The 10 best Sydney suburbs to live in for 2020 based on our scoring system.

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Last updated: June 2021

One of the best things about looking for a place to live in the Greater Sydney area is the diversity of its suburbs. There’s such a wide array of choice that allows people to select a place to live that combines any number of benefits into the most suitable package for them – be it price, scenery, schools, safety, nature, transport, or any combination thereof.

We’ve taken all of the above (and more) into account to form our 10 best Sydney suburbs to live for 2020 based on our Sydney Suburb Reviews scoring system. Before we get started, for those who haven’t already, please have a look over our criteria which we look at for rating each suburb – and bear in mind that price and value for money relative to quality of life is a key factor which can bump down some of the most exclusive suburbs by default.

Also remember that this is an evolving list, as new suburbs may crash the rankings as they’re added to the portfolio, and that this is for living – not visiting.

With all that said, here’s our picks for the 10 best Sydney suburbs to live in for 2021.

10. Croydon

Croydon Best Suburb

What we liked: good value vs. other Inner West alternatives, highly safe, good rail connectivity, charming streetscape, enough amenities

What we didn’t like: minimal nightlife/activities, still above Sydney median price

Croydon might not have the ‘brand recognition’ that some of the fancier Inner West Sydney suburbs do, and that just may be exactly why it continues to fly ideally under the radar.

Situated in a position that’s actually closer to the Sydney CBD as the crow flies (just over 20 minutes on the train into the city) than some of its more expensive neighbours immediately west, Croydon is the epitome of “the Inner West for families” as opposed to the younger, party crowd.

It’s home to an extremely high concentration of quality schools between both itself and neighbouring Burwood, sure – but it’s also both its public spaces, excellent parks and charming streetscape which help make it feel that extra bit special.

Between its peaceful and green back streets dotted with a mix of well-kept old brown and red brick freestanding homes along with options for higher-density, more modern apartments near the station, Croydon offers a balanced environment home-wise for a range of different budget levels.

Prices here are often substantially cheaper than its immediate neighbours – by as much as several hundred thousand dollars for home buyers, or $50 per week cheaper to rent – with no real loss of quality of life other than direct access to bars or clubs. And hey, if you want that, then simply jump on the train and travel a few stops over to Newtown for nightlife, or Burwood for shopping, then return home to peace and quiet of an evening afterwards.

Add in the fact that it’s one of the safest suburbs in all of the Inner West when it comes to crime rates, and it’s a “crime” in itself that Croydon isn’t talked about more in terms of first-choice suburbs to live in this part of Sydney.

Read the full review >

9. Putney

Putney Best Suburb

What we liked: very pretty streetscape, great water views, great public park spaces, peace & quiet, green, nice little cafe & dining hub

What we didn’t like: price, lack of train station

Putney scratches the limit of what we consider “realistic” pricetags in this list, but it’s such a pretty and highly liveable part of the world that forking out the extra coin is probably worth it.

You don’t have to cough up the money to buy one of its extravagant waterfront properties to enjoy what the suburb offers; it’s home to multiple excellent publicly accessible spots where you can take advantage of the water or ample greenery regardless if which part of the suburb you live in.

It’s quite compact overall, and there’s never too long a walk before a gorgeous waterfront park or public area presents itself.

While many Sydney suburbs have waterfront aspects, what sets Putney apart (particularly for families) is how well these spaces are used. It’s home to some of the nicest and most well-equipped parkland on the water, with Putney Park also containing perhaps the best playground of its type in the city as well.

Its main little hub of dining, cafes and local restaurants is upbeat, open and has a nice little village vibe to it. It’s also one of the safest suburbs in Sydney, and has a streetscape that’s home to some highly impressive homes while all being immaculately well-kept.

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While its lack of a train station can be an issue and traffic into the city is its one main blemish outside price, Meadowbank isn’t too far away and bus services are decent enough to help offset this too. Its ferry connection is a bonus, and makes for a pleasant trip in and of itself.

Read the full review >

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8. Artarmon

Artarmon Best Suburb

What we liked: good variety in housing types, rail connectivity, good mix of dining & amenities, charming Japanese village, clean & green

What we didn’t like: price, lack of drinking/nightlife opportunities

We labeled it one of the “Most Underrated Sydney Suburbs” mostly because you never really hear anyone talk about it, but Artarmon provides pretty much everything one could want in North Shore living without being totally dead in terms of amenities or things to do. It’s pleasant, safe and has just enough little unique flourishes to set itself apart from its neighbouring peers.

It’s got a good mix of big and small-scale shopping with a number of bigger outlets and warehouse-type stores, while those on differing budgets can simply choose one side of the station (high-density apartments) or the other (freestanding homes) to live in.

Its little Japanese influence gives it an individual character via dining and import grocery stores, while its wide and leafy streets bely its close proximity both to the Sydney CBD or the likes of Chatswood for more shopping and work options.

Add in a decent mix of cafes and restaurants, and growing prices are the only real thing that holds Artarmon back.

Read the full review >

7. Summer Hill

Summer Hill Best Suburbs

What we liked: pretty streetscape, nice architecture, pleasant central shopping/village area, public transport connectivity, clean & green

What we didn’t like: price, smaller living spaces for the money

“Charming” is probably a word thrown around a little too casually, but there’s few better ways to describe this pretty little Inner West village. It’s dotted with all the signature Victorian style terraces that give this part of Sydney its distinct character, but Summer Hill‘s in particular are almost universally prettier and better-maintained than its neighbours.

The suburb’s very pretty and well-kept as a whole, with less of a ‘concrete jungle’ feeling than other more built-up Inner West suburbs, yet there’s still enough in the way of retail and dining to keep things honest. Its main strip with its signature fountain and flowers is particularly cute, and acts as a proper community hub for events and general communal gatherings.

All this comes with the benefit of a mere ~15 minute train ride into Central, and far less of the plane noise than some of the suburbs just a short way down the road have to deal with.

Good schools help for families, and while its terraces can be prohibitively pricey to break into, there’s enough of a housing mix to cater to different live phases.

Read the full review >

6. Concord

Concord Best Suburbs

What we liked: pretty streetscape, extremely clean & well-maintained retail strip, great parks, safe, family-friendly, upcoming expanded infrastructure

What we didn’t like: price, current lack of rail connectivity, lack of property diversity

Concord walks one of the best lines between providing the upper-limit of a high quantity of amenities without reaching the point of feeling overly busy or crowded.

Its central shopping and dining hub is one of the best mixes of bars, shopping and restaurants of any truly residential “suburban” area, and there are few more family-friendly suburbs in the Inner West in terms of access to quality schools and public spaces.

Its homes are mostly on big blocks which offer more living space than most other suburbs in the area, and there’s some good views to be had while kicking the footy around and overlooking the Parramatta River.

Its position means both the eastern and western parts of Sydney are pretty accessible, while its main major weakness – rail connectivity – is going to be addressed in the near future as well.

In terms of places to invest, Concord is probably set up to be one of the most highly beneficial, with these new infrastructure projects making even more desirable in the near future.

It costs a pretty penny given most of its freestanding homes are very large, but its mix of nature, safety, amenities and location could make it an ideal place to base yourself for multiple years.

Read the full review >

5. Waverton

Waverton Best Suburbs

What we liked: great city connectivity, peace and quiet, amazing views, safe and clean, lack of traffic

What we didn’t like: price, lack of amenities

Of all the “elite” suburbs in Sydney we’ve covered, only Waverton offers a strong enough balance of other benefits to offset its high prices.

This is truly one of the city’s best balances of convenience and amazing scenery without dealing with the typically one main weakness other high-end suburbs often have, (e.g lack of public transport, isolation, etc.).

It’s got some truly stunning lookout points across Sydney Harbour and elsewhere across the water that you won’t have to fight with tourists to soak in, with lovely green park spaces and streets.

It doesn’t get much through-traffic so road noise isn’t a concern, and being able to walk just across to North Sydney to work or hop on a train and ride into the CBD in 10 minutes is a lifesaver in terms of daily life-drain.

There’s also enough of a smattering of older apartments to make things a bit more affordable for the non-rich among us.

It’s a bit lacking in amenities outside its couple of charming cafes and single small-scale supermarket, but when you’ve got all of Sydney basically at your fingertips without any of the hectic atmosphere the city entails, the sacrifice is almost definitely worth it.

Read the full review >

4. Jannali

Jannali Best Suburbs

What we liked: peace and quiet, rail connectivity, balanced amenities, reasonable property prices, good block sizes, clean & green

What we didn’t like: lack of big-box shopping, relative lack of restaurants

As with #1 on this list below, it’s the relative value for money that helps Jannali fare so well as a place to live compared to many of the other suburbs we assessed. You’re simply getting a lot more house and/or land for similar pricing than you’d get just 10 minutes closer to the city, without sacrificing much in the way of connectivity to boot.

What used to be a figurative ghost town with tumbleweeds blowing through it has had enough development in recent years to augment its spacious living and great greenery with enough little shops, cafes and even spots to enjoy a drink.

If you’ve ever been thinking about taking the plunge in this part of Sydney, now is likely as good a time as any to get into Jannali’s housing market with the area only set to become more popular in the coming years with the addition of new modern apartment blocks.

It’s got plenty to appeal to families, with a handful of great schools, and is very safe with wide, quiet streets. Its train station means around a 40 minute train ride into the city is manageable, while all the nature and greenery of Royal National Park and the Woronora area is right on your doorstep as well.

Read the full review >

3. Dulwich Hill

Dulwich Hill best suburbs

What we liked: pretty streetscape, excellent parks, lovely architecture, central location, good cafe scene, tram connectivity

What we didn’t like: price, lack of big-box shopping

Our pick of the Inner West as a place to live, Dulwich Hill showcases most of the best of the region in one fairly compact little hub. Its streetscape exudes charm, with its park spaces full of a wide array of botanic types that are all immaculately kept and add a bit more variety than your standard suburban parkland.

It’s largely peaceful and very green throughout, and is a pleasure to simply ‘be’ in.

Its houses are often-wonderful examples of both Art Deco architecture and talented gardening, and the suburb’s flower-heavy and often very colourful. Its cafe and bar scene is burgeoning, and there’s often plenty of locals and visitors alike enjoying eating and drinking al fresco.

Public transport is a major plus here as well; with not only heavy rail but also tram and plenty of bus routes, it’s never hard to get from A to B and the city is only a 20 minute train ride away.

Dulwich Hill also sits in an ideal position that gives it direct access to multiple varied other suburbs nearby that each offer something different – Marrickville for drinks, Petersham for dining and Ashfield for shopping, for example – with the benefit of being able to return home to peace and quiet afterwards.

Read the full review >

2. Oatley

Oatley Best Suburbs

What we liked: pretty streetscape, great parklands, clean & green, peaceful, highly family & pet-friendly

What we didn’t like: price, infrequent train services, lack of bigger retail

For those who’ve always found the lifestyle of Sutherland Shire appealing but haven’t wanted to commit to living so far away from the city, Oatley may just be your best possible compromise.

This is particularly true for families, as it’s got that ideal blend of parks, quiet, schools and living space that make for the perfect mix for raising kids.

Its Hotel and decent little mix of shops/cafes and other amenities on either side of the suburb help flesh it out a bit more than other more empty residential suburbs, while its nice central park areas service as a good focal point for weekend barbecues and the like. Oatley Park is another of the nicest spots that also offers excellent play facilities for the kids as well.

This also comes without sacrificing too much connectivity. While its train station sees pretty infrequent services outside of peak hours, this is manageable given how driveable the surrounding area is as well.

With both Hurstville and Miranda not far away either, bigger-scale shopping needs are easily taken care of. Oatley’s pretty pricey, but it also “feels” premium in return.

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1. Hornsby

Hornsby Best Suburbs

What we liked: good shopping & amenities, highly family-friendly, reasonable property prices, greenery & national park access, rail connectivity

What we didn’t like: traffic to city, relative lack of restaurants/nightlife

Some may scoff at Hornsby sitting atop this list given that it’s not individually remarkable in any one aspect – but when the balance of its positives are taken into account, you’re left with one of the best all-rounder suburbs in Sydney.

The tiny amount of negatives that Hornsby has (yes, it’s probably a bit further from the city than some would like, and yes, it’s not exactly a culinary hotspot) are more than offset by its positives.

First and foremost is its array of amenities. Hornsby is so well-equipped for what is really a physically pretty small suburb that there’s seldom any need to go elsewhere.

An expansive Westfield complex, plenty of big-box stores and homegoods warehouses, nearly countless family-friendly parks, swimming complexes, cafes and dining… Hornsby is almost a self-contained mini-city at this point.

This helps offset the distance from Sydney city quite a bit, as does its very good rail connectivity. A 40 minute train ride in which you can typically get a seat is a reasonable prospect as far as Sydney goes, and comes with the added bonus of easy access to the Central Coast as well.

Hornsby’s price-versus-benefits ratio is also strong, with plenty of housing types to choose from and some good value property still to be had despite its growing popularity.

It’s an incredibly family-friendly suburb with a nice, green and safe streetscape all without being in the middle of nowhere, and access to huge amounts of greenery just a short drive away.

Living in Sydney is all about compromises for the non-rich, and currently Hornsby provides what we believe gives the most in return for the least.

Read the full review >

Honourable mentions: Padstow, Rouse Hill, Panania, Penshurst

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