Fun Places to go in Melbourne | Pan Pacific Melbourne | Explore Suburbs

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Melbourne Holidays: Discover The City Through These Cool Suburbs

After an incredible seven-year reign, Melbourne has finally been unseated from its former place as the world’s most liveable city. Now in second place, the city has issued a tongue-in-cheek response via Twitter:


In the meantime, the Victorian state capital still has plenty to crow about. For one, visitors are boldly venturing into its sprawling suburban neighbourhoods in search of hidden gems—and they have not been disappointed.

To experience more of Melbourne’s distinctive flair and flavour, put these charming suburbs on your to-go list. Start with Pan Pacific Melbourne's guide to the best of the city's suburbs.

Swing To Street Art And Street Culture At Fitzroy

Make this neighbourhood your first stop, for it is reputed to be one of the world’s “most hipster” neighbourhoods.

Begin your Fitzroy excursion with some street art appreciation. Get walking directions from Weekend Notes or bookmark a map to explore the area at your own convenience.

You could also look for a Fitzroy street art tour to join, and who better to serve as a guide than a bona fide street artist? Melbourne Street Tours hires only practising street artists to helm their tours. Hence, you can count on these artists to give you the lowdown on the scene, while highlighting cultural and political developments that have shaped the neighbourhood’s art.

For a memorable fine-dining experience, make a reservation at Cutler & Co, run by prolific Melbourne chef Andrew McConnell. What you can expect: excellent food, with no pretensions.

“We work with our hands... for people’s enjoyment,” says McConnell. “It’s not high art. We’re bringing pleasure to people that they can consume.”

In no hurry to leave? Linger on to savour the nightlife, as there are options aplenty at Fitzroy’s best bars.

Black Pearl calls itself a “neighbourhood bar,” but it is a big name on the world stage—one of the World’s 50 Best Bars, in fact. The other crowd favourite is the provocatively named Naked For Satan, loved for its friendly service and Spanish pintxo bar vibe.

Enjoy Vintage Shopping And Classic Movies At Windsor

Trendsetters take note: Windsor is reportedly the “new playground of the urban hipster.”

Begin with a spot of shopping—Plane carries high-quality fashion staples for both sexes, while The Windsor Annex is known for its casual daywear outfits. For the perfect suit (“one of the best fits in the country”), head to P. Johnson, which also stocks off-the-rack shirts and ties.

Have a weakness for retro fashion? Vintage lovers will have fun treasure hunting in Vintage Sole and Shag.

Next, catch a classic or current movie at the single-screen Astor Theatre. At this Art Deco theatre, every movie-going day is an eclectic cinematic adventure. Depending on the theme of the day, you could find yourself immersed in Spike Lee’s latest offering BlacKkKlansman, chick flicks such as Clueless and Mean Girls, or sci-fi classics such as Aliens and Blade Runner.

Looking for things to do in Melbourne at night? The nightlife scene in Windsor can be equally exhilarating.

Asian food features prominently in the neighbourhood—Tokyo Tina, House of Hoi An, and Red Door Yum Cha have all been namechecked on Broadsheet’s “best of Windsor” list. Cafe dwellers and bar hoppers will appreciate the variety here too.

For the best of both dining and drinking worlds, head to Boston Sub for a quick dinner, followed by a walk through the cool-room door behind the sandwich counter to enter Jungle Boy, a hidden cocktail bar.

Soundtrack Your Day At Northcote

Live music fans: Northcote is where you need to be.

To watch up-and-coming acts, head to the Northcote Social Club—this was where the Grammy-nominated Australian singer-songwriter Courtney Barnett cut her teeth when she was still a relative unknown. The club’s 300-capacity band room has also hosted “secret gigs” by luminaries such as Lady Gaga and The Pixies.

Other places to spot musical talent include Open Studio (also a crêperie), Wesley Anne (a former church-turned-pub, “old and character-filled”), and 303 (eclectic live music and film nights).

Northcote was also once heralded as Australia’s “country music capital.” Spend enough time in one of its bars or cafes, and you may have the good fortune of rubbing shoulders with an aspiring or veteran country music songwriter.

More Hidden Suburban Gems To Uncover

More hippie than hipster, Brunswick attracts free-spirited individuals who are not afraid to flout convention.

“Brunswick is a delightful mecca of diversity and inclusivity,” says Ellen Hookey, a tour leader at Urban Adventures, which runs day tours in Melbourne. “Everyone feels free to wear what they want and express themselves in very different ways, which gives the suburb a beautiful sense of freedom.” Read her Brunswick guide for a recommended itinerary, or contact Urban Adventures to arrange a customised tour.

Australian singer-songwriter Kate Ceberano recommends spending time at the charming Elsternwick suburb. Her favourite haunts include Classic Cinemas (“quality mainstream” and arthouse cinema) and the adjoining After The Tears (“the most delicious beetroot salad and savoury pierogi dumplings”), as well as 48H (pizzeria and “gnoccheria”) and Ripponlea (restaurant and cocktail bar).

To eat, drink, and watch the world go by, heed the advice of Masterchef Australia judge Gary Mehigan and head to Malvern, where you can unwind at the Milton Wine Shop and Riserva, or enjoy “fabulous coffee” at Coffee & Soul and Millstone. Or save this guide for more suburban secrets, as dished out by local personalities.

Welcome to Melbourne! Need more information on Melbourne attractions, or accommodation advice? Speak to our friendly team at Pan Pacific Melbourne.

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