It’s no secret that Braddon is considered to be one of Canberra’s ‘cool’ suburbs. It’s trendy, right next to the city, popular with young people and home to a bunch of independent retailers and creative eateries. But if you’re new to town, you might not be aware that Braddon wasn’t always the buzzing hipster suburb that locals and visitors enjoy today. Even ten years ago, Lonsdale Street and Mort Street were grungy strips of car yards and mechanic workshops.
Thinking about visiting or moving to Braddon? Here’s what you need to know.
Gazetted in 1928, one of Canberra’s oldest suburbs started out as a light industrial area – and it stayed this way for decades.
Fast-forward to 2020 and Braddon has been largely redeveloped. Apartment buildings have replaced many of the original houses, while the former industrial strips have been transformed into entertainment and residential precincts.
Much of Braddon’s history, however, has been retained. Heritage-listed sites include the former Coggan’s Bakery building, Gorman House, the Hotel Ainslie (now Mercure Canberra), Ainslie School and Northbourne Oval.
Whether you like fine dining, dessert or a casual meal with friends, you’ll find a place you love in Braddon. Here is a selection of what’s on offer.
Relative newcomers Tipsy Bull (famed for its gin as much as its sharing menu), eightysix restaurant (the caramel popcorn sundae is difficult to pass over for dessert) and trendy Asian eating house Lazy Su are also worth a visit.
Grease Monkey is a popular haunt for burger aficionados, Chez Frederic is the go-to for takeaway homemade pasta, Yat Bun Tong Dumpling House serves up delicious dumplings, and the sourdough bread at Sonoma is hard to beat.
After something slightly healthier? Eighty Twenty strikes a balance between indulgent eating and healthier meals, while Gather servers up fresh, locally sourced and sustainable food. Sweet Bones Bakery Café is a delicious vegan joint that’s just as popular with carnivores.
If ice cream is your thing, take a stroll to Frugii Dessert Laboratory in Lonsdale Street’s Ori building. It’s a small family-owned business that’s been making some of Canberra’s favourite ice cream flavours for over 20 years. Still hungry? Head down the road to the only Gelato Messina store in the capital.
Some say Lonsdale Street Roasters is the original – and still the best – coffee in Braddon. Others prefer the tiny but mighty Barrio Collective. RYE Cafe and Elemental are also renowned for their coffee – but really, this is Braddon: most places will serve a decent brew.
Places of interest and things to do
Lonsdale Street is the undeniable heart of Braddon. If it’s your first time visiting, you’ll want to go there first (preferably on an empty stomach). But don’t forget to check out the multitude of shops and restaurants on neighbouring streets like Elouera Street and Mort Street.
Here are some of our favourite activities in and around Braddon:
- Indulge in some high-end retail. Lonsdale Street is home to high-end fashion stores like Pink Ink, Rebel Muse and made to measure suit designer Morganson’s Finery, as well as artisan jewellery store KIN Gallery.
- Soak up the local architecture. Modern apartment developments get a bad rap for being soulless and uninviting, but there are a few complexes on Lonsdale Street that might change your mind, including the Nibu and Ori buildings.
- Stock up on adventure gear. If you prefer hiking to shopping and coffee, head to the Cooyong Street end of Lonsdale Street (closest to the city) to find adventure stores like Paddy Pallin and Kathmandu.
- Take a yoga class. From vinyasa to yin, there’s a yoga class in Braddon to suit every taste. Popular spots include SOULution Yoga, Flourish Yoga and Iyengar studio Yoga Mandir.
- Visit Gorman House Arts Centre. Tucked away on Ainslie Avenue, Gorman House Arts Centre is a heritage complex dating back to the 1920s. Today it’s predominately used by local arts organisations, as well as a co-working space for artists and creatives.
- Visit Haig Park Markets. A recent addition to the Canberran market scene, Haig Park Markets are on every Sunday from 8:00 am to 2:00 pm.
Playgrounds and parks
If you’ve lived in Canberra long enough, chances are you’ve heard of Haig Park. Spanning Braddon and Turner, it’s one of the better-known parks in the inner north, and was planted in the 1920s as a windbreak to protect developing suburbs.
It is now the subject of a $1 million ‘experiment’, to make the park more vibrant, safe and accessible.
Most importantly, it’s also home to an unexpected long-term resident: a powerful owl – a fierce, large apex predator that eats mammals like possums for dinner.
Braddon’s central location makes getting around easy. Not only is it a leisurely ten-minute walk to the city centre, but it’s also close to the light rail line (there are stops along Northbourne Avenue at the Ipima Street and Elouera Street intersections).
Other nearby schools include Turner School (public primary school), O’Connor Cooperative School (public primary school), Campbell High School (public high school) and Daramalan College (private high school).
Why the locals love it
“Braddon has everything a young professional could want in a suburb: it’s walking distance to night life, restaurants and bars and really close to public transport. Depending on where you work you can get away without needing a car. For renters, there are lots of modern and older-style apartments and flats to choose from. I feel like there’s always something happening here.” – Peter, 29.
- Median age: 29 years
- Median weekly household income: $1969
- Median weekly rent: $400
- Houses vs. apartments: 78.9% apartments; 13.1% semi-detached houses (i.e. townhouses/terrace house); 7.5% separate houses.
- Suburb sales record: $4.1 million in 2016 (three-bedroom, one-bathroom residence on Henty Street)
Source: 2016 Census.
Want to find the latest real estate listings for sale and rent in Braddon? Zango can help you find them:
Do you live, or have you previously lived, in Braddon? What are your favourite things about the suburb? What advice would you give to people considering moving there? Share your thoughts in the comments below.