The 8 Best Things to Do in Melbourne

Livable is the adjective most commonly used to describe Melbourne, and it’s not hard to see why. Melbourne is an arts city, food city, and sports city, with something for everyone. Plus, it’s easy to get around—whether by foot, bike, or tram.

100 Birdwood Ave, Melbourne VIC 3004, Australia
When you need a break from all the laneways and urbanscapes, head to the sprawling Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria. Here, 93 acres of landscaped gardens feature more than 10,000 species of native and exotic flora species. On sunny days, locals tend to gather on the grassy slopes that surround the ornamental lake or jog along The Tan (a nearly 2.5-mile walking track that loops around the gardens and past the striking Shrine of Remembrance). If you’re a first-time visitor, however, be sure to also explore the Australian Forest area, Trig Point Lookout, and the Rockpool Waterway. And families will love the interactive Children’s Garden.
Badger Creek Rd, Victoria 3777, Australia
If you want to get up close and personal with some of Australia’s famous animals, head to Healesville Sanctuary, a native wildlife zoo set amid the beautiful bushland of the Yarra Valley just over an hour’s drive from Melbourne. Here, you can cuddle koalas, hand-feed kangaroos, and even pet a spiky echidna. The 74-acre haven is also home to dingoes, pythons, Tasmanian devils, wombats, emus, and the elusive platypus, but the highlight of any visit is the daily Spirits of the Sky show, during which majestic eagles, owls, and colorful parrots soar overhead and show off their best aerial acrobatics.
High Street
Located in the heart of hip Northcote, Ruckers Hill is a great place to take in the Melbourne city skyline. Bike over in the afternoon along the Yarra River and Merri Creek (which will take you past Abbotsford Convent, Collingwood Children’s Farm, and Yarra Bend Park) to enjoy the view at sunset. Then, get a taste of Northcote’s nightlife at one of the many bars and eateries along High Street. Try Wesley Anne for beers, Pizza Meine Liebe for thin-crust pies, or Camus for authentic African fare.
20 Manchester Ln, Melbourne VIC 3000, Australia
Find cool pieces by an array of new and noteworthy Australian brands at this small concept store, founded to showcase independent designers in an artistic shopping environment. The Melbourne space stocks a monthly edit of men’s, women’s, and children’s clothing, with original and limited-edition pieces by around 100 local lines. With so many unique options on offer, you’ve got an excellent chance of finding something that perfectly suits your aesthetic, be it a little black dress by Ella Fashion, or attention-grabbing earrings by Plain Janes. If you can’t find what you’re looking for downtown, you can always check out the other Design a Space locations in Fitzroy and Windsor—the selection is different at each store.
Fairfield VIC 3078, Australia
If you want to experience the Aussie bush without the long drive, head to this sprawling swath of natural parkland just 10 minutes from the center of Melbourne. Perfect for families or couples looking to escape the urban bustle, the park features extensive walking tracks, including a well-marked path that leads to the small but beautiful Dights Falls. If you’re more about the eats than the exercise, make a beeline for the riverside Studley Park Boathouse, where you can enjoy scones and sandwiches on the shaded veranda, or rent a rowboat and go for a quick paddle along the Yarra River.
41 Bourke Street
When the Melbourne International Comedy Festival finishes, the laughs keep coming at Spleen’s free comedy nights, held every Monday at 8:30 p.m. A mixed group of guests, ranging from comedy connoisseurs to boisterous backpackers, squeezes into the intimate venue each week to see 10 funny men and women take the stage for eight-minute sets. Not every act will leave you in stitches, but there are usually more hits than misses, and if you’re lucky, you may even catch a notable name like Anne Edmonds, Frank Woodley, or Wil Anderson, all of whom have been known to try out new material here.
200 Wellington St, Collingwood VIC 3066, Australia
In Melbourne, coffee is king. As part of a long love affair with the caffeinated brew, the city has perfected the processes that go into producing a consummate cup of joe, making it one of the best places to hone your own coffee-making skills. Everyone from espresso amateurs to budding baristas are welcome at the Collingwood Coffee College, where the experts behind Proud Mary Coffee lead everything from two-hour introductory courses to latte art lessons and fully accredited barista trainings. If you’d rather just put your taste buds to the test, the school also holds free weekly cupping sessions, during which you can sip your way through a range of seasonal blends.
Wellington Parade, East Melbourne VIC 3002, Australia
Located an easy 10-minute walk southeast of the CBD, Fitzroy Gardens is one of Melbourne’s quaintest green spaces. Featuring avenues of elegant elm trees and paths paved in the shape of a Union Jack, this 64-acre, picnic-perfect parkland is also home to Cook’s Cottage, once owned by the famous captain’s parents and brought all the way over from Yorkshire, England. Equally enchanting is the Fairies’ Tree, carved with nymphs and native Australian animals, and the miniature model Tudor village. For horticulturalists, there’s even a Spanish-style conservatory full of spectacular floral displays.
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