Melbourne was such a cool city, and it actually reminded me a lot of San Francisco, given the restaurant and bar scene, hipster vibes, foodie culture, and the overcast weather! Joe and I were lucky enough to get to visit this trendy city with my best friend Andrea, who was visiting me from LA. We wandered through the entire city, rain or shine. This guide will walk you through everything from what to see, to where to eat, to which rooftop bars to drink at!
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Each suburb ("district" as we typically call them in big cities in the US) certainly had it's own vibe, look and feel. We stayed in St. Kilda, which was a cute little hippie beach community, right near the water. St. Kilda is known for it's trendy coffee spots, dive bars, brightly colored & beachy shops, and little penguins, which you can see about if you're lucky! St. Kilda is about a 20 minute transport ride, or 10 minute Uber, to CDB & is definitely a cute option to stay in! If you don't stay here, definitely spend at least a half day exploring it.
The State of Remembrance @ the Botanical Gardens
We spend most of our time walking through the city, exploring the famous Melbourne laneways (which are alleys painted with some AMAZING graffiti) that are scattered throughout CBD, and stumbling into bars and restaurants for food & drinks -- which is likely how you'll spend most of your time in Melbs! Don't miss out on trying all the coffee you can find! They're known for their hipster cafes and strong coffee!
The Meatball & Wine Bar
One of my favorite things we did (and definitely perfect for the Instagrams!), was visit the Brighton Bathing Boxes. It's about a 20 minute Uber ride/30 minute tram ride to get to Brighton, which is an expensive & upscale suburb of Melbourne that has some pretty awesome homes you'll certainly love to daydream about. In a nutshell, they're historic "shacks" essentially that were built and owned by the upper class back in the day as beach cabanas. They're over 100 years old, and painted with bright colors and unique designs (SO CUTE!) and sit right on Brighton Beach. These are still owned by private individuals and in 2014, one box (#54A) was sold for $215,000 – that is $44,791 per square meter. WOW, must be nice...
Brighton Bathing Boxes
Victoria State Library
If you decide to head to Melbourne, you can definitely explore it in 2-3 days, and make sure to plan out your schedule. A lot of people spend a day in Melbourne and then rent a car to do the Great Ocean Road drive, which takes about 10 hours round trip at a minimum. My parents did this in 1 day, but were extremely crammed on time! It's still on my bucket list and I hope to do it over 2 nights/3 days... stay tuned.
MY MELBOURNE TRAVEL GUIDE
Botanical Gardens - wander through for a peaceful and pretty walk filled with lush greens, large ponds, row boats, and vibrant flowers. Visit the State of Remembrance and the observatory which offers a great look out.
Go shopping on Chapel Street
Walk around the open-air Queen Victoria Markets
Visit St. Kilda Beach & look for the cute little penguins!
Go out on Fitzroy Street - there's lots of hipster spots & rooftop bars!
Visit the Brighton Bathing Boxes, which I talked about earlier in the post
If you're into wine, you can go wine tasting in Yarra Valley for a day, just an hour outside of Melbourne.
Visit the State Library - it's gorgeous inside!
Visit the Parliament of Victoria - the general public can sit inside and watch trials as they go in, if you're interested in politics, it's worth doing.
Chin Chin - yummy Thai and possibly Melbourne's hottest restaurant with a cool atmosphere
Hihou Japanese - somewhat of a speakeasy, this cool sushi spot is hidden and hard to find
The Meatball & Wine Bar - good, cheap eats (photographed above) with DELICIOUS meatballs
Chuckle Park - also pictured above, this is a cute little alleyway food truck - great for lunch, dinner, or late night eats!
Gingerboy - one of my favorite spots we went! It's a vibrant restaurant & bar with funky, disco-style decor dishing up Asian-style street eats.
The Hardware Societe - yummy brunch but get there early or else there will be a huge line down the road!
Brother Baba - known as the best coffee in Melbs
Journeyman - amazing coffee (and breakfast!)
Manchester Press - amazing bagels & coffee tucked away on a cute little alley
Naked for Satan - cool bar with a handful of floors, including a rooftop! They are known for their infused vodka. Make sure to try the lychee and ginger... it was my fave!
State of Grace - a cool bar with a speakeasy at the bottom, which opens when you pull on a book!
Rooftop Cinema - check the schedule for screenings of films, old and new, on a cool rooftop, while served cocktails on deckchairs!
Cookie - a fun bar in a building called Curtain House, where there's 6 floors - each with a different vibe! Including a sit down restaurant, a divey bar, one that's more clubby, and even a rooftop bar.
SHOP MY FAVORITE TRAVEL BEAUTY SUPPLIES TO WAKE UP JETLAG FREE: