Suburb in the Spotlight: Summer Hill

Famous for it's village atmosphere, Summer Hill is one of Sydney's smallest and oldest suburbs. With beautiful old federation houses, many of which are heritage listed, walking around this suburb is in itself a fun activity! Getting to Summer Hill is easy, take the train, light rail, bus, drive or cycle!

Summer Hill is an area with heaps of young families and as such there's heaps of kid-friendly cafes, pubs and shops, not to mention parks and playgrounds. The Summer Hill Village is the commercial centre and is made up of plenty of independent and unique local businesses.

The parks and playgrounds in Summer Hill offer some great facilities. There's plenty of eating, shopping and playing to be done in Summer Hill and we've put together our top picks for you!

Playing in Summer Hill with kids

Parks & Playgrounds

Summer Hill has 4 pretty great little parks with playgrounds.

The largest park is Darrell Jackson Gardens and there is truly something for the whole family here. Located behind the Summer Hill Community Centre, Darrell Jackson Gardens has two playgrounds (one recently upgraded), a large cricket oval, FREE tennis courts, Basketball court and a recently upgraded skate park! It's also very conveniently located just behind the carpark/IGA at the Summer Hill Village Centre so it's close to Envy deli cafe - perfect for a take-away!

Underwood Reserve, located on the residential side of the railway line, is another cute little spot. It's got two playgrounds within it, one for really little ones with very low equipment and one for teenagers (so it says!) with an older style flying fox and some interesting balancing and climbing equipment. The reserve has what looks like a tennis practice wall, cricket nets and heaps of grass for kicking a ball. It's a short stroll from the Goblin Kitchen & Bar for your coffee (or tea) fix!

Carrington Street Playground is one of our favourite playgrounds for the little ones. It's got some great play equipment with a train theme. John Paton Reserve is also a lovely green space set high on a high with a little playground. Cadigal Reserve is also in the area and runs along the Hawthorne Canal - great for walking the dog off leash and riding the bike!

Activities for kids

The Summer Hill Community Centre is the hot bed of kids activities in Summer Hill! Located right next to Darrell Jackson Gardens, this is a great venue for community groups, classes, workshops and even a birthday party venue too!

Many kids groups hold their classes in this community venue including Earthbeats Children's Music and Toddler Art Classes. Kids Up Front Drama Academy also run their after school drama classes from the Summer Hill Community Centre. Various playgroups also use the space.

Eating in Summer Hill with kids

Summer Hill is a bit of a foodie hub with plenty of eating-out choice. There's Japanese, traditional Italian, the pub food of the Summer Hill Hotel and two excellent cafes. And there's plenty of other choices too, these are just a few of our favourites.

The cafes deserve a special mention as both are uber-kid friendly! The Envy Deli Cafe often has lovely little treats which the kids love - Tim Tam racing car anyone? They have toys, high chairs and a great outside area which makes entrance with a pram super-easy. The Goblin Kitchen & Bar is located on the other side of the railway line and serves some of the best coffee ever! A great kids menu and a very cool outside area makes the Goblin a great choice. They also have amazing spray-painted goblin murals everywhere which delights the kids.

Shopping for kids in Summer Hill

Summer Hill Village is home to some of the Inner West's most unique, independent stores. The main commercial area is located between Smith Street and Carlton Crescent and centres around Lackey Street where there is a large Council carpark. Access is easy by public transport also.

If you're thinking stuff for kids, then My Messy Room and Monkey Puzzle Toy Store should be at the top of your shopping list. My Messy Room has a huge range of cute, quirky and unique clothes, toys and even decor, among many other things. They also have a great range of party supplies. Monkey Puzzle Toy Store is the place where you'll find a toy for any occasion, they have an awesome range of science toys as well as puzzles and games too.

The Trading Circle is a fair-trade retailer located in Lackey Street. Their store is a mecca for gifts and you can make a real difference shopping here. They've got some great kids toys and room decorations and a wonderful array of beanies, scarves and gloves. It's always a sensory experience stepping into this store!

Throughout the year in Summer Hill

Summer Hill Rainbow Crossing

The Lackey Street Piazza is home to Sydney's first permanent rainbow. The rainbow was originally 'chalked' in 2013 as part of the DIY Rainbow Crossing Movement and in response to the removal of the Rainbow Crossing on Oxford Street. While the original 'chalked' version was removed by Council, they did eventually agree to paint a permanent rainbow outline in the Summer Hill village square which can be (legally) chalked in by kids, families and the community whenever they like. Summer Hill is now home to the first permanent rainbow crossing signifying solidarity with the gay community and in support of same-sex marriage.

The Rainbow Crossing chalked - Photo from Wikipedia

Feast of Flavours: Summer Hill Neighbourhood Feast

The Summer Hill Village is also the epicentre of the Summer Hill Neighbourhood Feast, a yearly celebration of Summer Hill’s family friendly food outlets, unique village atmosphere, cultural variety, heritage architecture, wonderful coffee shops and providores and popular contemporary restaurants. This event is held yearly in October.