See Canberra City Differently

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Locals play chess at King O’Malleys on a Saturday morning. Photo: Daniella Jukic, We Are Found.

Canberra City is the buzzing heart of the nation’s capital. Affectionately known as Civic, the area is best-known for its shopping, restaurants, nightlife and transport hubs. The thriving centre has plenty to offer, particularly for students and professionals drawn to high-density inner-city living.

Civic has all the amenities you’d expect from a central business district. There’s a three-storey shopping complex, extensive dining and nightlife venues, public transport hubs, office buildings and public facilities like the Canberra Theatre Centre, Casino Canberra and the National Convention Centre.

Redpath’s Shoes in Garema Place has been in the same family for 3 generations, since 1985. Photo: Daniella Jukic, We Are Found.

Residents are also lucky to enjoy the lush greenery of Glebe Park and proximity to Lake Burley Griffin.

Thinking about visiting or moving to Canberra City? Here’s what you need to know.


Canberra City, or Civic, is a relatively small area of Canberra built around Capital Circle which is bounded by Parkes Way, Cooyong Street and the Australian National University.

It’s home to two of Canberra’s oldest buildings, the Sydney and Melbourne Buildings that were developed along Northbourne Avenue in the 1920s.

Shops and eateries

See Canberra City Differently

The Canberra Centre is Canberra’s largest shopping complex. Photo: Region Media.

The Canberra Centre is Canberra’s largest shopping complex located in the heart of the city. It boasts a Myer, David Jones, Target, Big W and Coles, as well as more than 260 speciality stores featuring internationally renowned brands such as Zara, Hugo Boss, Sportscraft and Oroton.

A popular new attraction within the Canberra Centre is Monaro Mall, Canberra’s centre of beauty and wellness.

Try the local coffee from The Cupping Room. Photo: Daniella Jukic, We Are Found.

Canberra City also has plenty to offer food and coffee enthusiasts. For a taste of the local coffee and cafe scene, try The Cupping Room, Coffee Lab, Harvest and Mocan & Green Grout – all of which have put Canberra City on the map for coffee lovers.

If dumplings are your jam, CBD Dumpling House is cheap, cheerful and serves up delicious food. You can also sip cocktails at Kokomo’s, feast on kingfish sashimi and kimchi and oyster pancakes at trendy Akiba, or try one of the nine Burmese curries on offer at the no-frills, much-loved London Circuit institution Burmese Curry Place.

Places of interest and things to do

Landspeed Records co-owner Byron Budak and employee Maddy Trewin. Photo: Region Media

You’ll never find yourself short of things to do in Civic. Whether you’re indulging in retail therapy at the Canberra Centre or trying your luck at Casino Canberra, there is never a dull moment.

  • Check out a show at Canberra Theatre Centre. Canberra Theatre Centre is Canberra’s premier performing arts venue, offering diverse theatre, music, comedy, dance and opera events.
  • See the latest blockbuster or international film at Dendy Cinema. Dendy is known for its independent and international films and alternative content. For a luxury experience, try Dendy’s Premium Lounge which offers an exclusive bar area, full in-seat dining and reclining seats.
  • Take a dive off the ten-metre diving board at Canberra Olympic Pool. Canberra Olympic Pool has an indoor swimming pool that’s open year-round, as well as a 25-metre outdoor dive pool. There’s plenty of green grass outside to soak up the summer rays even if you don’t consider yourself much of a swimmer.

Playgrounds and parks

Glebe Park. Photo: Daniella Jukic, We Are Found.

The main park in Canberra City is Glebe Park, a tranquil green space dotted with large English elms and oak trees. It has play equipment, barbeques, picnic tables and a stage, and is a popular venue for events.

Getting around

Whether your preferred mode of transport is bus, car, light rail or bike, Canberra City residents are spoiled for choice. Be aware that parking options in the city can be limited.

The Gungahlin to City light rail route terminates right in the middle of the city on Alinga Street.

The following Transport Canberra bus routes service Canberra City: R1, R2, R3, R4, R5, R6, R7, R10, 31, 32, 50, 51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 58, 180, 181 and 182, while Murrays buses depart interstate from the Jolimont Centre on Northbourne Avenue.

Canberra City is well-connected by bike paths and footpaths for cyclists and pedestrians.

See the city differently

Tommy local barber in the city from Barbershop Canberra. Photo: Daniella Jukic, We Are Found.


There are no schools in Canberra City, but those nearby include Ainslie School (preschool to Year 6), Campbell High School (Year 7 to Year 10) and Merici College in Braddon (Year 7 to Year 12).

Why the locals love it

If you like apartment living, Canberra City is the suburb for you (99.3 percent of dwellings are apartments). It attracts people from all walks of life – from those who want to enjoy sweeping lake, city and mountain views from the 16th floor of an upmarket West Row Apartment development, through to students and graduates in older studio apartments on Akuna Street.

Patrons at Gather by the Park. Image: Daniella Jukic, We Are Found.

Like any central business district, Canberra City is close to it all, including buzzing nightlife, entertainment and public transport. And when you want to get away from it all, you’ll find peace and tranquility just a short walk away on the shores of Lake Burley Griffin.

Quick facts

  • Median age: 24 years
  • Median weekly household income: $2222
  • Median weekly rent: $500
  • Houses vs. apartments: 99.3% apartments

Source: 2016 Census.

READ ALSO New developments in Canberra City

Want to find the latest real estate listings for sale and rent in Canberra City? Zango can help you find them:

Do you live, or have you previously lived, in Canberra city? 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.

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