A detailed guide to Melbourne from people who live there!

melbourne guide where to visit to do

Melbourne, regularly rated as one of the most liveable cities in the world, is our home town! After posting up guides, reviews and highlights from around the world, we thought it was about time to share some insights and recommendations from where we live! This blog covers of some of the things we enjoy doing, including our favourite areas, activities, best places for picnics and walks, plus some hospitality recommendations and more!

Our favourite parts of Melbourne

Melbourne is full of vibrant neighbourhoods, cool suburbs and great streets that feel like they transport you somewhere else entirely. We have listed a few of our favourite parts of Melbourne below that we think are worth exploring.

  • South Melbourne: this is an underrated part of Melbourne. We recommend you visit the buzzing South Melbourne Market, head for coffee at one of the amazing cafe’s (St Ali, Chez Dre, Deadman Espresso, Park Lane and more), check out the nearby Albert Park Lake and more! It’s a little pocket of Melbourne that we think deserves a little more love!
  • Albert Park Lake: In our opinion, Albert Park Lake boasts one of the best views of Melbourne, and is one of the better walks and parks in the city. The walk around is about 4.8kms, so be prepared if you’re thinking of making the trek.
  • Greville Street: A bustling street located off the popular Chapel Street in Prahran. Filled with cafes, barbers and boutiques, it’s a great spot for a bite to eat or a coffee. Chapel street has excellent food (especially the Windsor end) and good shopping (South Yarra/Richmond end).
  • Hardware Lane: Home to our favourite restaurant (Miznon) and with a distinct ‘European feel’, especially on a warm evening. Hardware Lane is a must visit!
  • Along the Yarra/Southbank: The promenade from Morell Pedestrian Bridge to Crown Casino is a great walk filled with views, restaurants, bars and more. It’s a great spot for a walk and on a pleasant weekend evening it will be a hive of activity.
  • Chapel Street – Windsor End: A great spot for food! The Windsor End of Chapel Street has amazing cuisine, and one of our favourite restaurants, Hawker Hall! Get off at the Windsor Train Station and check out some of the great restaurants and bars!
  • Head northside to Smith Street & Brunswick Street: The north side of the city boasts some of the best cafes, bars and restaurants in Melbourne. A short tram ride will bring you to one of the ‘effortlessly cool’ areas of Melbourne. The inner north has it’s own unique style, and everyone is welcome! It isn’t hard to find a great coffee, cool bars and much more!
  • Elwood & Elwood Foreshore: Located just out of the city along with coast and adjacent to St Kilda, Elwood is a delightful suburb we just love! The walk from Elwood to St Kilda is one of our favourite in Melbourne (great city skyline views at Point Ormond), and Elwood beach is a little nicer than St Kilda. Elwood is full of great cafes as well!

The best places to have a picnic in Melbourne

Having a picnic in Melbourne is something that we love to do, and can be done through the year. We have a multitude of wonderful areas to sit, relax and enjoy. We have listed a few of our favourite locations below:

  • Royal Botanical Gardens: Situated just out of the city (~10-15minutes walk from Flinders Street station), the Botanical Gardens are the perfect place for a picnic. Head up to the central lawn for the best views.
  • A picnic along the Yarra River: Set yourself up along the bank of the Yarra River between Swan Street Bridge and Morrell Pedestrian Bridge. There are public BBQs, and you are within walking distance of the Botanical Gardens and the city.
  • Fawkner Park: Situated just out of the city in the inner south, Fawkner park has beautiful tree-line paths ands lots of space to sit and relax.
  • St Kilda Foreshore: Whilst often busy in summer, the foreshore can be a fun spot to stop, enjoy the sun and relax. Be prepared that it can be a little windier down the coast. Choose the grassy area near St Kilda Beach or the palm tree lined Catani Gardens.
  • Edinburgh Gardens: Located in the north of the city, Fitzroy, Edinburgh Gardens is a great spot for a picnic. Warm days have the northside locals flocking to the park, and popular public holiday or celebration days often have the park busy with picnickers.

Some ‘do not miss’ experiences in Melbourne

Melbourne if full of amazing experiences and things to do! The list below are recommendations that we love and think you would enjoy on a visit to Melbourne:

  • Watch and AFL football game – especially at the MCG: This is something that is uniquely Australian, and one of the great experiences in Melbourne. The AFL season runs between March-September, and if you are around during this time, try to get to a game. Explaining the rules of the game goes beyond this post, however it will likely be different than you expect. Try to go to a game at the MCG, as this is the premier stadium in Australia.
  • Brunch! Melbourne is the brunch capital of the world! Boasting the best coffee around, and some awesome cafes and restaurants, have a late breakfast/brunch and ‘do as the Melbournians do’.
  • Head to the Australian Open Tennis (if you are here in January): A visit to the Australian Open is one of the great days! Think sitting in the sun watching world class tennis. Wandering through outdoor bars and entertainment. And lots more! Typically the Australian Open runs in the last 2 weeks of January and is a popular attraction for tourists and locals alike.
  • Check out the NGV: The National Gallery of Victoria is a great stop for art and culture lovers. The exhibitions are regularly changing but are often excellent.
  • See the beach boxes in Brighton: Okay, this is a little “touristic”, but something that is unique to Melbourne and Australian beaches. Whilst we think the beach boxes further down the coast in locations like Mount Martha are even better, the Brighton beach boxes are within touching distance of the city.
  • Watch a sunset at Point Ormond: There are lots of excellent places to view a Melbourne sunset, but Point Ormond in Elwood is one of the best. Boasting views of the city skyline and the beach, it’s a beautiful spot to sit and take in golden hour or the sunset. Be aware that it can get cool and windy in the evenings, so be prepared to rug up pending the weather.
  • Hire a GoBoat on the Yarra: Have your picnic on a boat along the Yarra River. This is a unique experience that is a lot of fun and a great way to see part of the city. Perfect for a nice afternoon day, grab a few drinks or a picnic and hire your own little boat. Whilst not the most budget friendly, split between a group of people it can be good fun.
  • Check out the Night Market at Queen Victoria Markets: Whilst Melbourne often has many night markets (including ones along the Yarra), we particularly enjoy the Wednesday night Queen Victoria Market. With a multitude of food and drink options, it makes an excellent activity all times of the year.
  • Try the multi-cultural cuisine! Melbourne has amazing food! Particularly, we have great multi-cultural food, including Asian, Italian, Greek, Middle Eastern, Mexican and more. We have listed a few of our favourites below, but there’s so many more that we worth exploring! Eat your way around Melbourne and it’s neighbouring suburbs!
  • Have a walk or picnic in the beautiful gardens or parks! See our recommendations above.
  • There’s so much more to do, including shopping (see below), day trips (see our top picks below, these are a must do!), and more!

Food, Drinks & Coffee in Melbourne:

Melbourne is full of some amazing restaurants, bars and cafes! We personally think that this hospitality scene is one of the things that makes Melbourne so ‘great’. If you visit, or live nearby, make sure you sample some of the amazing cuisine and offerings that are available. We will list a few of our top picks below, but there’s many more we haven’t added such is the depth of the options in Melbourne.

Some of our favourite cafe’s in Melbourne:

*note: this is only some of so many excellent cafe’s in Melbourne. It is harder to find a bad coffee than a good on in Melbourne. This is why we think Melbourne is the ‘coffee capital’ of the world!

  • St Ali – South Melbourne
  • Seven Seeds – Carlton
  • Brother Baba Budan – Melbourne
  • The Kettle Black – South Melbourne
  • Chez Mademoiselle – Prahran
  • Mitte Cafe – Fitzroy North
  • Monk Bodhi Dharma – Balaclava
  • Chez Dre – South Melbourne
  • Wall Coffee – Balacalva
  • ACoffee – Collingwood

Check out a few more of our favourites here.

The restaurants we love in Melbourne!

Melbourne has amazing cuisine, including many great fine dining restaurants. Our style isn’t ‘fine dining’, and we often prefer multicultural food and good experiences. These are some of our favourites but there’s many more we have missed! Share your favourites below!

  • Miznon – Melbourne
  • Hawker Hall – Windsor
  • Chin Chin – Melbourne
  • La Tortilleria – Kensington
  • Shop Ramen – Fitzroy

See our list for even more of our favourite options!

Some amazing rooftop & Outdoor bars in Melbourne you need to visit:

These bars are located around the city and have either excellent rooftops or great outdoor areas. They can often get busy on warm summers afternoons/evenings, but we urge you to try and check them out if you’re in the city!

  • Rooftop Bar
  • Her Rooftop Bar
  • Good Heavens
  • Captain Baxter
  • The Imperial Hotel Rooftop
  • State of Grace Rooftop
  • Arbory Afloat
  • Section 8
  • Loop Rooftop Bar
  • Corner Hotel Richmond
  • Golden Fleece Hotel
  • The National Hotel
  • Public House
  • Whitehart Bar

Our favourite laneways in Melbourne

Melbourne is full of laneways, some filled with bright street art, others with history, and some with awesome coffee shops and culture. We think the alleyways are some of the best parts of the Melbourne CBD that are worth checking out. We have listed a few of our favourites below:

  • Hardware Lane: Wandering down Hardware Lane on a warm summers evening you might feel like you’ve been transported to Europe. Filled with some of the best restaurants, this little alley will often be overflowing with people, tables and live music. Make sure you check out our favourite restaurant in Melbourne, Miznon!
  • See top street art and colourful graffiti at these laneways: The top picks are Hozier Lane, AC/DC Lane and Duckboard Place. They are all within 5-10 minutes walk of Flinders St Station and not far from each other. A must do on your visit to Melbourne.
  • Degraves Street & Centre Place: Situated only a few metres from Flinders St Station, these are another must visit. Lined with bustling cafe’s, the Degraves Street and Centre Place alleyways also have a distinct European feel.
  • The undercover Block Arcade: This beautiful covered arcade was opened in 1892. Filled with colourful tiled floors, cute shops and old-world architecture it’s definitely one to add to the list.
  • Royal Arcade: Another undercover alley like Block Arcade that is always a good idea to visit. With cute shops and boutiques, Royal Arcade is a great addition to your city visit. Situated just off Bourke Street.
  • Guildford Lane: A little different than some of the other alleyways, Guildford Lane is overflowing with green plants. Situated not far from Bourke Street, we definitely think it’s worth visiting.
  • Tattersalls Lane: Located off Little Bourke Street, this alleyway is home to one of our favourite outdoor bars, Section 8. It’s worth checking out if you nearby.
  • Cathedral Arcade: Another beautiful covered arcade located near Flinders Street worth checking out.

There’s many, many more we haven’t included, so get out there and explore the Melbourne city! See our Melbourne Laneway guide here!

Our top scenic walks in Melbourne

Melbourne has a number of beautiful green spaces, promenades and places to enjoy and beautiful walk. We have traversed many of these top walkings in Melbourne, and have lists a few of our favourites below that we think you should check out!

  • Walking from from Point Ormond (Elwood) to St Kilda
  • Walk around Albert Park Lake
  • Walking along the Yarra River from the end of The Tan (near Morell Pedestrian Bridge) towards Southbank/Flinders St Station
  • Walking through the Royal Botanical Gardens
  • Walking along the Yarra in Kew near Studley Park Boathouse and Collingwood Children’s Farm
  • Walk along the Williamstown promenade with views of the city

Good beaches near the Melbourne city centre

Victoria has some stunning beaches, particularly along the Mornington Peninsula, Surf Coast/Great Ocean Road and down at Wilsons Promontory. However, none of these are within touching distance of the city with a car/tour. The beaches below are some of our favourite options ‘close-by’ the city centre. You can likely reach these options via public transport, a short drive, walking, or with an E-Scooter/Bike hire.

  • Elwood Beach: Located adjacent to St Kilda, Elwood is a charming suburb and has a picturesque promenade. While the beach isn’t as beautiful as the ones further down the coast, it is one of the top beaches close to the city and worth checking out if you’re craving some sun and sand.
  • Half Moon Bay: If you’re willing to travel a little further, Half Moon Bay is a top pick! Boasting a beautiful little bay, clear waters and an old shipwreck you can snorkel or swim out to, Half Moon Bay is definitely worth a visit! Our top tip is to check out the fish and chip shop near the harbour.. the sweet potato cakes are our favourite in Victoria!
  • South Melbourne Beach: Located within touching distance of the city, South Melbourne Beach is definitely underrated! Head to the end of Kerford Road and grab a spot of sand near the pier. You can also get a coffee from one of our regular local cafe’s, Pipi’s Kiosk!
  • Brighton Beach: Whilst not the ‘best beach’ around, Brighton Beach boasts one of Melbourne’s most ‘touristic’ photo opportunities.. the beach boxes. In addition, you will find a vast expanse of sand and views of the city.
  • Williamstown Beach: If you’re heading the western side of the city, Williamston beach is another spot that’s worth checking out. In addition, Williamstown is a cute beachside town that is great to explore. The Williamstown promenade boasts great views of the Melbourne skyline.
  • St Kilda Beach: One of the most popular ‘city beaches’, St Kilda Beach is close to the city and easy to access via public transport. The suburb of St Kilda is filled with great cafes, bars and restaurants (including some along the waterfront). The promenade is great to walk or run, and there’s a beautiful old pier to walk along. You also have the Catani Gardens which host events and are good for a picnic. However, don’t expect crystal clear water here due to the proximity to the city.

Melbourne is a shopper’s paradise

Melbourne has some world best shopping opportunities for those interested. Whilst not the focus of this post, we have listed a few of the areas that are great for shoppers to consider and investigate further:

  • Emporium: & Melbourne Central: Located in the heart of the CBD, Emporium & Melbourne Central offer a large range of popular brands, high end fashion and also boutiques.
  • Chadstone: Probably the best shopping precinct in Victoria (and maybe Australia), there isn’t much you cant find in Chadstone, including high-end luxury.
  • Chapel Street: Situated in the inner east of Melbourne, Chapel Street offers a variety of boutiques and urban fashion
  • DFO: With locations all around Melbourne, including docklands, south east and north, DFO (Direct Factory Outlets) offers you cheap discounted brands and is good for bargain lovers.

Want to stay in Melbourne?

If you are visiting and planning on staying in Melbourne, where you stay really depends on what you are looking to do. Generally, staying in the heart of the city will keep you close to the action, however, if you want to get a little closer to the beach consider St Kilda or Sth/Port Melbourne. If you’re wanting to stay close to cafe’s, bars and restaurants, a place close to Chapel Street might suit you. However, regardless of where you stay, we recommend you try to have accommodation nearby a train or tram stop to allow you to get around with ease. Take a look here or at some options below:


Get out of Melbourne to experience the best parts of Victoria

Melbourne is a beautiful city, and is one of the most liveable in the world (don’t take our word for it, it’s won the title a few years!). However, we think some of the ‘best parts’ of Melbourne are actually not in the city itself. In particular, we think some of the day trip options are the real stars of the show! Take a look at some of the recommended day trip options below:

  • Great Ocean Road & Surf Coast: The Great Ocean Road is home to some of Melbourne’s best attractions, including the beautiful beach town of Torquay, Loch Ard Gorge, the Otway National Park and of course the popular 12 Apostles. You will need a car or book a tour to head down here, but it’s worth the effort. We recommend spending a night or 2 at either Apollo Bay or Lorne, but the whole coastline is stunning. Don’t miss the waterfalls, redwood forest, Loch Ard Gorge and the beaches!
  • Wilsons Promontory: The beautiful national park located on the south-eastern tip of Victoria is true gem of Victoria! With incredible beaches, amazing hikes and stunning views, it’s a must if you are in Melbourne for awhile. We recommend heading down for a few days and either camping in the national park, or staying just outside the park (consider Sandy Point). See our Wilsons Promontory guide here!

Melbourne and Victoria have so many more hidden gems and underrated locations. See our guide below for some of our top picks around the state!

Consider a tour:

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