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If you think you know exactly what Melbourne entails, we urge you to take a second look.
Peeling back its layers one narrow laneway at a time, you’ll uncover humble hole-in-the-wall cafes, delightfully secret bars and an abundance of boutiques tucked in all the most unlikely places.
Obsessed with coffee and food and fueled by an artsy, bohemian subculture, it would take ages to truly untangle all of Melbourne, but that's a challenge you'll want to take on.
What's not so secret, of course, is the city’s packed events calendar.
Known as Australia’s sporting and cultural capital, there’s almost always something exciting going on, be it the Melbourne Cricket Ground, Melbourne Cup or Australian Grand Prix.
Outside of big events, you can head to Southbank for stylish restaurants and fantastic views of the Yarra River, or take a two-hour ferry over to Phillip Island to view fairy penguins and cuddle koalas.
Melbourne Attractions, Sightseeing & Activities
Though many of Melbourne’s most unique things to do are hidden thoughtfully within its streets, there are still some more prominent attractions. Federation Square – which can be recognized by its ultra-modern design – holds a significant number of events and cultural performances, and the Royal Botanic Gardens are a mere 2km from the central business district of the city. On the banks of the Yarra River you’ll find the cultural attractions of the Southbank promenade, and the Melbourne Cricket Ground has the country’s National Sports Museum.
Using that as the perfect Segway, be prepared to have sports encompass a large portion of attractions and activities. Even if you don’t normally follow the games, try taking part in the atmosphere. Out here, fandom holds almost a religious weight, and the entire city comes alive when a big game is on.
Melbourne Shopping & Dining
Victorians love to express themselves through what they wear, and that makes fashion a pretty integral part of the city. The Chadstone Shopping Centre is the perfect one-stop-shop for everything from fast to luxury fashion, and the Melbourne Emporium houses more than a few impressive international brands. Bourke Street Mall has fashion favourites like H&M and Zara, Brunswick and Smith Streets tout quirky, vintage finds and ultra-fancy Collins Street boasts flagship designer shops. That’s only the half of it, but we’ll let you explore from there.
Slightly less obvious than Melbourne’s large fashion malls, its restaurants are certainly worth spending time at. Tucked within winding laneways and cozied up into small corners, you can discover hole-in-the-wall cafes, intimate wine bars, happening brunch spots and a broad range of diverse cuisines. Southbank is the spot for a fancier night out, St Kilda pairs each dish with a waterfront view, and Fitzroy has some of the coolest creative restaurants.
Melbourne Festivals & Sports
Sports are arguably Melbourne’s biggest claim to fame, and the event calendar is packed with them. Each November, the famous Melbourne Cup grabs the attention of the entire nation, and in March, the Australian Grand Prix heats up the city’s roadways. You can visit the Melbourne Cricket Ground at any time to spend time at the National Sports Museum, but catching onto the contagious hype at an Australian Rules football game comes highly recommended.
Fashion and culture tend to fill out the rest of the calendar, and festivals of both types are abundant all throughout the year. August is a big month with the Melbourne International Film Festival, Melbourne International Piano & Strings Festival, and Melbourne Fashion Week all on together. June sees a few more arts festivals, and multicultural festivals round out the year in November and December.
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