Boasting an abundance of creative, quirky and super-Instagrammable shops and eateries, there’s always something new in Melbourne’s laneways and arcades. And with the colder days settling in, there’s never been a better time for some indoor exploring. Make sure you include these essential locations in your next city adventure.
One of the alleys less travelled in Melbourne, Scott Alley connects Flinders Street to Flinders Lane. You’ll find intriguing shops, but don’t miss Roule Galette, a little piece of France in the middle of Melbourne, where all the waiters have strong French accents and the overall ambiance is reminiscent of the authentic bistros in Paris’ Montmartre.
The historic Royal Arcade still boasts their signature black-and-white tiled floors. Once you’re done Snapchatting photos, make your way into Spotty Dot. Filled with hand-crafted designer dolls, wooden toys and children’s décor, there has never been a better way to get lost in the magic that is childhood. Afterwards, stop by Koko Black or Agathé Pâtisserie Petite for something sweet.
The Block Arcade
Along with classic Victorian-style architecture, The Block Arcade is home to a range of eclectic shops. Hopetoun Tearooms is a perfect spot to recharge with tea and cake. Simply follow the trail of smartphones snapping their famous window cake display. If you’ve worked up a sweat darting from spot to spot, pop in to Barbarella Gelato & Wine for Gelateria Primavera’s famous gelato and no-fuss sandwiches.
Waltz down Cathedral Arcade’s narrow, L-shaped structure with graceful arches and stained glass. There’s a range of boutique shops, most notably Kuwaii. All products are Melbourne-made and meticulously designed for functional, lasting wear. To stay on the Melboune-manufactured trail, pop down to Obus. Producing casualwear, footwear, swimwear, accessories and more, the modern Melbourne woman is sure to find just what she is looking for. And for those of you who dream of taking it back to the 60’s, don’t miss Vintage Sole on your way out. You’ll be thrown back in the days when the Beatles were rocking the jukebox as soon as you step through the door.
Campbell Arcade dates back to the 1950s. Although it might be a little quieter now, the salmon-stained walkway still holds a range of shops including a jeweller named Corky Saint Clair. The Cats Meow stocks independently-designed wares and you’ll find vinyl at Wax Museum Records.
If you prefer to avoid the shoulder-to-shoulder bustle of Centre Place, make a beeline for Manchester Lane. A range of boutique designers are tucked into box-sized stores, including Design a Space. Giving local designers the opportunity to showcase independent lines, there’s bound to be something that’ll catch your eye. A little further down, The Sure Store’s range of street apparel is sure to complete your look. Finally, step into Bared Footwear — a one-of-a-kind footwear boutique selling chic shoes designed to provide sneaker comfort.
An unassuming laneway marked by the old-school Pelligrini’s Espresso Bar on its corner, Crossley Street hides its secrets well. Look for the baby blue, pale doorway and neon red pretzel to enter Lucy Folk, a boutique jewellery designer. Their ‘foodie jewels’ include popcorn rings and her original pasta range sit alongside stunning rings. Reward your successful shopping with some Asian-style street food at Gingerboy or a Seven Seeds coffee-stop at charming hole-in-the-wall, Traveller. Want to find out more about the secrets hiding in this laneway? Read our Laneway lovers guide to Crossley Street.
Centre Place and Degraves Street
Boasting street art, year-round alfresco dining and eclectic boutiques, Melbourne’s two most iconic laneways are hardly inconspicuous. Home to handmade Victorian produce and products, everything in Clementine’s Degraves Street shop is charmingly local. For shoe devotees, soleDevotion is exactly what it sounds like–a shop devoted to shoes. And for all the ice-cream lovers, no matter what the season, Pidapipo offers you year-round gelato goodness. On the other side of Flinders Lane, Centre Place is always abuzz with diners, buskers and wanderers – pass through and check out quirky fashion favourite Princess Highway while you’re there.
Original Lanes and Arcades Walk
If you still use a Melway in the car and Google Maps is your digital enemy, skip the navigational struggle and try Original Lanes and Arcades Walk. This unique city tour runs for three hours, encompassing everything in Melbourne’s city centre from Federation Square up to Lygon Street. Runs six days a week, departing 10am and 2pm.