I’ll try to do one of these lists per city! Really it’s just a compilation of my fave stops along the way, so take it for what it is (I’m not actually out here doing serious R&D on the where to’s or dont’s) but hopefully this can act as a solid guide and you can make a few stop-throughs if you’re ever tracing these same steps.
Melbourne is comprised of multiple neighbourhoods called Suburbs, so I’ve broken this down by each.
What a great spot! This is the burb that I was staying in, so I did the most exploration around here, but it hosts a ton of great spots so it worked out well. Here are the ones not to miss:
- Glasshaus Florist/Cheeky Monkey Cafe | this is a hybrid shop with a florist on the one side and cafe on the other which makes for the most perfect combo in my books. With friendly service, simple + healthy menu options and a lush green courtyard out back – this place is SO sweet. Not to mention is smells amazing thanks to the flower shop, and I have to say their chai latte was the best I’ve ever had.
- Rowena’s Corner Store | love it here! It’s an old school diner serving up BLTs, breakfast classics and Mediterranean fare while paying homage to it’s roots with original signage of it’s “Milk Bar” origins. Rowena’s has been in business for 60 years, enough said? Probably.
- Feast of Merit | Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, this serves as both cafe and full-service restaurant. The menu is simple but the portions are large and the interior is lovely with hanging greenery throughout. I opted to sit out on their streetside patio but you can’t go wrong here!
Hipster central and a shopper’s dream, Fitzroy is a quarter of the city adorned with random and plenty of boutiques, restaurants, cafes, book stores and vintage shops or home-goods stores to satisfy any craving you may have to spend all your money.
- Hotel Jesus | this is no exaggeration – best tacos I have EVER had! I was craving tacos for a few days and this was the absolute perfect place to indulge. We ordered a lot (too much) food, but the melon ceviche, chili fries, tostados and tacos were unrivalled. I also had a Paloma to wash it down which made me the happiest girl in Melbourne.
- Rainbow Hotel | GO HERE. It’s nothing fancy, in fact it’s the opposite. But it’s exactly my vibe and had an amazing back/side courtyard where we played at least 3 rounds of pool at the outdoor table. Inside there was live music (check their site for weekly/nightly entertainment listings), but the band playing was this bluegrass/blues mix and it was both a little bit country, and a little bit rock n’ roll.
- Smith & Deli | vegan eats, done right. The menu is vast, the options are endless and it’s the perfect spot to grab a little (or big) something to go and head to Fitzroy Garden to nosh. Cruise along Gertrude street to grab a coffee or sweet treat to finish it off on your way to the park.
So much more quiet and seemingly tucked away, Carlton, also known as little Italy, served to provide my favourite stops yet:
- Carlton Wine Room | if I could choose one place to go for the rest of my life, without option for anywhere else, this might be it. Rated one of the top restaurants in Melbourne, it has an amazing vibe, great wine list, incredible menu, outstanding service….need I go on?
- Leonardo’s | as soon as you walk in, you smell it, “this is going to be good.” Everything here is made in-house down to the pepperoni on their pepp pizza. It’s damn delicious and I would definitely recommend sharing a pizza and “spritzers” with friends if you’re ever in the area.
- I didn’t go to D.O.C. though apparently this is also the place to be, so add it to your list!
Melbourne is actually quite void of any pristine beach fronts, so St Kilda provides a backpackers paradise of anyone wanting to get their fix of salt water, sand and sun. It’s a place to see and be seen. People are super dressed up for their morning or afternoon cocktails and to me, it was basically Venice Beach just not as a vast and not as grungy.
- St Kilda Pavilion | follow the pier to the very end to get away from the hustle and enjoy a treat. The views are rewarding!
- Republica | if you’re ready for a scene this is where Miami meets Venice Beach meets Melbourne, but they make a mean Pina Colada haha, so go ahead and give it a whirl! You’re sitting with ocean-front views and when that breeze hits just right, you can really settle in to a booze-fuelled afternoon here.
Overall, I wasn’t really in the mood for much of a city adventure so I can’t say Melbourne really stole my heart, but if you’re looking for good food, cocktails, coffee + shopping – this is the place for you!
I’m off now to travel west along the Great Ocean Road to seek a little more sand and solitude. Au Revoir city life!