It’s my three year Parra-versary this week, and I’m going to be straight up honest, I wasn’t super keen on moving here. I was living in Newtown at the time, I was moving west for love and I had only been here twice. Ill go on the record and say it: I was wrong. So wrong. Parramatta has to be one of the best places I’ve ever lived, and I have moved around quite a bit – its been a point of pride for me that before I bought my first home, I had lived in 6 houses and 4 cities in 6 years.
But for the forseeable future, Parramatta is where we will stay, and heres why:
1. You can afford a mortgage here.
This is something I’ve spoken about before, and it’s the topic of some fairly heated debate around the traps (read: anything to do with the State or Federal Election). We know that housing prices in Sydney are more than a little inflated, and truth be told, Parramatta is guilty of that too. But the difference is that here, the deposit is still achievable. I know, because WE did it. Couple that with the rest of the reasons below, and you will see why investing in property in the second CBD starts to sound like pretty good value for money.
2. It has the worlds BEST coffee.
I could tell you that I think Melbourne, Newtown or Surry Hills has better coffee. But it would absolutely be a lie. As a hard core coffee addict for many years, I have literally drunk coffee all around the world and from many different suppliers. No where (for my own personal tastes) compares to Circa. Not only are they some of the nicest and loveliest people to deal with first thing in the morning, but they have locations across the city, making access to their delicious brew very easy – most mornings you will find me at Three Ropes, so definitely don’t be shy! Couple that with an amazing menu and some great tunes and street art, and you know where you will find me every morning of the week.
3. An amazing food selection.
From cheap and dirty Chinatown-esque end; to high class sushi, brasserie and desserts, Parramatta literally has it all. You can always get a table, there’s always parking somewhere and the meals are always reasonably priced – even in the higher end joints. The easiest way to keep up with the different restaurants is to follow some of the local bloggers – namely The Adventures of Miss Piggy, Chocolate Suze and Western Sydney Food Blog – they always try a huge range of food and give really honest reviews, which helps when choosing from the many choices here! The addition of Jamie’s Trattoria in a few months will also be a wonderful way to bring a bit of recognition to Parramatta as one of the food mecca’s of Sydney.
4. Public Events
It’s rare that you find a city that has so much going on for it’s hugely varied population. Yes, Pydney has a fantastic reputation overall for providing public events, and Parramatta is very much a beneficiary of that, with bigger acts like the Sydney Festival holding huge chunks of their entertainment out west. But Parramatta City Council all on its own does a great job of providing plenty for its local and commuter residents to do, from my personal favourite Parramatta Lanes Festival with its food trucks, pop up bars and live acts; to the Parramasala festival celebrating our Indian population and their culture and arts.
5. The Commute
This has got to be mentioned, again in light of all the fuss being made as we roll closer to the State and National Elections. It doesn’t matter which way you’re going, east or west, Parramatta is an easy place to get to and from. Particularly with the public transport infrastructure in the area, for those of us working in the CBD it’s never more than 5 minutes for a train in. This makes living in Parramatta and working elsewhere a breeze.
6. My Hairdresser
Anyone who knows me personally, or has ever checked out my LinkedIn will know that I am a very obviously bottle Redhead. Or Pink-head, or Purple-head as the day may take me. I have searched high and low for so many years looking for a salon that can handle my ever changing needs for my hair, without killing it. I found that salon in Hair by Phd, a fantastic team of hairdressers that make keeping up with my colourful lifestyle an absolute breeze. Its one of those salons where it doesn’t matter if you cant book in with your regular hairdresser because they take a completely collaborative approach to hair, and each and every one of their hairdressers are as equally well trained and talented as the next. I look forward to my appointments there very much, and if you haven’t ever been, just let them know that I sent you in for an appointment!
7. The Markets.
Straight up, I love small businesses and quirky stuff. So events like the Lovers Markets and the Pop Up Parramatta series are really important opportunities for me to support local craftsmen and meet some fabulous people along the way. Most importantly are the Farmers Markets every Friday, where if you’re lucky and early you will find me nabbing some fresh produce for lunch or a bread for breakfast.
8. It’s a beautiful part of Sydney.
You can’t escape the fact that parramatta is stunningly picturesque. Water, hills, parklands and historic architecture, it’s really got it all. I recently caught the catamaran back from Sydney CBD to Parramatta down the Parramatta River and it is so picturesque, I would wholeheartedly recommend the trip.
9. The Shopping
You want it? Parramatta has it. From high end luxury goods to fast fashion, handmade and found objects to everyday homewares, if you can’t get it here you probably don’t need it.
10. Because it’s Home.
I suppose the biggest reason I love Parramatta is because I’m here, and I’m home. I’ve lived in a few cities in my time, and I’ve settled in here more than anywhere else. There’s something comfortable about staying one place long enough to develop routines, get to know people and become involved in a community.
Other cities have the Eiffel Tower, a Cartier Store and Elton John. Parramatta might not have those, but it’s really an incredible place to live. The only thing missing at this time are small bars, but I have no doubt someone is working on that. But that tiny piece of trivia aside, there’s no other place I would like to call home.
I would love to know, are you a Parramatta Local, and is there something in this list I have missed? Are you thinking about moving to Parra and don’t know where to start? I’d love you to share your thoughts in the comments section or on my Facebook page – you can even tweet me or join my Pinterest Following