We are good at keeping secrets here in the nation’s capital. Canberra is well known for the presence of the public service and for the lake that splits it into north and south, but the locals keep the names of their favourite places close to their chests, trusting few with this valuable information. Here are a few of this local’s favourite parts of Canberra. Shh! Keep it to yourself.

Book a table:

When I’m craving a sneaky brunch or late breakfast I head to Stand By Me in Lyons. We hide it in the suburbs so that it is not so easily found. One of the better ways to find out about these places that either don’t have a website, or have one that is stripped back to a couple of words and a picture, is to stalk their Facebook page or Instagram.

Unfortunately, we can’t have brunch all day everyday, though many of us try, my go-to alternative is a good juicy burger. So for lunch or dinner, Grease Monkey in Braddon is a guaranteed good feed and if you add on a cider or maybe a beer for lunch, so be it.

Stay the night:

Non locals will need a place to stay, because contrary to popular belief there is plenty to do in this town and you need at least a few days for the food alone. East Hotel in Kingston is not far from a few local shopping districts, as well as the stunning foreshore.

Canberra’s continuous artistic makeover extends to hotels with Peppers Gallery over in NewActon practically brimming with art, as you would expect a place in NewActon to be.

Take a break:

Hopping between bars and eateries, Paint It Up Canberra is difficult to pin down but it is regularly on Sundays and Mondays and involves a couple of easy-going hours learning how to paint a lady with an umbrella, a leafy outlook or some other subject that will astonish its own maker. No skill required, or even paintbrushes, grab a drink and paint a masterpiece.

Over at Gorman House the newly established Mixtape Chorus has its weekly rehearsals. It is not just your average choir, they sing indie songs in newly-arranged ways that bring unexpected joy to anyone who hears or sings with them.

Shop local:

This local, like many other fashion-frustrated locals, has not always found things she likes in shop around town and has turned to online shopping, especially for those vintage finds. Imagine my joy when stepping into Off Ya Tree in Petrie Plaza and finding some of those very same brands on the shelves! The quirkiness of Hell Bunny and the sophistication of Voodoo Vixen and I can try them on before buying them!

There is also an abundance of markets, most weekends there is at least one going on. The Handmade Markets come around only a few times a year but they are filled with unique items. The best strategy is to put aside a few hours and walk around at least twice so you don’t miss anything.

Buy a ticket:

Coming up in the next month, the winter cold is not stopping the creative contingent of Canberra. Local up-and-coming playwrights showcase their work through the annual Short + Sweet Theatre Canberra Festival. Not only written by Canberrans but acted and directed by them too. Each evening is a variety of nine or 10 works that go for only 10 minutes each. For those unsure about theatre it is a great introduction to it.

Over at Gorman House, Feminartsy is hosting its monthly discussion panel this month featuring an evening of Canberra comedians, as well as a discussion about women in comedy. This will be funny as well as insightful.

At the end of the day, if in doubt follow someone who looks like they know where they are going. Around every corner of Canberra, something great is hiding!

Image courtesy of Peppers Gallery Hotel Facebook page.