Melbourne is quickly becoming Australia’s favourite city with locals and tourists alike. The Victorian capital is set to overtake Sydney as the countries most populated city by 2026 as more and more people are drawn to the city. With a thriving arts scene, some of the best cafes and restaurants in the country, great nightlife and beautiful beaches and national parks within easy reach, it’s no wonder Melbourne is becoming an even more popular destination.
As the country’s cultural capital, Melbourne has a huge amount to offer visitors seeking out those slightly less explored and off the beaten track experiences. From underground bars to colourful laneways and vibrant markets, there are hidden gems around virtually every corner, just waiting to be explored. Whether you are a long-standing Melbourne resident, you are new to the city or you are basing yourself in one of the great serviced apartments in Melbourne for a few days, it’s time to drop the guidebook and check out some of the city’s secret spots.
Let’s take a look at some of the hidden secrets of Melbourne, Australia’s cultural capital.
Check Out The World’s First Housemuseum
Established by Melbourne collectors Corbett Lyon and Yueji Lyon in 1990, this unique space houses more than 350 pieces of artwork, including video work, photography exhibits, paintings, sculptures and installations. The museum is designed to blur the lines between domestic, private spaces and the museum environment. This is true Melbourne innovation, where ‘museum and living are brought together in a single building’. It’s the world’s first ever purpose-built museum/residence and is well worth checking out.
Discover Street Art On Hosier Lane
Whether you’re a lover of street art or not, you must visit the impossibly bright and vibrant Hosier Lane. Connected with Flinders Street, ear federation Square, this narrow laneway is completely covered in graffiti art. Even if you have visited before, it is worth coming back as, due to the nature of street art, the appearance of the artwork that lights up this street is constantly changing and evolving. You might get lucky and see a street artist doing their thing but even if you don’t, this is one street in Melbourne you must walk down.
Visit Melbourne’s Original Gin Bar Underground
It might be located in a basement, accessible by a dark alley, but make no mistake Gin Palace is as swanky as they come. For Melbourne residents, this is arguably one of the most iconic bars in the city. Holding the legacy of the oldest gin bar in the city, the bar was named after the original Gin Palace that was shut down in 1870 for being ‘in a filthy and disgusting condition’, despite being a favourite of the city’s high society residents. Featuring a selection of quaint alcoves where you can enjoy your gin, this is a must for any Melbourne itinerary.
Explore The Wednesday Night Markets
While Melbourne’s Queen Victoria Market is certainly not a secret, in the summer months, a new element is introduced. From November to March, the market opens up every Wednesday night, featuring some amazing food stalls and local produce to peruse at your leisure. Should you be in town from June to August, the Winter night market at the same location offers warm drinks, live music and open fires to take your mind off the cold Melbourne weather.
Explore Melbourne’s Hidden Delights
Following your guidebook, you will no doubt visit some of the most iconic spots in the Victorian capital. However, if you want to truly experience the city and seek out those spots that only the locals know, then try visiting some of those listed above. Melbourne is a vibrant and exciting city just waiting to be explored, so ditch the guidebook, take some wrong turns and keep an open mind. You never know what you might find in Australia’s lively, fun and alluring cultural capital.