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Here’s my guide to Melbourne’s city centre and all the fun things to do with one day in the CBD.
Now that the sun has finally begun to shine on the weekends in Melbourne, I’ve been taking myself on walks around the city whenever I can. It’s been fun to not only get some much-needed vitamin D, but be a tourist in my home city. You know that’s what I love. Here’s an itinerary for how to spend one day just in the Melbourne CBD.
Where to stay in Melbourne
Firstly, if you’re still looking for Melbourne accommodation, check out this post. It features Melbourne hostels and hotels to suit all budget.
How to spend one day in the Melbourne city centre
Start with breakfast
Brunch is a big thing in Melbourne, so you will find many cafes and restaurants around the CBD serving it up on the weekends. Check out this guide from The Urban List for all the brunch recommendations.
Head to the factory outlets
As I live south of the city, I sometimes start my morning at DFO South Wharf, and I think you should too. This factory outlet has a great mix of budget and designer stores. I have found some great deals at Dotti and NOVO Shoes. You might need to set aside a couple of hours to get the most out of this place.
Alternatively, take one of the free city trams to The District Docklands, which was formerly known as HarbourTown. Here you will find Katies, City Chic, Famous Footwear and many more excellent stores with excellent sales. If that isn’t enough outlets for you, there’s even the Spencer Outlet Centre at Southern Cross Station. Who needs the full-priced designer brands within the city centre?
Walk along the Yarra River
I love walking along the Yarra. It always seems to be buzzing with people on the weekends. You can detour and check out the Skydeck at Eureka Tower. Or head towards the Arts Centre and enjoy the weekly Sunday Market. From 10 to 4 there are many handmade gifts to purchase, some snacks and live music too. Then you can either head over the bridge to Federation Square and Flinders Street Station, or continue towards the greenery of Alexandra Gardens or the Royal Botanic Gardens.
Looking for even more things to do in Melbourne? Well, I have over 50 ideas right here!
Enjoy some lunch
The past few times I have walked around the Melbourne city centre, there has been a festival happening. Recently there was a mass of Asian food stands along Southbank Promenade and I quite enjoyed the Mexican Festival at Federation Square in September too. If these don’t take your fancy, there are many dining options on the promenade. I recommend the Arbory, which is located right next door to Flinders Street. Otherwise, grab a sandwich in Centre Place and head to Federation Square to people watch.
Here are all of my favourite places to eat in Melbourne, which includes CBD options
Do some serious street art spotting
After living in Melbourne for six months (how did that happen?), I finally found my way to its most famous street art-filled lane, Hosier Lane. It was crowded, but some of the artwork was fascinating. I also got lucky in that two artists were painting new creations during my visit. You have got to be seriously talented to create some of the designs on show. The intricate way one of the artists used his spray can as a paint brush had me mesmerised. I also recommend checking out Union Lane off Bourke Street Mall in Melbourne city. It is another laneway full of amazing artwork too.
Click here for even more free things to do in Melbourne
Have a sweet treat for afternoon tea
I love a little Sunday afternoon sweet treat. Hopetoun Tea Rooms seems to be the place to do high tea or pick up a delicious slice of cake. It’s found in the Block Arcade, which has been kept in pristine olden day condition. You just have to be prepared to line up. There is even a barrier outside, already for queues. But hey, I have tried one of their chocolate cakes and I say it is worth the wait. If you want something smaller (say cupcake size), I suggest Little Cupcakes. I happened to happily stumble upon this place during a walk through Melbourne city, and it was such a good afternoon treat.
Other sweet treats you can find in the CBD include Walker’s Doughnuts and Nitro Lab. Although the latter is primarily all about gelato, they also stock Mick’s Donuts, which are so indulgent and delicious. I kind of went into a sugar coma after ravaging mine, but damn it was worth it. Mick is most well-known for his Nutella donuts, but I tried one of the cookies n cream variety.
Get lost in the laneways
Melbourne is famous for its many laneways and alleys. It’s actually kind of fun to spend an afternoon venturing down any you find and seeing what you may discover. A popular choice, which is usually overflowing with people, is Degraves Street. It felt very European with plenty of outdoor seating in the middle of the laneway.
Another choice I stumbled upon recently is Block Place. Here you will discover Caffe e Biscotti, which has a happy hour on Sundays from 4 to 7pm. Enjoy $6 wines, or my personal favourite, pints of cider. Some restaurants and cafes do close on the weekends, so you may have to walk a little bit further for a bite or sip. Melbourne is the kind of place meant for getting lost. You may even stumble upon a secret bar (so cool). Look up and admire the 19th century buildings (as old as it gets here) as you soak up all the city has to offer.
Melbourne at night
At night, take in the city’s lights and skyline from across the Yarra River at Southbank. On a Friday or Saturday night, I recommend checking out a sporting event at one of Melbourne’s inner city venues: the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) or Marvel Stadium. It isn’t called Australia’s sporting capital for nothing! Or perhaps you may be more inclined to see a theatre show? Check out the Regent Theatre or Princess Theatre for award-winning musicals and amazing interiors. For band performances and the like, The Forum is the place to be. They always have an incredible line-up of acts.
If you want to get epic photos of the Melbourne skyline at night, you need to check out this post
Melbourne city centre in one day
As you can see, there is plenty to keep everyone occupied on a day in Melbourne city. Remember that all trams within the city are free, so if you don’t want to pound the pavement, hop on board. The City Circle Tram is great for getting a little history lesson over the speaker as you make your way around Melbourne city. It’s taught me a lot. I just hope you enjoy visiting Melbourne as much as I am enjoying living in the world’s most liveable city.
If you missed any of the Melbourne posts scattered throughout, you’ll find them all in my Melbourne archive.