Living in Melbourne means accepting constant change, from the weather to the average price of a latte. Now more than ever it’s important to remember the things we love most about this awesome city – because they’ll all be waiting for you on the other side.
We live in a city full of secrets
Coffee to art, cocktails to dumplings. Melbourne’s little pleasures await in hidden boltholes, and there is plenty to discover. From a subterranean cheese cellar at Spring Street Grocer to takeaway vegan treats from Union Kiosk in the Causeway. Melbourne is also packed with beautiful public gardens. But it’s the little secrets that make these green spaces extra special. Next time you visit the Royal Botanic Gardens, make for the recently revamped Fern Gully. Find the swing chair suspended in the Bird’s Nest hideaway, and bliss out. Or unwind on a stone seat in the Moss Garden.
We live to eat
Another Melbourne obsession is food. Think of a cuisine, and we’ve got it. Chinese? Our dumplings stop for nothing – you can get them delivered to your door all pandemic long. That oh-so-Instagrammable breakfast? Book in a smashed avo and halloumi delivery from Twenty and Six Espresso on Uber Eats. French-bistro favourites? Entrecote’s corner door is a takeaway pastry haven. Or La Petite Creperie , where treats oozing with decadent fillings are an on-the-go staple. An Italian meal to remember? Grossi Florentino has at-home meals for your casa. Or pre-order your cheese and wine night bounty from Ripe Cheese and the City Wine Shop. That’ll ensure an oozing brie at your door, followed closely by your drop of choice.
The list could go on forever. In fact, it does right here on our delivery guide.
We love our furry friends
Whenever we’re out and about in Melbourne, it’s a given that our four-legged best mates come too. Stretch your legs for an essential walk in one of Melbourne’s inner-city dog-friendly parks and you’ll see pups aplenty. Try Fawkner Park in South Yarra or Princes Park in Parkville. And there’s been plenty of animal action in the virtual world over the past few months. Watching the Melbourne Zoo live stream its inhabitants has helped us through lockdown. And the Melbourne Aquarium’s gorgeous live streamed penguins are a bright spot on everyone’s day.
We love to stop and smell the coffee
Melbourne = coffee. It’s as simple as that, and there’s a cafe for every taste. Usually you can linger over your caffeine fix in a hidden hole-in-the-wall, at the moment takeaway and delivery is your best bet. From Collins Street to the Vic Market, the city’s most iconic bean fiends are doing home delivery of their essential brews. If you’re commuting though, another coffee icon is Cup of Truth. This no-frills venue is open on week days below Flinders Street Station. And of course enjoying a coffee while taking a walk has been a pandemic saviour. Convenient cafes for coffee-fuelled strolls are listed in the garden walks blog.
We’re proud of our street art
Melbourne’s had a thing for street art since forever. And stencil art has been in the news since 2000, predating Banksy’s visit to the city in 2003. Whitewash can come and go, but Melbourne’s street art is here to stay. Presgrave Place is one to admire for its framed portraits and other artworks. And Banksy’s last parachuting rat is hidden among Duckboard Place. Put them on your list for a post-lockdown meander.
We’re home to Australia’s oldest shops
Melbourne has been a shopper’s heaven since the 19th century. We set the bar for arcade shopping in Australia with the Royal Arcade, in business since 1870. It’s proudly known as the oldest surviving retail strip in the country. Royal Arcade residents Paint’n Powder have been there for over 50 years. Glitz yourself up in their online store. City Hatters opened its doors beneath Flinders Street Station in 1910 and it’s still doing business there today. Wander a little further down the street and you’ll come across Hearns Hobbies, who have been trading since World War II.
Melbourne’s mall with the most wow factor is the Block Arcade. The marble and mosaic beauty has been around since 1892. Look at the right-hand store’s ceiling as you enter the arcade from Collins Street. You’ll catch a glimpse of the gorgeous early-1900s mural by Philip Goatcher. And if you love a world record, the Queen Victoria Market is the largest open air market in the Southern Hemisphere, dating back to the 1860s.
We’re culture vultures
When the going gets tough, the tough go dancing. Even when we’re staying indoors. Mr McClelland’s Finishing School: Online Party turned our lounge rooms into discos over the past few months.
The Australian Ballet has brought Ballet TV into our homes, with masterworks such as Swan Lake free to watch. The virtual cultural thrills don’t need to stop there. Get your fill of art online with the NGV Channel. Watch local heroes jam it out in Arts Centre Melbourne’s Big Night In. And view ageless classics online via ACMI’s Virtual Cinématèque.