Where chic cafes meets historic sights
The historic 1920s centres of Manuka and Kingston in Canberra’s inner south are popular with locals and visitors alike for their 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 the Canberra Glassworks in Kingston, visitors can meet artists, see the fiery action of glassmaking, view exhibitions, take tours and even have a hands-on experience working with glass.
Just a short stroll from the Canberra Glassworks, take in the natural beauty of Lake Burley Griffin with a walk or cycle along Kingston Foreshore. Snap a picture, have a floating picnic on a GoBoat, or simply take in the tranquillity 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 memorable 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 Typica Manuka 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. For Japanese brunch and lunch head to Tokyo Canteen or if you're craving a coffee with a toastie that heroes great ingredients Lava Coffee has you covered.
Devour a delicious share plate at Highgate Kitchen & Bar or if you're celebrating a special occasion head to OTIS Dining Hall, one of Canberra's most highly acclaimed restaurants, and devour the classic whiskey creme caramel with smoked sea salt.
From its pink neon sign exclaiming, 'you had me at pizza', to wine on tap and leopard-print booths, Agostinis is the place for pizza enthusiasts. For a classic take on Italian Cuisine and decor that is inspired by a modern seaside trattoria head to Molto Italian.
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.
Discover the nightlife...
These inner south precincts are also known for their night scene, from the upmarket and sophisticated to the understated and relaxed.
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 Bad Betti's, dishing up Caribbean burgers and equally tasty drinks.
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.