Saturday, 16 April 2016

# 28 - Queen Victoria Building

The Queen Victoria Building, often referred to as just the QVB, is a large shopping mall in Sydney CBD.  If you've read any of my previous reviews, you will have heard me be less than glowing about the other shopping malls listed in the top 100 (#94 Westfield Sydney, and #98 Speciality Shops).  I am going to maintain my stance on shopping malls in general, but I will agree that the QVB deserves to be ranked much higher than the aforementioned malls.

The giant blurry Christmas Tree in the QVB
Firstly, as with the Strand Arcade, I don't think the shops themselves are the main attraction.  I think it is the building and architecture.  In this case, the QVB does stand out as a striking building.  I don't really understand architecture though.  Why do people gasp in awe at piles of crumbling old stone buildings, and then dismiss the incredible buildings in places like Las Vegas as tacky?  A full sized canal running through the inside of a building?  I find that much more impressive than some old stone pillars.  Each to their own though, and as far as old stone buildings go, the QVB is a nice one.

No shortage of flags at the QVB
Inside the building is a broad range of shops.  There are probably not far off 200 different shops, located over 4 levels, covering a wide range, from cheaper stores, right up to high end boutiques.  We heard on one tour that as you go up in level, they tend to get more expensive.  We've never bothered to check if that is completely accurate, but from a quick glance around, it seemed plausible.

It is not an unattractive building, I wouldn't exactly put it up there with the Opera House though
There are also plenty of places to eat, from snacks and takeaway, through to proper restaurants.  Note also that you can go down to the lower level and connect to places like Town Hall Station and The Galeries.  One good general tip for newcomers to Sydney is to check out underground.  A lot of Sydney is below street level, and you can get around much of the CBD without having to spend much time at street level.  This is a particularly useful thing to know when it is pouring with rain.

I don't know why they put these fancy statues so high up that no one can properly see them - seems like a waste to me
If you like architecture, then you would be well advised to come and admire the QVB.  Likewise, if you like shopping, then the QVB is arguably the best place in the CBD to indulge in this activity.  If you couldn't care less about architecture and hate shopping, then use it as a means of getting around Sydney without getting wet in the rain.

What's your view?  Would this be top of your list of things to see, or would you barely look up if you were walking past on the opposite side of the street?  Please let us know your thoughts or questions in the comments below.

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