Melbourne is, without a doubt, Australia’s capital of food, drink, arts, culture and shopping. So, you’ll have absolutely no trouble filling seven days with lots of great activities. Take in Melbourne’s diversity as you stroll from iconic markets to fantastic cafes, all the while exploring the city’s famous laneways.
If you’re new to the city or visiting the Victorian capital on holiday, here’s a week’s worth of the best things to eat, drink and explore.
Start your week with a cup of iconic Melburnian coffee by visiting one of the many laneway cafes in the CBD. Equally as beautiful as they are skilled at serving the perfect caffeine hit, here are our favourites: Higher Ground on Little Bourke Street, Sensory Lab on Collins Street, Cumulus Inc on Flinders Lane, and Hash Specialty Coffee on Hardware Street. Once the coffee kicks in, continue wandering down the laneways to browse lots of interesting boutiques and street art.
While Monday nights are often a little quieter, there are still plenty of dining options. Mamasita is a Melbourne institution serving excellent Mexican food. Or, load up on xiaolongbao (小籠包) at HuTong Dumpling Bar or Din Tai Fung.
Head to Queen Victoria Market and soak up the bustling atmosphere. Tuesday is the perfect day to do your shopping at Queen Vic Market, as you can beat the weekend crowds. Whatever you’re after, Queen Vic Market has it all at student-friendly prices – from fresh and specialty produce, to clothes and souvenirs. You’ll also find lots of great eateries and cafes around the Market. Here’s an insider tip: visit the Market at the end of the trading day when stallholders offer plenty of bargains!
Continue your savings spree and head to tixatsix at Arts Centre Melbourne. Every day at 6pm, you can try your hand at securing discounted tickets to selected shows – think $30 entry to some of the best theatre performances, musicals and concerts.
Don’t miss the critically acclaimed Harry Potter and the Cursed Child at the Princess Theatre. Melbourne is one of only three cities in the world to host this incredible musical, so make the most of a quiet Wednesday matinee or evening session and check it out before it goes.
For a midweek evening with a difference, head back to Queen Vic Market for themed night markets that change with the seasons. Sip cocktails under the stars at the Summer Night Market; enjoy European food and Eurovision tributes at the Europa Night Market; or fend off the cold with a hot cider or mulled wine at the Winter Night Market. Finally, try some delicious Asian street eats at Hawker 88 Night Market. Check the Queen Vic Market website for dates and details.
On Thursdays, the city is buzzing well into the night. Department stores and major shopping hubs such as QV Melbourne, Emporium Melbourne and Bourke Street Mall are open until 9pm, so you can get your after-hours shopping fix.
If shopping isn’t your thing, head to HOYTS Melbourne Central or Chinatown Cinema in Midcity Centre. Both showcase Asian cinema, with films screened with Chinese audio or other Asian languages.
Start off your weekend by dining out at one of Melbourne’s top restaurants. High-end places – like Supernormal, Chin Chin and Cumulus Inc – are usually booked up well in advance, so it’s best to make your dining arrangements early.
Otherwise, there are plenty of cheap and cheerful eateries around the city. Along Swanston Street and Little Bourke Street, you’ll find lots of great spots serving Chinese and Taiwanese cuisine. Little Lonsdale and Little La Trobe Street are full of Korean fried chicken and barbeque joints. If you’re after Thai food, look no further than Soi 38 and Dodee Paidang. For burgers, head to Burger Project, which serves Cape Grim beef burgers at ridiculously good prices, or Grand Trailer Park Taverna.
End your day at NGV Friday Nights. Here, you can check out the permanent and special exhibitions and enjoy guest DJ sets, themed food and drinks specials.
Yum cha in Chinatown is seriously the best way to start a Saturday. Old favourites like Shark Fin House and Shark Fin Inn, or the very popular Secret Kitchen CBD, tend to fill up very quickly, so make sure you book ahead or get there right when they open to score a table.
Burn off some of your food by enjoying a round of VR (virtual reality) at Zero Latency in North Melbourne, or try your hand at teamwork and problem-solving at one of Melbourne’s many escape rooms. Rush Escape Game in South Yarra, The Mystery Rooms Melbourne in Fitzroy and escapeXperience in Oakleigh are some of the best.
Round out the day by hopping around Melbourne’s hidden bars. The city has quite a few lurking behind doorways, shop fronts and up secret staircases, including Goldilocks, Bar Americano, State of Grace, The Croft Institute, and Eau de Vie.
There’s nothing better than taking it slow on a Sunday and getting in touch with the local community. Revisit Queen Vic Market to check out one of the many multicultural festivals showcasing the best of Melbourne’s diverse communities. Upcoming events include the Turkish Pazar Festival (7-8 March) and Philippine Festival (5 April).
There are lots of other community events taking place at Queen Vic Market, including such as Opera in the Market (17 February), the Sustainable Living Festival (29 February-1 March), and the Melbourne Food & Wine Festival (19-29 March).