Our guide to the must-try places in Canberra for a weekend away
Welcome to the capital city of Australia! Canberra may not be as bustling as Sydney or as cosmopolitan as Melbourne, but it’s definitely a city worth exploring. If you find yourself with just 24 hours to spend here, don’t worry, this is your essential guide to the best places to eat, drink, play, and stay in Canberra.
Let’s start with the most important aspect of any trip—food!
Canberra boasts a vibrant food scene that will satisfy even the most discerning taste buds. A brand-new Pan-Asian food precinct has just opened right in the heart of town called Tiger Lane. Inspired by the hawker centres of Asia, Tiger Lane showcases 9 dining outlets spanning cuisines from Japan, South Korea, Southern China, Northern China and South East Asia. One of Australia’s most celebrated chefs, Shaun Presland (ex-culinary director for Sake and collector of 18 chef hats) is leading the food direction across Tiger Lane. So, even if you walk away with a $5 sushi roll, you know it’s going to be good.
Shop till you drop
While you’re in the Canberra Centre it would be rude not to pop up and do a bit of retail therapy. Whether it’s some lotion for Aesop or a new outfit to wear to dinner from Zara or Sass & Bide you’re sure to find something to swipe your credit card on.
As the sun starts to set, it’s time to unwind with a drink in hand. Head to the Wineroom Bar for a cheeky drink before heading out to dinner. Some other cute places to go for a drink in Canberra that are centrally located include The Pearl and Loquita.
An omakase you’re sure to remember
When it comes to dinner, you’re spoilt for choice in Canberra. You can enjoy Mrs Wang for modern Chinese or Rebel Rebel for modern Australian/European with a heavy wine list. For a unique dining experience, Inari (meaning ‘god of rice’) offers omakase dining at their intimate 8-seat sushi bar. It’s available Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays for $150 per person.
Unleash your inner child at Kingpin
After dinner, you could head upstairs to Kingpin, for some immersive fun. You’ll find fully licensed bars, escape rooms, karaoke rooms, table tennis, state-of-the-art ten-pin bowling alleys, huge projection screens, pool tables, and more. Kingpin Canberra also has over 100 arcade games including the latest high-tech Virtual Reality (VR) experiences.
Swing by for a nightcap
If karaoke and arcade games sound too intense post-dinner switch it up for a cheeky nightcap instead. There are plenty of places to grab an after-dinner drink but Luna, Highball and Molly are all local favourites.
Stay in Canberra’s most comfortable bed
It’s a big claim but The Little National Hotel takes its guest’s sleep seriously. They have custom-made mattresses in all rooms offering a decadent night’s sleep. Guests love their mattresses so much that you can even buy one to have shipped to your house (new of course!). Rooms are compact with clever spatial planning that feels very Tokyo city. It’s pitched at the business, conference and leisure guests who want smart luxury in a super-prime location. There’s T2 tea in all the rooms, free wifi & movies, Appelles Apothecary & Lab toiletries and a virtual mini bar. They have a great lounge area to work from or help yourself to the ‘honour bar’ where you take what you like and write it up to your room. It reminds us of The Alex Hotel in Perth.
Canberra’s best burger
If you still have room after breakfast and need to fuel up before the drive or flight home, head to Braddon, a neighbourhood known for its trendy eateries. Try the famous Brodburger, a local institution that serves mouthwatering gourmet burgers.
With just 24 hours, you’ve barely scratched the surface of what Canberra has to offer. But hopefully, this whirlwind tour has given you a taste of the city’s culinary delights and vibrant atmosphere.