The Canberra Times

Time to get festive in the city!

Time to get festive in the city!

This story is sponsored by the City Renewal Authority.

When was the last time you ate, shopped and maybe even stayed in Canberra's beating heart - the city centre?

Having thrown off our lockdown shackles, and with the festive season now upon us, the city and all it has to offer is waiting to be explored again.

From the best of Christmas shopping, to a smorgasbord of exciting places to eat and drink, to quintessential Canberran experiences to enjoy day and night, it's where you can celebrate this wonderful time of year in style.

The neighbourhoods that make up the inner city include older suburbs, a rejuvenated city corridor and a mix of hotel properties, eating precincts, suburban shops and our city's major shopping hub, all waiting for you to discover.

And did someone say fireworks? With the exciting news that our New Year's Eve skies will again light up with pyrotechnic action, the city will be the place to begin your evening. Enjoy dinner and maybe a cocktail, before heading to the shores of Lake Burley Griffin to watch the fireworks and send off 2021 in spectacular fashion.

Ready to explore? Here's a little inspiration to get you started.


From traditional stalwarts to innovative new eating experiences, there's plenty of tasty possibilities to keep you well fed in inner Canberra.

In the centre of Civic's shopping wonderland you'll find popular Raku where you can choose from plates of sashimi, nigiri and maki rolls, or flame-flavoured meat and seafood from the robata grill.

City favourite: Popular Raku is the place for sashimi, nigiri and maki rolls, or some flame-flavoured meat from the robata grill.

Or there's new kid on the block, Corella, on Lonsdale Street, Braddon. At this brainchild of the team behind Assembly, which is just across the road, you'll find delicious share plates of food that embraces both native ingredients and nostalgia.

At Monster Kitchen and Bar at Acton you might come to look at the spectacular staircase, but you'll stay for the acclaimed food and ambience. The showstopper venue within the Ovolo Hotel has the wow factor covered with both its luxe industrial fit-out and award-winning food.

Or how about re-discovering Canberra's beautiful heritage-listed Sydney Building in Civic and experience gastronomic food hall and bar Verity Lane Market. With six local vendors together for your culinary delight, there's something to suit everyone's tastebuds.


From small independent shops to Canberra's largest mall, you can buy almost anything you desire in the city.

Head to Hive in Braddon, just a short walk from the city centre to browse its range of stylish homewares and lighting, and designer jewellery, pop into nearby Pop Canberra to shop the best of local products, or maybe grab a sweet indulgence for yourself or someone special at Enigma Fine Chocolates.

Hive sells artisan crafted homewares and gifts with a focus on well-made goods that are "beautiful & useful with a bit of fun and whimsy" added to the mix.

Civic's Canberra Centre is a mecca for shoppers with more than 260 national and international retailers under one roof, from premium international brands to Australian heavy weights like Oroton and Sass & Bide to high-street favourites like Zara and H&M.

In Acton, there's the Craft ACT Craft and Design Centre a not-for-profit which supports local artists, craft practitioners, designers and makers. At the retail space you can invest in a little art for yourself and at the same time help sustain our craftspeople and designers.


We all know how vital it is to stay hydrated - especially in summer - so fortunately there are plenty of welcoming bars, pubs and even breweries in the inner city to quench your thirst.

Sample some of Australia's number one craft beers at Braddon's BentSpoke Brewing Company - its Crankshaft IPA took out the 2021 GABS hottest 100 craft beer - or tiptoe to Tipsy Bull, the place in Canberra to explore gin. Grab a seat in the sun and choose from a multitude of spirits served to you on a wooden paddle.

Go underground at High Jinks in Acton beneath Ily restaurant. Settle in and order something brooding, like the Low Rider, using Patrn Silver tequila, Poor Tom's Imbroglio, mezcal, ginger and pink peppercorn with a dash of fresh ruby grapefruit and lime.

Feel a true neighbourhood vibe with a warm atmosphere, rockabilly tunes and top shelf service at High Jinks.

Or head to award-winning Bar Rochford, upstairs in one of the capital's oldest buildings - the iconic Melbourne Building. The team here are all about showcasing exciting wine producers matched with good food and feel-good sounds.

Phew, maybe time to take a rest? Seek out the shade of the English elms and oaks in Glebe Park, feel the grass beneath your feet and ponder the joy of living in Canberra. Grab a delicious picnic - perhaps a Perfect Picnic Box from Amici Deli and Wine Bar in the city - so you can kick back and enjoy, and plan your next city adventure.

For many, many more ideas and inspiration for exploring Canberra city from some of our in-the-know insiders take a look at the very handy City Neighbourhood Guide developed by Visit Canberra and the City Renewal Authority. Download here.

This story is sponsored by the City Renewal Authority.