Peel back the many layers of Melbourne

The Victoria capital is a city that knows how to entertain.

Visitors to Melbourne are spoilt for choice in a city which is renowned for its entertainment options ranging from high-end cuisine to basement rock gigs, plays, festivals and blockbuster sporting events.

Melbourne also boasts stunning, must-visit parks and gardens amid historic architecture.

Here are some of the many attractions on offer which guaranteed to suit all tastes.

Shopping

If shopping is your thing, Melbourne will not disappoint, and it comes with added extras. 

Laneway discoveries and cafe culture are as much a part of the experience as the offerings from local designers and the best of international brands.

Ever-evolving choices make it possible to create a different shopping spree every time you venture out, whether you're after high fashion or fine art, jewellery or accessories, homewares or stationery. 

The city's myriad laneways and arcades harbour untold gems, inner-city precincts spoil you for choice, while department stores and shopping centres continue to raise the bar.

The city's passion for fashion is a serious matter, a fact not overlooked by international retail giants looking to establish Australian outposts, and local designers keen on getting a strong start.

Food and wine

Experience Melbourne's mix of cultures in its myriad restaurants, cafes, bistros and bars. 

Whether you're after modern, traditional, exotic or homespun flavours – Melbourne's eclectic dining scene offers a startling array of the world's great cuisines, from popular favourites to the truly groundbreaking.

Share a drink while snacking on high-end tapas in a laneway eatery, take on a Szechuan chilli dish in Chinatown, or break out of the CBD and discover the city's specialist eating destinations – Richmond for Vietnamese, Carlton's “Little Italy”, Fitzroy for Spanish and Brunswick for Lebanese.

Melbourne's chinatown.

Melbourne's colourful Chinatown district.

Entertainment

In Melbourne, you'll find a galaxy of great clubs and bars – ideal places for a convivial drink, social catchups and DJ sessions, late into the night. 

Melbourne also boasts Australia's largest concentration of live music venues where local and international bands cover everything from grunge rock and techno, to jazz, blues and avante-garde performance.

Catch a cabaret or comedy show starring local and international talent, or visit Crown Entertainment Complex.

History and heritage

Melbourne is home to a number of outstanding and architecturally significant National Trust homes and museums, as well as historically significant parks and gardens.

Journey into the ancestral lands of the Kulin nation and explore their rich and thriving culture on a heritage walk in the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne. Visit the Koorie Heritage Trust and the multi-award-winning Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre at the Melbourne Museum.

See the striking interiors of the 1880 World Heritage–listed Royal Exhibition Building and explore harrowing tales of prison life in the Old Melbourne Gaol, first established in 1842.

Stop by the beautiful Fitzroy Gardens to see the reconstructed Cook's Cottage – childhood home of Captain James Cook, one of the first European navigators to chart the east coast of Australia.

Art, theatre and culture

Book seats for a show in the East End Theatre District, Melbourne's hub of historic theatres hosting world-class stage and musical productions including Harry Potter and the Cursed Child at the Princess Theatre and Moulin Rouge! The Musical coming to the Regent Theatre in August. 

Head to the Arts Precinct in Southbank – where NGV International, Arts Centre Melbourne, Southbank Theatre, Malthouse Theatre, Melbourne Recital Centre and ACCA form Melbourne's beating cultural heart. From 4 June until 3 October NGV will be exhibiting French Impressionism from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

At Fed Square, explore a universe of moving image at ACMI and catch the latest Melbourne Winter Masterpieces exhibition Disney: the Magic of Animation. Also see the Australian art collection, including works by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island communities, at The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia.

Experience some of Melbourne's famous art-filled laneways and alleys, including the popular Hosier Lane, Duckboard Place and Croft Alley which boast must-see displays of street art. 

Inside and out, you'll discover the innovation and skill of local artists and designers at hole-in-the-wall galleries and theatres across the city.

Melbourne has long been known as the sports capital of Australia and depending on the time of year year, you can take in matches being played in all of Australia's major national sporting codes.

The city is famous for being the home of AFL, so watching a game at the world-famous MCG is a must. International sport is also a major drawcard for the city which is home to the Boxing Day cricket Test match, Australian Open tennis, Melbourne Cup horse race and Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix.

Friendly neighbourhoods

Discover the distinctive flavours, sights and passions of Melbourne's favourite neighbourhoods.

Spend time in the city centre and you'll discover pockets of busy, chilled, bohemian, architectural and accidentally cool spaces to explore. 

Find art galleries, bars and restaurants – upstairs and down laneways. Stumble upon indie fashion boutiques, artisan workshops, and street artists at work. Wander waterside paths for raspberry ripple sunsets and climb to a rooftop bar for cocktails with a twinkling night sky view.

Visit creative northern suburbs of Collingwood, Fitzroy, Brunswick and Northcote or rock on at pubs with live music in Richmond. 

South of the river, hop shop-to-shop in South Yarra, Prahran and Toorak. Head to the market in South Melbourne or take your beach towel to bayside St Kilda and Port Melbourne.

Source: Visit Victoria

Plan you holiday to Victoria with RACQ Travel (1300 888 449)