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.
laid back neighborhood, was hipster central until they all moved up to Brunswick
- Bimbo Deluxe – $4 pizzas when you buy any drink
- Naked for Satan – The rooftop here is a must-do! Tons of infused vodkas 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 (just hang on to your toothpicks and pay at the end)
- 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 solid Aussie dishes. Fun for drinks too.
- Gelato Messina – also in Sydney, 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.
- Father’s Office – $5 happy hours from 5-7 and 8-10
- The Croft Institute – hospital themed bar, drinks are served with syringes, and the bathrooms are set up like a waiting room. Can be empty on weeknights.
- Fall from Grace – In the basement of State of Grace restaurant, the entrance is hidden behind a secret bookshelf. Delicious cocktails and swanky. Business crowd.
- 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 on Thursday nights for fun live music
- Whiskey & Alement
- 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 – fairly 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 – there are a few cafes that are associated with each other
- Chuckle Park – a caravan bar and cocktail jugs in a trendy laneway
On the beach, a bit of a backpacker scene and can be seedy in places.
- 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
Probably the area you will need to get most dressed up to go out, at least on the weekends. Draws a well-heeled crowd.
- 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 bar
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- 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, bands 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 Comics Night at European Beer Cafe. $12 for the ticket, cheap drinks and 5-6 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