Manuka and Kingston: winning combination south of the lake

Manuka and Kingston: winning combination south of the lake

Our vibrant Inner south hub

The historic 1920s centres of Manuka and Kingston in Canberra’s inner south are hotspots for entertainment, dining, shopping and quality people watching. Couple this with the nearby Kingston Foreshore, Canberra’s only urban waterside community and you’ll see why this inner south hub is the perfect place to spend the afternoon and watch the day turn into night.

Things to do in Manuka and Kingston

Manuka Swimming Pool contains the Art Deco public swimming baths that have cooled down capital summers for many years. The original facade and fittings of the pool create a unique and character-filled atmosphere, and the spacious lawns and shady tree canopy make it the perfect place for a leisurely swim or to simply relax with a book in Canberra's warmer months.

Adjacent to Manuka Pool is Manuka Oval, a Canberra fixture since the roaring twenties and home to national and local sporting games including cricket and Australian rules football. Nestled within the well-established precinct of Manuka and Kingston, enjoy a pre or post game beverage and a bite to eat at one of the many cafes, restaurants and bars within walking distance of the Oval. 

For something a little different, take a visit to Australia’s only cultural centre dedicated to contemporary glass art. At Canberra Glassworks in Kingston, visitors can meet artists, see glassmaking as it happens, view exhibitions, take tours and even have a hands-on experience working with glass.

Glass blowing in action at Canberra Glassworks
Glass blowing in action at Canberra Glassworks

Next door to Canberra Glassworks is the multi award-winning Old Bus Depot Markets, a Sunday institution for Canberrans and visitors alike. In a fabulous old industrial building you’ll experience the endless colour, tastes, sounds and atmosphere that is “Canberra’s Sunday Best”.

Shop for handcrafted jewellery, art, clothing, furniture, toys, homewares and more, or be tempted by the delicious offerings from food vendors including fresh bread, coffee, juices and heavenly pastries.

Just a short stroll from the Old Bus Depot Markets, take in the natural beauty of Lake Burley Griffin with a walk or cycle along Kingston Foreshore. Snap a picture (especially beautiful at dawn or dusk) or simply take in the tranquility of Canberra's waterfront setting. 


Wining and dining in the inner-south

Foodies will be spoilt for choice at Manuka and Kingston, with the precinct home to some of the most popular spots in Canberra for bite to eat, a cup of coffee or a special night out. 

In Manuka, try Patissez for their stunning pastries and their world-famous Freakshakes, or Urban Pantry for a breakfast that’s sure to kick start your day. You can’t go past a delicious coffee from Ona on the Lawns and the menu is sure to tempt your tastebuds too.

Popular coffee spots in Kingston include Silo Bakery and Cafe and Penny University, both with big glass cabinets brimming with scrumptious treats as well as a spread of brunch and lunch options. 

Try fabulous weekly specials and sporting events on the screens at the American style Hale + Mary or devour a fine share plate at Highgate Kitchen & Bar.


On the waterfront at the Kingston Foreshore, try Local Press Cafe for an Instagram-worthy meal (added bonus – it’s going to be healthy!), Wild Duck for a fine dining experience or Walt & Burley for a bar with a view overlooking Kingston Foreshore's expansive dock. 

Check out Brodburger, a favourite with the locals for their mouth-watering burgers and service with a smile. With a super relaxed vibe, it's a great place to take the kids.

Not far from the Foreshore you will find Muse at East Hotel, a restaurant offering a true epicurean and literary treat. With its all-Australian wine list, a menu showcasing the region's freshest produce and a collection of new and second hand books, you will leave Muse feeling inspired, satisfied and nourished. 

I love the nightlife...

These inner south precincts are also known for their night scene, from the upmarket and sophisticated to the understated and relaxed.

For an intimate venue with table service and a political twist, head to the Polit Bar in Manuka and take in some cabaret or burlesque entertainment. The ever-popular Public, Manuka's local pub, is a firm favourite for its relaxed, yet sophisticated, atmosphere and central location. 

In Kingston try The Durham for a friendly pub experience, or wander down to the Kingston Foreshore and drop into The Dock, the quintessential sports and live music bar with a view. Another popular option is Betti Bravos, a cocktail bar with a uniquely Caribbean flavour.

We’re just scratching the surface. This vibrant precinct is evolving by the minute! To keep up to date with the latest and greatest in Canberra entertainment, restaurants and fun things to do, sign up to the VisitCanberra enewsletter.