The weather may not always seem promising and there may not be an iconic bridge in sight (here's looking at you, Sydney), but let’s get one thing straight — what Melbourne lacks in weather and landmarks, it more than makes up for with its food culture, art scene and quirky offerings.
Previously ranked as the world’s ‘most liveable city’ seven years in a row (2000-2017), Melbourne may have lost its top title to Vienna this year, but it still came in hot at second place. And it’s no secret why this city continues to rank high year after year, being beloved by those who have travelled here, as well as those who are fortunate enough to call it home.
Here are just some of the reasons why Melbourne will always be our number one.
1. It scores an A+ in the ‘cool’ factor
Let’s get the obvious one out of the way — living in Melbourne immediately affords you a baseline cool-factor. Yes, it’s a hipster haven that naturally breeds and attracts creatives and alike, but it’s also a city where many different cultures have come together to share their food, fashion, and traditions. No doubt the city is all the better for all these things.
2. There’s culture around every corner
Melbourne is dubbed as being Australia’s cultural capital, and for good reason. From the city’s array of museums, multicultural cuisines, and music scene, it’s not difficult to see that Melburnians are passionate about the arts.
3. …and art in the streets
Speaking of art, galleries are not the only place to get your art fix. In fact, just take a stroll down the famous Hosier Lane and let the legendary laneway speak for itself.
4. It’s a foodie’s paradise
Melbourne has the most restaurants and eateries per capita in the world, so if you like to eat well (who doesn’t?), then this city has your name all over it. Whether you’re craving pizza, sushi, or seafood, Melbourne has it in spades — just let your appetite lead the way.
5. The coffee snobbery is justified
It’s hard to walk a few steps without coming across a trendy café in Melbourne, and that’s a fact. The coffee culture runs deep in this city, full of clever baristas who have no doubt heard all the crazy coffee orders under the sun.
6. You can take the tram around town
Melbourne’s tram network is an integral part of what makes the city unique. It’s beloved by locals and tourists alike, for being an iconic mode of transport, guiding you through the city from one stop to the next. There’s also a free tram zone which runs within the central city “square” which is rather handy.
7. It’s a great source for some retail therapy
Loosen your purse strings and wander about Melbourne's streets, because you’re in for a treat. The city’s ever-evolving shopping choices range from a myriad of laneways full of second-hand stores and boutique shops, all the way to department stores and shopping centres.
8. There’s a different market on every weekend
If you fancy yourself a trip to the markets come weekend, Melbourne has certainly got you covered — and then some. Head to the Prahran Market for local produce and delicious food stalls, the Kensington Market for a treasure trove of boutique finds, or the St Kilda Market for lovingly made creations.
9. There’s no need for a tree change
Melbourne may not have the best beaches, but you can soak up the sun or sit for a picnic at one of its many beautiful parks instead. The city has almost 4000 acres of open green space for housing rare and indigenous plants, as well as providing stunning spots for lunchtime lounging. The Fitzroy Gardens and Royal Botanical Gardens are among the most historic in the city.
10. The music scene is rocking
You can find live music pretty much every day of the week in Melbourne. From rock music, jazz blues, and everything in between — chances are there’s a venue in the city with a line-up of both renowned and upcoming musicians.
11. The social calendar is always full
Melbourne also loves a good festival. There's always one going on, whether it's film, comedy, arts, music or design — it’s truly buzzing all the time. There’s the Melbourne International Comedy Festival in March, Open House Melbourne in July, and the Melbourne Fashion Week in August. Take your pick!
12. It’s the sporting capital of the world
Sports enthusiasts can also feel right at home in Melbourne. Whether it’s attending a Tennis Grand Slam, a Formula 1 Grand Prix, or an AFL blockbuster at the MCG — fans of any sporting code have an endless amount of opportunity to wear their colours loud and proud in this city.
13. …and home of the race that stops a nation
And then of course there’s the annual Melbourne Cup. Each year, thousands of people flock to Flemington Racecourse suited and booted and dressed in their finest, supporting their lucky numbered horse. All the while, enjoying a drink – or several – on a sunny summer’s afternoon.
14. The rooftop bars are through the roof
Melbourne may not have the greatest weather, but when temperatures rise, and the sky is clear, rooftop drinking more than delivers. Try the popular go-to spot, Naked in the Sky, located on the roof above Naked for Satan on Brunswick Street, or the freshly opened Good Heavens bar, located above Fancy Hanks on Bourke Street. Cheers!
15. The nightlife offers something rather different
Do you like your drink served in arctic temperatures? Or maybe you’d like it to be served in a test tube? Right this way, curious ones… Melbourne offers a varied nightlife sceneto say the least, like IceBar Melbourne, a whimsical cocktail bar sculpted from blocks of ice, or The Croft Institute, a cocktail bar loosely themed around a science laboratory.
16. …and so do the hotels
Some like their hotels luxe, whilst others like them a little unique. If you fall on the latter side, Melbourne won’t disappoint your quirky tendencies. Take for example Notel, possibly the most Melbourne creation to come out of the city, consisting of six repurposed luxury American Airstream caravans situated on a rooftop in the CBD.
17. It’s a perfect launching pad for nearby destinations
Perhaps one of the best things about Melbourne has in fact got nothing to do with the city itself, but rather about what beautiful locations lie around it. The Mornington Peninsula, the Yarra Valley, the Great Ocean Road — the list goes on and on. And to think they are all reachable in a day’s drive, Melbourne's backyard is indeed boundless.
18. It’s the San Francisco of Australia
Although the famous Mardi Gras takes place in Sydney each year, Melbourne is home to the first gay and lesbian radio station in the world, Australia’s largest LGBT film festival, the Melbourne Queer Film Festival, and several bars and clubs scattered throughout the city.
19. It scores high where it matters most
Last but certainly not least, it shouldn’t go unnoticed as to what exactly makes Melbourne one of the world's most liveable cities. Great public transport options, top ranked universities, relatively low crime rates, and strong employment opportunities — need we say more?