South Melbourne is an underrated part of Melbourne we just adore!

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South Melbourne is a seriously underrated little pocket of Melbourne located on the fringe of the city! While it may not be ‘top of the list’ for many visiting and exploring Melbourne, this guide will explain why we think you should consider checking it out! Home to some of the best cafe’s in Melbourne, a bustling market, and great restaurants, South Melbourne has a lot to offer! We canvas some of our favourite locations, hidden gems, great hospitality options, plus much more! Read on to see why South Melbourne is a great day trip option from Melbourne!

What to see & do in South Melbourne

The top tier cafe’s!

South Melbourne is home to some of the best coffee in Melbourne! And we would know.. we drink A LOT of it! Home to a thriving cafe scene, this suburb offers a multitude of locations to check out. We have listed our favourite cafe’s in South Melbourne below:

  • Halycon Days: This is one of our ‘locals’, offering excellent coffee, wonderful service, and a great spot to sit outside on a sunny day!
  • St Ali: This cafe is a Melbourne favourite and has long been regarded one of the best in the city! They roast and sell their own beans to other cafes, so you know the coffee is good. Be prepared to wait for a seat on weekends.
  • Code Black Coffee: This cute cafe sits adjacent to the market and offers great coffee and tasty food!
  • Dead Man Espresso: Situated just off the main street, head to Dead Man for a great coffee!
  • Chez Dre: This aesthetic cafe does good coffee and great brunch. Another good option near the market!
  • Pipi’s Kiosk: Head to Pipi’s Kiosk for a take-away coffee and walk along the beachfront promenade.

Albert Park Lake

Located on the fringe of South Melbourne, Albert Park Lake is one of the best outdoor attractions in Melbourne. Boasting one of the best views of the city skyline, one of our favourite walks (or running tracks) near the city, and lots of locations for picnics, it’s a must visit. Get your camera (and drone) ready for some amazing shots of the lake, wildlife and the city! If you venture here during breeding season you may even see the baby cygnets and the mother swans nesting around the lake! The entire distance around Albert Park Lake is around 5kms, with the best view on the farthest point (approx 2-3kms from “start” on the St. Kilda side). See a drone gallery of Albert Park Lake at sunset here!

The South Melbourne Market

This is one of the best markets in Melbourne, offering a variety of fresh produce, artisanal stores, restaurants, cafes and more! When the market is open (check beforehand), and especially weekends, there is a buzz around the place with a ‘European style’ atmosphere. We will regularly visit, grab a coffee, enjoy the vibe and wander the market.

The beautiful beach and promenade

While none of the beaches near the city match the beauty of those on the surf or peninsula coasts, we think South Melbourne beach is a little underrated. Situated within touching distance of the city, it offers white sand, and cute pier, and is an area we have regularly frequented for sunset. We recommend heading to the end of Kerford Road near Pipi’s Kiosk and enjoy to the left (St. Kilda side).

A few ‘hidden gem’ streets to visit in South Melbourne

From our numerous times visiting South Melbourne we have stumbled upon a couple of absolutely charming alleyways and streets. We consider these true ‘hidden gems’ of South Melbourne such is their lack of popularity and publicity. See these cute streets below and make sure to bring your camera!

  • Thomson Street, South Melbourne: This unassuming laneway in the suburban area of South Melbourne boasts an explosion of colour and life. The bougainvillea light up the street and the numerous cacti give a unique charm. Definitely worth a visit!
  • Park Lane, South Melbourne: Situated right near the Albert Park Lake and near a cute cafe, Park Lane, this alleyway has one of the great photo spots in autumn. A building wall is completely covered in vines which light up during the end of summer/autumn, providing a beautiful photo opportunity and lovely sight!

Enjoy the amazing bakeries

We love a cute artisanal bakery, reminding us of European adventures and day trips to country bakeries. South Melbourne has some great bakeries, with two of our favourites listed below:

  • South Melbourne Bakery: A staple of South Melbourne located on the main street. They offer great handmade baked goods, excellent bread and make a good coffee.
  • Austro Bakery: This busy bakery is situated right near the South Melbourne market and along with great bread, Austro dishes up an excellent sandwich!

Great restaurants!

South Melbourne has a great hospitality scene, offering some of our favourite restaurants in Melbourne (see full list below). We have shared some of our top picks for restaurants in South Melbourne:

  • Park Street Pasta & Wine: Top tier Italian food with excellent service in the heart of South Melbourne. One of the best restaurants in the area!
  • MissChu South Melbourne: This is one of our favourites! Offering tasty and fresh Vietnamese food at affordable prices.
  • Bambu Asian Eating House: We love the Asian fusion here! Located in the South Melbourne market, this place can get busy but is worth it!
  • Cevapi Grill – Balkan Kitchen: This is an authentic, no frills eatery the reminds us of the Balkans. Go here for a quick bite to eat and enjoy the food!
  • Grab a drink at Golden Fleece Hotel or Pipi’s Kiosk: The Golden Fleece Hotel offers ‘Santorini vibes’ while Pipi’s Kiosk is a great spot for a wine on a sunny afternoon/evening!

A few tips for South Melbourne:

  • How to get to South Melbourne from the Melbourne CBD: There are a few good ways to get to South Melbourne, including driving (approx 10 minutes), walking (around 30 minutes), trams (around 15 minutes, catch the 12 or 96), hire a scooter or uber.
  • How long should you spend in South Melbourne: This depends on if you’re just heading to a coffee shop and the market, or if you want to checkout Albert Park Lake and the beach. Aim for 1-3 hours for the heart of South Melbourne, 30mins-2hours at either the beach/lake and any time you may wish to spend at a restaurant.
  • Safety in South Melbourne: Generally, very safe during the day. However, there are a number of government housing buildings nearby which can sometimes increase the ‘edginess’. We would advise to hide valuables in your car. Otherwise, unlike many European destinations, there is low chance of pickpocketing, mugging and crime etc.
  • Will you see 2 Cups of Travel in South Melbourne? Keep your eyes peels for us!

Want to stay in South Melbourne?

Want to make South Melbourne your base when you visit the city? See a few good picks below!

Are you inspired to travel now?

Take a look at some of our other guides for travel in Melbourne and surrounding areas of Victoria including top hidden gem picks!

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