Unearthing Urban Perth

Last Updated: 06 Nov 2015
Naomi Faye

Perth’s pockets are growing, each suburb developing its own distinct personality. Writer Naomi Faye sweeps through the city to find out what urban Perth has to offer.

Coastal cities are the dream, as leisure options are doubled and city areas diversified – beach days and watersports are always close by, and ocean views are par for the course. Perth's urban scene now has appeal of its own. The inner city boasts boutique bistros, secret hipster bars, and coffee windows for that quick caffeine hit. The balance between salty beach escapes and trendy inner city haunts have made the west coast capital a city that ticks every box.


Attracting Perth's fringe dwellers and intellectuals, creativity has always been the name of Mount Lawley's game. Whether it's bar eats and champagne in a cute courtyard for subdued conversation, a margarita in a funky Mexican bar, or a grungy pub with barrels of beer, Mount Lawley has you covered.


Maylands isn't exactly the new kid on the block, but it's definitely grown. Get amongst Eighth Avenue, Whatley Crescent, and Railway Parade, particularly on a Sunday. With gourmet hotdogs for the ravenous shopper, cupcakes and coco whip for the sweet tooth, quirky gift ideas and beautiful flowers, you'll have trouble juggling what's in your hands.


When you hit the Rosemount on the corner of Fitzgerald and Angove – the suburb's landmark pub and live music venue – you know you're in the right place. Get a coffee from one of the specialist baristas on the strip, browse the mixed bag of boutiques, or go for a cheeky afternoon beverage in the laid-back surrounds.


Shaking off its shady past, Northbridge is an arts, culture and foodie hub – you can't visit Perth without being recommended at least a few places in Northbridge. There's always a great new bar or restaurant to try, and the Cultural Centre gets even more energetic during festival season. If you're scared of drunken activity, the nightclubs are easily avoided.


A little more chilled out than Northbridge and Mount Lawley, at night the record store becomes a local hangout, and couples wander around with a post-film gelato. Cafes seem to sprout up regularly and small bars and restaurants are packed out each weekend. It's only one train stop from the CBD, so you can easily pop in for a peek.


Mount Hawthorn is low-key in all the right ways. Stroll down Scarborough Beach Road and find a New York-style pizza joint in a warehouse. You can BYO in a casual fit-out, or climb stairs to a rooftop bar reminiscent of a ski lodge. Also home to two of Perth's favourite bookstores, and one of the city's most famous bakeries.


'Subi' is one of Perth's sophisticated hotspots, boasting upmarket boutiques and ritzy restaurants. It has diversified in recent years, with burger places, hipster cafes, and mid-range boutiques making it a little more accessible. Food lovers flock to the farmers markets on Saturdays, one of the city's best. Just a five-minute train ride from the city, Subiaco is an easy stop for a leisurely day out.

Photography Marc Russo.


Beach life isn't always about the water. Cottesloe's grassy knolls are great for breaks from the surf, impromptu picnics, and watching the sunset. Ocean bars aren't just for exotic holidays. The 'Sunday sesh' is a Perth institution in summer, and Cottesloe bars like 'The Cott' (Cottesloe Beach Hotel) and 'The OB' (Ocean Beach Hotel) are typically filled with floral dresses, flip-flops, and beers to beat the heat.


Freo locals are fiercely loyal to their port town, and it's not surprising. Heritage buildings, like the Fremantle Arts Centre, Fremantle Prison and Round House, showcase its rich history. The iconic Fishing Boat Harbour is picturesque in a way that visitors won't forget. Freo streets are lined with cafes, embracing the European model of alfresco dining. There's a penchant for creativity, with local artisans choosing to live and work in the area adding to Freo's laid-back, friendly vibe.

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