Canberra’s city centre, the Civic is a collection of shopping, fine dining and entertainment venues and is the artistic and cultural focal point of Canberra.
The establishment of Canberra as Australia’s capital is an interesting story: neither Sydney nor Melbourne could stand to let either city take this prestigious title so the decision was made to establish Canberra as a compromise due to its geographical location.
The city centre was not officially opened until 1927 and by that time was a mixture of Mediterranean influences and Art Deco style.
Today the City centre of Canberra is one of the must see attractions when visiting the nation’s capital. It’s the heart of Canberra’s retail district, home to the majority of cultural and art institutions and of course; has a strong political background represented by the many important buildings and landmarks in the area
The major shopping district of the Civic is the Canberra Centre which is home to three major shopping complexes, all major department stores and over 300 specialty retailers and boutiques. The centre was originally opened in 1963 and has grown dramatically to meet Canberra’s ever growing hunger for retail needs.
The open, paved areas of Garema Place and City Walk are also very popular with tourists containing a number of shops, restaurants and cafes offering al fresco dining.
But there is more to the CBD of Canberra than just shopping.
Civic, as it is known is much seen as the cultural heart of Canberra due to its high concentration of performing arts institutions. The National Convention Centre, Canberra Theatre and the Canberra Museum and Gallery are all located in the Civic Square and are a great way to spend some time soaking up the culture of the area. AA
Officially opened in 1994, Canberra Casino is also located in the Civic Square and is home to blackjack, roulette and various other games. Canberra Casino is unusual for the fact that it does not operate poker machines.
Although not as dominant as in other areas of Canberra, politically there is still a lot to see in Canberra’s Civic. Tourist drive London Circuit is a great way to see some sights including the Supreme Court and the ACT Magistrates Court.
Dining options in Canberra’s Civic range from contemporary Australian cuisine through to specialty international delicacies. There are a range of traditional and modern pubs in the area as well as a number of outdoor cafes and restaurants. The most popular places to eat are located to the north of London Circuit such as City Walk and Garema Place.
Accommodation options in Canberra’s Civic are limited to more upmarket options, usually catering to the visiting politicians. Most hotels are full-service 4 or 5 star hotels, with options such as Medina Executive James Court Canberra offering a serviced apartment option.