Things to do in Melbourne
In almost any other city in the world, the locals advise against walking into an alleyway unguarded. In Melbourne, not only is this advisable, it's actively encouraged. Melbourne laneways are a haven for small businesses and taking the time to thoroughly explore them is a unique travel experience. Sample coffee, antiques, and high fashion – all in the same laneway.
Hardware Lane in Melbourne is a popular area filled with cafes and restaurants offering al fresco dining.
St Kilda Beach
One of Melbourne's most popular destinations, St Kilda Beach is home to some of the city's most iconic venues like Luna Park and the Palais Theatre. This is one of Victoria's most beautiful waterfront stretches, perfect for a swim or just spending an afternoon exploring the promenade. St Kilda is equally fabulous in the evening, so don't be afraid to return after dark!
St Kilda Pier in Melbourne, picture-perfect at sunrise.
Brighton Beach Boxes
The famous Brighton Beach Boxes have been a popular fixture on the shoreline since 1862. These colourful, unique landmarks change hands only rarely and sell from owner to owner for record prices. They are indelibly linked with Melbourne in the minds of locals and travellers alike, regularly appearing on postcards and promotional materials for the city.
The classic Brighton Beach Boxes are unique to this Melbourne beach.
St Paul’s Cathedral
Construction on St Paul's Cathedral Melbourne was completed in 1931, and it remains the seat of the Archbishop of Melbourne today. It stands on the site of the first public Christian service conducted in Melbourne in 1836. An incredible building, its design and scale are unlike any other in the city. This is another must-see Melbourne landmark, particularly if you're interested in Australian history.
One of Melbourne's key landmarks is the historic St Paul's Cathedral.
National Gallery of Victoria
The National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) is one of Melbourne's largest and most well-regarded art museums. Located on St Kilda Rd, the NGV features a large collection of art work, artefacts, and permanent installations from all around the world. Its regular, large-scale exhibits focus on specific artists or periods not covered by the existing collection. Better yet, entry is free!
There's plenty of impressive art to appreciate in the National Gallery of Victoria.
A popular Melbourne tourist attraction, this observation deck sits atop the country's second-tallest tower and offers a truly incredible view of the city year-round. Positioned on Eureka Tower's 88th floor, the Skydeck also features a wonderful restaurant. Test your fortitude against The Edge, a glass cube that gives you even more sensational views – but only if you're brave enough!
Eureka Skydeck 88 gives you incredible views of Melbourne from the highest public vantage point in the Southern Hemisphere.
Old Melbourne Gaol
A prison that operated from 1845 to 1924, and a place that once hosted some of Australia's most notorious criminals like Ned Kelly and Frederick Deeming, the Old Melbourne Gaol is another important stop for local history buffs. Located on Russell Street, the site is open by day for tours and visits to the attached museum.
The arched ceiling in Old Melbourne Gaol, which was built in the mid 1800s and once dominated the skyline of Melbourne.
Great Ocean Road
The Great Ocean Road is a bucket-list item for many Australian travellers. This 240km stretch of seaside road from Torquay and Allensford is as scenic as it is lengthy. From the Twelve Apostles rock formation to Teddy's Lookout in the coastal town of Lorne, this is a day trip that will easily satisfy your Melbourne sightseeing quota.
Loch Ard Gorge in Port Campbell National Park, Australia.
Australian Centre for Contemporary Art
If you're looking for art that is less classical and more modern, the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (ACCA) should be your first stop. A short walk from the NGV, ACCA is home to some of Australia's boldest and most original modern artists. There's always something on, admission is free, and new installations appear every few months.
Musicals and shows in Melbourne
Australian productions of big Broadway shows often make their debut in Melbourne. From raucous musicals at the historic Princess Theatre to more staid productions, there's a show running any time of year to suit everyone. Melbourne is also home to a bustling community theatre scene so there's always something great to see – no matter what your interests or budget.
Melbourne theatres pack a crowd night after night, such is the quality of the productions.
The Melbourne Museum has only been in its current location within Carlton Gardens since 2000 after moving from the State Library Building in 1997. As one of the best museums in Melbourne and most authoritative sources on the history of the city, Melbourne Museum is perfect for exploring the real story of how this cultural hub became what it is today.
Melbourne Museum is located at the Carlton Gardens in Melbourne and is the largest museum in the Southern Hemisphere.
More art and culture
The above options are far from all Melbourne has to offer culturally. If you want more galleries and museums, there's the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) at Federation Square, or the White Nights festival, an after-dark exhibit that projects local art onto the side of city buildings in February. Don't forget the venerable Astor Theatre either!
View of the iconic Melbourne Arts Centre, river and city, as seen from the Eureka Tower.