Being home to some major tertiary establishments is not the only reason why Parkville and North Melbourne are worth a visit. The area’s history dates back to the 1840s, and architecture from this era has been beautifully preserved. Victorian houses and buildings are what make these suburbs immediately stand out, so it’s worth roaming the streets and soaking up the beauty. Then, try one of the incredible cakes at Beatrix on Queensberry Street, or the ever-popular brunch venue, Auction Rooms, on Errol Street.
Errol Street is also home to Mörk Chocolate, one of Melbourne’s finest couverture chocolate brew houses. Here, you can try handcrafted chocolate desserts, such as the famous Campfire hot chocolate – a smoke-infused hot chocolate with a toasted marshmallow. It’s also worth trying the Forager, a uniquely Australian dessert described as “a sensory tale, told in Australian flavours”.
North Melbourne is also a creative hub, with several art centres and galleries calling the suburb home. Popular art centres include the Arts House on Queensberry Street and the Meat Market, where major art events and live performances are frequently held.
Speaking of markets, the Queen Victoria Market should be on your must-visit list. Opened in 1878, it’s a quintessential Victorian landmark and the largest market in Australia. At ‘Queen Vic’ Market you can peruse hundreds of stalls selling fresh and continental produce, gifts, fashion and homewares. We highly recommend checking out the Night Market too!
Because these suburbs are student hubs, North Melbourne and Parkville have plenty of cheap eats on offer. Indonesian, Malaysian and Chinese eateries at the Queen Victoria Market end of Elizabeth Street are popular with students, as are the Asian supermarkets nearby. Some of the best include KT Mart and Hometown Asian Supermarket.
Visit the oldest zoo in Australia in Parkville. Located in Royal Park, Melbourne Zoo has over 300 animals to see, including native Australian species such as kangaroos, echidnas and wallabies. Close-up animal encounters are available with bookings, and don’t miss the annual Melbourne Zoo Twilights concert series, where you can visit animals and listen to live music from some of the world’s biggest acts.
North Melbourne Community Centre is a great spot to take classes like yoga and boxing and improve your fitness. The venue has a gym, a soccer pitch and a hall for game and movie nights.
The Centre on Errol Street is a community space to help you upskill and learn – whether in news media, Pilates or being part of an adventurers group. The Centre also holds special events like the Spring Fling Street Festival.
Access public computers, wi-fi and a place to do some quiet reading at North Melbourne Library, which also has a gallery and public programs such as Bollywood dancing and an English reading group. Even if you are not a University of Melbourne student, you can access the University’s libraries. The public is welcome to take out memberships to borrow books. The Baillieu Library is a particularly popular spot, with quiet booths, nice views, and extended opening hours for late-night study sessions.
Inner Melbourne Community Legal on Queensberry Street in North Melbourne offers free legal advice to low income-earners living in the centre’s catchment area. The team can assist with family law, tenancy issues and crime law.
The University of Melbourne has a teaching psychology clinic that provides discounted mental health services, including counselling and group programs. Student consultations start at $25 and are completely confidential.
Zero Latency is Melbourne’s fastest-growing virtual reality company, providing exciting and sometimes scary immersive games for anyone after a unique high-tech activity. The team is constantly building new experiences, so you could fight zombies, take on a space mission, or explore new worlds at the Zero Latency gaming centre in North Melbourne.
The area also has a vibrant arts and culture scene. The Comics Lounge is a great place to visit if you need a laugh. Or, try something completely different and watch cabaret and burlesque at the intimate Club Voltaire on Raglan Street.
Even if you’re not a University of Melbourne student, check out its very own museum and gallery, the Ian Potter Museum of Art. The museum showcases a mix of older and contemporary art from local and international artists.