been gentrified considerably and, along with the cost of living, the residents have changed a little too. Throughout the week you will be surrounded by many young professionals, students, travellers, and down-to-earth locals who all seemingly wear a relinquishment of eastern suburbs glamour with pride. There is a healthy alternative subculture that may always live here, possibly due to its large number of academics and university students.

On the weekends the area is swarming with all types, drawn to the local markets held on Saturday at the primary school on Glebe Point Road. Anyone looking for a cafe start to the weekend, random fashion and thrift clothing, and bookshops will filter through here at least one Saturday of their lives.

Pubs, Clubs and Entertainment

There is nothing "showy" about Glebe, and if anything demonstrates it clearly, it's the local pubs and clubs scene. That is to say, there is no "night scene", just a multitude of cosy, comfortable and charming watering holes dotted around the area. Along with the standard attributes of a pub suburb, there are dark corners and cheap(ish) beers, counter meals, occasional live music, and pool and jukebox havens. In each, you will find travellers, old men with old stories, students on cheap drinks nights and peripheral humdrum maintaining the Australian love of daily imbibing.

Places like the Nags Head Tavern, The Toxteth, The Excelsior, and the Friend in Hand are local favourites. Newer additions like the Roxbury and the renovated Ancient Briton seem to draw less of the older locals, and more younger imports to the area. A feather in the entertainment cap of Glebe are the comedy nights held in the Friend in Hand pub - amateurs and professionals alike turn this place into a sardine-tin on a Thursday night, and its advised to get there early for any seating or vague comfort. It's worth it.

Parks

Glebe is bracketed by parks, large and small, clean or rustic, and well-tended plots of land, or small mysterious jumbles of not much. At the beginning of Glebe Point Road, on Broadway, is large park with local swimming pool which houses many local university open days and gatherings. To the city side of Glebe Point Road is Wentworth Park which, outside of being a running track and soccer field to many, also exists as a Greyhound Track. On the far side of Glebe Point Road, nestled down into the back streets is Harold Park, for those who prefer equine to canine racing. The main park in Glebe is Bicentennial Park, which is a large expanse on the waterfront positioned at the far end of Glebe Point Road and it's a good spot for those with kids, dogs, or picnics. Its one of the last parts of Sydney with views in towards the Harbour Bridge area of Sydney - albeit a little obstructed, and peppered with boat maintenance dockyards.

Shops, Restaurants and Takeaways

Places to eat, shop, drink coffee and stock up on groceries are not in short supply in Glebe. The main strip has pretty much anything you could want from Indian, to Subway, to bakeries, to convenience stores, to patisseries and delis, to Indonesian and more. Coffee is in great supply throughout the area and pubs seem to have much better menus than in the past. For groceries and household items, Broadway shopping centre is at the end of Glebe Point Road where you will find supermarkets, green grocers, liquor shops, chain stores, pharmacists and any virtually any other item you could need.

Transportation

The proximity to the city, the Inner West and Central Station means that those happy to explore on foot will find Glebe very well positioned. The area is also serviced by a bus that runs along Glebe Point Road and will take you to the main linking areas of Sydney, such as Wynyard or Central Station. Additionally, at the far end of Glebe Point Road you will be able to jump on the Light Rail system which is a little more expensive than the bus, but an easy, clean and direct ride into Central. Taxis can almost always be found on Glebe Point Road.

Good Points

  • Great cafe and bookshop scene
  • Saturday markets
  • Artistic, boho nature
  • Close to city, yet has plenty of parks
  • Not as transient as most traveller areas
  • Increasingly pricey depending on the area

Bad Points

  • Saturday parking very tricky when markets are on
  • Some security concerns
  • Nightlife is primarily small pubs
  • Public transport at night is less frequent

Areas of Sydney

  • Bondi Beach
    Great for beach lovers but pretty and popular and therefore expensive.
  • Chatswood
    Multicultural area close to the city centre has everything you may need.
  • Coogee
    A lively area with a good beach and lots to do, day and night.
  • Darlinghurst
    Accepting of all types of people and lively at all hours of the night.
  • Glebe
    An artsy, multicultural suburb filled with students and backpackers.
  • Haymarket and Chinatown
    Asian influences abound in this lively area.
  • King's Cross
    Some would say seedy and dodgy but good for a cheap night out.
  • Manly
    Beautiful suburb with beaches, surf and a laid back lifestyle.
  • Newtown
    Crammed with funky clothing stores, cafes and bars playing live music.
  • Randwick
    Nice, relaxed area that is close enough to the beach.
  • Surry Hills
    Close to the centre of Sydney and full of character.

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