Melbourne Getaway: Best Shopping, Dining, Arts & Sports

No trip to Melbourne is complete without a stroll through the city’s much-loved lanes. Photo/Getty Images

Melbourne is back in action and perfect for weekend getaways or longer stays, writes Cassie Tannenburg

The Victorian capital has endured the longest Covid lockdown in the world and is ready to burn off that pent up energy as visitors reconnect with local experiences. From international flavors, to arts and culture, to shopping, to stylish lanes to linger and a host of new events, there’s always something to see and do in this city. creative.

Arts and culture cafe

Melbourne is often considered the cultural capital of Australia and its performance spaces and galleries are packed with shows. The Picasso Century exhibit that just opened at NGV International and the global cultural juggernaut “Hamilton the Musical” are just two captivating local and foreign audiences.

Melbourne's National Gallery of Victoria, or NGV, is Australia's oldest and largest art museum.  Photo/Getty Images
Melbourne’s National Gallery of Victoria, or NGV, is Australia’s oldest and largest art museum. Photo/Getty Images

The new condensed version of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child has also reopened in one sitting – great news for those who initially balked during the six-hour broadcast.

If street art is more your style, stroll down Hosier Lane in Melbourne CBD where ever-changing graffiti, collages and murals provide colorful commentary and an Instagram-worthy backdrop that always draws a curious crowd .

Coffee culture is once again open to indoor drinkers, and there’s no bad coffee here. For local brew, sample Proud Mary Coffee – visit Proud Mary Cafe in Collingwood for breakfast or brunch, Aunty Peg’s coffee roasting spot for tasting flights, or grab beans and black shorts at the Melbourne Airport outlet.

Dine out

After coffee and cultural activities, comes Melbourne’s food scene. The city’s restaurants are always innovative and intriguing, spanning a variety of global cuisines that make up Melbourne’s multicultural mix.

Venture to Chinatown for a banquet or sample plump dumplings prepared with impeccable precision at Michelin-starred Tim Ho Wan and world-renowned Din Tai Fung. Melbourne’s backstreets are also teeming with people exiting cozy cafes laden with Italian fare, or queuing for a sumptuous tea at historic Hopetoun tea rooms.

Just outside the CBD, take a tram to St Kilda to stock up on European pastries at patisseries along Acland St, or make the pilgrimage to Moon Croissanterie in Fitzroy or Collins St for the famous French croissant.

Melbourne is also very vegan-friendly – ​​the award-winning plant-based dishes at Matcha Mylk Bar in St Kilda, infused with Japanese green tea, and Collingwood’s Smith & Daughters and Smith & Deli come highly recommended.

Sports and events

The great thing about Melbourne is that there is always something going on no matter when you visit, with a calendar of major events that alone is worth the trip.

The Australian Grand Prix came to town in April and saw hotels full for the highly anticipated and rescheduled Formula 1 motor race. Footy fans are also out in force after the AFL season kicks off – you’ll know it’s match day by the rush of club colors around the CBD.

The vibrant vibe continues in the city with the new Always Live program, shining the spotlight on the city as a year-round mecca for live music.

A vibrant city brimming with personality, there is always something going on in Melbourne.  Photo/Getty Images
A vibrant city brimming with personality, there is always something going on in Melbourne. Photo/Getty Images


When the sun is out, Southbank is the place to be. Cruise down the Yarra River aboard a skippered electric GoBoat picnic boat (no boating license required) or moor at Ponyfish Island and Arbory ​​Afloat. These floating cocktail bars offer a beach club setting that attracts a fun-loving weekend crowd to soak up the waterside vibe on the Yarra.

St Kilda is another atmospheric waterfront venue packed with stylish bars and classic seaside pubs. Catch a live concert at the Espy (Hotel Esplanade) with stunning views from the balcony, or drink at sunset from Pontoon St Kilda beach, both just steps from the smiley entrance to Melbourne’s iconic Luna Park theme park.

Stylish St Kilda is the place to go for safe swimming beaches and walks along the pier.  Photo/Getty Images
Stylish St Kilda is the place to go for safe swimming beaches and walks along the pier. Photo/Getty Images


Retail therapy in Melbourne always unearths hidden gems that you can’t buy anywhere else. Shop international brands and staples in and around Bourke St Mall, Emporium Melbourne, St. Collins Lane and 80 Collins malls in the CBD, plus many eclectic retailers and independent stores for this one-of-a-kind find .

Although there are physical casualties from the pandemic, Melbourne’s business scene is still trading robustly and is a hive of activity. Browse the eye-catching luxury brand windows at Collins St’s “Paris End” and flagship department stores Myer and David Jones, and enter the backstreets to find vintage, books, records and jewelry. Leave space to pack stylish keepsakes and new Melbourne souvenirs for the trip home.

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