A 20-Something Travel Bucket-List for Melbourne, Australia
Visiting a city like Melbourne can be really overwhelming if you’re pushed for time. With its fantastic coffee culture, quirky hidden bars and an ever-growing calendar of events to go to, it’s easy to see why Melbourne’s voted one of the worlds most livable cities time and time again. After having lived and worked here for a few months on my Working Holiday, I’ve totally fallen in love with the lifestyle here. However, if you don’t have quite as long to explore, I’ve written this list of things you absolutely must do if travelling to Melbourne.
1. Eat cheap Dumplings in Chinatown
You haven’t done Melbourne until you’ve ordered a plate of steaming hot dumplings in Chinatown. Thanks to the cities huge Chinese population, there are countless places to eat dumplings throughout the city and they needn’t cost more than $10 a portion. Steamed, fried, pork or prawn, whatever your favourite, be sure to treat yourself to some of these delicious balls of dough. Aside from Chinatown, you could also give the dumplings at Shandong MaMa Mini a go and tick off food and an iconic Melbourne Laneway all in one sitting.
2. Watch a Movie on a rooftop (or in the Botanical Gardens)
I was going to try and pick just one of these quirky cinemas to suggest in this post but I just couldn’t pick. Firstly there’s the rooftop cinema, located on the top floor of a tall building on Swanston Street. With its deckchairs, cocktail bar and fantastic city views, this impressive place would be an ideal place for a date that dreams are made of.
Secondly, the Moonlight Cinema is another fantastic outdoor cinema, only this one is located in the heart of the Botanical Gardens. Ideal for a chilled evening with friends, this cinema is only around for the summer and shows well-known movies every night. Be sure to bring a picnic mat, some blankets and plenty of snacks.
3. Spend Wednesday evening at the Queen Vic Night Market
Wednesday nights in Melbourne are for the Queen Vic Night Market. During Summer this popular Melbourne market extends its opening hours and packs full of street food vendors, boutique stalls, live music and other pop-ups. There’s an eclectic mix of food showcasing the best of what the city has to offer with everything from Polish dumplings and mini pavlovas to halloumi fries and juicy bao buns to choose from. Be sure to grab a Gin and Tonic from one of the pop-up bars and get stuck in.
4. See the Weekend off at a Day Party
Saturday nights are for going, Sundays are for day parties. Day Parties are a big thing at the weekend in Melbourne and are essentially a continuation of Saturday nights fun. Bottomless brunch, Aperol Spritzes and live music are essential. The most famous of all weekend party destinations? The ESPY, with weekend brunch from 10 and the best of live music gigs most evenings.
5. Bring a book to the State Library of Victoria
The State Libray of Victoria is one of my favourite places to spend a quiet afternoon in the city. This beautiful building is well known as one of the most photogenic places in Melbourne because of its stunning interior. It’s free to enter and with its wifi and plenty of desk space, there could be no nicer place to bring a book and relax.
6. Have a drink on all floors of the Carlton Club
The Carlton Club is one of those Melbourne Bars that I’ll never get bored of. Located right in the heart of the city, the Carlton Club has loads of differently themed quirky bars on each floor. From the Carlton bar with its eclectic decor of huge wild animal sculptures to the Hasti Bala jungle themed room, this crazy place isn’t your usual spot for Friday night drinks. My favourite is the Palmz rooftop bar on the top level with affordable drinks and crazy views of the city skyline.
7. Be a hipster in Fitzroy
Located just a short tram ride out of the city centre, Fitzroy is a must visit area in the city when it comes to eating and drinking. Known as the cities hipster area, Fitzroy is a popular place for 20-Somethings due to its many bars, vegan/ brunch style restaurants, its vintage clothes shops and vast street art. Popular places include Veggie Bar for vegan/vegetarian food, Naked in the Sky rooftop bar, Lune Croissanterie for the worlds best croissants as voted by Time out and Industry Beans for coffee.
8. Get a Flat White Coffee
Melbourne is infamous for its love affair with coffee and it’s true when they say that it’s hard to find a bad cup of coffee in the city. The city is packed full of Independent speciality coffee shops and there’s hardly a Starbucks in sight. To order your coffee like a Melburnian ask for either a Flat White (with milk) or a Long Black. You can check out my list of favourite Melbourne cafes here.
9. Indulge your sweet tooth at Brunetti
Ask a local where to get the best cake in Melbourne and they’ll give you one answer: Brunetti. Set up in Melbourne in 1985 by an Italian family, Brunetti has been serving up the most delicious and aesthetically pleasing cakes and pastries in the city ever since. Now the Italian cake shop has expanded to several locations over the city but its exceptional quality of cakes is still as highly regarded. So, whether it’s cheesecake, cream cakes, fresh pastries or tarts, if it’s dessert that you’re after then it has to be Brunetti.
10. Philip Island Day Trip
Most people do the Great Ocean Road from Melbourne but another day trip that in my opinion is even better is Philip Island. This gorgeous island is located just 140km from the city and offers spectacular scenery. Spend the day driving around, taking coastal walks, stopping off at secluded beaches and spotting wild kangaroos. Philip Island really is a taste of the real Australia and the ultimate city break.
11. Take your Insta’s at the Brighton Beach Bathing Boxes
While St Kilda Beach has got all the atmosphere, it’s hard to beat the colourful bathing boxes located on Melbourne’s Brighton Beach. Each unique in their own right, these bright little beach huts offer an explosion of colour on this sandy Melbourne beach making it easily one of the most photogenic places in the city. The best way to get there is by train from Flinders Station and then you can take the short coastal walk to St Kilda after and tram back from there.
12. Hit the Arbory Afloat for Cocktail O’Clock
Arbory Afloat is one of my favourite Melbourne Bars. Located on a raft right on the river, this pop-up part of the Arbory bar is the nicest place to spend a sunny afternoon in Melbourne. It’s free to enter and offers affordable drinks, great music and unbeatable views of Southbank. Aperol Spritzes are obligatory.
13. Have the best Pizza in Melbourne at Lygon Street
Lygon Street in Carlton is Melbourne’s Little Italy and home to some of the best food in the city. Take a stroll along this street and be transported to Italy as you pass numerous Italian eateries offering alfresco dining and past locals tucking into mouthwatering plates of spaghetti. Lygon street is, of course, infamous for having the best pizza in the city with the best out of all of them being DOC Pizzeria. This popular eatery offers the very best artisan pizzas as well as a mozzarella bar in which you can sample cheese from all over Italy. (If you’re after something sweet for dessert, Pidapipo nearby has the best gelato in the city including Nutella sauce on tap).
I hope that this post has given you some Melbourne related inspiration. There are endless things to do in Melbourne as a 20-Something and even after spending a few months here, I’ve not covered half of the thing on my list. Stay tuned for more Melbourne related posts coming up on the blog soon.
What are your favourite things to do in Melbourne? Comment below to let me know.