Built in 1885, Customs House was one of government architect James Barnet’s finest works. Its double- pillared colonnade, wrought-iron panels and long clean lines give it a feeling of space and majesty, underlined by the open area in front. The building is heritage-listed, but its use continually changes: today it houses a highly stylish public library – with decor slick enough to make boutique hotel junkies drool – and some local businesses.
There’s a fantastic scale model of the city under glass on the ground floor, as well the library’s newspaper, magazine and computer room (including lots of foreign publications), and the tasty pizzeria and café Young Alfred. Fashionable eaterie Café Sydney retains its enviable location on level five, with amazing views.