Melbourne’s inner city is quite small, but its geographic span sprawls out into rural Victoria. The city’s character is made up from the diversity of its suburbs. Get to know some of the neighbourhoods that make Melbourne what it is, so your travels can revolve around which places you want spend the most time in. Although this list is certainly not all-encompassing, it is a helpful guide for first time visitors.
1. Melbourne CBD: The inner city of Melbourne, or its central business district, is the touristy hub: home to the iconic Flinders Station, the free tram zone, art museums, theaters and renowned restaurants. The western sprawl of the CBD is mostly office buildings and corporate businesses, but the eastern part is home to plenty of bars, eateries and things to do that will keep any traveler on their toes.
2. St. Kilda: St. Kilda is Melbourne’s iconic beach town, brimming with sunbathers and backpackers. St. Kilda is one of the most popular destinations for travelers as the nightlife scene is plentiful and new friends are easy to come by. Although St. Kilda’s actual beach becomes densely crowded in comparison to other Australian beaches, you will have plenty to see and do in this neighbourhood.
3. South Yarra: Shoppers everywhere rejoice as they stroll along Chapel Street’s famous shopping district, beginning in South Yarra (and winding through additional towns Prahan and Windsor). South Yarra, an affluent neighbourhood, is home to retail outlets of all styles. South Yarra is also home to a number of great little cafés and restaurants and is a mere stone’s throw away from the beautiful Royal Botanic Gardens.
4. Carlton: Just southeast of the University of Melbourne lies Carlton, a popular part-residential, part-hangout friendly neighbourhood with lots to offer. Carlton’s crown jewel is Lygon Street, the popular strip where Italian culture and cuisine is abundant. There is also a smattering of retail stores to duck into, but the real treat is the Carlton Gardens. The gardens encompass a 26 hectare site: home to the Melbourne Museum, an Imax theater and children’s playgrounds.
5. Fitzroy: Fitzroy is the king of trending food, fashion and nightlife, lovingly referred to as hipster central. Culture and art exudes throughout this neighbourhood; specifically Brunswick Street. Walk up and down to find one of a kind retailers, plenty of thrift and consignment shops and creatively themed cafés, restaurants, bars and nightclubs that cater to every taste. Backpackers gravitate towards Fitzroy for its one-of-a-kind nightlife.
6. Brunswick: Brunswick is the new “up and coming” neighbourhood, projected to be Fitzroy #2 in a few more years. Due to its cheap rent diverse cultural backgrounds, students and lots of artsy types call Brunswick home. Trendy cafés, ethnic eateries and live music venues are quite popular in this neighbourhood, with urban art sprawled across many buildings and streets. Although Brunswick is a bit far North of the CBD, take the 20 minute or so tram ride up to check out its unique vibe.