Melbourne is one of those cities that you fall for instantly; it has a soul. So, although a day might only scratch the surface of the world’s most liveable city (three years running), it’s enough to get you hooked.
No day in Melbourne can start without a coffee. Cafes abound in the funky, north-east suburb of Fitzroy. With not a franchise in sight, get your caffeine fix from any of the busy baristas that surround Brunswick Street. A few favorites of mine include:
• Grace Cafe – 74 Rose Street
• De Clieu – 187 Gertrude Street
• Hammer and Tong – 412 Brunswick Street
Once you’ve had your fill, grab the tram into the city and head down to Federation Square, Fed Square for short, for some top notch people watching. You can do a free tour of the recently built complex which starts at the visitor center.
If there is only one map you pick up on your stay, make sure it’s a laneway map. Among Melbourne’s labyrinth of lanes you’ll discover incredible street art, cafes wafting fresh grounds, bakeries with just-out-of-the-oven macaroons, chic bars and restaurants packed full of Melbournians.
After you’ve walked yourself hungry, head down Desgraves Street and grab fish and chips from Sea Salt, a sandwich on freshly baked bread from The Quarter, or if you’re in the mood for some Italian, La Citta. Sit at one of the many share tables that run down the centre of the street and you’ll quickly look like a local.
Now that you’ve refuelled, head past Flinders Station and grab a tram to the Botanic Gardens.
Be sure to climb the steps to the top of the ANZAC Memorial, the Shrine of Remembrance, for a spectacular view back over the city. If you’re feeling up for a bit of fitness head over to the Tan, a track around the park which is literally made up of tan colored sand, to jog a few laps.
By then you’ll have earned yourself a drink. Head back to the city over the Yarra River via the Pedestrian Bridge from Southbank. When you get about halfway, take the steps down to Ponyfish Island. It’s the perfect place to watch the sunset over the city.
Once your stomach starts grumbling, get yourself over to the Greek Quarter. Situated on the corner of Russell and Lonsdale Streets you’ll find yourself some of the city’s best eats. You can’t go wrong with Tsindos, a Melbourne institution that has been dishing up Aegean classics since the ‘70s.
In the mood for a mellow night? Head over to the Rooftop Bar on Swanston Street in the summer for their nightly outdoor movies. If you’re up for something a bit more lively, get yourself to Chapel Street where the locals and travellers alike will ensure you have a good night.
Melbourne is a delight to the senses. Whether you’re digging into a meal at any of the fantastic restaurants around town, wandering the streets in awe of the beauty that graffiti can possess or having a sip alongside one of the city’s many hipsters, you’ll be sure to fall for this one.
Laura Bronner is an American Expat who, after graduating from college, set off on what was meant to be a year of travel; that was three years ago. Since then she has lived and travelled all over New Zealand and Australia and plans on calling South Korea home next. Follow along on her adventures at An American Abroad