Taking a trip down under? Consult our list of top 10 things to do in Melbourne for inspiration and planning!
Melbourne, Australia’s largest city, is a must-see destination for any trip down under. The metropolitan city is bursting with energy – full of great food, hip cafes and bars, beautiful green spaces, and easy-going locals. Whether you’re into history and architecture or tacos and sangria, here are our top 10 recommendations when visiting Melbourne.
1) EAT AT THE QUEEN VICTORIA MARKET
If you’ve only got 24-hours, visiting Melbourne’s Queen Victoria Market should be at the top of your list. This historic market is the largest open-air market in the Southern Hemisphere, measuring over 7 hectares and housing more than 600 small businesses.
Stalls sell everything from fresh produce, imported goods, local artwork, artisanal crafts, clothing, souvenirs, and more. You’ll find locals and tourists alike mingling and chatting over a bite to eat, stocking up on groceries, or treating themselves to a fresh pastry and coffee.
You’ll find flavors from around the world, including Italian, Thai, Japanese, and more! Regardless of what you like, there’s something for every taste and budget.
2) SWIM ST KILDA BEACH
If you need a break from the hustle and bustle of the city, head to St Kilda Beach. Just a 20-minute drive, or 30-minutes by public transport, the beach is the perfect escape to enjoy some sand and sun.
St Kilda is generally quite safe for swimming, though visitors should stay within the flagged area at the north end of the beach. This area is usually patrolled during the summer months as well.
You’ll also find plenty of people taking part in various sports including volleyball, cricket, and frisbee, so don’t be shy to join in a match. If you like fishing, head to the pier which is a popular fishing hole among the locals. If you like St. Kilda, check out the best Great Ocean Road beaches.
3) EXPERIENCE WORLD-CLASS COFFEE
Coffee lovers will adore Melbourne. The metropolis is home to some of the world’s best coffee. Expert baristas will concoct the drink of your dreams.
Melbourne’s CBD is filled with cobblestone laneways lined with restaurants and coffee shops, the smell of fresh espresso mingling about. For great coffee in the center, check out Little Rogue.
Ask for a local favorite, the Piccolo Latte. This warm drink is made with less milk than a usual latte, which really lets the flavors of the strong espresso push through. The neighborhoods outside the CBD also have great coffee. Check out Seven Seeds in Carlton and Wide Open Road in Brunswick.
4) SHOP AT THE BLOCK ARCADE
As Australia’s second-largest city, Melbourne has some great shopping. You can find everything from major brands to small, curated boutiques, with something for every budget.
One of the city’s most iconic shopping destinations is the Block Arcade. This covered historic shopping center is an architectural gem – boasting an elegant design from the late Victorian era.
Completed in 1893, the arcade features gorgeous mosaic tile floors, skylights, cast-iron detailing, and stunning stained glass windows. Today the arcade is home to over 25 boutiques, galleries, and specialty food shops.
5) VISIT THE NATIONAL GALLERY OF VICTORIA
For a lovely cultural experience, head to the National Gallery of Victoria. Located in central Melbourne on the edge of Federation Square, the massive art gallery houses over 75,000 works, displaying modern art, sculptures, paintings, indigenous pieces, and interactive displays.
There are two permanent galleries located just a short walk from one another, both of which are free to enter. Whether you’re an art connoisseur, or you’re just looking to expand your cultural lens, you’re sure to enjoy this stunning gallery.
6) STROLL THE FITZROY GARDENS
Just outside the heart of Melbourne’s CBD, you’ll find the Fitzroy Gardens, an enormous Victorian-era property spanning over 65-acres. Created in 1848, the area that was once a swamp is now one of Melbourne’s most beautiful historic landmarks.
Take the time to enjoy the lush greenery and explore the various walking paths. You’ll see quaint cottages, pretty greenhouses, and flower gardens as you make your way about. Entry to the gardens is free and is open to the public 24/7.
7) ADMIRE THE STREET ART
No trip to Melbourne is complete without discovering the city’s famous street art and murals. You’ll find laneways of graffiti scattered around the city, adding a burst of color to many otherwise dull corners of a big city. We love Hosier Lane located near Federation Square.
This laneway is always evolving and changing as new artists layer their work over the older graffiti, creating a unique layered effect. Other street art highlights to check out include AC/DC Lane and Duckboard Place. You can also take one of the guided street art tours offered around the city.
8) RELAX AT FEDERATION SQUARE
Once you’ve had your fill of the CBD, head to Federation Square. Located across the street from Flinders Street Station, you’ll find an enormous park spanning nearly 8 acres. This lush green oasis takes the perfect spot to take a break from a busy day and just relax.
Grab some takeout or pack a picnic to enjoy while you chill out and do some people-watching. If you visit during the summer, there are often different events or festivals as well as musicians and buskers providing live entertainment.
Check out the big screen on Swanson Street, where major local and international sporting events, like the Olympics, are streamed for the public.
9) ENJOY A DRINK WITH A VIEW
If you enjoy a good beer or a cocktail, look no further, Melbourne has got you covered. The city is Australia’s bar capital, boasting tons of trendy bars and restaurants around the city.
If you prefer a cozy feel, head to Melbourne’s CBD where you’ll find bars tucked amongst the laneways. Our recommendation? Rooftop bars! This is our favorite way to enjoy a delicious drink as well as taking in the city’s skyline at night. For a stunning 360-view, check out the Imperial Hotel.
10) TAKE A WALKING TOUR
One of our favorite ways to get to know a new city to take a walking tour. There are several companies offering free and paid tours around Melbourne, where a guide will take you around and explain various landmarks, historical moments, and local stories.
There are tons of different tours offered, with dedicated topics including Indigenous Melbourne, Historical Melbourne, and Melbourne Music Walks. This is a great way to dive into your interests and really get to know the city. Once you’re done exploring this hip city, head south and take a road trip along the Great Ocean Road.
Guest Author Bio: Natasha is of the Great Ocean Road Collective. A website dedicated to sharing the beauty of the Great Ocean Road in Australia with travelers far and wide. If you are planning your trip, need some inspiration, or looking for authentic advice on Aussie travel visit our website The Great Ocean Road Australia or check us out on Instagram.