ST KILDA At A Glance
Buzzy St Kilda is more than a suburb – it’s an icon. For those who are yet to visit, chances are you’ll recognise the grinning façade of Luna Park. But there’s so much more to this much-loved beachside suburb. From an impressive international dining scene to endless late night revelry, colourful St Kilda has it all.
The diverse population, even more diverse eating and drinking options and lively beachside promenade.
Despite gentrification, parts of the St Kilda are still a little too gritty.
St Kilda was Melbourne’s red light district and considered a den of sin.
If there’s one word that describes St Kilda, it’s eclectic. Beginning life as a glittering seaside resort for the rich, it evolved into the gritty epicentre of Melbourne’s bohemian scene. Now, this heavily gentrified neighbourhood is home to trendy cafés, bustling markets, a rowdy nightlife and backpackers aplenty.
Needless to say, St Kilda is a real mixed bag – in the best possible way.
While still a little rough around the edges in parts, Melbourne’s original red light district has long since cleaned up its act. St Kilda now offers residents a laid-back beachside lifestyle with a remarkable worldwide dining scene (Fitzroy Street is home to a number of hatted restaurants) and brunch roster that draws fans from across the city for everything from inventive vegan specialties to traditional fry-ups.
Beyond the area’s impressive foodie pedigree, there’s no missing its fabled history. Luna Park isn’t the only iconic venue to grace St Kilda’s streets. The Palais Theatre, The Esplanade Hotel (known fondly as ‘The Espy’), The Astor cinema and more – this suburb is home to some of Melbourne’s most-loved establishments. And the uproar whenever trigger happy developers propose closing them is thunderous.
But it’s when the weather is warm that the entire place really comes alive, with locals and visitors gravitating towards the beachside boardwalk to watch the sun go down over fish and chips and a drink or two.
St Kilda’s population is as eclectic as the suburb itself. A veritable mecca for backpackers, travellers (Brits in particular seem to harbour a real soft spot for St Kilda) can’t get enough of the area’s beachside charm and cheap and cheery drinking dens.
Likewise, cashed up urban workers flock to this lively neighbourhood in search of easy access to the city and a laid-back (yet never dull) lifestyle. In turn, older residents have seen their cherished locale transform from edgy bohemian enclave to slick hot-spot. One thing’s for sure, you’ll meet some real characters on these streets.
7 of the Best Cafes in St Kilda
Explore ST KILDA
There’s nothing like a St Kilda Beach sunset. And, while the beach itself might not be the country’s most beautiful, it certainly leads the charge when it comes to atmosphere.
From biking along the promenade to jogging through the stunning St Kilda Botanical Gardens (and even the occasional rollerblading session), locals love to keep fit in this outdoorsy suburb.
Luna Park to the Palais, The Espy to Dog’s Bar – St Kilda is home to some of Melbourne’s most cherished establishments.
Whether it’s the all-day revelry of the St Kilda Festival, the bars lining Acland Street or Fitzroy Street’s mega clubs – this is a suburb that knows how to party.
Colourful Acland Street with its multitude of bustling bars and cafés is a St Kilda institution. Come for the icons, stay for the eating and drinking. And the people watching.
Back in the Victorian and Edwardian eras, St Kilda was the suburb of choice for Melbourne’s elite in search of a sea change. Traces of this grand past can still be seen in the area’s multitude of historic mansions (some in better shape than others). These stately properties sit by side with Art Deco apartment blocks, Victorian terraces and cottages and an increasing number of modern developments.