Despite its touristy reputation, Lygon Street has received a face-lift in the last few years, making it one of the most vibrant precincts just a stone’s throw away from the CBD.
Here’s your guide to everywhere and everything you should visit if you’re thinking of making your way down Lygon Street.
9am: Coffee at Grinders Coffee Roasters
The original Grinders retailer store in Melbourne, this particular shop has been brewing sweet espressos since the early 1960s. Recently redesigned, Grinders on Lygon features sleek, upmarket pale concrete, deep timbers and industrial shelves. With a range of coffee beans, accessories and machines on display, caffeine addicts will be in shopping heaven.
10am: Visit Museo Italiano
Home to a collection of Italian art, monuments and exhibitions, Museo Italiano showcases both temporary and permanent instalments. Exploring the issues of migration, diversity and identity, Museo Italia’s permanent exhibition boasts an eclectic mix of multimedia instalments, artefacts and artwork.
12pm: Lunch at The Vertue of Coffee Drink
A stunningly designed, timber-heavy café – The Vertue of Coffee Drink is one of Melbourne’s best looking cafes. Featuring copper coloured geometric lights, open brick and high ceilings, they also roast their own coffee on site. Enjoy caffeinated options like Coffee 3 Ways (espresso, long black and EK43 long shot) with a seasonal brunch menu.
From uncommon Italian delicacies to bargain gifts, Lygon Street has plenty for your inner shopper. Boutique lovers must visit Milly Sleeping; Stocking local designers and a small range of branded second-hand items, you’re guaranteed to leave with your wallet a little lighter.Gift shopping is easy at PoppyShop. A treasure chest of toys for all ages, you’ll never be caught without a present for your smallest nephew again! Meanwhile, Forza Itali is for any Italian at heart – selling a range of Italian music, movies and merchandise.
Foodies can easily spend away their savings at Italian-speciality stores DOC Delicatessen and Lygon Food Store. Walls are crammed with Italian staples like white truffle oil, rich cold cuts and fresh cheese at DOC Delicatessen, while at the Lygon Food Store, pre-made deli meals and thick, fluffy breads make weekend cooking easy.
5pm: Film at Cinema Nova Carlton
Showing the latest and greatest of Hollywood, Cinema Nova has a film for every age and interest. Just make sure it’s your turn to pick. Carlton’s Cinema Nova also offer Nova Deluxe, a range of exclusive, luxury boutique cinemas. Enjoy a chef-prepared single course or three-course meal with your favourite flick of the moment. On Saturday and Sunday afternoons, there’s also High Tea with bubbles or Pimms on offer for $45, including seat admission.
7.30pm: Fine Italian dining
There’s a wealth of traditional Italian dining to eat your way through on Lygon Street. For a family-run, child-friendly establishment that doesn’t compromise on quality – head into Donnini. Serving dishes boasting high quality produce like southern Queensland prawns, Hawkesbury calamari and Sicilian anchovies, freshness is a guarantee.Duo sectioned Tiamo boasts both Tiamo Bistro and Tiamo Cucina depending on your budget. Expect creamy, buttery pastas like the Alla Panna with pasta tossed with mushrooms and meat-focused mains like a veal palermitana with lightly crumbed grilled veal medallions served with creamy pesto sauce.
Cult favourite D.O.C Espresso in Carlton has earned their popularity for good reason. Enjoy the tailored dinner menu at D.O.C Espresso with the daily house-made pasta or classics like their pappardelle with porcini mushroom and truffle oil in bianco. An extensive Italian wine list paired with light desserts like pannacotta or handmade biscotti is the best way to complete this Italian feast.
9pm: Wine and a cheese platter at Milk the Cow
You need to see Milk The Cow to brie-lieve it. Home to over 150 artisan cheeses, taste your way through a selection of rotating cheese boards, accompanied by buttery bread, quince paste and housemade lavosh. Cheese boards can also be paired with drinks including matching wines, whiskey or beers. Individual fondue pots or Marmites like Baked Camembert are also on offer, if you’re happy to get a little stringy.
10pm: Icecream stop
There’s always space for ice cream – you can’t skip dessert when you’re on Lygon Street. From Il Dolce Freddo’s infamous durian ice cream to their crunchy black sesame, Ill Dolce Freddo is known for their innovative Asian-inspired dessert.Pidapipo keeps their gelato hidden under Italian-style stainless steel pozzetti cabinets, to protect the precious product from spoiling. Handmade daily with traditional options like fior di latte, pistachio or raspberry swirl gelato, little ones will be more than pleased with chocolate-loaded Nutella swirl or salted caramel flavours.
11pm: John Curtin Hotel for live music
Known to locals as simply “The Curtain”, John Curtain Hotel is one of Melbourne’s oldest pubs with no-frills pub grub from Leonard’s House of Love and a wealth of local musical talent. With a 300-person band room and local musicians from Melbourne, Sydney and around Australia, live gigs feature a range of genres including Australian rock, pop and funk. Midnight snacking is a real threat, with daily rotating options like vegan chilli, butternut mac ‘n cheese and tacos available.
Catering to hungry night owls on Lygon Street, Lambs is open until the early wee hours of the morning. Known for their generous, greased-up souvlakis, bumble your way into this laidback diner for a Greek feast that will make its way into your hungover dreams.