Brunswick and Northcote are known for their community atmospheres, and both are home to a wide mix of cultures and religions. The area is popular for its cool vibe and easy access to the CBD.

HIGHLIGHTS

Brunswick and Northcote are growing in popularity, not only due to their cheap costs of living, but also their comfortable feel. It may have something to do with the great coffee available, but the music venues, markets, and outdoor areas certainly help too. Brunswick feels untouched by the masses, but still has access to fantastic places to eat and shop. Northcote is increasingly popular with families, with its somewhat retro vibe, and houses some of Melbourne’s best cafés, with heaps to choose from to get your caffeine fix.

Nearby Merri Creek brings some green back into the area, making it feel less like the city and more like an average Aussie suburb. The CERES Community Park adds to its leafy surroundings and is a great resource for the locals. It’s free to wander the grounds and check out the gardens and learn sustainability tips from one of their passionate volunteers.

For lunch, A1 Bakery on Sydney Road is the best way to taste the multicultural flavour of the area. Super-cheap and extremely delicious, this Lebanese bakery and food store serves traditional meats, bread, and dips at bargain prices.

If it’s shopping you’re after, Brunswick has its own Flea Market running every second Saturday of the month. Stallholders sell all kinds of wares, including vintage clothing and records. Northcote Town Hall plays host to a variety of markets throughout the year, with an updated schedule available on its website.

Northcote Social Club is one of Melbourne’s most-loved venues, with music lovers packing into the band room to see their favourite acts. Sydney Road’s The Penny Black is another beloved venue, with its outdoor areas popular in the summer. Tuesday night is the night to take in an eclectic array of free music at Howler. The cool bar and art space hosts this weekly event to showcase electronic music, local DJs, and whatever else takes their fancy.

COMMUNITY FACILITIES

Northcote has its own Community Health Centre, as does Brunswick. Both will be able to help you get access to general health and mental health services, from dental work to counselling If you want to stretch your muscles, Brunswick has the Brunswick Baths where you can access swimming and gym facilities. Northcote’s answer is the Northcote YMCA. With both indoor and outdoor pools, as well as gym facilities and six tennis courts if you’re after a hit, it’s good for both the summer and winter months.

If it’s reading and relaxing time you want, you’ve got the Northcote and Brunswick libraries to choose from. At Northcote, as a member you can borrow up to 40 items, including the latest e-books and audiobooks, and community art spaces are offered free of charge to artists. Brunswick library offers a range of extra language and technology classes, and also has free Wi-Fi for members.

FREE & FRUGAL

There are plenty of pubs in both Brunswick and Northcote, and most offer cheap meals on various weekdays. The charming Peacock Inn Hotel has $10 lunch menu options, as well as pool tables for a lazy Sunday game. The Cornish Arms in Brunswick, as well as offering a range of vegan and veggie food, has $6 pints of Aussie lager, all day, every day.

On Westgarth Street you’ll find the Palace Cinema, showing both domestic and international films. Still holding to its old world charm, it also boasts a licensed bar. Movies aren’t as cheap as they used to be, but if you join the movie club you can grab a free ticket and discount tickets on your next visits. There are also cheaper tickets available all day on Tuesdays.

Get a team together and flex your memory at the Northcote Social Club on Tuesday nights at their free Pub Trivia, and enjoy their $5 house wines, all night.