Top 5 Hidden CBD Laneways

by Saqif Hasan

After painstakingly searching Sydney’s nooks and crannies, we’ve found the best hidden laneways in and around the CBD to add to Sydney’s Top 5 lists.

Amongst the modern rush of the CBD, and tucked away behind the busy city life are some of Sydney’s secret streets and laneways. These quirky side streets have their own individual flair and come to life with their own artistic installations. Whether you’re just taking a shortcut, or looking for somewhere to chill out, these stylish laneways are definitely worth discovering.


Image Credit: Meghna Bali

Albion Place


Planted in the heart of Town Hall, Albion Place is surrounded by city buzz including Sydney’s Spanish Quarter, George St. Cinema and tonnes of dining options. It’s definitely one of the more popular laneways, but gives for a quick, calm escape from the bustling city life. The alley walls are painted in a colourful mosaic like something out of Dr.Seuss, and the chic bistros down the laneway certainly make it feel that way. Artist Caroline Rothwel’s Watling Tree adds to the unique style of the street, featuring a stunning tumbling tree design etched into a stainless steel panel.



Image Credit: Meghna Bali

McElhone Place

McElhone Place in Surry Hills is not your typical side street and is best described as an urban garden. Beautiful flowers, plant life, and garden sculptures hug the narrow laneway from start to finish, and add a refreshing feel when you’re taking a shortcut through the city. The thin strip of concrete nature will make you think you’re taking a bushwalk, and is a great change of sight from the buildings and roads.

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Image Credit: Meghna Bali

Chinatown Laneways

Chinatown has recently been upgraded into an even more pedestrian friendly maze of streets, with inviting outdoor furniture and newly planted trees. Warming lantern-style lightboxes will guide you down the cobblestone paths of Factory Street and Little Hays Street, which thread together with the artistic Kimber Lane. Artist Jason Wing’s between two worlds adds a colourful contrast to the brick walled laneway, which is kind of artistic in itself. A mural of clouds runs along the sides, while figures of floating spirits illuminate the lane from above. The otherwise dark streets now glow a calming blue, and it really livens up the night time walking culture.


Image Credit: Meghna Bali

Ash Street

Be transported to Europe in Sydney when walking down Ash Street Laneway. The humble strip of 19th century buildings is riddled with bars and restaurants, and is one of the most cultured side streets in Sydney. Have a sip of Paris at Ash Street Cellar, or enjoy a classy lunch at Felix Bistro, and be prepared as a casual stroll down this alley will easily turn into a longer stay.


Image Credit: Meghna Bali

Angel Place

Right around the corner of Ash Street is the nifty Angel Place laneway – a daring contrast of city life and Romanesque architecture. The cobblestone path takes you on a cosy vintage walk, sprinkled with a slice of postmodern street art; all you have to do is look up to see 120 birdcages hanging from the sky. Artist Michael Thomas Hill’s work is a rather melancholic homage to the many species of birds that use to live in the area before urbanisation. Nearby speakers play birdsongs to accompany the cages, and create an empty yet serene work of art appropriately named “Forgotten Songs.”

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  1. Residents of McElhone Place allow there cats to defecate all over the lane, so watch your step as it is covered in tiny, stinky land mines.

  2. Loz in Transit says:

    Right up my alley

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