The Central Business District (CBD) is the vibrant heart of Melbourne. An eclectic mix of old and new, it’s famous for its laneways, food culture, excellent shopping and amazing coffee.
Living in Melbourne CBD
The high rise apartments of Melbourne are home to a large, rapidly growing community. Proximity to many of the major education institutions, easy access to public transport plus the excitement of the city lifestyle means that a lot of international students live in the CBD, Southbank and Docklands. Certainly not the cheapest area in Melbourne to live but definitely the liveliest.
RMIT and the city campuses of La Trobe University, Swinburne University, Deakin University, Victoria University, Australian National University, Southern Cross University, as well as many other institutions, give the CBD a constant buzz of local and international students.
A wander around the streets of the CBD will reward you with the discovery of street art-filled alleys, boutique shops and funky little bars and restaurants. Spend your day at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) checking out the film, sound and image exhibitions and chill out for a bite at one of the many eateries at Federation Square.
Pack a picnic and a rug for a relaxing afternoon in The Royal Botanical Gardens. The beautiful parklands, lakes and lawns have been a favourite spot for 170 years. In the Summer months, it’s also home to Moonlight Cinema where you can watch classic and new release films under the stars.
Melbourne is undoubtedly beautiful by day, but it comes alive at night, lit up and sparkling above the Yarra River. To get the best views, head down Southbank Promenade and watch the lights reflect on the water, while Crown Casino’s fire show explodes in the background. If you head back over the bridge towards Flinders Street Station and grab yourself a table at Transit Lounge, you’ll be able to watch the Arts Centre spire change colours, with the lights of the sports district glimmering in the background.
Queen Victoria Market is the largest open-air market in the Southern Hemisphere and is the perfect place to stock up on all your fruits, vegetables, meats and fish as well as exotic and gourmet specialities. There are also loads of stalls with general merchandise at bargain prices. The cheapest deals on food happen just before closing hours when stall holders sell the last of their goods for a fraction of the cost.
If you’ve got a taste for the finer things in life, take a walk up Collins Street, window-shopping at the likes of Gucci and Tiffany & Co. Once you’ve had your fill of glamour, head back down to Cathedral Arcade and sample some of the best local designers set in a beautiful old-world setting. Other outstanding shopping experiences include The Emporium, Melbourne Central, Bourke St Mall and The GPO for all the biggest local and international brands. South Wharf DFO (Direct Factory Outlets) is where you get the best bargains in town.
Melbourne is famous for food, so it’s easy to pick a winner in the CBD. For a fancy (and expensive) night of gastronomical delights try award winning restaurants such as Maha, Vue Le Monde or FlowerDrum. Not as expensive but also delicious is Laksa King, Shanghai Street Dumplings, Hakata Gensuke Ramen, Om Vegetarian.
Chinatown is also wildly popular with locals and visitors, with dumpling restaurants making up a significant portion of the Little Bourke Street community.
You can find a great coffee at most cafes in Melbourne but visit Degraves Street for some of the best and cultivate your coffee snobbery like any good Melbournian.
Internationally renown events include the Australian Open Tennis in January, International Comedy Festival in April and International Film Festival in August. White Night in February is when the whole city is bathed in light, colour and sound from dawn to dusk. Chinese New Year is the reason for much excitement in Melbourne including feasts, parades and festivals.