There’s never a shortage of things to do at the Queen Victoria Market. For the best tips on where to go and what to do, stop by the Visitor Hub on market days. Their local guides have all the expert advice and inside knowledge on what you can find at this iconic Melbourne attraction. Here’s their shortlist to get you started.
What’s new at the market
From Tuesday 14 May, the Queen Victoria Market is proudly plastic bag and straw free. Help when you visit by bringing your own bag, basket or shopping trolley. But if you forget, don’t worry – the market offers trolley hire, re-usable bags for sale and ‘pick-a-box’ locations for cardboard boxes on site.
As the days grow cooler, thoughts turn to snuggling up on the couch with a good book, so the timing couldn’t be better for the Melbourne Book Market. Choose from over 5000 new and pre-loved tomes carefully selected by 15 of the city’s best booksellers. Authors and illustrators are also on hand to show off their creations, plus there are secondhand CDs and records. Sundays until 25 August.
There’s also a full calendar of events and festivals coming up including Taste of Portugal, which brings together music, dance, food and art from Portugal, Brazil and East Timor on Sunday 9 June.
Later in the month, one of winter’s most exquisite winter delicacies, the black truffle, will take centre stage at the Truffle Melbourne Festival. It’s the largest truffle festival outside Europe, and the program includes chefs dishing up their favourite recipes, truffle dogs showing off their hunting skills and a market truffle trail for take-home treats. Saturday 22 and Sunday 23 June.
Finally – one of Melbourne’s most popular cold-weather events, the Winter Night Market, makes its highly anticipated return on Wednesday 5 June. Warm up with open fires, quirky entertainers and Melbourne’s finest live music acts, speciality shopping, global street food stalls and deliciously spiced mulled wine.
Your all-day guide to the market
Breakfast at Pickett’s Deli & Rotisserie
Scott Pickett’s latest takeaway-friendly venture, Pickett’s Deli & Rotisserie, is an elegant brunch-to-lunch space showcasing Victorian produce. Plough through an avo smash or Belgian waffle breakfast, or grab something to eat on the go. The Mr P’s thick-cut bacon and egg roll is one-hand friendly (hint: add cheese).
With your belly full, get amongst the noise and action of the meat, seafood and deli sheds for the full market experience. Many of the stall-holders are family run businesses who’ve been there for decades. Stop and have a chat and sample some of the delicious foods on offer.
Ultimate Foodie Tours
From the early-bird hour of 6am through to the afternoon, the market never stops. A must-do for foodies (as the name suggests) is an Ultimate Foodie Tour. Sample generous tastings along the way as you make your way past specialty cheese, antipasto, seasonal fruit, wine and more. The tour departs at 11am Tuesdays and Thursdays and 9am and 11am on Saturdays.
If you fancy yourself a bit of a foodie, stop by Books for Cooks to check out their huge range of cookbooks, new, old and vintage.
Lunch at Coffea Coffee
Snag a spot at the bar window and order up a storm at Coffea Coffee. The rotating menu of Italian-inspired, soul-warming dishes includes paninis, salads, pies and tarts. If you’re already too full for lunch, choose a cake or biscuit with your favourite coffee.
Shop until you drop
Apart from collecting a drool-worthy selection of local produce, there’s also a huge variety of other goods to browse at the market.
If you’re hunting for gifts (for a friend or yourself), Inner Essentials’ luxury candles and chemical-free soaps are a no-fuss treat. Next, head into Annie’s Creation and Collection for gorgeous fashion and homewares at reasonable prices. Kids and parents alike will delight in nostalgic wooden toys, hand made dolls and colourful pinwheels at Spotty Dot. If you need pampering, head to Food for your Skin, for natural soap and skincare products lovingly hand-made in regional Victoria. The Andrew Bertuleit Photography in F Shed is also a great spot to find gifts. You can buy images mounted, framed or print posted.
After all this walking, a mid-afternoon caffeine hit at Market Lane Coffee is essential. Grab your take-away and head for the big white van, the unmissable American Doughnut Kitchen. No visit to the market is complete without a bag of their hot jam doughnuts.
If you prefer something stronger, look no further than ReWine. Selling high quality, affordable Aussie wines, all styles are available for tasting before purchase. Even better, they let you bring back empty ReWine bottles to refill at a discounted price.
Drinks and dinner to finish
On Friday and Saturday nights, Simply Spanish serves up tapas, paella and share plates until late. If you’re hankering for a classic pub meal, Captain Melville is a short walk from the market on nearby Franklin Street.