Melbourne Recommendations

Our recommendations on what to do in Melbourne

We are working on making these more tailored for you, but until then here are some of our local recommendations.

As Melbournians we love exploring our city and finding new ways to enjoy it. We also understand it can be hard to know where to go and what to do. So we’ve put together these local, unpaid and unbiased recommendations to help you get the most out of your stay here and begin to love Melbourne just as much as we do.

We try to keep this as up-to-date as humanly possible, but with Covid, things may not be 100% accurate, so please do a quick google check, I’d hate for you to waste your time on something fun that is no longer there!

Must Sees

  1. Sip on an expertly-made ‘Melbourne coffee’. We’d recommend ordering a flat white or a cold drip/brew in summer. See our recommendations below.
  2. Get lost in our laneways. I recommend checking out Guildford Lane and Meyers Place. You can also join our Culture Capital tour, if you haven’t already.
  3. Get out of the CBD. To really experience Melbourne’s culture, make sure to spend some time in our inner-city neighbourhoods such as Fitzroy (closest to CBD), Brunswick, North Melbourne, Windsor and St Kilda.
  4. Attend an event, exhibition or festival. There’s always something on in Melbourne. Websites like What’sOn, TimeOut, UrbanList and Secret Melbourne are great resources to find out what’s going on in the city.
  5. Hang out in our parks and gardens. Unlike many big cities, Melbourne has lots of greenspace on offer. Weather permitting, spend some time in parks such as, Treasury Gardens, Botanic Gardens, Edinburgh Gardens or Albert Park Lake.
  6. Have a cocktail (or 10) at rooftop or hidden speakeasy bar. See my recommendations below.

Day Trips

  • Great Ocean Road: You’ll find this beautiful drive along Victoria’s southwest coast. It’s about a three-hour drive to the main highlights, which include the Twelve Apostles, Loch Ard Gorge, and the Otway National Park. A car or group tour is required.  
  • Phillip Island: About a two-hour drive south of Melbourne. A great spot to see wildlife, including a Koala Sanctuary and the world-famous Penguin Parade. At Cape Woolamai you’ll find beautiful sunset views and one of Australia’s most dangerous surf beaches. Once again, a car or group tour is required. 
  • Yarra Valley: You’ll find plenty of winery tours operating through this scenic area, about a one-hour drive northeast of the city. There’s also a chocolate factory and Healesville Sanctuary, home to plenty of Australian wildlife. A car or tour bus is your best option, with public transport very limited.
  • Dandenong Ranges (Easy day trip accessible with public transport): One-hour east of the city, these mountain ranges are accessible by public transport by taking the Belgrave train line to Belgrave station and taking a Ventura bus to Olinda or Sassafras.
  • Grampians National Park (Multi-day): A three-hour drive from Melbourne, this is an off-the-beaten path option to see Aussie wildlife with picturesque views. The Park provides great walks and is best suited for a 2-3-day camping adventure. A car is highly recommended.
  • Wilson’s Promontory National Park (Multi-day): A beautiful national park with lots of walks, hikes and wildlife; a three-hour drive from Melbourne. A perfect camping and hiking option which would be best enjoyed over 2-3 days. A car is highly recommended.

Cafes, coffee & brunch

Melbourne CBD:

  • Manchester Press – Laneway café with great coffee and bagels
  • Little Rogue – The best coffee in the CBD, and great matcha lattes too
  • Dukes Coffee Roasters – Certainly a hidden secret, but definitely great coffee

Inner City Suburbs:

  • Square & Compass – My favourite café in Melbourne, on the border of East Melbourne and Fitzroy (#12 or #109 tram)
  • Industry Beans – Hidden warehouse café in Fitzroy’s famous Rose Street (#11 tram)
  • St Ali Coffee Roasters – Hidden laneway café in South Melbourne that roasts its own coffee and serves excellent brunch (#12 or #1 Tram)

Where to eat

Scroll down to see vegan & vegetarian.


Also see pubs for food. These are all great for vegetarians.

Melbourne CBD:

  • Shanghai Village – BYO alcohol with great value meals and dumplings.
    HuTong Dumpling Bar – A slightly more upmarket option in Chinatown.
  • Delhi Streets – Indian street food, you have to try a Thali platter.
  • Soi 38 – Cheap, authentic, spicy Thai food… in a car park!
  • Pellegrini’s – Melbourne institution Italian restaurant. No menu – let your waiter help you decide on a dish!
  • Momo Station – Nepalese dumplings inside the Capitol Arcade.
  • Kim Sing – Also down the Capitol Arcade, try some classic Chinese food for under $10!

Inner City Suburbs:

  • La Tortilleria – The BEST Mexican in Melbourne. Period. (#57 tram or train to Macaulay station).
  • Jinda Thai – The best Thai food in Melbourne. Just off Victoria Street, Richmond (train to North Richmond station or #109 tram).
  • Tiba’s Lebanese – A Melbourne institution for authentic Lebanese fare. A great place to eat before exploring Brunswick’s bars and pubs (#19 tram).
    A little pricier ($25 AUD+ per main):


Melbourne CBD:

  • The Waiter’s Restaurant – Climb the stairs to this Melbourne institution for some fantastic Italian food.
  • Makan – Incredible Indonesian restaurant, run by two former My Kitchen Rules contestants.
  • Mamasita – One of Melbourne’s best Mexican restaurants. Make sure to try one of their Margaritas!

Inner City Suburbs:

  • The Abyssinian – A fantastic place to try Ethiopian food in Kensington (#57 tram or train to Newmarket station).
  • Kaprica – My favourite Italian in all of Melbourne. Small, friendly waiters, and reasonably priced. Grattan St, Carlton (Any Swantston Street tram going north to Melbourne University)
  • Babu Ji – Authentic Indian food on St Kilda’s Fitzroy Street (#3, #16 or #96 tram)

* Make sure to download the EatClub, which allows you to book last-minute tables in 100s of restaurants, to receive upwards of 20% off your bill! A great way to discover new places and save money at the same time

Vegan & Vegetarian

Melbourne CBD (where you won’t find the best options, but these may be the closest to your hotel):

  • Gopal’s Vegetarian – For $12, you get two curries, two salads, rice, juice, and a dessert
  • Gong de Lin – A Chinese restaurant with vegan reimaginings of all your favourites. Take the elevator up one floor after dinner to have a drink at Goldilocks!
  • Funghi e tartufo – A fully vegan Italian restaurant in Melbourne’s iconic Hardware Lane
  • Lord of the Fries – Essentially a vegan version of McDonald’s, a great budget option and all over the CBD

Inner City Suburbs:

  • Smith and Daughters – Best vegan restaurant in the city. Hands down. Their sister location, Smith and Deli serves great vegan sandwiches and vegan versions of deli classics (#11 tram)
  • Vegie Bar – Melbourne’s favourite vegan restaurant. A great variety of dishes, from burgers, to pizza, to Asian stir-frys (#11 tram)
  • Red Sparrow Pizza – A vegan Italian pizzeria with great sweet options too. Smith Street, Collingwood (#86 tram) or Chapel Street, Prahran (#78 tram)
  • Lona Misa – Mouth-watering Latin American food in a fabulous renaissance themed venue. Try one of their dishes from the Josper oven. (Train to South Yarra or #58 tram)


Melbourne CBD:

  • Imperial Hotel – Great place to drink beers, enjoy the rooftop or watch live sport (especially the EPL)
  • Nick and Nora’s – Vintage vibes in this upscale cocktail bar
  • Berlin Bar – Split into East and West, harking back to the time of the wall
  • HER – Split over three levels, there’s something for everyone here. Check out the rooftop, enjoy the chill vibes downstairs, or try to find the secret 70s-themed Music Room

Inner City Suburbs: 

  • Jungle Boy – Behind the refrigerator door of an unassuming sandwich shop, lies a tropical themed bar with amazing cocktails. Chapel St, Windsor (train to Windsor station)
  • Cornish Arms Hotel – extra points for this lively pub having an entire vegan menu to cater for everyone, Sydney Road, Brunswick (#19 tram or train to Jewell station)
  • Lucky Coq – A popular pub which serves $8 pizzas every day, Chapel Street, Windsor (train to Windsor station)

Rooftop Bars

Melbourne CBD: 

  • Union Electric – Awesome cocktails and cider, hidden away in Chinatown
  • Goldilocks – Also on Swanston Street and one of my personal favourites, take the elevator next door to Noodle Kingdom
  • Madame Brussels – Half brothel-themed, half tennis-club-inspired, great cocktail jugs and Rose
  • Lui Bar – Located up the top of the Rialto Tower. Drinks are pricey and there’s a strict smart casual dress code to get in, but the view is the best of any bar in Melbourne.  

Inner City Suburbs:

  • Naked for Satan – Fantastic rooftop view that looks out over Brunswick Street (#11 tram)  
  • Public House – Richmond’s favourite pub, with a stunning multi-level rooftop terrace (Train to East Richmond or #70 tram)

Live Music

Melbourne CBD:

  • Toff in Town – Band room located inside the multi-level Curtin House
  • Murmur Piano Bar – Sing-along piano bar, another of my personal favourites
  • Paris Cat – If you’re feeling like a bit of Jazz
  • Cherry – Melbourne’s most famous band room, known for their support of local acts

Inner-City Suburbs: 

  • Evelyn Hotel – Band room on Brunswick Street (#11 tram)
  • The Gasometer – Smith Street, Collingwood, often has fun Thursday night gigs (#86 tram)
  • B.East – great gigs and some of the best burgers in Melbourne, with plenty of veg options (#1 or #6 tram)

Important Tip: I’d recommend checking Facebook’s ‘events near me’ / ‘in my area’ to see what’s on in Melbourne. You can find lots of live music events this way.


  • Malthouse Theatre – Smaller, contemporary theatre just behind the National Gallery. The plays are always fantastic and tickets reasonably priced
  • Butterfly Club – Melbourne’s home of Cabaret, check their website to see what’s on during your stay
  • Visit the HalfTix office at 208 Collins Street for discounted tickets for shows, tours and activities around Melbourne. You can see availability online but must buy tickets at the office
  • Download the TodayTix app to enter lotteries (e.g. $10 Hamilton tickets) or get access to ‘rush’ tickets on the day of the performance.

Dance venues

  • The Night Cat – A great place to dance on the weekends, whether it’s to disco bands or some of Melbourne’s best DJs.
  • Colour – One of Melbourne’s best venues for techno and deep house.
  • Revolver Upstairs – Melbourne’s most notorious nightclub, ‘Revs’ goes all weekend and only closes on Monday morning, located on Chapel Street (train to Prahran station).
  • Esplanade Hotel (‘The Espy’) – Pub by day, club by night, with two dancefloors and music to please all tastes, St Kilda (#3, #16 or #96 tram).

As with Live Music options, my recommendation would be to check Facebook’s events in the area option. Resident Advisor is the best option for electronic music! You could use this same tactic when you travel in Sydney or other cities around the world.

Local Neighbourhoods

  • Brunswick: While Fitzroy has been gentrified over recent decades, Brunswick is yet to undergo the same extent of gentrification. Sydney Road is a mix of the old and the new: lots of Arab restaurants like Tiba’s and new hipster cafes like Ray. The street is incredibly long and stretches into Coburg. Pick up some made-to-measure jeans for just $50 at Melbourne institution, Dejour Jeans.
  • Yarraville and Footscray: After the Inner-North, my second favourite part of Melbourne is the inner west. Take the Sunbury, Williamstown or Werribee train towards Footscray. It is Melbourne’s most diverse neighbourhood with the Footscray Market, and lots of Vietnamese and African food. A couple stops further on Werribee line will take you to Yarraville which is a very quaint, village-like neighbourhood.
  • South Melbourne: If you’re looking for a more local alternative to the Queen Victoria Market, then head to the South Melbourne Market, just a short tram ride from the city. While not as big as QVM, the SMM has a great variety of fruit, veg, delis and homewares. SMM is famous for its Dim Sim (Australian/Chinese dumplings) shop. The surrounding streets (especially Coventry Street) have great cafes, quirky shops and interesting laneways (#12 tram).

Hopefully these tips help you get started in Melbourne, but if you want to learn more make sure to join us on a free Melbourne walking tour. We’ll see you soon.