If you’re planning a trip to Melbourne, but have no idea where to start I’ve put together this guide of 51 things to do! It’s a guide on the best places to visit for sightseeing and shopping, the best bars and restaurants in town and a few other fun, adventurous, weird and wonderful things to try.
Need a place to stay? Mantra City Central on Little Bourke Street is the best inner-city location with recently refurbished rooms that are stylish, comfortable and effortlessly cool, read my review here. For the budget conscious, check out Tune Hotel in Carlton, which offers small but functional rooms just outside the CBD, read my review here.
Watch: our ‘Things to do in Melbourne’ video
1. Rap Jumping
For a completely unique experience, throw yourself face-first off the side of a building! Rap Jumping in Southbank offer forward abseiling experiences that will get your heart pumping and provide you with memories to last a lifetime. Find Rap Jumping here.
2. Cat Cafe
Get cosy with the delightful rescue cats at Australia’s first Cat Cafe on Queen Street. These happy and well-loved felines are living the high life in the comfy surrounds of the Cat Cafe, just waiting for you to come and visit so they can play with you and totally ignore you should the mood strike. Grab a coffee and a snack and lose an hour cuddled up to some sweet kitties. Find Cat Cafe Melbourne here.
3. Eureka Skydeck 88
Take things to the next level and get yourself up to the absolutely incredible Eureka Skydeck 88 for the BEST views of Melbourne and beyond. Try to get there before sunset so you can stake out a good spot to watch the sunset, then try your hand at night photography once things get dark and the lights come alive. You can also take part in The Edge experience, pushing you 3 metres out from the building, suspended almost 300 metres above the ground! Find Eureka Skydeck 88 here.
4. Queen Victoria Markets
Visit the historic Queen Vic Markets in Melbourne’s CBD. Buy freshly baked pastries, cheeses and cured meats or stroll the seemingly endless market stalls selling everything from fresh fruit and plants to jewellery, clothes, ugg boots, hats and toys. Find the Queen Victoria Markets here.
5. Banh Mi Boys
Track down the Banh Mi Boys food truck and get stuck into the best Vietnamese street food in Melbourne. Try a Bangin’ Banh Mi Baguette stuffed with lemongrass pork belly or sambal eggplant for $10 or a Best Mate Salad for $6. Find the Banh Mi Boys here.
6. +39 Pizzeria
Sink your teeth into the best Italian food in Melbourne at +39 Pizzeria in Little Bourke Street. Try the incredible trio of bruschetta including basil pesto, cherry tomatoes and buffalo mozzarella + garlic, Roma tomato, red onion, basil and E.V.O + cream of mushrooms, parsley and a touch of parmesan. Follow it up with the best pizza and pasta outside of Italy and a dreamy glass of Italian red wine. Find +39 Pizzeria here.
7. Gumbo Kitchen
Stalk local food truck, Gumbo Kitchen for New Orleans soul food in the heart of Melbourne. Get your chompers wrapped around a fried catfish, pulled pork or cajun battered soft shell crab Po Boy or try the chicken and smoked sausage gumbo. Find Gumbo Kitchen here.
8. Brother Baba Budan
Squeeze into the quirky-cool surrounds of Little Bourke Street’s one and only Brother Baba Budan. Get there early and grab one of Melbourne’s best cups of coffee and a glazed donut to start your day off right. Find Brother Baba Budan here.
9. Sun Moth Canteen & Bar
Slow down the pace and slip into the mellow world of Sun Moth Canteen & Bar, hidden down Lonsdale Street. The place is super laid back and a mellow oasis away from Melbourne CBD’s busy streets. Grab a cup of coffee and a home-made lamington or try something delicious from the lunch or breakfast menu like chicken and masa dumplings in broth with shredded chicken and greens. Find Sun Moth Canteen & Bar here.
10. Put a Love Lock On It
Go to Southgate Love Lock bridge and add your own love lock to the collection of thousands already there. Don’t have a significant other? Put one on their for your badass self, cos you’ve got your own life locked down, yo! Find Southgate Love Lock Bridge here.
11. Street Art Walking Tour
Melbourne is bursting with incredibly talented artists and you don’t need to visit a gallery to see all of them. Take a stroll around the streets and soak in the bright, quirky, brilliant creations of Melbourne’s best street artists. You can DIY a tour around Melbourne by strolling around by yourself or join a guided tour. Find Melbourne Street Art Tours here.
12. Rooftop bar
Take your pick of the many rooftop bars in Melbourne, get yourself up there and get a drink in your hand. Find Melbourne’s Best Rooftop Bars here.
13. Night time photography
Pack your tripod and your DSLR Camera and hit the streets of Melbourne’s CBD after dark for some awesome long exposure shots of beautiful buildings and trams whizzing by. There are also some great spots for night time photography at Southbank after dark and, of course, Eureka Skydeck 88 which I’ve listed above. Find some serious photography inspo for Melbourne here.
14. Shop around the clock
The shopping in Melbourne is ridiculous, but start in the best place possible… the Bourke Street Mall, home to big name brands like Myer and David Jones, H&M, Zara and more. From here, fan out into Lonsdale and Swanston streets then move out to boutique shops outside the CBD. Find the Top Ten Places to Shop in Melbourne here.
15. Walk along the Yarra at night
Southbank comes alive after dark with street performers, artists and bars and restaurants packed with people. It’s a great spot for photography, getting amongst the local vibe and people watching, of course. Find Southbanks Best Bars here.
16. Miss Katie’s Crabshack
Omnomnom. Get familiar with the divine food served up by crab cooking genius, Miss Katie. Try the delicious Crab Burger, a 100g Blue Swimmer Crab Cake, fresh slaw, herb mayo, dill pickle and sesame bun with yummy fries or Katie’s Low Country Boil of Australian Blue Swimmer Crab, cob corn and smoked kranski, Old Bay and garlic butter. Find Miss Katie’s Crabshack here.
17. Live stand-up comedy
Visit The Public Bar near the Queen Victoria Markets for cheap drinks and stand-up comedy. The Public Bar serve up $6 pints until 7pm daily and have a great roster of live music and stand-up at great prices. Find The Public Bar here.
18. Visit a Jazz Bar
Catch the best live jazz in town at Ruby’s Music Room in Little Lonsdale Street. If you don’t know it exists, you won’t find it, which makes Ruby’s even cooler than it already is. Step through the bright yellow entrance and you’re thrown into the heart of New Orleans. Find Ruby’s Music Room here.
19. Catch a live gig
There are few things more memorable than catching one of your favourite musicians in a new city while you’re visiting. Check their tour guides and see if your holiday dates coincide with their tour dates. Otherwise, find a great live music venue in Melbourne and settle in with a drink to soak in some new music. Find The Best Spots for live Music in Melbourne here.
20. Hot air balloon ride
For a once-in-a-lifetime experience and something you will absolutely never forget, splurge on an incredible hot-air balloon ride above Melbourne CBD at sunrise. It’s the kind of thing you’ll remember forever and show you a side of the city you would never have seen otherwise. Global Ballooning offer great packages for hot air balloon rides in Melbourne and the Yarra Valley. Find Hot Air Ballooning in Melbourne here.
21. Drinks at Union Electric
Head to Union Electric after dark for an insanely good Espresso Martini! While you’re there, work your way through their divine cocktail menu too. Find Union Electric here.
22. Eat Dumplings in Chinatown
Yes. Yes. Yes. Grab a bottle of wine and take it along with you for a night of spectacular dumplings, fried rice and noodles. Get yourself down to Ants Bistro in Corrs Lane, Chinatown. It’s just off the main drag and a little more quiet and peaceful, but offers great service and damn good food. Find Ants Bistro here.
23. Gelato Messina
Don’t have time for Gelato? You need to take a long hard look at yourself and work out what the hell is wrong with you. Go immediately to Gelato Messina in Fitzroy and order 3 scoops. Now. Find Gelato Messina here.
24. American Doughnut Kitchen
Operating out of a vintage bus converted into a sugar-lovers nirvana, American Doughnut Kitchen is a Melbourne institution. They serve the BEST jam-filled doughnuts of your life! Find American Doughnut Kitchen here.
25. Melbourne Museum
Visit the natural and cultural history museum of Melbourne, right near Carlton gardens. It’s $12 for adults and your offspring get in free! Find the Melbourne Museum here.
26. South Melbourne Market
Take a trip to the South Melbourne market, a covered myriad of food and general goods stalls. The market has been around since 1867 and offers everything from fantastic food to unique locally hand-made items you just couldn’t find anywhere else. Find South Melbourne Market here.
27. Op Shopping
Melbourne fashionistas have to offload their unwanted clothes at some point, right? Prowl around Melbourne’s best op shops and dig for their pre-loved items. Find Melbourne’s Best Op Shops here.
28. Visit Chapel Street
Head to one of Melbourne’s most well-known shopping, dining and entertainment districts. Stroll along window shopping the high-end store and stop for lunch at a cosy cafe. It’s a great spot for style spotting and getting immersed in Melbourne’s cool fashion scene. Find Chapel Street here.
29. Bar hop in St Kilda
Get out to St Kilda and have yourself a bar-crawl, trying the best drinks at the best bars with the very best views and cool decor. Be sure to put Captain Baxter, Republica, Mavis Browns, Mr Wolf and Rococo on your list. Find the Best Bars in St Kilda here.
30. Hosier Lane
If you’ve ever looked through photos of Melbourne, chances are you’ve seen a photo of the iconic, blue cobblestone streets of Hosier Lane and brilliant street art covering just about every surface possible. The artwork changes regularly, so take a visit and soak in the talent of Melbourne’s street artists. Find Hosier Lane here.
31. Factory Outlet Shopping on Brunswick Street
Brunswick Street in Fitzroy is the spot for factory outlet shopping in Melbourne. It’s home to big name brands like Alannah Hill, Gorman, Princess Highway, Dangerfield, Country Road and more. Find Brunswick Street Factory Outlet Shopping here.
32. Coffee Crawl
Take your body to the limit by filling it with as much espresso as it can possibly handle. Make a list of Melbourne’s best cafes then map out a coffee crawl for yourself. Start early and rage all day, fuelled by liquid happiness. Find Melbourne’s Best Coffee here.
33. Ride the free tram around the city
Did someone say free? Hop aboard the free tram loop that runs around the city and past all the places you want to visit. It’ll save you money on transport, keep your legs from burning out and can be a great way to take in the city without breaking a sweat. Find the Free Tram Zone in Melbourne here.
34. Flinders Street Station
If you haven’t been to Melbourne before, or haven’t visited in a while, it’s worth taking a walk past Flinders Street Station. It really is pretty cool and a great spot for some iconic photos of Melbourne. Find Flinders Street Station here.
35. Make your own Gin
Don’t mind if I do! Visit the Bass & Flinders Distillery and take a Gin Masterclass. A small class of booze-lovers are taken through the technique of how to make the delicious drop and get to craft a bottle all of their own. The class also includes nibbles and Gin tastings too. Find Bass & Flinders Gin Masterclass here.
36. Take a guided food tour
If all the good food in Melbourne is a little overwhelming for you, sign yourself up for a guided food tour. Melbourne Food Experiences have a great range of tours for groups and smaller private tours too. Find Melbourne Food Tours here.
37. Madame Brussels
Located on Bourke Street, Madame Brussels has a fantastic garden-party themed rooftop bar with an excellent cocktail menu, cupcakes and a great snacks menu too. Find Madame Brussels here.
38. Yarra Valley Wine Tasting
Strap yourself in for a day trip to the Yarra Valley filled with wine tastings and fantastic food. You can either hire a car and designate someone as the sober driver, then make your way around the various wineries in the Yarra Valley Wine Region or sign yourself up for a Winery Tour and get your booze on. Find Yarra Valley Winery Tours here.
39. Visit an Art Gallery or two
Do something refined and cultural by visiting some of the local art galleries in Melbourne, filled with beautiful and interesting artworks. Find Melbourne’s Best Art Galleries here.
40. The Block Arcade
The Block Arcade on Collins Street is a heritage shopping arcade in the CBD, it’s absolutely beautiful to see and a great spot for photographs too. Take a stroll along the arcade and stop for a cup of coffee and piece of cake while you’re there. Find The Block Arcade here.
41. Taco Truck
If you love tacos as much as I do, hunt down the infamous Taco Truck and get your paws on some sweet taco action. What do they sell? Tacos, of course! Everything from fried chicken to crispy bean ‘n’ cheese. Mmm MMM. Find the Taco Truck here.
42. Sun Theatre
If you find yourself caught in a rainy old day, take some time out to catch a movie at the historic Sun Theatre in Yarraville. The Sun originally opened in 1938 and has a really cool old-school interior that’ll transport you to the roaring 40s. Find the Sun Theatre here.
43. The Croft Institute
Take a visit to The Croft Institute, a super-cool laboratory themed bar tucked down a winding Chinatown alleyway. Cocktails are custom designed by some very talented bartenders then drunk with great enjoyment by people like you and me. Find The Croft Institute here.
Man, I freaking love fro-yo and there is none better than the all natural stuff being served up at Yo-Chi. Their amazing flavours range from liquorice, lemon myrtle and passion fruit right through to salted butterscotch, chai, dark chocolate and coconut and Persian delight. Load a cup of the good stuff up with your favourite toppings then get your feast on! Find Melbourne’s best Frozen Yoghurt at Yo-Chi here.
45. Eat Melbourne’s Best Greek Food
Get yourself down to Lygon Street and stake out a spot at Hellenic Republic for the BEST Greek food in town! Eat light all day so you can order loads of things to try at the restaurant, like chargrilled calamari with fennel, lemon, chilli and mayo and chicken from the spit with oregano and garlic. Find Hellenic Republic here.
46. Lily Blacks
Hidden down a Melbourne laneway is the super-cool cocktail bar, Lily Blacks. With a pre-prohibition era vibe and a cocktail list dreams are made of, Lily Blacks is definitely worth a visit. Try the Screaming Soda of Trombo Blanca tequila, vanilla, ginger and lemon or the Coco Cubano of Goslings Rum, lime, toasted coconut, mint and sparkling. Find Lily Blacks here.
47. Brighton Beach
Go to Brighton Beach and soak in the sunshine, it’s the home of the famous Brighton Bathing Boxes and a great spot for iconic photographs of Melbourne. It’s also a great place to grab some fish and chips and eat on the beach or simply stroll along with your feet in the water. Find Brighton Beach here.
48. All Day Donuts
Treat yourself to a trip to donut heaven and go to All Day Donuts in Brunswick. It’s a really cool place to hang out and get a feel for Melbourne’s uniquely cool, chilled out vibe. Try the OG Glaze, Rose Creme with raspberry sprinkles and Lime Brûlée. You’re welcome. Find All Day Donuts here.
49. Catch a show
Because it’s such a cultural hub and major Aussie city, there are loads of big shows and other cool acts that swing through. Catch some stand-up comedy from one of your favourites or get tickets to a theatre show like The Lion King, Dirty Dancing or Strictly Ballroom. Find Theatre Shows in Melbourne here.
50. Queensberry Pour House
My all-time favourite cafe in Melbourne has to be Queensberry Pour House. It’s understated, simple and serves up incredibly good coffee and AMAZING food. Try the gooey, sticky, chocolatey goodness that is their home-made brownie. The smashed eggs with roast capsicum pesto is also a must-try! Find Queensberry Pour House here.
51. Underwood Wine Bar
For wine lovers, visit the intimate space that is Underwood Wine Bar. Work your way through the list of local wines and beers, perfectly paired with a divine cheese platter. What more could you want? Find Underwood Wine Bar here.
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Phoebe Lee is a travel writer and award-winning blogger with a love for storytelling. Phoebe creates practical, fun and engaging written content designed to inspire and energise travel-lovers and dreamers. Follow her and Matt’s adventures at home and around the world, right here on Little Grey Box and through Instagram, Facebook and YouTube.