Melbourne is a true bucket list destination and is often talked about as Australia’s answer to London. Its stylish and artsy personality draws crowds from all over the globe, and its residents feel blessed to be inhabiting one of the world’s most livable cities. Melbourne’s sprawling neighborhoods are each full of a unique and dynamic, from the hipster streets of Fitzroy to the multicultural community of Footscray. You could live a lifetime in Melbourne and never master the city. Read on, BUCKiTDREAMERs, for a general breakdown of the city.
Figure Out What CBD Means The Melbourne City Centre (also known as The City or The CBD) is the main tourist hub of the city. Here you’ll find the major shopping precincts of Collins Street, Bourke Street Mall and Melbourne Central and the markets and galleries of Federation Square. If you’re new to the city, a good first-day activity is to jump on the free City Circle Tram, which will take you past major landmarks such as the Melbourne Aquarium and Parliament House. The Southbank area is where you’ll find the infamous Crown Casino, which offers some of the city’s finest fare, including Neil Perry’s Rockpool or the world-renowned Dinner by Heston Blumenthal.
Head To the City’s Underbelly North Melbourne is the city’s trendy inner suburb, with torchbearers such as Fitzroy and Brunswick leading the way for hipsters around the world. This hive of all things quirky and cool is the perfect spot to peruse some of the city’s finest street art, hunt for gold in one of the many vintage clothing stores or get lost searching for classics in a second-hand bookshop. Take a walk down Brunswick Street (Fitzroy’s main drag), and you won’t be able to throw a stick without it landing on the front steps of a new restaurant — or at least a pile of smashed avo. If you want to indulge in some intercontinental delicacies, head to Brunswick’s Sydney Road.
Wander Through Art Exhibitions in Northcote Heading a little farther out is the charming neighborhood Northcote, a true arts center with regular events featured at the Northcote Town Hall, Northcote Social Club, and The Regal Ballroom. If you’re in the mood for a little window shopping, this area is brimming with small boutiques and antique stores.
Groove to the Beat Collingwood has managed to hold onto its slightly grungy roots, making it the top spot to find unapologetically laid-back bars, inventive (which is not always a good thing) eateries and geek-chic boutiques. A throwback to its musical heritage, Collingwood is where you can still find a decent jam at the legendary Tote Hotel, Bendigo Hotel, and Gem Bar.
Visit Italy in Australia If Italian is more your thing, then head over to Melbourne’s own Little Italy in Carlton. You find men in suits playing cards outside cafés and top notch gelatos. If you’re in the mood for a little Godfather action, then this is your ’burb. If the weather is nice, which isn’t always guaranteed given Melbourne’s temperamental climate, then take a picnic along to Carlton Gardens for a lazy afternoon. But if it’s raining cats and dogs, then seek shelter, and brush up on your history at the Melbourne Museum.
Ring the Bell For the best falafels in town, head to Coburg, where you can wash it all down with a cup of $2 coffee (a rarity these days). Bell Street is where you’ll get the best of Coburg’s trendy new cafe-cum-bike repair-cum-music venue-type spots, and if you’re a lover of a good pub sesh, then you can do no wrong with a visit to The Post Office.
Don Your Boho-Chic South Melbourne is the city’s softer, more bohemian side. It is home to iconic areas such as Luna Park and Brighton’s colorful bathing boxes. St Kilda has undergone a massive facelift since it’s sleazy heyday in the 1970s when musicians often took up the role of the vagrants in the suburb’s many dilapidated buildings. Nowadays, you can take a stroll down the delightful Acland Street and sample cakes from traditional Jewish bakeries or take in the view at St Kilda Beach, where you’ll find kite surfers and rollerbladers soaking up the (intermittent) sun.
Put on The Ritz For more of an upmarket feel, you can check out the glitz and glam of Prahran’s famous Chapel Street, which is known for stocking the best of the designer brands and where the bougie South Yarra and Windsor residents come to splurge.
Get Out your Shopping Bags No trip to Melbourne’s southern suburbs would be complete without a visit to the South Melbourne Market. A lively indoor space that’s brimming with market stalls selling all the farmers market favorites, from organic fruit and veggies to free-range meat and fresh-off-the-boat seafood.
Cheer for the Home Team East Melbourne is home to the beloved brown-and-yellow stripes of the Hawthorn Football Club. Being home to Melbourne’s major sports stadiums and arenas make this the place to be if you want to catch a game or two.
Study Up on History While you’re down in these parts, the historic suburb of Hawthorn is worth a visit as it’s managed to keep a lot of the original 1860s-style architecture from the gold rush days. Camberwell is a great pit stop for those who like to market-hop. Here you’ll find the sprawling Camberwell Sunday Market and the endearing and recently relocated Hawthorn Craft Market.
Travel the World Last but certainly, not least is the wonderfully multicultural hub of Footscray in West Melbourne. Come here to check out a thriving food scene that offers up the most authentic Vietnamese and African food in the city.
Now that you have a better understanding of the Melbournian suburbs for your BUCKiTDREAM diary, it’s time to discover what the rest of Australia has to offer by reading 9 Jaw-Dropping Places To Stop From Perth To Darwin and See The Great Barrier Reef And All Its Wonders.