Visitors and customers

King Street

King Street is widely regarded as one of the most diverse dining precincts in Sydney with a vibrant nightlife.

As a result, the village attracts a large number of visitors in addition to local residents and University of Sydney students.

Pedestrian counts highlight the significant activity in the village from early in the morning and well into the evening, driving demand for local shops, cafés, restaurants and bars. 

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Night-time visitation

In addition to being popular shopping and café precinct during the day, the village attracts considerable night-time activity, with a large number of restaurants, pubs and small bars driving visitation after traditional business hours.

Pedestrian counts conducted along King Street (near Missenden Road) in 2012 showed that the majority of night-time activity occurred from 6pm until 8.30pm on a weekday and until 9pm on the weekend, before the pedestrian numbers dropped considerably. The busiest time on King Street, according to the survey, was around 7.30pm to 8.30pm and would be strongly influenced by the restaurant scene on this strip. Saturday has a higher pedestrian count than Friday, which may be reflective of a stronger destination market rather than after-work. King Street is one of the busiest streets in the City of Sydney outside of the city centre.

Chart 8 – King Street* Pedestrian Counts, October 2013

Chart 8 – Glebe Point Road* Pedestrian Counts, October 2013

Visitor accommodation

The 2012 Floor Space and Employment Survey details the supply of visitor accommodation available within King Street village, providing a broad indicator of the capacity of the area to accommodate overnight visitors.

Out of the 3 categories of visitor accommodation (hotels, serviced apartments and backpacker accommodation) the greatest growth in King Street village has occurred in backpacker accommodation, which has almost tripled the number of beds between 2007 and 2012. There has also been strong growth in hotel rooms (34.8%) across the 5 year period. However the total level of supply is still small in the context of the City of Sydney overall.

Table 9 – Visitor Accommodation, 2012

2007 2012 Change % Change
Hotel Accommodation (Rooms) 198 267 69 34.8%
Serviced Apartments (Units) 0 55 55 Na
Backpacker Accommodation (Beds) 52 144 92 176.9%
Source: Floor Space and Employment Survey, 2012 – City of Sydney

Contribution of tourists

Whilst reliable data on the number of overnight visitors and their economic contribution is not available for areas as small as King Street village, it is worthwhile considering data available for the wider City of Sydney local area, which gives an idea of the scale of their contribution.

Table 10 shows data from Tourism Research Australia (TRA) on overnight visitors to the City of Sydney in 2013. It shows that interstate visitors have a slightly higher spend per night than intrastate ones ($201 versus $173). While the spend per night for international visitors is significantly lower at $100, their trip duration is much longer, making the overall contribution per trip higher than domestic visitors.

Considering the fairly low supply of visitor accommodation in the village, this data could be viewed as an indicator of the potential benefits to the village if visitation from non-Sydney residents was increased.

Table 10 – Overnight Visitor Characteristics, City of Sydney, 2013

Visitors (‘000) Visitor Nights (‘000) Average stay (nights) Average nightly expenditure*




1,462 2,758 1.9 $173


2,504 6,176 2.5 $201


2,030 30,042 14.8 $100
*Estimates for Metropolitan Sydney in 2012/13
Source: Tourism Research Australia

What does this mean for my business?

The available research suggests that King Street attracts a large number of visitors to the area to complement local residents and workers. The significant pedestrian counts along King Street indicate that businesses have the opportunity to tap into the passing market with visitors often travelling to King Street rather than a particular establishment.

The research also suggests that activity within the King Street shopping and dining precinct is significant from 8am in the morning until 9pm at night, which is an important consideration for determining opening hours.


This information has been compiled from various sources. The publisher and contributors accept no responsibility for any injury, loss or damage arising from the use, error or omissions therein. While all care is taken to ensure a high degree of accuracy, users are invited to notify the City of Sydney of any discrepancies. No part of this information, including maps or data, may be reproduced without written permission.

Last updated: Thursday, 18 June 2015