Eight things we’ve all missed about Melbourne

Melbourne, it’s good to be back.

As we make it to the other end of lockdown, and the Melbourne Money program makes a return just in time for summer, it’s timely to reflect on some of the things we’ve missed most about this incredible city.

Here are eight things we’ve all missed about Melbourne.

Getting lost in the CBD maze

While getting lost is not everyone’s idea of a good time, it’s part of the fun when exploring the Melbourne CBD. Crisscrossed by a network of street art-emblazoned café-lined laneways and arcades, even lifelong residents can often be heard to utter, ‘Oh, so that’s where that comes out…’. Just dive in and see where the city chooses to take you. Along the way you can pop into local boutiques and independent galleries, take a look inside heritage building foyers, snack on tasty street eats, or indulge in a mid-afternoon cocktail at one of the cities many rooftop bars. There’ll be something to inspire, delight, and amaze you around every corner.

Hardware Lane, Melbourne
Hardware Lane, Melbourne

People watching

While you’re wandering the CBD byways, take the weight off in a well-placed laneway café or bar (our suggestion: Kirk’s Wine Bar, Hardware Lane) and do some people watching. You’ll gain a fascinating insight into the microcosm of cultures that call this city home, and be astounded by the thousands of people coming and going to work, shop, meet friends, get dinner, party, hop on a train, go for a run, or any of the other million reasons people visit the CBD every day.

Kirk's Wine Bar, Hardware Lane
Kirk’s Wine Bar, Hardware Lane

Soaking up the sights, sounds and smells of the Vic Market

Much loved by locals and tourists alike, the Queen Victoria Market on the northern edge of the CBD is a doyenne of the market world and consistently rated one of Melbourne’s top attractions. The market is imbued with more than a century of local history and packed with period touches, fascinating quirks and memorable characters. Go for a wander and soak it all in – and do not leave without trying a $3 borek, or a warm jam-filled doughnut from The American Doughnut Kitchen.

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Fresh produce at the Queen Victoria Market, Melbourne
Fresh produce at the Queen Victoria Market, Melbourne

Taking in the street and high art

We mentioned street art earlier and it’s everywhere in Melbourne, as you’ll soon discover. The epicentre however is the endlessly Instagrammed Hosier Lane. If you can’t beat them, join them. Go snap a selfie there, then head down the lane towards Federation Square. It’s home to the architecturally stunning Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia, which houses the Australian collection of the National Gallery of Victoria. It’s generally somewhat quieter than the gallery’s St Kilda Road HQ, and you may have many of the twenty different exhibition spaces all to yourself.

Galleries at the Ian Potter Centre, NGV
Galleries at the Ian Potter Centre, NGV

Eating for $10

To ‘eat cheap’ takes on new meaning in Melbourne. Yes, you can splash cash on world-class haute cuisine, but equally you can dine on delectable dumplings, spicy boat noodles, banh mi, felafel, savoury bagels, juicy grass-fed burger or vegan poke bowls for under $10.

Related: The Best Korean Fried Chicken in Melbourne

Dumplings in Chinatown, Melbourne
Dumplings in Chinatown, Melbourne

The rooftop bars

Melbourne is a a city made for socialising – Whether in parks, restaurants, cafes, or rooftop bars. The city is awash with amazing themed bars and stalwarts that are worth seeking out include Curtin House’s Rooftop Bar, the elegant speak-easy-style Gin Palace, and the Americana themed Good Heavens Rooftop Bar, located above Fancy Hanks on Bourke St. In the new normal, you may find it necessary to book at Melbourne’s best and busiest bars during peak periods (and have that QR-code reader ready). Alternatively, mid-afternoon is a good time to go and check out the most popular options in a relaxed fashion. You can get settled and watch the after-work crowd drift in.

More: Experience a block full of boutique, history and… chocolate (The Block Arcade, Melbourne)

Rooftop Bar in Melbourne's Curtin House.
Rooftop Bar in Melbourne’s Curtin House.

Vintage shopping

The CBD is a great all-rounder for trending fashion, but equally it’s a hotspot for vintage and pre-loved treasures. Tucked away in the Nicholas Building, RetroStar Vintage Clothing is a must-visit for shoppers seeking leather, fur, costume jewellery, and anything else in between.

Catching a tram to the ocean

And finally, who doesn’t love to be beside the seaside? Hop on the number 96 tram from the CBD (it departs from the Bourke Street Mall) and cruise out to St Kilda Beach. What the weather will do is anybody’s guess (this is Melbourne after all), but if you’re blessed with rays, take a breezy stroll along the foreshore and out on the St Kilda Pier for fabulous views back towards the shimmering city.

St Kilda Beach and Pier
St Kilda Beach and Pier

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