The suburb of Dickson is located just a 5 minute drive north of Canberra's CBD. It is renowned for its main street, Woolley Street, which is lined with authentic Asian restaurants showcasing the cuisines of Malaysia, Laos, China, Thailand, Vietnam, Japan, Korea and more. As you walk along the leafy street, it is hard to know which restaurant to try as they all are all full of happy diners, have delicious smells wafting out of their doors and have a host of friendly staff waiting to invite you in. The street behind Woolley Street also has a range of eateries, as well as the central shopping hub of the district with a supermarket, post office, library, shops and cafes. Not far away is The Tradies Club and also The Garden plant nursery, which is a quiet place to explore when walking Dickson by foot.
The following list contains my personal top 5 things to do in Dickson, however, if you are a local and can add more to the list, please leave a comment at the bottom of this article. These are my favourite places to visit - where are yours?
Walk along Woolley Street for a wide range of Asian eateries
1/ Dickson Noodle House is just one of the many Asian restaurants along Woolley Street, however it was recommended to me by a Weekendnotes reader (and most people in Canberra!) as having the best Laksa in Canberra. This is a big call to make, as there are other delicious places to slurp down a Laksa, however when you try it you can't question its reputation - it's simply amazing! If you don't like Laksa, there are other popular dishes on the menu, which you can enjoy whilst looking out onto the comings and goings of Woolley Street. For a full article on Dickson Noodle House, see here. Other popular eateries to try are Tak Kee Roast Inn, Pho @ Dickson and Pho Phu Quoc Vietnamese Restaurant, to name a few.
2/ Highroad - By Ona Coffee is a new café on the Dickson scene, which opened in late 2017. The owners of Highroad are the same coffee connoisseurs behind Ona Coffee House, Cupping Room and Ona Manuka - and it shows. It has instantly become a popular cafe and restaurant at the entrance to Dickson restaurant strip. When you walk in, the high ceilings and creative décor are welcoming and if you love coffee, the smell will have you salivating! It's not just the coffee and décor of this friendly cafe that makes it so popular, but also the wide variety of delicious food options on the menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner. For a full article on Highroad, see here.
Highroad cafe, at the entrance to Woolley Street (opposite the Confucius statue)
3/ My Rainbow Dreams is a vegetarian cafe that is located in the Dickson local shops, a block back from the main Woolley Street. This colourful cafe is run by students of Sri Chinmoy, a renowned meditation teacher from Bangladesh. It has a healthy and tasty range of vegan and vegetarian burgers, salads, wraps and curries, which you can take away or sit and enjoy in their small cafe. An attractive feature of this light-filled café is the friendly staff floating by in their saris, delivering food to their happy customers and creating a serene ambience to the space. I have tried a number of mouth-watering meals off their menu, however I still can't go past the Dream Burgers - full of flavour and colour. For a full article on My Rainbow Dreams, see here.
4/ The Source is a bulk health food store that is found behind My Rainbow Dreams, above. If you enjoy eating healthily and are looking for a wide range of snacks, dried fruit, cereals, cooking ingredients, granola, muesli, spreads and lunch-box snacks for your kids, then walk the aisles of The Source and see what catches your eye. You can buy as little or as much as you like, which is a convenient way to shop as you just buy what you need and avoid waste. For a full article on The Source Bulk Foods, see here.
5/ The Garden Plant Nursery and Dickson Aquatic Centre are both equal on this list - as they are both enjoyable places to visit on the weekend, depending on the season. The Garden plant nursery is a quiet place to walk around, with unique garden ornaments and wide range of plants suitable for the Canberra climate in their small outdoor area. Dickson Aquatic Centre on the other hand, is open in the summer months only and is particularly fun for kids with water jets and plenty of shade to relax by the outdoor pool.
The best way to experience the unique area of Dickson is to park your car on Woolley Street and hit the pavement. There are areas which may look a little old and rough around the edges, however they are contrasted with brand new apartment buildings under construction and a wide variety of new places to eat and drink. Also check out Ducks Nuts on the corner of Woolley Street for a pub meal and if you are looking for another good takeaway coffee in town, then check out Kickstart Espresso down a side street across the road. This suburb is a contrast of international character, historical buildings, modern influences and comfortable eateries - all of which make you feel part of the community.
It is one of the best suburbs in Canberra to arrive with an empty stomach - with no shortage of options to fill it!