From late-night dumplings in Chinatown to a single origin espresso that will knock your socks off, Melbourne is a city full of guilty pleasures.
Here’s our guide to getting busy in Australia’s spiritual home of fine food, great coffee, boutique shopping and vibrant laneway bars.
Melbourne is world-renowned for its foodie culture and the city offers a treasure trove of five-star dining. Enjoy a charcuterie plate at the multiple-award-winning Cumulus Inc. on Flinders Lane, and Vue De Monde on Collins Street serves up a tantalising menu that changes daily. But Melbourne isn’t just about fine dining. Shanghai Village Dumpling in Chinatown will also satisfy your late-night cravings, then get up early and score the best seasonal produce at Queen Victoria Market.
When it comes to great coffee, you’ll be spoilt for choice in Melbourne CBD. Brother Baba Budan on Little Bourke Street is a bustling local favourite that serves a rotating selection of blends; Sensory Lab on Bourke Street serves up delicious house-roasted beans; Tom Thumb on Flinders Lane is a hole-in-wall espresso bar that features a new single origin blend daily; or sample a fair trade coffee at Market Lane on Collins Street.
If you’re looking for something a little different, Antons at Melbourne Central on LaTrobe Street will serve you well with fashions inspired by the golden age of Hollywood, and Wunderkammer on Londsdale Street offers a weird and wonderful mixture of curiosities that will keep you entertained for hours. For the fashionistas, Alpha60 on Flinders Lane is a so-hot-right-now Melbourne label, and Kuwaii in Cathedral Arcade on Swanston Street offers locally made clothing and footwear that’s known for its vibrant splashes of colour.
Get the party started at Chartlons Bar in Coverlid Place where you can bust out a tune at open-mic karaoke. Fuel up at any number of Melbourne’s moody hidden laneway bars – Bar Americano in Presgrave Place and Eau De Vie on Malthouse Lane serve up some the city’s best cocktails – then catch some stand-up comedy at the European Bier Café on Exhibition Street (Thursday nights), or watch the latest up-and-coming band play a set at Cherry Bar on the aptly named AC/DC Lane.
Melbourne CBD offers plenty of family-friendly fun too. For a touch of culture, head to the National Gallery of Victoria on St Kilda Road – the oldest and most visited gallery in Australia – and The Ian Potter Centre in Federation Square is the world’s first major gallery dedicated exclusively to Australian art. Then let the kids burn off some energy at the free Birrung Marrplayground behind Federation Square, and treat them to a candy-making experience at old-school lolly shop Suga in the Royal Arcade on Bourke Street.
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