Melbourne is a significant place for me – it’s where I started my travel journey, re-prioritized my life, started working remotely, and became comfortable traveling and exploring on my own.
I covered in detail my decision to live in Melbourne over Sydney in my article on moving to Australia. This article is geared more for tourists visiting the city – a quick neighborhood summary with restaurants, bars, and things to see and do in the city and Victoria.
This laid-back neighborhood has grungy bohemian vibes, is centrally located, and is home to some of the city’s best places to eat and drink.
- Bimbo Deluxe – $4 pizzas when you buy any drink.
- Naked for Satan – The rooftop here is a must-do! A fabulous infused vodka selection and one of the best views of the city. During the day and on weeknight evenings, they serve pintxos in the downstairs bar for $1 per item.
- Kodiak Club – An American themed whiskey bar.
- The Everleigh – Swanky and excellent cocktails, but expensive.
- Smith and Daughters – Vegetarian and vegan Mexican food, served in small bite format.
- Veggie Bar – Always popular, affordable and vegan or vegetarian options.
- The Napier Hotel – Home of the Bogan Burger, as well as other classic Aussie dishes. Fun for drinks too.
- Gelato Messina – Some of the best gelato in the city.
- DOC Pizza – Roman style, with a super-thin base and chewy crust. Get the white chocolate pie for dessert. (This is in Carlton)
- Easey’s Burger Bar – Burgers in a train on a rooftop – too good to resist.
The central business district has plenty of hidden gems – literally. The bars are spread out and usually found down small alleyways without any signage. If you can – I recommend recruiting a local to show you the way.
- Father’s Office – $5 happy hours from 5-7 and 8-10.
- The Croft Institute – A spooky hospital themed bar where drinks are served with syringes, and the bathrooms are set up like a waiting room.
- Fall from Grace – In the basement of State of Grace restaurant, the entrance is hidden behind a secret bookshelf. Delicious cocktails and swanky.
- Madame Brussels – Another classic Melbourne rooftop bar, set up like a garden party. Great for a pitcher of Pimm’s cup.
- Goldilocks Rooftop – Enter through Noodle Kingdom on Swanston Street and go ALL the way to the roof (Goldilocks has two floors, but the roof is the place to be.)
- Heartbreaker – Dive bar, rock, and roll style.
- Cherry Bar – Thursday night place to be for fun live music.
- Arbory or Ponyfish Island for waterside drinks.
- Workshop Brothers – Great little cafe in the CBD.
- Holey Moley – Fun spot for a group of friends to play mini-golf while sippin’ cocktails.
- Chin Chin – Incredible Chinese food – reasonably expensive.
- Big Boy BBQ – American Style BBQ, and $1 per person for BYO
- Shanghai Street Dumplings – Cheap as chips and delicious.
- Bomba – $15 lunch special for tapas with a beautiful rooftop that is open in the evening.
- Hutong Dumpling – For nicer Chinese food. Bookings required.
- St. Ali Coffee Roasters – A classic Melbourne cuppa.
- Chuckle Park – A caravan bar with cocktail jugs in a trendy laneway.
St. Kilda is a cheaper, seedier version of Sydney’s Bondi Beach. It has charm and plenty going on in the summer but can be a bit lifeless when winter rolls around.
- 29th Apartment – Pizza is $1 on Fridays if you buy a drink. The bar is set up like a NY apartment.
- The Vineyard – Right on Acland street.
- 7 Apples Gelato
- The Kettle Black – Fantastic brunch spot.
- Lentil as Anything – Vegan pay what you wish – funds go to charity.
Melbourne bars and clubs are always very relaxed – except when it comes to Richmond. This neighborhood draws a well-heeled crowd on the weekends.
- Bridge Hotel – Karma Kegs on Fridays (they tap a keg, and you pay what you think the drink is worth.)
- Kong – Owned by the same people as Chin Chin, one of the most popular restaurants in the CBD, this is share style Asian BBQ.
- Terminus Hotel- Good for dinner and drinks.
Things to See & Do:
- Walk to the top of the Shrine of Remembrance for a great view of the skyline.
- Take a free walking tour that meets at the State Library.
- Best lanes to visit for graffiti – Centre Place, Degraves St., Hosier Lane, Hardware Lane.
- See Ned Kelly’s armor for free, in the State Library.
- Hire a car and drive the Great Ocean Road.
- Hire a bike in Fed Square and ride the Capital City Trail, stopping for lunch at Lentil as Anything in Abbotsford Convent (the restaurant is pay-what-you-wish.)
- Queen Vic Night Market on Wednesday evenings for live music and drinks.
- Head to the end of the St. Kilda pier about 30-45 minutes after sunset to see the fairy penguins.
- Picnic or go for a run in the ‘Tan (Botanical Garden.)
- Thursday night is Comic’s Night at European Beer Cafe. $12 for the ticket, cheap drinks, and five to six comics who are generally pretty funny.
- Melbourne is a HUGE coffee town. Don’t go to Starbucks.
- Wine tasting in the Yarra Valley.
- Spend a weekend hiking and visiting the vineyards on Mornington Peninsula.