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Where are the pop up shops and events in Sydney ?

 

I took to the streets, to hunt down Sydney’s pop up shops…

A couple of months ago I found myself in Sydney, in search of pop up shops and events around the harbour city (fortunately with a good pair of walking shoes…) My on-line research hadn’t turned up much for “pop up shops Sydney” (except links to some commercial listing sites… and our own blog !), but I knew (well I thought I knew…) there had to be lots of pop up action, and decided to go looking for it “the old-fashioned way” – on foot !

For several hours on a mid-week morning I made large loops around the Sydney CBD – taking in George, Pitt and Castlereagh Streets, criss-crossing through Martin Place then King, Market and Park Streets… pretty-much covering the heart of Sydney’s CBD retail precinct, in and out of the major shopping centres. But I was disappointed – I didn’t see a single pop up shop, I expect the mess on George Street (being “transformed” for the new light rail line and greater pedestrian access – but in the meantime just a series of construction barriers) has had an impact on retailers in the vicinity… George Street currently isn’t somewhere you’d choose for a leisurely lunch-time shopping stroll – and not a great location to open a pop up shop (ouch, those permanent retailers must be hurting)

As the temperature soared well into the high 30’s I set off for Oxford Street. At the Darlinghurst end were a couple of spaces on offer by Creative City Sydney (an initiative by the City of Sydney to support creative industries via short, medium and longer term studios and workspaces). Further up the street (Paddington) I found the Ellery Sample Sale and a Seed Clearance Store… but no other pop up stores. A few years ago (maybe more recently…) this end of Oxford Street – once THE destination for boutique fashion – was struggling, with many high-profile and long-term retailers leaving the strip. Nowadays it seems there’s been a recovery… that mid to upper end of Oxford Street had very few vacancies (ie. pop up opportunities) on the day I visited.

There are (at least) 2 local councils busy at work, helping to promote pop up around the inner Sydney area – the City of Sydney – Pop Up page (with links to the current Dewars Scotch Egg Club pop up in Castlereagh Street and a Designer pop-up fashion sale in Oxford Street – also other up-coming events) offers pop ups the opportunity to list their event at no charge. The Woollahra Municipal Council has a number of initiatives in place with their Activate Oxford Street programme – including “the establishment of pop-up shops in vacant retail space to create vibrancy…”

Other areas I’m sorry I didn’t get to on this visit (just ran out of time… after all, there’s loads more fun things to do in Sydney, than pound a hot pavement looking for pop ups !) –  were Crown Street Surry Hills and King Street Newtown – both popular shopping precincts with loads of character and a few quirks… perfect for pop ups.

Someone I spoke to afterwards (when I described my disappointment at the lack of pop up shops around Sydney…) said I just hadn’t looked in the right areas. So where else should I look – next time I’m in the harbour city ? (maybe that’ll be a return for the annual Diner en Blanc Sydney – 2015 was across the forecourt of the Opera House, 2016 was on Cockatoo Island, 2017 will be at ???)

 

Diner en Blanc Sydney 2015

 

image : Diner en Blanc Sydney, November 2015

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