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Perth ditches the "dullsville" tag

Yagan Square

It was undoubtedly a low point in the history of Perth - Lonely Planet in 2000 famously branding Perth ‘dullsville’.

But from every dark cloud comes a silver lining and for Perth that was a spark for major change… a push to bring our city to life.

Looking around in 2018, you can see plenty of examples of the change that is breathing new life into our city.

Changes to licensing laws have seen small bars popping up in once deserted CBD streets and laneways, complemented by vibrant street art.

And, while sometimes opinion is divided, there is no question there have been some major leaps forward.

Yagan Square

If you've been to the CBD lately, you've almost certainly noticed a 45 metre tall pillar and its enormous curved screen that serves as the anchor of a brand new open space. The CBD is finally connected to Northbridge following the long-awaited opening of Yagan Square; an ambitious project to sink the train lines and create a vibrant precinct in the arms of Perth's famous Horseshoe Bridge.

It sounds exotic, but Yagan Square actually reaches back to the heritage of the space, named after the Noongar warrior and celebrating the Whadjuk culture. It also showcases the unique beauty of WA through the materials used and public art on display.

Yagan Square has plenty on offer for everyone, almost any time of the day or night.

"Yagan Square sees the return of food, community and life to the Horseshoe Bridge," said a representative from the Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority (MRA).

"It's a place for people to have fun, meet, play and eat, and is fast becoming the city's primary community, meeting and celebration place."

Despite having only been open for a short time, tens of thousands of visitors pass through each day, thanks to its close proximity to the train station and Perth Busport.

What's on offer?

If food is what you fancy, you'll love the large market hall with food vendors selling tasty delights at almost any time of day. You simply need to step foot inside the restaurants on offer or the Market Hall to get a taste (literally) of WA inspired, global flavours.

Stop by in your lunch hour, or for a quick dinner before a quiet drink (or a few) in any of the new bars popping up in the city and Northbridge. It's a little bit like a high end line up of food truck style eateries, with some outlets staying open til midnight on Fridays and Saturdays.

From hearty meals to quick bites, or sweet treats to tempt the tastebuds, it's the perfect place to catch up with friends and family without the need to debate over where to eat.

"The unique point of difference and challenge for Yagan Square was to deliver a high quality food experience that is uniquely West Australian, showcasing WA's exceptional produce, local ingredients and contributing to the growth of food tourism," the MRA said.

Activities for families aren't lost in this new venue either, with public open spaces, including a rooftop water feature and a playground, plus an amphitheatre for future events.

Optus Stadium

2018 has been a busy year for the opening of new venues and tourist spaces. Perth’s ‘jewel in the crown’, Optus Stadium is now well and truly up and running.

Cutting an impressive profile against the Perth skyline, the Stadium is the new home to the West Coast Eagles and Fremantle Dockers, but is also Perth's biggest entertainment venue. In March, it celebrated its opening by hosting the world's biggest male pop star, Ed Sheeran.

The stadium operators have put WA local businesses at the forefront at the $1.6 billion multi-purpose venue, awarding as many as 30 local producers contracts to supply food and consumables at Optus Stadium.

The new Stadium is the third-largest sporting venue in Australia boasting an impressive 60,000 seats. We could fill the stadium more than 1.5 times with P&N members!

The Stadium will eventually form the heart of a huge precinct, with a long term development plan for apartment living. The East Perth footbridge construction continues, and once open will make access even easier.

Visit Optus Stadium for a list of upcoming events.

Scarborough Beach

If you grew up in Perth in the 60s and 70s you would no doubt be familiar with the “bodgies” and “widgies” at Scarborough Beach’s infamous Snake Pit.

While the FJ Holdens are long gone, the Snake Pit has made a monumental comeback to Scarborough Beach in the form of 12-foot deep, competition-grade skate bowl for local use, events and global competitions.

The project was another initiative of the Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority (MRA) with the redesigned foreshore breathing new life into one of Perth's most popular beaches.

If you haven’t visited the new Scarborough foreshore yet, do yourself a favour and check out the spectacular transformation, which includes the new Transit Hub, Scarborough Beach Pool, Sunset Hill, new playgrounds and play space for families.

To find out more about what’s on offer at Scarborough, visit the MRA Website.

Image: supplied by the Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority.

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