Canberra Unlocked: City and The Inner North | HerCanberra

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Canberra Unlocked: City and The Inner North

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Canberra, it’s been a while since we could truly explore our city.

For 10 weeks, as our city did what was needed to control the spread of COVID-19 in our community, our world became very small. But now it’s time to embrace more than home.

We’re excited to introduce you to Canberra Unlocked—a series that will explore the city’s seven regions, uncovering hidden gems and giving you the ultimate playbook for your next adventure.

Up first—the City and Inner North. Home of leafy streets and heritage buildings, it never fails to surprise and delight, with new restaurants, cafés and boutiques opening almost weekly.


The Inner North is spoilt for choice when it comes to destination dining—which is especially tempting after 18 months of no international travel.

Recently opened Loquita in the city centre introduces Canberra to authentic Mexican, while White Chaco’s fusion of Japanese and Taiwanese cuisine serves up what many say is Canberra’s best ramen.

Craving Vietnamese? Head to Canberra’s version of Chinatown in Dickson for authentic pho at Pho Phu Quoc Vietnamese Restaurant—an institution among locals.


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Can’t decide? Verity Lane Market’s European-style food hall is home to a plethora of options including wood-fired pizza, tapas, pasta and bao; and if your tastes run more towards Modern Oz cuisine, Braddon’s Corella Bar was named as a finalist in the Gourmet Traveller 2022 Restaurant Awards. If you’re looking to elevate your evening, booking a table at 12-seat Mu Omakase will give you a (12-20 course) dinner to remember.

Of course, it wouldn’t be summer without an ice cream cone—and at Dickson’s Spilt Milk Bar, the gelato is cold and ready. The only question—will it be one scoop or two?


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Coffee culture runs deep in Canberra’s Inner North, with a milk coffee at Braddon’s Barrio being a must-do for locals and visitors alike. Those wanting their oat milk latte with a side of interior inspiration can wend their way to Acton’s Instagrammable Močan and Green Grout.


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The Inner North also boasts hidden suburban gems, two standouts being The Knox Made in Watson and Downer’s Gang Gang Café. Both welcome customers of all ages for relaxed meals in equally relaxed surrounds and if you’re looking for a snapshot of Canberra’s social history, Tilley’s in Lyneham, with its jazz club interiors, offers a time capsule like no other.

As the sun dips below the horizon (or a little earlier, in these summer months), the Inner North’s bar scene comes to life. Starting a night at BentSpoke Brewing Co’s Braddon brewery and gastropub gives you the opportunity to buy a literal taste of Canberra, while across the road, Rizla serves the tastiest drops from Canberra’s cool climate wine region and beyond.


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On the other side of the city, one of Canberra’s newest nightspots, Cicada Bar, offers bespoke cocktails with a focus on sustainability while a truly underground experience awaits in Acton’s High Jinks. Think: a modern speakeasy with all the trimmings.


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Naturally, the inclusion of Canberra city within the Inner North means there is plenty of shopping to be had—and really, who doesn’t want to be supporting local makers and boutiques after the last 18 months? As if you needed an excuse…

Braddon’s Lonsdale Street is the epicentre of boutique shopping in the Inner North, and a natural place to start is POP Canberra—a bright and lovingly curated emporium of all things local. Looking to reduce, reuse and recycle? Melbourne consignment store Goodbyes is opening soon and will feature premium brands at pre-loved prices.


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You’ll discover that sustainable fashion comes in many forms on Lonsdale Street, especially at nearby boutiques Sancho’s Dirty Laundry (feature image) and Lost Vintage, who focus on street art and fashion and upcycled and vintage fashion respectively, and across the road, discover lovingly crafted jewellery at Kin Gallery, as well as jewellery workshops.

It’s worth planning your Inner North adventure to coincide with the weekly Haig Park Markets—a Sunday must-do for locals that sees a leafy corridor of Braddon’s Haig Park come alive with stalls selling vegetables, flowers, baked goods, crafts and more.


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After all that shopping you’ll no doubt be in need of a little TLC, so why not check in to newly opened day spa, Adytum Sanctum? Adytum’s blend of Korean-style bathhouse and traditional spa treatments will soothe the weariest of souls (and soles).

Seeking something en plein air? The National Botanic Gardens are a short drive from Braddon and offer kilometres of lovingly tended flora to explore, including the lush Rainforest Gully—a summer favourite for little ones.


Tucked away in Watson is one of the Inner North’s most delightful surprises—Canberra’s smallest gallery. Comprising just one room, the Gallery of Small Things offers a new perspective on curatorship, with rotating exhibitions from local and interstate artists.

From small to epic, a visit to the National Museum of Australia is an Inner North must-do, whether you’re exploring some of its many permanent exhibitions or catching a summer blockbuster—Ancient Greeks: Athletes, Warriors and Heroes opens on 17 December and we can’t wait!


To cap off your Inner North adventure—a bit of fun. The RUC Turner Bowls Club isn’t just a sweet slice of suburbia that serves great pub food, it’s also home to some of Canberra’s most picturesque barefoot bowling greens.


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A lazy Sunday afternoon booking will make the most of this breezy spot or swap Friday arvo drinks for barefoot bowls and stick around for the live music that follows.

This spring, spend and support local as you explore Canberra unlocked. See for more inspiration.

Feature image: Sancho’s Dirty Laundry by Pew Pew Studio

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