Before we start, if you’re heading to one of the world’s most liveable cities then please take me with you. I recently spent three months in the city and now it’s all I can think about. Melbourne really does have everything from great bars, restaurants and cafes to some of the best sporting events in the world. You will find that there’s so much to do in Melbourne that, even if you’ve been before, I can guarantee there’ll be something new that you love! So, if you’ve only got 24 hours in Melbourne, here’s what you need to do!
It’s early so you’ll be needing that caffeine hit to set you up for the day. Melbourne’s coffee is world famous so you can’t really go wrong with calling in anywhere down Centre Place. If I’m honest, I’m not a coffee drinker but you should check out Higher Ground and Auction Rooms. Here’s a good list of Melbourne’s best coffee in the CBD. Grab a pastry too whilst you’re at it because this day’s going to be full on.
With your coffee in hand, set off in search of Melbourne’s most famous street art by exploring its intricate laneways. The artwork is constantly being updated but you’ll want to snap some of the more permanent works around Duckboard Place and AC/DC Lane. Interested in the best of Melbourne’s street art? I’ve put together a guide that will help.
Catch the lift up to the top of the State Library of Victoria for THAT view of La Trobe Reading Room. Admire the room from different angles as you work your way back down to ground with various exhibitions including one on the history of Melbourne.
Is there anything more ‘Melbourne’ than brunch? Head down yet another laneway and grab a table at Manchester Press where you’ll forgot all about avo on toast and order something really outrageous. Think bagels with bacon, banana and popcorn.
Hopefully you’re feeling energetic because you’ve got a bit of a walk to get to the Royal Botanic Gardens (or a tram ride one stop outside the free zone). It might be far but if you’re looking for one of the best things to do in Melbourne it’s this. The gardens are beautiful so take your time wandering through rainforests and green open spaces before paying your respects at the Shrine of Remembrance. The view back to the CBD from the Shrine is one my favourites.
On your way back into CBD, stop off at Federation Square for access to part of the National Gallery of Victoria. It’s free to enter so pretend you’re an art buff and have a wander. I found the aboriginal exhibitions very interesting and thought-provoking. Just opposite the square is probably Melbourne’s most iconic building, Flinders Street Station. Fresh from an uplift in late 2017, this building really is beautiful and still has the original clocks telling you the times of the next trains.
Even though you haven’t got long, you should still do some shopping in Melbourne Central. This is the place to update your wardrobe and, at the same time, stare bewildering at the huge tower inside. You’ll want to check out H&M (trust me) on Bourke Street Mall purely for the architecture. For a taste of English heritage, walk on through the Block Arcade home to boutique shops and Hopetoun Tea Rooms.
For a little pick up, don’t miss the hot chocolate from Hashtag. You might not have thought you needed to before, but you will love pouring your own hot chocolate, from a science beaker, over your mug filled with candy floss. It’s what dreams are made of.
It’s not even time to eat but you need to join the queue at Chin Chin just to book a table. One of Melbourne’s top restaurants, you will never have eaten Thai food quite like it. It must be good as the queue still doesn’t get any shorter.Once you’re on the list, head down the street to Hihou, a secret Japanese bar with lovely views of Fitzroy Gardens. You might struggle to find it but Google should direct you to a steel door where you just need to ring the doorbell. Inside, Hihou is so tranquil you’ll feel like whispering but it’s a great place for a pre-dinner drink.
Finally, your time to experience Chin Chin has arrived. All you need to do is sit down at your table and say “Feed Me.” Make sure you are replying to the waitress when saying this. Not just wandering round chanting FEED ME like a madman. You’ll be treated to eight of Chin Chin’s most popular dishes such as pulled pork pancakes, pad Thai, beef rendang and caramelised sticky pork. As if you weren’t full enough, you get a huge dessert to share as well. If I ever get back to Melbourne, this is the first and last place I would eat.
If Thai food doesn’t float your boat then try one from this list of my favourite places to eat.
You really don’t want your brief stint in Melbourne to be over so it’s time to drown your sorrows. It’ll be dark by now and there’s no better place for late night drinks than on the roof at Goldilocks. Grab the dingy lift next to a Chinese takeaway to be whisked up to a dreamy, fairy-light haven nestled between Melbourne’s skyscrapers. If the night’s still young, you’ll be wanting to check out these bars too.
If you have any questions about Melbourne or need more tips/recommendations/anything, drop me a message and I’ll try to help.