I can’t kick of my travel guides without one for the city that I’ll always call home. The city’s vibe – cool, edgy and artistic – is reflected in every aspect of its style, food and architecture. I worked together with Boohoo for this post to give you a break down of my favourite things to do (well, mostly eat) in Melbourne.
Look, I’d say we’re the fashion capital of Australia. Sydney, fight me about it. A lot of people are quick to call us out for wearing all black, most of the time (we do), but each suburb has its own distinct style. You can go from 90s hipster grunge, to tacky luxury, to preppy athleisure just by jumping a few suburbs. I feel like it’s hard to pinpoint a specific style in Melbourne because we’re all open to taking a bit from each stereotype and making it our own. We’re all about mixing high-street, designer and vintage, layering different textures, and celebrating individuality.
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For The Foodies
Smith & Daughters – Brunswick St, Fitzroy
The fact that I don’t have any photos of the food there is a testament to how good it is. I promise. As soon as it’s in front of me, it’s gone. Smith & Daughters is a 100% vegan restaurant with a laid back, grunge atmosphere, good music and dim lighting. Coloured hair, tatts and piercings may possibly be a pre-requisite if you’re after a job, and I love it. They like to change their menu up each season, but generally stick to a Mexican cuisine.
You have to try– (When it’s on the menu) Tuna & Green Pea Croquettas, Quesadillas, Layered Queso Dip, Champiñones al Ajillo (mushrooms in an incredibly well-kept-secret sauce), & Warm Spanish Donuts for dessert (especially with Quince filling).
Smith & Deli – Moor St, Fitzroy
The little sister to Smith & Daughters who prefers New York style deli sandwiches and black coffee. Open from 8am – 4pm Tuesday – Saturday, but if you’re there to watch the clock tick over to 11:30am on any given day, then be prepared for a crowd of sandwich lovers. It’s not a sit-down cafe, so run in, grab your sandwiches, and wander off to Fitzroy Gardens. Smith & Deli are also 100% vegan and stock Dairy-Free Ben & Jerry’s, as well as freshly made bread, pastries, cakes and other grocery items.
You have to try – The Wiggum (Pictured below – BBQ grilled tofu, maple BBQ sauce, slaw, pickles & chipotle aioli), and the Home Alone (Turkey, Stuffing, Cranberry Sauce, Mashed Potato & Gravy, all on a roll). Also Peanut Butter & Cookie Ben & Jerry’s. And the Almond Croissant.
Doughnut Time – Fitzroy, South Yarra and two lcoations in Melbourne CBD
It’s so addictive that we’ve limited the household to visiting only once a month. (FYI I broke this rule today). At $6 a doughnut, they are pricey, but worth it. They have a great selection of vegan doughnuts, as well as decadent flavours like Nutella, and Fererro Rocher.
You have to try – Vegan Fox, Sia Later, Matcha Made In Heaven & You Go Glen Coco.
Wonderbao – A‘Beckett St, Melbourne CBD
Wonderbao is easy to miss – nestled away in a cobblestone alleyway somewhere in the CBD – but it’s popular. With only 6 seats at the window you’ll have to get in quick, but being in such close proximity to the State Library, lunch out the front in the sun isn’t such a bad idea either.
You have to try – Fried silky tofu gua bao.
Something More – Moor St, Fitzroy
What was once a warehouse is now a light-filled, highly insta-worthy cafe, gallery and event space. It’s minimalistic, filled with greenery, and spacious enough for you to spread out and get things done. I’m actually yet to eat here, but the coffee is great and the boys are cute. They also feature a new coffee roaster each month so double the excuse to frequent this place.
A few things we do well.
1. Food Truck Parks
Permanent food truck parks. I feel like these came out of nowhere and now I never want them to leave. They typically have a roster of food trucks with different cuisines that change weekly, and an indoor and outdoor area to sit back with your friends and enjoy a few drinks. A must do for 2016, and especially in Summer when the nights are warm, your beers are cold and the sky looks like rainbow candy cotton. My two favourite food truck parks are Welcome To Thornbury (High St, Thornbury), and down the road The Food Truck Park (High St, Preston).
2. Night Markets
Summer night markets, European night markets, Noodle night markets, Winter night markets. There are so many of them that you’re sure to catch at least one at any point in the year. Always a lot of people, food, live music, culture and drinks.
The film season starts every December and runs through Summer, and to be honest, I’ve never actually been but this is a personal reminder to myself to go (and an idea for any future boyfriend).
In an effort to not say “everything is insta-worthy,” a few great locations for your snaps:
Architecture at its best, as seen in my post here. Once you’re done here, check out Hotel Windsor across the street – a luxurious, heritage hotel with deep red carpets, doormen and marbled bathrooms.
This may be a weird one, but some of our train station are quite photogenic. Check out Melbourne Central Station, which doubles as a shopping centre (just don’t forget to look up!) as well as Flinders Street Station – that yellow, museum like building you always hear about. Parliament House is also across from Parliament Station.
National Gallery of Victoria
I found my love for this place very recently, and I can’t wait to go back. Most exhibitions are free, and you’ll see the most incredible art on rotation. Even if you don’t choose to walk through the exhibitions, the waterfall at the front of the building, water wall at the entrance, and hallway of mirrors spiral in the foyer should be enough to keep your insta happy.
I’ll say it now and I’ll say it loud – apart from the incredible architecture, the CBD can be pretty boring. For me, the best neighbourhoods are the ones with a bit of everything. Both Fitzroy and South Yarra are great destinations for cafes, boutique shopping and nature spots to hang back in.
Fitzroy is a short tram ride from the CBD and is very artsy and grunge. With Brunswick Street there, you can spend the entire day brunching, scouring vintage stores and independent boutiques, then sunbathing in nearby parks before a night out in a bar.
South Yarra, on the other hand, is picturesque with its tree-lined streets, Victorian terraces and sidewalk cafes. Chapel Street has all you need in terms of shopping and food, and when it gets a bit too much, you can retreat with a book or go for a run at The Tan.
Why I love living in Melbourne
The other day when I was driving through South Yarra, I thought about how I’ve always said I want to end up living in New York. I want to see and experience the world as much as I can, hopping from country to country and soaking up its lifestyle a few months at a time. Home base wise, I think I’ll always end up back here. You feel it every time you land after an interstate or overseas trip. It’s home. It’s peaceful, multi-cultural, and exciting. It’s everything at once and you never run out of things to do, with interesting spaces popping up everywhere. When the city gets too much, the rest of Victoria has you covered for a getaway to places like Yarra Valley Wineries, Grampians, Great Ocean Road, Wilson’s Prom, and more.
There are so many things I want to show you (and experience for myself) but this is a good start. As always, you can check out Visit Melbourne, City of Melbourne and the official Australia Tourism website for more information.
Leave any questions or requests in the comments below!