From Tuesday 9th to Friday 12th October, Parramatta CBD will come alive from 5pm with over 50 gourmet street food stalls, live music, 8 art installations, performances and pop up bars across 14 themed spaces. And with a little prep, using our handy tips below, families can definitely enjoy this fantastic local foodie playground!
Some of the mouth-watering line-up includes:
- Black Angus truffle burgers and steak sandwiches from Good Food Union
- Loaded burgers from Superior Burger
- Famous hot lamb and gravy rolls from Waroo Lamb
- Slow-cooked brisket from 2 Smoking Barrels
- Classic cheeseburgers from Nighthawk Diner
- Gourmet meatball subs from Balls Sydney
- Ever-popular fried chicken and waffles from Espresso Warriors
Plus, the delightful duo 2 Boys in Saris will present a delectable fusion of South East Asian dishes served with a side of their fabulous sass and Frencheese will sauté potatoes with melted raclette like no one’s business.
And sweet-toothed lane-goers will be spoiled with decadent dessert options such as Duo Duo Ice Cream (think fried ice cream), KOI Dessert, Adora Handmade Chocolates, Pimp My Donut and Torch Me Crème Brûlée.
Salivating already?!? Well foodie parents you can have your KOI dessert and eat it too (with your kids)! With the help of City of Parramatta, we have complied a list of highlights for kids, along with top tips and important info for turning your kids into little laners. Plus there is a summary of what to look forward to at each lane.
Fun Things For Kids To See
- The Love Birds colourful art installation in Red Cows Lane, where colourful birds will be suspended in this small laneway.
- Have a look inside the City Centre car park and you’ll find Intangible Goods. Designed to feed your psyche, not your sweet tooth, Intangible Goods imagines what it might look like if we could shop for our psychological and emotional needs, as easily as our more superficial ones.
- Enter the microscopic world of UNE scientists and let their beautiful ‘microscapes’, or microscopic landscapes, take you on a journey. As food travels through the body and is digested, it has an impact on our internal organs and a spectrum of cells. Fluorescent microscopy shows the range of effects that food, stimulants and mood have on our bodies.
- Roving puppets Amigo and Amigo (in collaboration Parramatta Marist High School) have created four kinetic sculptures. Taking influence from Parramatta, the students have realised their visions into moving, three dimensional artworks that are created, performed and given life to by the students and designers.
Fun Things For Kids To Do
- There is unlimited roller skating for $5, with a view of the Parramatta skyline, at the Eat Street Rooftop Car Park. Plus arcade games and neon mini golf, burgers, donuts and gelato! There will be kids skates available for hire from US Child size 9 and up (subject to availability).
- Kids can bust their best moves at Centenary Square with nightly themed dance workshops at 6pm, 7pm and 8pm. On Tuesday there will be Salsa (only 8pm and 9pm), Wednesday – Bollywood, Thursday – 80s Retro, Friday – Hip Hop.
- Experience artist Rosie Deacon’s fantastical Moving Forest at the Parramatta Artists Studio. And help grow the forest with your own colourful creations.
Food Highlights For Kids
For Sweet Tooths
- Cookie ice-cream sandwiches from Stroop Bros
- Delicious milkshakes and share-able sundaes at Daisy’s Milkbar
- Mini donuts from Diego’s Donuts
- Gelato from Adora
- Best toasties ever at Daisy’s Milkbar
- Meatball subs from Balls Sydney
- Pizza from Happy As Larry
- Fried chicken by Butter
Parramatta Lanes has committed to reducing its single-use waste footprint in 2018 – YAY! They have teamed up with Globelet to provide all our bars with reusable cups and will make sure no single use plastic is available on-site. That means no single use bottles will be available for purchase and no plastic straws will be handed out. So remember to BYO water bottle and refill at one of our Sydney Water stations.
So you are keen to check out Parramatta’s most vibrant food and cultural festival but not sure about taking the kids? Here are our top 6 tips, especially for taking little ones.
- Plan your trip – work out the best public transport route or carpark to park at. Plus which lanes you want to visit and the way you are going to go. There is a bit of walking between some lanes so you don’t want to be dragging the kids back and forth all over Parramatta!
- Get there early – it starts at 5pm. The queues get very long and crowds large from about 6:30pm. Of course the atmosphere only really picks up once the sun sets and there are lots of people. So we recommend going early for dinner with the kids and then wandering around afterwards as the lights come on.
- Go Tuesday or Wednesday when it will be less busy.
- If you have a fussy eater, bring something that you know they will eat as a back up.
- Ride to Parramatta Lanes! Volunteers from Your Cycling Connection will be available to watch over your bikes from 4.30pm to 9.30pm while you enjoy discovering Parramatta Lanes. The valet bike parking is on the grass area in front of the Riverbank Car Park and next to The Riverbank lane.
- If you need to take a pram, most lanes are easy enough to navigate this year. The lanes that can be a bit tricky are at Eat Street Car Park (you will need to take the lift to the rooftop) and Roxy Car Park. Remember, getting there early and leaving before it gets busy will make it a lot easier with a pram.
Important Information for Families
- The best public toilets are located in Westfield Parramatta. There are public toilets available in the Eat Street Car Park, City Centre Car Park and Riverbank Car Patk. Plus, there are port-a-loos at most lanes.
- Lots of vendors will have smaller food offerings but there are no kids meals.
- There are 6 lanes with bars but kids can still go into the lanes.
- The Centenary Square fountains will be turned off.
- To help find your way between the 14 lanes, there will be footpath stickers. But it is best to have the map handy.
- Dirrabarri lane is mostly fenced.
- There will be a number of road and car park closures throughout Parramatta CBD during Parramatta Lanes. If driving to Parramatta Lanes, make sure to check out the closures map beforehand.
14 Fab Themed ‘Lanes’ to Explore
Here is a snapshot of the 14 unique spaces at Parramatta Lanes this year, including four new ones. The stand out for us is the new Rooftop Lane – it was so much fun and full of atmosphere, yummy food and cool tunes. And we are sadly that there is no lane at Willow Grove this year.
We have listed the lanes in order of the ones we think will be most family friendly and appealing to kids – looking at lane set up, food and entertainment. Obviously every family is different and the age of the kids will change things. Fortunately there are lots of lanes to choose from, so you are bound to find at least one to suit!
1The Rooftop @ EAT STREET CARPARK (Lane 9)
This new lane is putting on an 80s roller disco party with a view. It’s a retro rooftop filled with serious disco vibes, arcade games, air hockey and neon mini golf. Plus mouth-watering eats, including the purveyors of fried chicken, kings and queens of gelato, the heroes that created DIY donut toppings and more. Keep in mind that there is only one lift up to the rooftop.
- Food and Drink: Two Good Co. x Mitch Orr, Messina, Butter, BL Burgers, Pimp My Donut, Disco Divas Cocktail Bar.
- Beats: Some of Sydney’s best DJ’s, serving sunset vibes, tropical disco, hip hop plus your new favourite club hits.
2CENTENARY SQUARE (Lane 3)
Kids will enjoy hanging out here with its big space, dancing and the food on offer (cookie ice-cream sandwiches, pizza and Spanish paella). This lane is also easy to navigate with a pram and there is seating.
Follow the beats to this central festival hub, featuring gourmet food from around the world and the very best Sydney food trucks. DJs and dancing will keep this space pumping all night.
- Food and Drink: Nutie Donuts, StroopBros, Middle Eastern Street Food, Sofrito Paella, Braza Churrascaria, Eat Art Truck, Happy As Larry, Sacred Seed.
- Beats: Get ready to bust your best moves as Centenary Square comes to life with nightly themed dance workshops and DJs all night long. Now’s your time to show off those Salsa/Bollywood/Hip Hop/ Retro 80’s moves you’ve been secretly practising.
3The Piazza @ ST JOHN’S CATHEDRAL (Lane 2)
Found outside St John’s Cathedral, the Piazza has a nice laid back feel to it, plus kid-friendly food. Like meatball subs from Balls Sydney, mini donuts from Diego’s Donuts and gelato from Adora. There is seating, live music, a grassed area for kids to run around on and it’s easy to navigate with a pram.
The Piazza will serve up the ultimate combo – cheese, truffles, carbs and chocolate – paired with acoustic and soul performances from Western Sydney musicians.
- Food and Drink: Diego’s Donuts, Balls Sydney, Frencheese, Good Food Union and Adora Handmade Chocolate.
- Entertainment: Presented by Stormer Music, there will be a lively line up of Western Sydney musicians and singers every night at the Piazza. From talented young ones starting out to some highly sought-after acts.
4DIRRABARRI LANE (Lane 8)
This food truck depot was a hit last year with families and is right near the new lane along the Riverbank.
Rockabilly, blues and soul-filled tunes will fill Dirrabarri Lane. And laid-back tunes call for laid-back eats.
- Food and Drink: Torch Me Creme Brulee, Nighthawk Diner, Sweethawk Diner, 2 Smoking Barrels, The Carter Sydney, Waroo Lamb.
- Beats: A live music line-up of rockabilly, soul, funk and blues.
5Love Birds @ REDCOW LANE (Lane 5)
Kids should enjoy walking under the hanging love birds in Redcow Lane. It’s just not pram friendly when it gets busy.
The art installation Love Birds represents a community coming together as one to reduce our personal plastic waste. Suspended in a colourful canopy above the laneway, the birds take flight in the wind with the dynamic message of positive personal action.
6RIVERBANK (Lane 7)
Savoury and sweet Asian flavours will fill this new lane along Parramatta River, with lots of crowd favourites. Plus, there will be a pumping line up of new music from Western Sydney.
- Food and Drinks: KOI Dessert Bar, Korean BBQ, Hokkaido, Arisun, Shiso Fine, Duo Duo Ice Cream.
- Beats: FBi Radio will present a little bit of everything here, including hip hop, RnB, grime, dance and pop.
7Daisy’s Milkbar @ PARRAMATTA MISSION (Lane 13)
New addition in 2018, an inner-west icon is popping up in Parramatta – bringing the retro Aussie Milkbar to life!
There will be all sorts of retro feels from this Petersham favourite. Playful wall murals, lolly jars, pastel-coloured booths and serious sundae game make this pop-up cafe an Instagrammer’s dream.
- Food and Drink: Delicious ice-cream sundaes, your favourite childhood milkshakes and the best toasties ever fill the menu at this contemporary take on the Aussie old-school Milkbar.
- Beats: DJ Leo Tanoi spinning Daisy’s hand-picked music selection of retro beats will have you feeling nostalgic all night long.
8PARRAMATTA ARTISTS STUDIO (Lane 14)
Visit Parramatta Artists Studios where you can take a look inside an artist’s studio, experience artist Rosie Deacon’s fantastical Moving Forest, and help grow the forest with your own colourful creations.
Aird Street Lane is outside Westfield Parramatta on Aird Street, just off Church Street. And a convenient first stop if you are parking in Westfield Parramatta.
This lane will have major hip hop vibes with an Asian-fusion flavour.
- Food and Drink: Archie Rose Distilling Co, Mr Black x Katherine Sabbath, Espresso Warriors, Flipp Burgers, Roll’d.
- Beats: A massive line up of local hip-hop and RnB artists and DJs from The Plot, VICE & Noisey, with Clipped resident VJs, plus break-dance and street style comps from Destructive Steps Dance Association.
10HORWOOD PLACE (Lane 10)
Feed your soul with reggae beats, burgers and a couple of boutique beers.
- Food and Drink: Uncle Kurt’s Bar, Little Lagos, Lat-Dior African Eatery, Superior Burger, Jamaican Delight.
- Beats: DJ Levins spinning dance vibes nightly, with pop-up performances from reggae band King B-Fine and African Drumming groups on Thursday and Friday. Watch Shaun Parker & Co’s RE:MOTE at 6:45pm & 8:30 nightly.
11BATMAN WALK (Lane 12)
This year Batman Walk will be filled with a moving art installation that will have you thinking twice about waste and its impact on the natural environment.
Message in a Bottle demonstrates the real consequences of plastics making their way into our waterways and ultimately damaging our beautiful aquatic ecosystems.
12ROXY CAR PARK (Lane 11)
This lane will be bright, busy and lots of fun when it’s filled with colourful Southeast Asian sounds and flavours this year. There are tables to sit at and it’s a nice first stop before the crowds build up. Just keep in mind that it’s tricky to get a pram through.
- Food and Drink: 2 boys in Saris, Chilli & Grains, O!momo, Chatkazz, Temasek
- Beats: Jhassic along with the 2 Boys in Saris, Bollywood dancers and a mix of traditional and modern performances from Swastik Dance Studio.
13UNE FUTURE CAMPUS (Lane 4)
UNE bring smart ideas to life with a program that fuses technology with music, art with science, and food with fun.
- Food and Drink: MasterChef 2017 contestant Callan Smith presents his Culinary Circus pop-up with exciting desserts full of surprise
14ERBY PLACE (Lane 6)
While this is a lovely spot to chill out with the kids, it is taking on a more romantic feel this year and is only a small lane.
Erby Place will be filled with French wine, French jazz and French fare. So like a little romantic trip to Paris.
- Food and Drink: The Croque Monsieur, made with shaved smoked wagyu, chesse béchamel, caramelized onion, Swiss cheese, chipotle mayo and Dijon mustard on sourdough. Or the potato croquettes with porcini mushrooms, shaved parmesan and black garlic aioli. Then there’s the Coffee Emporium’s signature Affogato Sundae.
- Beats: French jazz bands and musicians, including the enchanting Baby Et Lulu.