I’m so excited to finally share on things about Melbourne! Australia week has been amazing so far and I hope you all are enjoying the travel guides, photos, and details about where to go and what to do, see and eat while traveling to the land down under.
I’ve loved everything I have shared so far, but Melbourne is my favorite city in the entire world and its electric vibe instantly stole by heart! And now I get to share a bit of it with all of you. :)
Besides being named “world’s most livable city” for the past seven out of eight years, Melbourne is considered the sporting, cultural, fashion, foodie and coffee capital of Australia.
It’s the capital of the state of Victoria and is the country’s second largest city. It’s not as flashy as Sydney, but what it lacks in flash it makes up ten-fold in creativity, charm, and culture.
In Melbourne there is something new to discover around every corner. Around every corner—colorful street art. Down a laneway—a pop-up market.
Rooftop bars scattered around the city give guests a different perspective while hidden laneway bars provide comfort for only those clever enough to find them.
Local and international designers stock stores on Bourke Street while foodie scene is that of only dreams. Did we mention it is also one of the great coffee cities of the world? Well it is and with their mild weather, a cup of aromatic coffee is the perfect start to any day in this vibrant city.
Melbourne is cosmopolitan yet historical. Playful but not childish. Sophisticated but not stuffy. They don’t call it Marvelous Melbourne for nothing!
Melbourne has to offer more than any one post could contain, but especially for those visiting this amazing city for the first-time, here’s a list of the best things to see and do, where to eat, and what not to miss for an unforgettable trip to the city by the bay.
Today’s Vibe…Coffee…Lots of Coffee
Melbourne is among the great coffee cities in the world. Baristas here are committed to their craft, and the locals are proud to be called coffee snobs. Melbourne’s coffee and cafe culture is unmistakable. Around every corner another cafe, every cup special. In fact you’d be hard pressed to find a bad cup of coffee in the city.
Eat, Shop + Get Lost Exploring Melbourne’s Street Art-Covered Laneways
Just like cafes, street art is hard to miss in Melbourne. It’s simply everywhere—on the sides of buildings, inside shops, down laneways, on the ground…. And the scene is always changing as the city repaints sections regularly. Get some coffee takeaway and wander the beautiful laneways, admiring the art (almost like a public exhibition), shopping at quaint boutiques and hopping inside hidden restaurants for snacks along the way.
Some of the most popular laneways are:
- Hosier Lane
- Centre Place
- AC/DC Lane
- Tattersalls Lane
- Hardware Lane
- Meyers Place
Then Stop For A Drink At One Of The Many Laneway Bars (If You Can Find Them)
Entrances to these bars can be quite unassuming so you’ll probably walk past them one or two times before stepping inside.
- Romeo Lane - 1A Crossley St, Melbourne VIC 3000
- Beneath Driver Lane - basement, 3 Driver Ln, Melbourne VIC 3000
- Section 8 - 27-29 Tattersalls Ln, Melbourne VIC 3000
- Pony Fish Island (not really hidden but definitely unique) - Evan Walker Bridge, Yarra River, Melbourne VIC 3000
- Cherry Bar - AC/DC La, Melbourne VIC 3000
- Lily Blacks - 12 Meyers Pl, Melbourne VIC 3000
- Eau De Vie - 1 Malthouse Ln, Melbourne VIC 3000
The city also loves pop-up bars so a bar you stumble upon one weekend, may be gone the next. Have fun!
Check Out The View From The Roof
The people of Melbourne LOVE rooftop bars. The city is practically covered with them, but one of the most popular—aptly named Rooftop Bar (Curtin House, 252 Swanston St, Melbourne VIC 3000)—offers a laid-back backyard-barbecue atmosphere, fantastic views of the city, and a bit of a workout as you climb the six-stories of Curtain House to reach the roof. :) In the summer, Rooftop Bar hosts outdoor movie nights!
Some of our other favorite rooftops include:
- The Corner Hotel - 57 Swan St, Richmond, VIC 3121
- Heroes - 188 Bourke St, Melbourne VIC 3000
- Easey’s - 3/48 Easey St, Collingwood VIC 3066
- Naked In The Sky - 285 Brunswick St, Fitzroy VIC 3065
- The Provincial Hotel - 299 Brunswick St, Fitzroy VIC 3065
- Imperial Hotel - 2-8 Bourke St, Melbourne VIC 3000
- Goldilocks - 264 Swanston St, Melbourne VIC 3000
Fuel Your Fantasies At One Of The City’s Themed Bars
What’s your scene? Melbourne’s kitsch themed bar scene is hopping, and has something for everyone.
- Want to drink sangria at a tennis club garden party? Head to Madame Brussels (59 Bourke St, Melbourne VIC 3000).
- Into science experiments? Grab a syringe shot at The Croft Institute (21 Croft Alley, Melbourne VIC 3000)
- Are you East or West? Pick a side at Berlin Bar (2/16 Corrs Ln, Melbourne VIC 3000)
- Prefer spaces filled with retro arcade games? Pixel Alley (95 Smith St, Fitzroy VIC 3065) is for you.
- Or does Japanese biker gang-themed burger and sake bar sound like the perfect night out? Then stop by Bosozoku HQ (34 Bray St, South Yarra VIC 3141)
Round, Round, Get Around, I Get Around…
Melbourne’s tramway networks in the largest urban network in the world and the choice of public transportation for locals and visitors alike. Melbourne’s Central Business District (CBD, essentially the downtown of Australian cities), is easily navigated via their free tram zone. The free zone covers the majority of the grid and even includes the Docklands to the west.
Did you know there is a free tour tram? Yes, hop aboard the City Circle Trams (#35). In addition to the standard trams, the City Circle route is serviced by heritage W class trams - classic trams dating between 1923 and 1956!
Hop on, pick up a leaflet and ride the circle, listening to the informative audio guide that provides historical facts about the city and points out major attractions.
Cheer for AFL teams at the G
Translated—cheer for Australian Football League teams at the Melbourne Cricket Grounds. AFL, or Aussie Rules, is by far the state of Victoria’s favorite sport. Ten of the 18 teams in the league are located in Victoria, with nine being in the Melbourne metropolitan area so there are quite strong rivalries and allegiances. Also be careful though not to ask who people “root” for. In Aussie, root means sex.
Attend Makers’ Markets
Melbourne is the creative hub of Australia, filled with artisans making and selling everything from clothing and paintings to ceramics and jewelry.
Keep your eye out for these markets:
- Creator’s Market
- Melbourne Design Market
- The Rose Street Artists’ Market (60 Rose St, Fitzroy VIC 3065) - * Every Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m. - 5 p.m.
- Heide Makers’ Market (in the Heide Museum of Modern Art sculpture park, 7 Templestowe Rd, Bulleen VIC 3105) - Second Saturday of every month
- Queen Victoria Market’s Night Markets (aka Queen Vic, located Queen St, Melbourne VIC 3000) - largest open air market in the Southern Hemisphere
Check the city’s event calendar for upcoming events as pop-up markets are everywhere…we even attended one on the third level of a parking garage on Flinders St.
Kick Back In Fed Square
Federation Square, is a gathering place for the city, its central public square. Just across from Flinders Street Station, the space is used for arts, culture, and public events (such as live large-screen viewings of AFL games). It’s also home to several museums and the Melbourne Visitors Centre. Pull up one of the free chairs and enjoy the people, sounds, and vibe of the city.
Meet Under the Clocks of Finders Street Station
Address: Flinders St, Melbourne VIC 3000
Join in on the Melbourne tradition. It’s the perfect place for people watching, just don’t block the path for those actually using the station.
Australian Centre for the Moving Image
Website | @acmionline | Address: Federation Square, Flinders St, Melbourne VIC 3000
…ACMI for short (like in the road runner cartoons), is dedicated to tv, film, games, art and digital culture. Its permanent exhibitions provides history of the moving image and its influence in pop culture while its traveling exhibitions have been some of the most popular in the city. We LOVED the David Bowie exhibition. The museum is highly interactive and there’s a Games Lab where you can play retro video games.
National Gallery of Victoria
Website | @ngvmelbourne | Address: 180 St Kilda Rd, Melbourne VIC 3006
Known as the NGV, the art museum was founded in 1861 and it’s now the oldest, largest, and most visited art museum in Australia. Entry is free (with the exceptions of some traveling exhibitions) and well worth an afternoon exploring.
The Ian Potter Centre: NGV
Website | @ngvmelbourne | Address: Federation Square, Flinders St & Russell Street, Melbourne VIC 3000
Containing over 20,000 Australian Indigenous and non-Indigenous paintings, sculptures, photography, fashion and more, this center is one of the two sites of the NGV. Keep an eye out for their traveling exhibitions, they are fabulous!
National Sports Museum & MCG Tour
NSM Website | MCG Tour Website | @mcg | Address: Brunton Ave, Richmond VIC 3002
Go behind the scenes with a tour of Melbourne’s premier sporting stadium—The Melbourne Cricket Ground, affectionately referred to as the “G”—with a guided tour and learn the history and significance of the city’s iconic arena.
Then head to the National Sports Museum and discover rich stories of Australia’s sporting history. The museum has tons of memorabilia and interactive elements. It’s very cool.
Website | @melbourne_zoo + @zoosvictoria | Address: Elliott Ave, Parkville VIC 3052
See more than 320 of that famous, often iconic, Australian wildlife and animals form around the world at Australia’s oldest zoo. If you’re visiting in Jan-March, check out the schedule for Zoo Twilights, an outdoor concert series with all proceeds benefiting a year-selected animal from extinction.
Werribee Open Range Zoo
Website | @zoosvictoria | Address: K Rd, Werribee South VIC 3030
Located about 32-km south-west of the CBD, this African themed zoo and its safari tours allow guests to get close to hippos, zebras, giraffe, ostriches, rhinos, lions, and more!
SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium
Website | @sealifemelbourneaquarium | Address: King St, Melbourne VIC 3000
The well-designed aquarium features a tunnel walkway where guests can view sharks, stingrays and a variety of marine life, visit Pinjarra - one of Australia’s largest saltwater crocodiles, watch colorful, tropical reef fish, and check out penguins. The aquarium has an emphasis on marine life of the Southern Ocean and the Antarctic.
Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne
Website | Address: Birdwood Ave, South Yarra VIC 314
Spend an afternoon strolling Melbourne’s gorgeous botanic gardens on the south side of the Yarra. Continue following the paths to King’s Domain where you can walk along the river, see the Shrine of Remembrance or catch a show in their outdoor performance venue.
Shrine of Remembrance
Website | @shrineofremembrance | Address: Birdwood Ave, Melbourne VIC 3001
Standing tall over Kings Domain, The Shrine of Remembrance is a war memorial built to honor the servicemen and women of Victoria who served in World War 1, but not honors all Australians who have served in war. Its museum collections feature uniforms, letters, photographs, stories, and even a gallery of medals.
Old Melbourne Gaol
Website | @oldmelbgaol | Address: 377 Russell St, Melbourne VIC 3000
Operating as the city’s prison from 1842 to 1929, the gaol (Australian spelling of jail, as in penitentiary) held and executed some of Australia’s most notorious criminals like Ned Kelly! Take the short guided tour before exploring the building and its exhibitions. The Old Melbourne Gaol also offer night tours!
Royal Exhibition Building
Website | Address: 9 Nicholson St, Carlton VIC 3053
Completed in 1880, this now World Heritage listed Gothic-style site hosted over 50 international exhibitions between 1851 and 1915, and remains one of the world’s oldest exhibition pavilions. Hop on a guided 2 p.m. daily tour or check their calendar for upcoming events, fairs, and festivals.
State Library Victoria
Website | @library_vic | Address: 328 Swanston St, Melbourne VIC 3000
Freely wander the rooms of Australia’s oldest public library and one of the first free libraries in the world, est. 1854. Don’t miss the Dome Reading Room, the most extravagant room in the library or historical collections upstairs, and if you want to learn more join one the free daily tours.
The Colonial Tramcar Restaurant
Website | @tramrestaurant | Address: Tram Stop 125 Normanby Road, South Melbourne VIC 3205
Revel in a unique dining experience as your toured around the city on a restored, vintage streetcar. How classy is that?
Website | Address: Spring St, East Melbourne VIC 3002
Canberra wasn’t always the capital of Australia and before it was established Australia’s government met in Melbourne’s Parliament House. Learn about the history and the ornate architecture of this government building on one of their free daily tours.
The Koorie Heritage Trust
Website | Address: The Yarra Building, Federation Square, Flinders St & Swanston St, Melbourne VIC 3000
Before Europeans settled Australia, the southeastern region of Australia (Victoria & NSW today) was home to the Koori, the indigenous Australians of the region. Learn about their culture and art with a visit to The Koorie Heritage Trust in Fed Square.
Melbourne is the foodie & coffee capital of Australia—in fact it’s one of the great food & coffee cities of the world—so it would be impossible to list every amazing restaurant in the city, but we’ve included a few of our favorites below.
@wonderbao_ | Address: 4/19-37 A'Beckett St, Melbourne VIC 3000
If you’ve never had a bao bun then you are missing out! Traditional bao buns are steamed Chinese bread rolls stuffed with a variety of fillings. Enjoy your order in their small, but trendy space or order takeaway and enjoy anywhere. All products contain gluten.
My order: 2 Choi Bao (shiitake mushroom, tofu, veggies), 1 Fried silky tofu gua bao (pickled mustard, coriander, sweet soy sauce, crushed peanuts) + hot homemade soya milk.
LeBraun’s order: 1 Char siu bao (bbq pork), 1 Da chicken bao (egg, shiitake mushroom), and 1 Braised pork belly gua bao (pickled mustard, coriander, crushed peanuts).
@shandongmamamelb | Address: Mid City Arcade, 7/200 Bourke St, Melbourne VIC 3000
This unassuming hole-in-the-wall serves up some of the best dumplings in Australia including options for vegans! It’s located in a lower level arcade and can be a bit tricky to find the first time.
ShanDong MaMa Mini
Address: 5 Centre Pl, Melbourne VIC 3000
Their second location is in the popular laneway, Centre Place!
Shanghai Street Dumpling & Mini Juicy Bao
Address: 342 Little Bourke St, Melbourne VIC 3000
This kitchen serves consistently brilliant dumplings + noodles, and since their space is quite tiny so it’s easiest to order takeaway. They is always a queue out front but their service is quick!
@lunecroissant | Address: 119 Rose St, Fitzroy VIC 3065
Crisp, golden, buttery croissants. I don’t really feel like I need to sell this one. There’s a queue out the door daily for their melt-in-your-mouth pastries!
Rice Papers Scissors
@ricepaprscrs | Address: CBD - 19 Liverpool St, Melbourne VIC 3000 + Fitzroy - 307 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy VIC 3065
Southeast Asian fusion shareplates served in a rusic brick space and buzzy atmosphere.
If available, order the Vietnamese coffee mousse!
Nando’s Peri Peri
@nandosaus | Address: 79-85 Bourke St, Melbourne VIC 3000
This worldwide chain specializes in Portuguese flame-grilled Peri-Peri chicken and is perfect for a delicious, faster dining option. I’d recommend the 1/2 chicken with a side of their spicy rice!
@huxtaburger | Address: Fulham Place, Flinders Ln, Melbourne VIC 3000 + several other locations
Industrial quick-service eatery with burgers named after The Cosby Show characters.
I’m partial to their Vege Denise (Spicy bean & quinoa patty, jalapeños, sriracha mayo, cheese, mustard, tomato sauce, tomato, lettuce, pickles)…yum!
Address: 17 Market Ln, Melbourne VIC 3000
A Melbourne institution, Flower Drum continues to serve mouth-watering Cantonese fare daily.
@pavlovsduck | Address: 401 Smith St, Fitzroy VIC 3065 Enjoy Sri-Lankan fusion dishes, coffee, and chai in their cool, exposed-brick space.
@mamasitamelbourne | Address: Level 1/11 Collins St, Melbourne VIC 3000
If you’re looking for classic Ameican-Mexican food, there really aren’t a ton of options in Melbourne, but you’ll get close with Mamasita. It will satisfy your craving, just on the lighter side in comparison. Tacos, tosadas, burritos, tequila + margs…done and done!
@chinchin | Address: 125 Flinders Ln, Melbourne VIC 3000
A buzzing favorite on Flinders Lane, Chin Chin will always have a queue and an amazing South-east Asian-inspired menu. Their DJ-spinning cocktail bar is a great place to unwind at the end of the week.
@grubfitzroy | Address: 87-89 Moor St, Fitzroy VIC 3065
From the kitchen in a 1965 Airstream van to the gratified covered courtyard, this hipster favorite serves seasonal dishes in a laid-back atmosphere.
ChangGo Korean BBQ
Address: 70 Little La Trobe St, Melbourne VIC 3000
Their kimchi pancake and hot pot bibimbap can satisfy any appetite!
Cutler & Co
@cutlerandco | Address: 55-57 Gertrude St, Fitzroy, Yarra, VIC 3065
For an upscale dining experience in an old factory, Cutler & Co delivers on their modern Australian fare.
@charcoallanefitzroy | Address: 136 Gertrude St, Fitzroy, Yarra, VIC 3065
A chic restaurant on hip Gertrude Street, Charcoal Lane’s menu emphasizes native Australian ingredients.
Lucy Liu Kitchen & Bar
@lucyliumelbourne | Address: 23 Oliver Ln, Melbourne VIC 300
Asian share plates like silken tofu, yellow fin tatami, papaya salad, dumplings and more with cocktails in a trendy space with an open kitchen. They even have express menus and sampled plates.
@zero.gradi | Address: 93-97 Lygon St, Brunswick East VIC 3057
If you find yourself this way, get a cone with multiple massive scoops of their famous gelato! The bar is stocked with a wide variety of flavors, sprinkled coned, and even sorbet for a dairy-free option.
Three One 2 One
@threeone2one | Address: 424 Bridge Rd, Richmond VIC 3121
You’ve seen those epic milkshakes on tv? You know the ones with donuts, fruit loops, brownies and popcorn piled on them. Well Three One 2 One serves up these sugar coma inducing sweet treats on the reg. Order one with one of their classic burgers and see if you can get close to finishing them. Haha
Below are only a few of the many vegan-centric eateries in Melbourne, and even most traditional restaurants in the city have options for those of us with dietary preferences, allergies, or restrictions.
@vegiebar | Address: 380 Brunswick St, Fitzroy VIC 3065
The first place recommended to us when we moved to Fitzroy was Vegie Bar. Their menu features a large range of veggie, vegan, and raw foods—everything is labeled, hallelujah!—and their space is airy, industrial. There’s even a small courtyard outside.
Vegan? Raw? You may just be picturing salads…well Veggie Bar will prove you wrong. Yes they still do have salads, but they also have gnocchi, burritos, nachos, pizzas, onion rings, bowls, curry, bao buns and more! Whether you have dietary restrictions/allergies or not, Vegie Bar’s inventive menu will surprise you!
Smith & Daughters
@smithanddaughters | Address: 175 Brunswick St, Fitzroy VIC 3065
I love how many plant-based dining options Melb has, especially in areas like Fitzroy. They serve brunch, lunch & dinner, can you guess which one we tried? Brunch obviously, and did not disappoint. Waffles, scrambled “eggs”, and corn fritters are great. Reservations are recommended, especially for dinner service.
Smith & Deli
@smithanddeli | Address: 111 Moor Street. Fitzroy VIC 3065
With a vegan spin on your old-school deli favorites, Smith & Daughter’s sister eatery serves up sandwiches and is perfect for lunch!
Yong Green Food
@yonggreenfood | Address: 421 Brunswick St, Fitzroy VIC 3065 If you have dietary restrictions then you’ll love the vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free and biodynamic menu at Yong Green Food. They’ve got gyoza, bowls, pad thai, tofu, udon, burgers, fresh juices, smoothies, refreshers, cheesecakes, tea, and sake! It’s hard to order when you want one of everything on the menu. :)
As previously mentioned, Melbourne is the definitely the coffee capital of Australia - if not the entire world. You’ll be hard pressed to find a terrible cup of coffee here, especially if you stick to local and artisan shops. Here are a few places with relaxed atmospheres, friendly faces + a kick-ass cup of coffee!
Brother Baba Budan
@brotherbababudan | Address: 359 Little Bourke St, Melbourne VIC 3000
Despite their space being quite compact, it doesn't stop the baristas at Brother Baba Budan from serving up delicious specialty coffee and pastries! I love the chairs hanging from the ceiling and their almond/date milk.
Proud Mary Coffee
@proudmarycoffee | Address: 172 Oxford St, Collingwood VIC 3066
Brunch was hopping when we visited, as I assume it is every weekend, so we grabbed takeaway. They have a large coffee brew selection. We ordered a cruffin and it was awseome, but I hear their ricotta hotcakes are the hot seller!
Pellegrini’s Espresso Bar
Address: 66 Bourke St, Melbourne VIC 3000
Pellegrini's is an icon and popular destination as they claim to be the first in Melbourne to use an espresso machine. In fact their neon sign is heritage-listed! I'm not big on espresso, but their Italian food was fantastic, and rightfully so it’s an authentic Italian family-run establishment.
@industrybeans | Address: 3/62 Rose St, Fitzroy VIC 3065
What makes Industry Beans an Instagram-worthy cafe? Everything! From their decor to vibe and food to coffee, the cafe is a standout in the North Fitzroy area.
Young Bloods Diner
@youngbloodsdiner | Address: 60 Rose St, Fitzroy VIC 3065
A modern diner with all day breakky, specialty coffee AND a rooftop bar…can I just live here please?
@staggerleesfitzroy | Address: 276 Brunswick St, Fitzroy VIC 3065
Breakfast at Stagger Lee’s is fresh and flavorful! Their toasties are yummy and their single-origin coffee is what you’d expect from Melbourne’s coffee scene - full-bodied and delicious. Enjoy a meal at a communal table and make some new friends!
Newtown Specialty Coffee
@newtownspecialtycoffe | Address: 180 Brunswick St, Fitzroy VIC 3065
With a repurposed wood focal wall and a menu changes regularly, this cozy coffeeshop in the heart of Fitzroy is a gem! We snagged two seats at one of their few tables and ordered a snack and some of their top-notch coffee of course. I had a delicious avo toast with goat’s cheese!
Axil Coffee Roasters
@axilcoffeeroasters | Address: Shop E6/121 Exhibition St, Melbourne VIC 3004 + other locations
The service is great. The food is great (order the smashed avo and beet croquettes). And of course a cup of their renowned sustainable coffee.
Seven Seeds Coffee Roasters
@sevenseedscoffeeroasters | Address: 114 Berkeley St, Carlton VIC 3053
Their micro-roasted coffee and specialty teas had us visiting weekly. They also serve breakky all day, which is originally why we checked it out. :) I love me some breakfast food!
Patricia’s Coffee Brewers
Address: Little Bourke St & Little William St, Melbourne VIC 3000
Can a cafe be minimalistic? Patricia’s Coffee Brewers proves it can. The coffee is ground on-site which only enhances their no-nonsense artisanal blends. Standing room only.
Market Lane Coffee
@marketlane | Address: 8 Collins St, Melbourne VIC 3000 + two other locations
Their slogan is “We love to make coffee for the city that loves to drink it.” If they didn’t live up to it, Melb and its hoards of coffee snobs would be quick to dismiss them. The only downside—no alternative milk options yet.
Website | @eureka_skydeck | Address: 7 Riverside Quay, Southbank VIC 3006
Take in the panoramic views of Melbourne and its surrounds from the highest viewing platform in the Southern Hemisphere! Also take The Edge experience and look 88-stories down through a glass-plated floor.
Melbourne Star Observation Wheel
Website | @melbourne_star | Address: 101 Waterfront Way, Docklands VIC 3008
Adding to the list of giant observation wheels around the world like the London Eye and Las Vegas High Roller, the Melbourne Star is located in the Docklands area of Melbourne and an evening ride around the wheel is a fun and unique way to see the lights over the city.
Website | @crownresorts | Address: 8 Whiteman St, Southbank VIC 3006
The Crown casino and resort takes up two city blocks on the Southbank precinct of Melbourne, making it the largest casino complex in the Southern Hemisphere and one of the largest in the world. In typical casino fashion, the Crown is much more than just a casino, it’s also filled with shopping, restaurants, and entertainment options.