So, if you ask me where my favourite place in Melbourne is… I might be tempted to say the airport. I have been putting off writing this post for so long because if I am totally honest, I don’t love Melbourne. It doesn’t really appeal to me because I am not really a fan of concrete jungles and I prefer to explore older cities with richer histories. Despite me not loving this city, I do still have places that I like and would recommend visiting and I will share them you shortly.
If you were to visit Victoria from overseas, I would recommend spending 1-2 days in Melbourne. If you like Berlin you will probably really like Melbourne and in that case, you might want to spend a little more time here. If you are a nature lover, I would recommend skipping Victoria all together and hitting Tasmania instead, as a Victorian that is a huge thing to say but TRUST ME!
So without further ado, I will share with you the places that I like the most in the city of Melbourne.
Federation Square is the place to be for a cool perspective of Melbourne, it is a short walking distance to many other attractions and there are often free events of all different kinds going on there (if you are lucky enough you will be treated to free food and drinks). It is across the road from the iconic Flinders Street Station (so easy to access) and close to Southbank. This is a popular place for locals to meet and hang out.
Flinders Street Station.
This train station is an iconic site in Melbourne – the historic face of the train station featuring a row of clocks is a beautiful old building full of character. It is also home to two of my favourite places to get cheeky takeaway treats: Lord of Fries (all vegetarian takeaway food – IF YOU ARE VEGETARIAN OR VEGAN YOU HAVE TO GO! My favourite thing to order is the ‘Melbourne Dog’) and San Churro (a churro shop).
If you love shopping Melbourne Central is definitely the place for you with a vast range of stores to choose from. If you are not keen to shop you might enjoy the architecture. The former shot tower and the glass ceiling is incredible to gaze up at.
There is a giant clock underneath this glass ceiling which chimes every hour. A marionette featuring native Australian animals display drops down and ‘Waltzing Matilda’ plays.
The State Library of Victoria.
On sunny days Melburnians sunbathe, study and meet on the lawns of the State Library which is across from Melbourne Central on Swanston Street. If the weather is good, people seem to meet here to hang out until quite late into the night.
The State Library is one of my favourite buildings in Melbourne. It was built in the 1850’s and is beautiful from both the inside and outside. There are free tours of the building where you are taken to areas that are not open to the public, for more information on dates and times, check out their website.
The State Library is home to multiple permanent exhibitions relating to a variety of topics – the most iconic and popular item in the collection is Ned Kelly’s armour as well as his death mask!
I recently checked out some of the galleries (mainly on the 5th floor) and they had a lot of interesting items and information relating to Victorian history – I would recommend that locals especially check this out because it is quite fascinating.
There is often free touring art and history exhibitions held within the State Library and according to their website, a new gallery is coming soon.
For an epic view of Melbourne
Forget about going to the Eureka Tower which costs $20AUD for entry to the Skydeck. The former tallest building in Melbourne (The Rialto) is home to an incredibly fancy cocktail bar called Lui Bar. This bar is the place to be for the best view of Melbourne, all for the price of a drink (and if you have a reasonably priced beer or wine it will cost you less half the price admission of Eureka Tower)! You need to dress fairly smart to enter, so no thongs (flip-flops) or beach clothes, okay?
In Melbourne, we have many trendy laneways lined with cafes. Some of my favourite laneways include Centre Place, Degraves Street and Hardware Lane.
We seriously love a good coffee in Melbourne and brunch is like a religion here, so if you really want to experience Melbourne as a local would make an effort to visit one of these alleyways for a coffee or brunch.
Charming Shopping Arcades
Melbourne is home to a number of shopping arcades which were very fashionable to visit back in the day. My two favourites are the Block Arcade and the Royal Arcade, which were both established in the 1800’s and are in close vicinity to each other.
The Block Arcade is hands down my favourite arcade. Mainly because it is home to Hopetoun Tea Rooms which has the most seductive cake window display I have ever encountered in my life.
I visited with a friend a few months ago after wanting to go for a very long time and it certainly lived up to my expectations. They have an amazing selection of delicious teas and cakes and I highly recommend you visit if you are a tea or cake lover.
St. Patricks Cathedral
This is my favourite church in Melbourne… It is a short walk from Parliament Station and it is just breathtakingly beautiful to me, at any time of the day!
I like it especially at when it is dark out because the windows are illuminated from the inside.
The gardens at this cathedral are immaculately manicured all year round and are usually filled with strongly scented flowers. If you are interested in attending a mass, check out their website for mass times.
Queen Victoria Market – Night Market
The Queen Victoria Market, known by locals as the ‘Vic Market’ is the place to go if you love food markets. I love the food they sell at the stalls here, I would, however, recommend getting there shortly after the market starts to avoid crowds and so that you can sit down while you eat.
My favourite stall is ‘Takis Balls’, they sell a Greek dessert which is similar to a doughnut, drizzled in a topping of your choice (Nutella is my go to).
This is a seasonal event that normally happens on a Wednesday night throughout most weeks in Winter and Summer so please check the Queen Victoria Market website if you plan on going to make sure that is on.
Transport in Melbourne:
-The city is quite small in comparison to other cities I have been to and you can easily walk around the entire CBD by foot.
-Within the CBD all trams are now free and it is an easy way to get around. There is also the City Circle tram which stops at the main attractions, this is also free.
-You have to buy a Myki Card to use the trains and buses in the CBD and to travel outside of the CBD using public transport. You can purchase this either at the train station or 7-11 for $6AUD (full fare), then you need to add money to it (you can do this at the train station). Depending on where you go and if you use it for only 2 hours or all day it can cost you between $4.10-$8.20AUD (full fare).
-Drinking in Melbourne (and Australia in general) can be EXPENSIVE, that is one of the main reasons why I rarely do it. If you are on a tight budget AVOID bars and clubs like the plague, go out at night once or twice if you must but you can’t afford to party every night in this city like you can in some other cities. Stick with beer or wine and avoid spirits to save $$$.
-If you are a fan of rock music check out my favourite Australian band British India, who originate from Melbourne. Wandering around with some local music playing into your headphones can definitely add that something extra to your experience (for me it does anyway).
I hope you enjoyed this post and found it informative! If you are coming to Melbourne, please feel free to send me a DM on Instagram if you want more specific advice or want to meet up for a coffee.
PS. Special thanks to my friend Scarlet for taking the 2 portraits of me that I have included in this post. Thanks to both Scarlet and my mum for accompanying me on 2/3 photo walks that I went on for this post :).