Manly is filled with great places to eat, drink and shop. Here are our picks of the bunch.

Open literally any guidebook on Sydney and you’ll find a section on Manly. It’ll say something like “Get the ferry, look at the beach, maybe go to a bar or jump in the surf”. And it’s been like that since the early 1900s.

The historic suburb was one of Australia’s first seaside holiday destinations. The lifesaving club is one of the oldest in the world and it was one of the first places Australians protested the early laws restricting what one could or couldn’t wear on the sand.

Now that means the sparkling-clear seas are framed by both heritage buildings and gaudy hotels. While the ferry building, the main drag and all its venues are packed with tourists, that's only half the story. There’s also a rich and proud community with restaurants, bars, cafes and boutique shops enhancing the relaxed local culture.

Luckily, the peninsula hasn’t been overdeveloped like many of Sydney’s prettier coastal tracks, so just behind the strip of hotel towers is a bare headland with historic sites (First Nations and wartime) and spectacular walks with views over the old sandstone cliffs.

Restaurants

Queen Chow Manly Wharf

Restaurant

Merivale’s waterside Cantonese joint, complete with live seafood tank, oyster bar and dim sum. The views across the water make for an ideal setting year-round.

Chica Bonita

Restaurant

This rustic little bolthole, hidden in a Manly back alley, is one of the seaside suburb's most popular and enduring eateries. We can see why. The laid-back atmosphere belies just how seriously this team take their food.

Momo Bar

Restaurant

Poke and momos all under one roof.

The Herring Room

Restaurant

Plenty of seafood and a people-first approach make this a hit with locals.

Bistro Manly

Restaurant

Go for a 120-day dry-aged beef sirloin with Café de Paris butter, an apple tarte tatin and something from the whisky cart.

Book a Table

El Camino Cantina Manly

Restaurant

It’s all about giant drinks and water views.

Book a Table

Cafes

Fika Swedish Kitchen

Cafe

Just as sunny as its seaside locale.

Berkelo Manly

Cafe

This is one of the only bakeries in the state with an in-house stone mill, which means it can buy wheat direct from farmers. Its loaves contain no artificial additives and are left to naturally leaven, spending at least 18 hours cold fermenting.

Rollers Bakehouse

Cafe

No-rules croissants made with charcoal-dyed dough. Past fillings have included salmon, ginger and wasabi.

Showbox Coffee Brewers

Cafe

A health-conscious menu served with a rotating cast of coffee roasters.

Barefoot Coffee Traders

Cafe

A simple and relaxed menu offering homemade waffles and coffee to compliment.

Bars

The Cumberland

Bar

Go through a fridge door to the bar below, where there are 250 whiskies, three cocktail lists and melty raclette.

In Situ

Bar

A beachside attitude, cocktails and live music.

4 Pines Brewpub

Bar

The double-decker wharf-side brewery where it all began.

Brklyn

Bar

Late-night, American-inspired fare, with cosy booths and free pool.

Hemingway's

Bar

A literary-themed cocktail bar complete with menus stapled into the pages of old children's storybooks. But that's as high-minded as the place gets: it also serves chicken nuggets and VB tinnies.

Donny's

Bar

A New York-style bar with exposed brick and copper piping throughout.

Shops

Desire Books and Records

Shop

A local gem off the Manly Corso. This bookseller, record shop and performance space has all the eclectic charm you’d expect from five creative owners (one of them a high-profile comedian).

Henrietta Skate

Shop

This beachside creative hub is lined with skateboards and vintage clothes.

Mr & Mrs White

Shop

Minimalist furniture and homewares crafted on Sydney’s northern beaches.

The Darley Store

Shop

A locals-first store stocking ethical fashion and lifestyle products.

Assembly Label

Shop

Minimalist men's and women's clothing with a less is more ethos.

Captain Sip Sop’s Barbershop and Outfitters

Shop

A classic barbershop with a surfing bent.