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.

The Manly Greenhouse

Restaurant

The former Manly Shore Club now offers multiple experiences across three handsome levels. There’s upmarket bistro fare on the ground floor; basque-inspired tapas in the wine room upstairs; and signature cocktails and beachfront vistas on the rooftop.

Sake Manly

Restaurant

A rooftop Japanese restaurant and bar with killer views and the Grandmaster Sizzle – a take on Japan’s traditional hamburger steak.

Order on Providoor

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.

Cafes

Rollers Bakehouse

Cafe

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

Skittle Lane Manly

Cafe

Enjoy Skittle Lane's full-bodied seasonal blend and pastries from Tuga, then sidle next door to shop Assembly’s casually luxe pieces.

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.

Fika Swedish Kitchen

Cafe

Just as sunny as its seaside locale.

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

4 Pines Brewpub

Bar

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

Donny's

Bar

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

The Tropic

Bar

Slide into a terrazzo-topped table at this stylish waterfront eatery for sharp Mediterranean-style cooking, fresh seafood and stellar cocktails. Manly Wharf has never looked so good.

Banco

Bar

Playful takes on British cuisine are the specialty at this sultry backstreet bar. Think Scotch eggs with curry mayo, madras Wagyu pie with pappadums, and sticky toffee pudding with rum-roasted pineapple. There are also cocktails on tap and around 300 natural wines to try.

The Cumberland

Bar

Look behind the old wood door at the back of the Cove deli and you'll find The Cumberland – one of Sydney's finest underground bars. The drinks list includes 250 whiskies, an impressive wine cellar and three distinct cocktail lists. Plus a hearty food offering that includes melty raclette.

In Situ

Bar

A beachside attitude, cocktails and live music.

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.