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Secrets of the City - Melbourne

Destination(s): Melbourne

Melbourne can be tough for the tourist. Not one to wear its heart on its sleeve, Melbourne gems are for those in the know and the cream is generally reserved for locals. But if you’re not scared of a few dark alleys complete with dumpsters overflowing with unwanted pig parts from neighboring Chinatown, or legging a couple of fire escapes, you will find the real Melbourne; the edible kind. Don’t be fooled by the nonchalant exterior; a lot of effort has gone in to looking so derelict, and it’s an aesthetic that Melbournians pride themselves on. So don your tightest jeans with your vintage garb, and take it to the streets for some hole-in-the-wall bar action and chow that’s so authentic and right, you’ll see why we don’t need beaches. read more about Secrets of the City - Melbourne

Adelphi Hotel

Adelphi Hotel

  • 187 Flinders Lane
  • tel:+61 3 9650 7555
  • Visit website
  • Melbourne, 3000
Babka Bakery Cafe

Babka Bakery Cafe

  • 358 Brunswick Street
  • Fitzroy
  • tel:61 3 9416 0091
  • Melbourne, 3065

Babka means Grandmother in Russian, and you'd be forgiven judging by the smells of the bakery out the back upon entering that you'd stepped into a kitchen full of delicacies. Everyone has their favorite dish, from the delectable pastries straight from Eastern Europe to the mammoth sandwiches that provide excellent hamper options if picnicking in the nearby Edinburgh Gardens. The standout however has to be the corn beef option which is a weekly ritual to many. The exotic pies come out around lunchtime and sell out extremely fast so expect a line around midday. Not sure if it's on purpose and I'm sure it wouldn't hurt sales, but the mostly female staff seem to be young, slim and attractive. It's best to get takeaway on Sundays morning as locals ease their sore heads by the bucket load. read more about Babka Bakery Cafe

Queen Victoria Market

Queen Victoria Market

  • 513 Elizabeth Street
  • Btw. Peel, Victoria, Elizabeth, and Therry sts. on the northern edge of the city center
  • tel:+61 3 9320 5822
  • Visit website
  • Melbourne, 3000

With no harbour to swoon over, Melbournians pride themselves on cultural pursuits; particularly the kind you can eat. Food is serious business in Melbourne, and the biggest place to shop all things delicious is the Queen Victoria Market. We're talking the usual market chop; hustling hawkers screaming gibberish about a kilo of cherries and fish mongers casting out their catch of the day, but in a city that takes its cuisine with a side of snobbery, it's refreshing (not to mention fun) to see where all the grass roots action takes place.

With endless rows of stalls pushing everything from organic fennel to trashy clip-on koala toys, the vibe is both local and touristy. Young socialites select the perfect harvati for that night's dinner party whilst backpackers flock for a cheap feed from the Bratwurst shop in the Deli Hall.

If you've bought more food than you can carry, skip a couple of aisles over to the Retail Stalls section where clothing and accessories run the show. Tourists delight in Australiana paraphernalia such as sheep skins, moccasins and 'I HEART Melbourne' t-shirts (note: under no circumstances are these to be worn in Melbourne).

Accessible by the any tram heading north from Elizabeth or William Street, and only a short stroll from Melbourne's CBD, the Queen Victoria Market is the perfect place to see real Melbournians savour their favourite past time. Go early to avoid the crowds and take a basket to fill with cheeses, sausage and pastries and savour your spoils in a picnic in the nearby Carlton Gardens. read more about Queen Victoria Market

Degraves Street

Degraves Street

  • Degraves Street
  • tel:61396633596
  • Melbourne, 3000

The tiny, cobble stone alley of Degraves Street knows how to jam a lot in to a small space; and it's mainly Melbourne's best coffee. Running north between Flinders Street and Flinders Lane, Degraves Street is home to tiny cafés that spill onto the street, dishing up delicious paninis and friands from early morning to late afternoon.

Named after pioneer merchants Charles and William Degraves, the strip has an old-world vibe. Adding to Melbourne's European café culture, Degraves Street is the ideal pitstop on your way from Flinders Street Station to the shopping fare of Bourke Street Mall. read more about Degraves Street

Mario's Cafe

Mario's Cafe

  • 303 Brunswick Street
  • Fitzroy
  • tel:61 3 9417 3343
  • Melbourne, 3065
Melbourne Lanes and Arcades Walking Tour

Melbourne Lanes and Arcades Walking Tour

  • 513 Elizabeth Street
  • Btw. Peel, Victoria, Elizabeth, and Therry sts. on the northern edge of the city center
  • Visit website
  • Melbourne
Australian Centre For The Moving Image (ACMI)

Australian Centre For The Moving Image (ACMI)

  • Flinders Street
  • Federation Square
  • tel:+61 3 8663 2200
  • Visit website
  • Melbourne, 3000

More than a just a refuge for film buffs and gaming geeks, Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) provides an interactive multimedia experience for all ages. The world's largest screen gallery, ACMI is devoted to the promotion of innovative cinema, television, new media and games, inviting punters to experience multimedia art with the same consideration often restricted to more traditional art forms.

Opening 2002, ACMI is nestled in Melbourne's iconic Federation Square. Conveniently located opposite Flinders Street Station, it's easy to pop in for a film, talk, creative workshop or exhibition. Get lost in the maze of interactive screen galleries and make your own moving image story. read more about Australian Centre For The Moving Image (ACMI)

Fitzroy

Fitzroy

  • Fitzroy
  • tel:+61 3 9658 9658(Tourist Information)
  • Visit website
  • Melbourne, 3065

Melbourne's inner-city suburb Fitzroy is where the cool kids come to sip their lattés and pick up the latest threads. Local fashion designers rub noses with retro apparel in this youthful hood, where a caffeine hit is never far away.

Melbourne's first suburb, Fitzroy's history was working class roots which combined with today's gentrification of the area provides for a textured contradiction that add to Fitzroy's charm. Designer luxuries are dripping into Fitzroy's bohemian air, and Brunswick Street is the best place to see it all.

Terrace houses host shop fronts of all descriptions, and bars, cafes and fashion shops reign supreme. A strip for all times of day, the brunch set spill on to a sunny day till dusk when the coffee turns to beer.

Make like Fitzroyalty and start with breakfast at Birdman Eating on the leafy Gertrude Street at no. 251. Be sure to check out the local fashion talent at Obus and Alice Euphemia before turning corner to Brunswick Street where you'll find Douglas & Hope, Alpha 60 and Fat52.

Lunch at Alimentari (251 Brunswick St) is best for those that like their food mouth watering. The Lebanese meatball wrap is a favourite with locals. An afternoon of galleries, bookstores, designer home wares and numerous cups of coffee awaits. Be sure to venture into the tree-lined side streets between Brunswick and Smith Streets where there's a pub with decently priced counter meals on almost every corner. read more about Fitzroy

Cookie

Cookie

  • 252 Swanston St
  • CBD
  • tel:03 9663 7660
  • Visit website
  • Melbourne, 3000
Movida

Movida

  • 1 Hosier Lane
  • Melbourne CBD
  • tel:61 03 9663 3038
  • Visit website
  • Melbourne, 3000
Tiamo

Tiamo

  • 303 Lygon Street
  • Carlton
  • tel:61 3 9347 5759
  • Visit website
  • Melbourne, 3053
Rooftop Cinemas

Rooftop Cinemas

  • Level 6, 252 Swanston Street
  • tel:61396633596
  • Visit website
  • Melbourne, 3000

Sit sky high in Melbourne's cityscape with some al fresco film at the Rooftop Cinema. Melbourne's Rooftop Cinema is the hippest, and perhaps highest, cinema destination, resting on top of the iconic Curtain House in the hub of the city.

Part bar part cinema, this urban oasis lets you sip cocktails whilst reclining in your deckchair, immersing yourself in the city lights. The films have a cult classic persuasion, and Edward Scissorhands rests comfortably next to Footloose in the program.

Only a few levels up from Melbourne's hippest bars Cookie and The Toff in Town there is some serious cool at play at the Rooftop Cinemas and people will be looking at you as much as the screen. read more about Rooftop Cinemas

Walk-to-art-tour

Walk-to-art-tour

  • 1 Hosier Lane
  • Melbourne CBD
  • tel:+61 384150449
  • Visit website
  • Melbourne, 3000

There is a definite predisposition to conceal the cool in Melbourne; the harder it is to find, the better it must be. So it's handy to have someone that will unlock the secrets of Melbourne's local art scene for you. Walk-to-art offers just that, a guide to street art, artist run spaces and art in galleries.

Street art and graffiti add to Melbourne's gritty, yet charming culture. But it's difficult to know which inner-city alley leads to a work of art or a dumpster, and at times that dumpster will be the artwork.

The three hour walking tour changes itinerary with what's shaking, so there's no set program. The perfect way to discover Melbourne's thriving arts scene, Walk-to-art lets you meet the artists and curators and really get in on the action. With wine and cheese at the conclusion of each tour, this may just be the fanciest way to slum it in Melbourne's street scene. read more about Walk-to-art-tour

Evelyn Hotel

Evelyn Hotel

  • Brunswick Street
  • Fitzroy
  • tel:61 3 9419 5500
  • Visit website
  • Melbourne, 3065
Pellegrini's

Pellegrini's

  • 66 Bourke St
  • Melbourne CBD
  • tel:61 03 9662 1885
  • Melboune, 3000
Chinatown

Chinatown

  • Little Bourke Street
  • (Between Swanston and Russell streets)
  • tel:+61 (0)39 658 9658 (Visitor Information Centre)
  • Visit website
  • Melbourne, 3000

For something that's Chinese, there's nothing foreign about Melbourne's Chinatown.

Carving the centre of Melbourne's Central Business District (CBD) in the top end of Little Bourke Street, Chinatown is a bustle with restaurants, shops and a mixture of delicious aromas with at times, rather unsavoury wafts from back alleys. But we're talking Melbourne where smelly alleyways boast some of the coolest hole-in-the-wall bars, so best look for the giant dragon gates and jump on board the orient express.

Whether its Yum-Cha at the Shark Fin Inn or some Placenta face-cream from one of the many beauty shops, Chinatown is mostly hit up by Melbourne's hipsters for cheap and fast dumplings. David and Camy is an institution on Thursday nights for bright young things in tight denim, flannel and neon lipstick, fresh from the latest exhibition opening and hungry for some pork dumplings at below reasonable prices.

A maze of shops of things you didn't know you needed awaits and you'll feel strange air of shopper's delight and remorse when you leave with a giant cat shaped lamp under your arm.

Look up from street level windows of slightly depressed crayfish to reveal a plethora of karaoke joints ready to take advantage of one too many Tsingtao.

Visit on Thursday nights to see Melbourne's Movers & Shakers play, or any night on the weekend when the pretty waitresses attempt to lure you in by screaming the menu as you pass by, but always with a smile. read more about Chinatown

The Toff in Town (The)

The Toff in Town (The)

  • Level 2, 252 Swanston St
  • CBD
  • tel:03 96398770
  • Visit website
  • Melbourne, 3000
Double Happiness

Double Happiness

  • 21 Liverpool Street
  • Off Bourke St
  • tel:61 3 9650 4488
  • Visit website
  • Melbourne, 3000