Melbourne is without a doubt the cultural epicenter of Australia. It’s a global melting pot with a cutting-edge arts scene, unforgettable nightlife and enough award-winning restaurants to keep even the most determined foodie occupied for several lifetimes. There are few cities more iconic than Melbourne and if you’re only staying for a few days, it’s impossible to see it all. If you’re in Melbourne for a limited amount of time, you need a precise list of unmissable experiences to be had in this great city. So here are seven things you absolutely have to do when you visit Melbourne.
1. Drink a Flat White
If one beverage is synonymous with Melbourne, it’s the flat white. While this foamy caffeinated delight may not have been invented in Melbourne (many locals will try to tell you otherwise), nowhere does one better than this city. The flat white has been elevated to something of an art form here and there’s nothing more quintessentially Melbourne than settling into a cozy coffee shop on the iconic Laneways to sip away and watch the world go by.
2. Party ‘Til Sunrise
Australians have a reputation for partying hard, but Melbourne is the place to do it properly. Other Australian cities tend to have a nightlife centered more around popping sparkly bottles of champagne and 1 am closing times, but Melbourne residents are all about stepping out to dance until dawn. Nightlife in Melbourne is raw, gritty and highly inclusive Try out B3, Carlton Club and XE54, the best spots in town right now to dance the night away.
3. Catch a Tigers Game
Melbourne may be big on fancy hot drinks and political correctness, but that doesn’t mean the city isn’t fiercely proud of its sporting heritage. If you want to catch a proper game of Aussie footie while you’re down here, there’s one place you really should do so. The Melbourne Cricket Ground is the spiritual home of our very own Tigers team. This season, Oddschecker correctly predicted the high-flying Tigers would triumph over the Hawks in their first-round finals clash and it’s the electric atmosphere that comes with these games that makes the Ground worth a visit while you’re in Melbourne – you might just witness some history in the making.
4. Step Back in Time at Flinders Street Station
People’s hearts generally don’t tend to pump with excitement when you tell them a train station is one of your city’s most significant landmarks. However, the Flinders Street Station is an unforgettable experience just as much as it is a central transport hub for the land down under. The jaw-dropping neo-gothic architecture is a sight to behold, and if you come on the right day you’re likely to catch a glimpse of a film crew or two using the station as a backdrop for a period drama or historical documentary. A walking tour will ensure you explore every inch of this vast building’s hidden secrets.
5. Get Your Dim-Sum on in Chinatown
Melbourne is big on diversity and the Chinese community in this city is one of the largest in the Southern hemisphere. Chinatown, especially at night, is a neon-drenched sight to behold, the streets full of hungry crowds all eager to hunt out the best dumplings in the city. Settle down for a dirt-cheap dim-sum feast in one of Chinatown’s cheap and cheerful eateries, such as China Red, for a meal you won’t soon forget.
6. Soak up the Street Art
Melbourne fiercely defends its right to self-expression. You’ll see all manner of uniquely dressed and styled people on the streets, all manner of mind-blowing street art on the walls. Some of those murals are the work of the world’s most famous artists, so make sure to book yourself onto a street art walking tour to properly soak it all in.
7. Catch a Show
Melbourne is probably the only place in Aus to catch a world-class play any night of the week. The city has a long performing arts history, meaning there are more beautiful Victorian playhouses and theatres than you can shake a stick at. If you’re not sure which show to pick, do as the locals do: walk down the East End Theatre District and pick the first one that takes your fancy!
Melbourne is a truly cracking city and if you manage to squeeze in these seven things, you might just get a sense of what it’s like to be lucky enough to live there.