On the picturesque banks of the Yara River, Melbourne is a vibrant, ever- changing city that many would argue is the cultural heart of Australia. If Sydney is the laid back, beach, and sunshine city then Melbourne is it’s trendy, fashion-forward counterpart.
Ripe with museums, galleries, shopping districts, and theatre productions; Melbourne has a never ending supply of cultural activities. Mix and match these with a few quirky neighbourhoods and on-trend restaurants (deconstructed food anyone?) to get a real feel for this lively city.
Here are 13 Amazing things to do in Melbourne:
1. Explore the Alleys
To make the most of space, back alleys have been turned into mazes of pedestrian friendly walkways lined with cafes, restaurants, and pop up bars.
2. Take a Self-Guided Street Art Tour
Stop into any tourist information center for DIY tours and maps. You will find that the sides of buildings and alleys are covered in museum quality murals. Start on Hosier Lane near Federation Square and wind your way towards Center Place. The art changes regularily, so don’t expect to see the same thing twice.
3. Drink All of the Coffee
Seriously. All of the Coffee. Melbourne is known for being a city of coffee lovers and they do not take that title lightly. Delicious coffee shops line most corners and they do not disappoint.
To order like a local, check out my coffee guide to Melbourne
4. Try a Trendy Restaurant
New and exciting restaurants are popping up just about every weekend in Melbourne. This is a city on the cusp of every new trend. I like to ask locals where they like to eat when I travel. I find that a good strategy is to approach your Airbnb hosts or hotel front desk for these suggestions.
5. Take the Ferry to Williamstown
The Yarra River is a joy in itself. Palm trees and skyscrapers line the side of this winding water. Williamstown gives you the feeling like you have stepped back in time. It is a quaint seaside village with local shops and white picket fences and makes for the perfect end to your ferry ride.
6. Visit St. Kilda Beach
Not many cities can boast that they have a world class beach within their centre. Take advantage here with a walk along the pier, a beach side drink, or a quick dip. Pay close attention to posted signs and lifeguard warnings. Sharks and jellyfish can pose a safety risk if in season.
7. Check out Quirky Neighbourhoods
One of the best things about Melbourne are the neighbourhoods. Each with completely different personalities. A person can feel as though they have traveled to an entirely different world after a quick tram ride.
8. See a Broadway Show
As a theatre hub, Melbourne hosts many popular broadway shows. Check out half tix for discounted tickets that are not yet sold for same day viewings. Be aware that these are the leftover seats and seat selection can be limited.
9. Day Trip to the Mornington Peninsula
Okay, so this isn’t exactly in Melbourne, but it is only about an hour drive away. It does make for the perfect day trip. Beautiful beaches, idyllic towns, wineries, and farm to table food are only a few of the experiences here.
10. See an Aussie Rules Game
Australia loves Aussie Rules. Period. It is a rougher version of the football that you are used to. There is twice as much hitting and little to no padding or protection for the players. High stakes equals big excitement. Pick a team to cheer for and make sure to be in the right section! You’ve been warned.
11. Grab a Bite at Victoria Market
A large indoor/outdoor food and goods market, featuring fresh meats, vegetables, fruits, and flowers. I picked up a few souvenirs from here as well. Oh, and coffee. Lots of coffee.
12. Visit the Botanical Gardens
If you are sick of the hustle and bustle of the big city, the botanical garden makes for the perfect afternoon. The serenity is wonderful. Stroll the large grounds, rent a bike, or take the tram tour for an extra cost if mobility is an issue.
13. Spend the Day at Luna Park
Let your inner child out at this old school amusement park. It is complete with a creepy clown roller coaster and bumper cars.
Have any Melbourne favourites that I left out? Leave a comment below with your suggestions!