Melbourne has been ranked the world’s most liveable city for seven years running. But how do you get a sense of living in Melbourne when you’re only down for a visit? If you’ve put Melbourne on your travel bucket list then you may as well do it right. Here’s how you can avoid the tourist crowds and visit Melbourne like a local.
Where To Stay
The best way to see the real Melbourne is to stay where a local lives. Hop onto AirBnB and find yourself a cosily furnished apartment in one of Melbourne’s trendiest suburbs from Richmond to Carlton, Northcote, Hawthorn, South Yarra, Fitzroy or Prahran. All of these areas have great train and tram accessibility so you’ll be zipping around greater Melbourne right off your front door.
What To Eat
Melbourne’s cafe and dining culture is second to none. It does brunch better than any other city you’ve seen. In fact, brunch is so typically Melbourne that cafes and eateries in Paris and New York are popping up serving Aussie inspired coffee and meals.
With this in mind a classic Melbourne brunch is a must. There’s so many cafes trading in and around Melbourne that it’s not possible to list them all. So here’s a few faves to visit in the trendy suburbs you’re planning on calling home.
- Barry (Northcote)
- Pillar of Salt (Richmond)
- Seven Seeds (Carlton)
- Crabapple Kitchen (Hawthorn)
- Stables of Como (South Yarra)
- Industry Beans (Fitzroy); they roast their own coffee too!
- Journeyman (Prahran)
The reason you won’t find a Starbucks on every corner is because nobody in Melbourne likes it. Apologies in advance to the rest of the world, but that thing you drink in the morning is not true coffee. What started as a passion has become an obsession across Melbourne and we’ve taken coffee to new heights.
If you want a really good coffee while you’re here then hit up a cafe serving locally roasted beans. Axil, St Ali and Proud Mary are three top tier Melbourne coffee roasters. They all have flagship cafes you can visit and their beans are served all over town. You can call yourself a true Melbournian when you’ve tasted a single origin espresso by one of these major players.
Taking inspiration from our geographic brothers and sisters we love an Asian fusion feast. Try one of these trendsetting restaurants for an Asian meal with a youthful Aussie twist.
- Kong BBQ (Korean)
- Miyagi (Japanese)
- Cloud Eating House (Vietnamese)
- Chin Chin (Chinese)
What To See
The Street Art Scene
Highly popular Hosier Lane is definitely worth a look but it’s far from the only place you can experience stunning street art across Melbourne. Within the city AC/DC lane is home to many a magnifique mural and it’s surrounded by top-notch bars and restaurants (Chin Chin included). Across the Yarra you can find ample Instagram opportunities in Artist’s Lane, Windsor.
Melbourne’s art isn’t just pretty, sometimes it’s pop culture. Find two separate Kim Kardashian murals in either Sniders Lane (CBD) or Cubitt St (Richmond). Keep your eyes peeled because street art is hiding around every corner.
A Day At The Market
What could be more local than local produce? While Queen Vic Markets are the most well known we recommend a visit to the South Melbourne Market instead. With restaurants, stalls and cafes inside you can spend all day shopping, exploring and tasting all that Melbourne has to offer.
Melbourne’s suburbs are alive with culture and you’re sure to find a local or two checking out a pop-up or event in their neighbourhood. Heaps of ticketed and free events are happening all year round so do a quick google search of your dates before you arrive. Top picks include live music at St Kilda Festival, an all night party on White Night, GLOW Winter arts fest in South Yarra and VAMFF Fashion Festival – just to name a few.
Give It A Miss
The only locals you’ll find here are the uni students trying to study. Sure, it’s a nice library but it’s nothing you haven’t seen before.
City Circle Tram
It’ll give you a quaint view of an old Melbourne tram and that’s about it. One of the big calling points is that it’s free however, the new free tram zone encompasses most of the CBD. Avoid the tourists and hop on a regular tram instead. They’re much more frequent and occasionally even decorative.
Going to Fed Square is kind of like going to a luau in Hawaii. You know it’s aimed at tourists but you figure hey why not? If you’re looking for local vibes then this one can fall to the bottom of your must see list. Use it as a central meeting point and then explore what wider Melbourne has to offer.
Melbourne is a great city and there’s so much worth seeing and doing while you’re here. There’s nothing wrong with taking a tourist’s eye view of the town but we think you’ll have much more fun if you visit Melbourne like a local.