Melbourne Cheat Sheet – What To See, Where To Eat
There is a lot to love about Melbourne – so much to see and do. I try to get down there a few times a year to visit family and friends (and make the most of my winter coat and boots collection)!
Below is a curated list of my recommendations for where to shop, where to dine and what to see on your next escape to Melbourne.
Best to base yourself in the CBD and enjoy meandering through laneways to discover hidden boutiques.
Don’t miss Crossley Street where ladies will find off-the-runway looks at Blond Venus and gents can get a custom made suit from Charles Maimone Tailor (who’s been making suits out of his hidden yet famous store since 1972)! A custom suit from here is on my bucket list. They start at $3000…
Check out St. Collins Lane which is home to Maje, Reiss and Sandro. And you’ll love getting lost around Emporium – which conveniently also links you through Myer, David Jones, Melbourne Central, GPO and The Strand – wear your walking shoes!
LANEWAYS TO LOVE
Centre Place – you’ll recognise it immediately from social media photos – it’s a quintessential Melbourne postcard! Discover street art, buskers, cafes, bars, shops and a fun, slightly grungy atmosphere.
ACDC Lane – more amazing street art to gaze at, whilst at the end of the laneway you’ll discover dining gems like Pastuso (you’ll not find a better Pisco Sour outside of Peru!).
Hosier Lane – perhaps the most famous of the bluestone laneways and it’s easy to see why. The incredible collection of artwork from Australian and international artists is known around the globe. You can detour round into Rutledge Lane and explore Hosier’s quieter and lesser known ‘sister gallery’ of art lining the walls, windows and wheelie bins too.
It’s simply not possible to name all the favourites – so this list is a aimed at the foodies who love to find the cosy classics that are sometimes forgotten in the merry-go-round of new restaurant openings.
Il Solito Posto –Il Solito Posto translates as ‘the usual place’, and since opening in 1995 it’s become an institution for many Melburnians. Cosy and dimly lit, it’s nestled in a basement on the corner of Collins Street and George Parade. Crowds flock from breakfast to dinner – my pick from the menu Polpette di manzo (the pork and beef meatballs).
For a fine dining experience take a few extra steps down to the lower basement and try the hand-crafted gnocchi with wagyu oxtail ragu. Delicious!
Cumulus UP – Slightly hidden upstairs from big sister restaurant Cumulus Inc, you’ll discover Cumulus Up with its European vibe and worldly charm. Warm, welcoming and elegant it’s definitely a go-to destination any afternoon or evening– a quick drink and snack pre-show or a relaxed dinner. Highly recommend the Duck Waffles!
Movida – A celebration between Spanish food, culture and flavours with local Australian produce, you’ll find this super popular gem at the end of Hosier Lane. Movida’s menu has changed little since it opened in 2003 – it’s that good.
With tapas style dining, you’ll want to try everything (and it adds up quickly) so try the kitchen’s feed-me menu is my recommendation – if you’re adventurous!
Book well in advance.
The State Library of Victoria – bet you weren’t expecting that! It is a magnificent 19th-century building with a majestic domed ceiling. There’s a sense of calm inside as you sit at antique desks gazing around you at over 2 million books. You’ll also enjoy the range of art exhibitions on offer in the onsite galleries. Trust me, put it on your list.
The Shrine of Rememberance – built to honour the men and women who served in the First World War but is now a memorial to all Australians who have served in war.
The Shrine runs free tours every half hour during which a ray of light illuminates the word ‘love’ on the Stone of Remembrance embedded below the Sanctuary’s marble floor. It’s a powerful, moving and educational experience.
Below the shrine, you’ll discover the Galleries of Remembrance, a fascinating museum that tells the story of Australians at war with over 800 artefacts and artworks.
St Paul’s Cathedral – another surprising recommendation? Completed in 1891, it’s one of Melbourne’s major architectural landmarks, and when you step inside it’s like you’ve taken a trip to Europe. You’ll spot it directly across the road from Federation Square. Pop inside and take a peak.
Back to Melbourne in a few short weeks so there will be a part 2 to this article. Stay tuned!