Step onto the streets of Melbourne and you will be in awe of the incredible line-up of cafes, eateries, restaurants and bars – the beating pulse of laneways and neighbourhoods that have an addictive vibrancy. While you could spend weeks exploring this diverse city, for weekend travellers or locals looking to reconnect with their city, we have narrowed down a few of our favourite places. Here is our guide on how to spend two days in Melbourne.
Sake Restaurant and Bar, Hamer Hall
Regent Theatre, Melbourne
National Gallery Victoria
St Kilda Beach
The Blackman, St Kilda
South Melbourne Market
Matcha Mylkbar, St Kilda
An inner-city suburb that’s known for its beautiful leafy streets, historic vibe, gourmet grazing and top-notch café scene. The South Melbourne Markets are a local institution with fresh markets stalls and seriously good coffee, but they also have a line-up of homewares, fashion and second-hand goods. Brunch is a favourite past-time here – for French-inspired eats (croque-monsieur s’il vous plait) and takeaway bakery delights, Chez Dre is a Francophile’s haven. For coffee and laidback vibes head toSt Ali Coffee Roasters.
For a spot of culture, a visit to Australia’s oldest, largest and most visited art museum is a must. The National Gallery of Victoria hosts a diverse range of exhibitions and events from local and international artists. The latest exhibition to open is MoMA at NGV: 130 Years of Modern Contemporary Art, showcasing the famous New York gallery’s most iconic works from the likes of Vincent Van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, and Andy Warhol.
180 St Kilda Road, Melbourne
Check-in to The Blackman, one of the chic Art Series hotels that is inspired by the iconic Australian artist Charles Blackman. They have boutique suites kitted out with plush bedding and their signature, artistic interiors. Ask for a room with a view to make the most of the city skyline.
452 St Kilda Road, Melbourne
An eclectic beachside hub, St Kilda is one of Melbourne’s most diverse neighbourhoods. This cultural melting pot has transformed in recent years, yet its calling card is still the laughing face of Luna Park. The foodie and late-night scene is still as vibrant as ever – especially the cafés, which are considered some of the best in Melbourne (and that’s saying something). Head to Matcha Mylkbar for plant-based eats. For a delicious breakfast bagel, local institution Galleon Cafe delivers. To walk off lunch, take a stroll along the beachside boardwalk.
Dining hotspot Saké combines the best of Melbourne’s dining scene; river locale and an impressive menu. Its use of traditional Japanese techniques and flavours to create innovative dishes has foodies lining up. For those who are indecisive, go for the set menu and sample a variety of Saké’s signature eats. Popcorn shrimp forever and always.
100 St Kilda Road, Melbourne
Melbourne CBD has it all – arts, culture, entertainment and dining, and it’s all within easy walking distance or a short tram ride away. Curtin House is a late-night destination with over six floors. Level 1’s beer hall Cookie is the perfect place to start a bar crawl, while The Toff in Townon the second-floor pumps out live music. Mesa Verde on six serves up traditional Mexican margaritas and the Rooftop Bar and Cinema on the unofficial seventh level is the city’s most iconic venue.
252 Swanston Street, Melbourne
Craving a quiet moment? Wander through the Royal Botanic Garden, it’s open from 7:30am to sunset every day. As you meander through, take a moment to admire the natural surrounds; lakes, trees and wildlife. Pick up some picnic supplies from the Queen Victoria Market and spend the morning lakeside.
Birdwood Avenue, Melbourne
Arguably Melbourne’s most iconic market, locals have been stopping by for over 130 years. Why? The deli section alone rivals the spoils of the Mediterranean food halls, and the fruit and vegetable sheds are second to none. The largest open-air market in the Southern Hemisphere, the buzzing atmosphere alone is worth a visit. Be sure to make a bee-line straight for The American Doughnut Kitchen. The queue for these piping hot jam donuts is well worth the wait.
513 Elizabeth Street, Melbourne
Fitzroy has evolved from its humble working-class roots into a pulsing bohemian neighbourhood that’s always one step ahead of the latest trend. Like most of Melbourne, the food and coffee scenes are buzzing, but that’s not all that Fitzroy does well. For a shopping fix, hit Brunswick Street – a pre-loved mecca and Smith and Gertrude Streets house the custom-design boutiques. For vintage gems and threads with an edge, Vintage Sole curates the best of yesteryear with Vinyl Revival providing the soundtrack.
For a view of the city with side of adventure, travel 285 metres above the Melbourne Streets to the Eureka Skydeck. In 38 seconds you will arrive at the Skydeck and which has floor-to-ceiling windows that lookout over city skyline. For thrill seekers, The Edge is the latest experience that allows you to stand in a glass cube suspended over the city from the 88th floor.
7 Riverside Quay, Southbank
Delve into Melbourne’s history with a visit to Old Melbourne Gaol. Maintained to look just like the day it closed in 1929, the gruesome history of the gaol and its infamous residents (Ned Kelly for one), comes alive after dark. Not for the easily spooked, the night tours run throughout the week and you can choose to take a tour of the original cell block or get acquainted with the ghostly inhabitants.