Non-Shelbyville Sydney map

A work colleague of mine recently made a colourful remark to someone. "You live in [boring outer suburb]?", she gasped. "That's so Shelbyville!" Interesting term, "Shelbyville". Otherwise known as "the 'burbs", or "not where the hip-hop folks live". Got me thinking. Where in Sydney is a trendy place for young 20-somethings to live, and where is Shelbyville?

I've lived in Sydney all my life. I've almost always lived quite squarely in Shelbyville myself. However, since the age of 18, I've gotten to know most of the popular nightlife haunts pretty well. And since entering the world of student share-houses, I've also become pretty familiar with the city's accommodation hotspots. So, having this background, and being a fan of online mapping funkiness, I decided to sit down and make a map of the trendiest spots in Sydney to live and play.

Map of non-Shelbyville Sydney
Map of non-Shelbyville Sydney

This map represents my opinion, and my opinion only. It's based on where I most commonly go out at night with my friends and colleagues, and on where my friends and colleagues live or have lived. I make no pretense: this map is biased, and any fellow Sydney-sider will no doubt have numerous criticisms of its inclusions and its omissions. If you wish to voice your qualms, feel free to leave a comment. I'll do my best to go through and justify the most controversial details of the map. But, in general, my justification is simply that "this is a map of my Sydney, so of course it's not going to be exactly the same as a map of your Sydney".

In this map, the coloured dots represent nightlife hotspots. In general, they represent exact streets or clusters of streets that are home to a number of bars, although some dots are pinpointing individual bars. The coloured regions represent accommodation hotspots. These regions should be thought of as covering a general area — usually a suburb or a group of neighbouring suburbs — rather than covering exact streets.

The nightlife hotspots and the accommodation hotspots almost always overlap. You could say that one defines the other, and vice versa. The main exception to this rule is the Sydney CBD (i.e. George St, Martin Place, and Darling Harbour), which has the biggest nightlife concentration of anywhere, but which has almost no permanent accommodation, apart from a few recently-built towering monstrosities (and I wouldn't consider them trendy, as they're super-pricey and utterly soulless). There are a few other exceptions, which I'll get to shortly.

As you can see, the map is concentrated around the city centre, the Inner West, and the Eastern Suburbs. As a (recently-graduated) Uni student and a young professional, these are the areas that are almost exclusively on my radar these days.

The trendy areas

Sorry, it's Shelbyville

Further reading

Some sources that I used to get a feel for different opinions about Sydney's cool corners:

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