It’s no secret that Melbourne is one of Australia’s most liveable cities. But with such a huge selection of suburbs, how do you decide exactly where to set yourself up? To really make the most of Melbourne’s cosmopolitan lifestyle, you might want to consider inner suburbs like Carlton, Southbank and North Melbourne, or even the CBD.
Here are nine reasons to live in inner-city Melbourne.
Live and breathe diversity
One of Melbourne’s greatest draws is its cultural diversity, which is largely due to the city’s rich immigration history. You can see how proudly it displays its multiculturalism through events like Lunar New Year and the Melbourne Fringe Festival, international film festivals, historical exhibitions and, of course, its incredible food.
Walk into any produce market and you’ll find all kinds of fresh ingredients and spices suitable for a range of cuisines. There are entire inner-city streets dedicated to Italian or Vietnamese eateries, lots of Malaysian, Chinese and Indian food hubs, and plenty of Mediterranean and Asian supermarkets. The popularity of the Summer and Winter Night Markets at Queen Victoria Market has also made international street food accessible to everyone.
Picturesque parks and interesting streetscapes
Melbourne is a beautifully planned city filled with gorgeous architecture, street art and interesting urban scenes. The regal State Library Victoria in the CBD is not only a fantastic display of heritage design, but it’s also a great study spot. When you’ve finished class, you can relax at Birrarung Marr park by the Yarra River, or explore the Royal Botanic Gardens – a green oasis located right next to the city.
Melbourne’s inner-city streets come to life thanks to the city’s thriving café culture. Enjoy coffee with friends along Flinders Lane or Hardware Lane, or check out the smaller laneways for hidden spots. If you’re up for a wander, you can soak in the street art dotted around Hosier Lane and AC/DC Lane. You never know – you might just spot a Banksy!
Inner-city Melbourne has a large concentration of university campuses and colleges within walking distance, including the University of Melbourne, RMIT, Monash College City Campus, the Melbourne Institute of Technology (MIT), and William Angliss Institute.
Situating yourself in the inner city is not only incredibly convenient if you’re studying at one of these institutions, but you’ll also likely end up living around lots of other students. You’re bound to meet people who are going through the same experience of starting a new life in Australia, and you’ll probably find it much easier to settle in and make friends.
There’s also plenty of comfortable student accommodation providers with great facilities in the CBD, such as Y Suites on A’Beckett Street, opening on 1 February 2022. This new space is equipped with a gym, gaming area, laundry room, sky lounge, and study rooms – meaning you will have everything you need to feel at home as soon as you arrive. It’s just a short walk from all the major campuses and conveniently connected to major public transport routes.
A hub for arts and culture
Melbourne is widely considered Australia’s capital of arts and culture, and there are museums, galleries and other creative hubs dotted all over the inner city. You’ll find the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV), Arts Centre Melbourne, the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI), the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (ACCA), and plenty of smaller venues both in the CBD and inner suburbs. What’s more, there are many cultural festivals taking place throughout the year, outdoor and rooftop cinemas to enjoy, and iconic music venues based in the inner city that suit all tastes.
It’s worth noting, too, that you can usually buy concession tickets at these venues. The Arts Centre holds tixatsix, where you can secure discounted tickets from 6pm every night, and enjoy live performances, theatre and music at a bargain price.
No car necessary
Melbourne has an expansive network of trams, but the best part is that you can use the trams for free within the inner city. Add to that the well-connected bus and train lines to both suburban and regional Victoria, and you pretty much have every reason not to get a car.
Public transport and tour bus access to major attractions in the outer regions all start and finish within the inner city, meaning you can easily get to places like Chadstone Shopping Centre, towns along the Great Ocean Road, Ballarat, or Phillip Island.
The city that never sleeps
When you feel like a steaming bowl of ramen or spicy Thai food late on a weeknight, there’s really nowhere better to get it than the inner city. There are late-night and 24-hour eateries that offer plenty of choices beyond kebabs and pizza. Many international students who come from Asia have told us that this has made them feel at home and helped save time – especially when exams are looming closer.
Apart from the convenience of having good food at any hour, inner-city Melbourne always has something entertaining going on at night. Whether it’s a live gig at Festival Hall or Rod Laver Arena, an interesting event at Loop Project Space & Bar, or one of the awesome exhibitions at NGV Nights, there’s always something to see or do.
Plenty of hidden gems
Speaking of entertainment, Melbourne is packed full of quirky hidden bars, restaurants and spaces to explore. You’ll most likely walk past seemingly normal buildings or doors that open up to a completely different world.
In the small alleys that run off Flinders Street, Little Bourke Street and Little Collins Street, you’ll find lots of secret bars and lounges, as well as restaurants that seem to appear out of nowhere. Make sure to check out Soi 38, a deliciously cheap Thai restaurant underneath a car park, East African-themed bar polēpolē, or the hidden vaults of the Old Treasury Building.
A shopper’s paradise
Melbourne’s inner city is a shopping mecca, with plenty of international fashion chains, local labels and small boutiques to suit all tastes and budgets. Check out the ‘Paris end’ of Collins Street for high fashion labels such as Hermes, Bally and Gucci. Or, head to Emporium Melbourne on Lonsdale Street to shop popular Japanese brands like Muji and Uniqlo. You’ll also find Topshop, Zara and H&M nearby.
If you’re after something more local, Melbourne is home to several fabulous labels such as Gorman, Obus, Elk and Alpha60, all of which have stores in the inner city. Or, if you’re looking for handmade and unique items, head to Southbank’s Sunday Market. Here, you can mingle with artists and artisans in an idyllic setting against the Yarra River. For local shops located amongst stunning heritage architecture, stroll through iconic Block Arcade and Royal Arcade. You’ll find sweet treats, cafés, art stores, and quirky souvenirs.
More employment opportunities
If you want to work and study in Australia, basing yourself in the inner city will give you a good chance of securing a job. The inner city is home to hundreds of restaurants, cafes and shops, meaning hospitality and retail workers are always in demand.
Plus, you’ll have easy access to the Study Melbourne Student Centre on Hardware Lane, which offers great employment resources and support.