King’s Cross does not exactly have the nicest of reputation in its early days. Known for being Sydney’s red light district and a drug capital, the reputation of “The Cross” was not appealing to anybody, more so tourists. However, the area has recently started to slowly pick itself up and dust off any prejudice and decided to revamp its image. It is now becoming a vibrant place where people can come and play and just have fun. The red light district still exists of course with strip clubs, go-go dancers and adult stores populating the place but alongside with it, hip cafes and restaurants have integrated themselves into the cross making it a friendlier vibe. This opened up the area for more types of visitors – not just the seedy ones it was once known for. But the people here are also an experience on its own. So many unique personalities and characters roam the streets but do always make sure of your safety so don’t exactly stare too long. King’s Cross is a quirky part of the city but it is charming and despite its not-so-great reputation, you should set aside all worries as it is definitely worth checking out these days when in Sydney.
King’s Cross has its share of culture and art. Like the El Alamein fountain - a heritage listed artwork located in the Fitzroy Gardens. Won from an actual fountain design competition, the fountain embodies a dandelion-like structure with 211 “stalks” as its petals. On its own, with its bronze exterior, it already looks like a gorgeous structure but once water is sprouted on each of the stalks – which has films at the end to make the splash spherical – the artwork comes alive and creates the image of a thistle. It is a dynamic piece of art that you should not miss when in King’s Cross.
Another spot to see here is the Coca-Cola billboard. It has been a mainstay for so long that it has become more of a landmark than an advertising stunt. Literally the largest billboard in the country, it lights up the streets at night with the company’s signature red and white design. Maybe a nod to the area’s “red light” façade?
If there is one thing a recovering red-light district will do best, it’s food and drinks. It has an exhaustive list of amazing cocktail bars such as Eau de Vie – which has a speakeasy vibe (ironic with King’s Cross bustling nightlife) and the fixtures scream 1920’s prohibition. Add to the list, the infamous Sweethearts Rooftop – a casual bar that has an amazing view of the city’s skyline. The constant queue to get in is already a sign of how people eat up this place so make sure you make a reservation or allow ample time for waiting. Finding a car park around King's Cross can also be quite a daunting task so it's generally recommended to find a secure car park such as this one not only because of the reputation around King's Cross but because it will save you time trying to find a car space. To cap off your trip, I suggest you pay a visit to the Old Fitzroy Hotel - Australia’s only pub theatre. With over 22 brews on tap, you’ll surely enjoy thinking about the building’s 100 years of history while downing a pint (or two)
You can never go wrong with food in this precinct too. Try out Cho Cho San, one of the best Japanese restaurants in the city. An Izakaya restaurant but equipped with clean-cut minimalist designs, they serve modern Japanese dishes and even unique craft cocktails. For a vegetarian option, King’s Cross also has you covered with Yellow, an award-winning bistro that even meat-lovers would surely adore.
King’s Cross reputation may be here to stay but it doesn’t mean it won’t have room to grow for other experiences. Just have an open mind when you go to this precinct and you’ll surely have a visit to remember.