As one of the oldest suburbs in Melbourne, South Melbourne prides itself on its mix of cultures that blend to form an area that is culturally rich in all respects. You will not even need to ask what the best things to do in South Melbourne are, as this place has a whole load of culturally appropriate features like its architecture, historical background and the different cultures that live in South Melbourne, to give you an experience not to be forgotten.
1. South Melbourne Town Hall
This historical building has been put down as a Victorian Heritage site. It is located away from the suburb’s bustling streets. It was first built in 1879 and many who enjoy the architectural wonders of the world go to visit this place just for that, its architecture. Apart from that, South Melbourne houses the Australian National Academy of Music, renowned for their very exceptional musical talent. Outside, the building is surrounded by lush greenery and a garden filled with colorful roses.
South Melbourne Town Hall
Address: Fishley St, South Melbourne, VIC 3205, Australia
Contact: +61 392096349
Website: South Melbourne Town Hall
2. See Yup Temple
See Yup Temple was built in 1856, when the builders saw it fit to combine the best of Chinese and European architecture. The building came into being as the See Yup society settled in South Melbourne and needed a place to worship and have prayers, so they went ahead and built it. Money for construction was funded by contributions given from the society members and to honor those who gave money towards the construction of this place (who are now deceased), there is a stone tablet that has their names etched onto it. For the architectural buffs, they would be interested to know that the building was constructed with the idea of it taking the design of an 18th-century Victorian building, imbued with elements stemming from the Orient. The artifacts found inside the building are all handcrafted items from China. The interior of the building has been beautified with oriental décor, while the air around the place is filled with incense burning all through the day. For a self-introspecting time, surrounded in silence, go and have a meditative moment at the See Yup Temple.
See Yup Temple
Address: 76 Raglan St., South Melbourne, Victoria 3205
Contact: +61 396997388
Facebook: See Yup Temple
3. South Melbourne Beach
Sometimes all someone needs is a long peaceful walk on the beach and that is what you can do when you go to South Melbourne Beach. When you are worn out from the days activities of shopping, visiting historical places and touring the South Melbourne suburbs, do yourself a favor and go to South Melbourne Beach. Depending on where you are staying, you can take a tram, car or simply walk down to the beach as a mode of transport. Famed for its quietness and the ability for you to just wonder off undisturbed, this beach has characteristics such as being lined by palm trees, having long piers and people on rollerblades rolling along the beach. If you would like to eat, get yourself to one of the many options of shops that sell fish and chips and to quench your thirst, a nice cold beer will be served. If you have animals, give them the time of their lives by taking them on a long walk, beachside.
South Melbourne Beach
Address: Beaconsfield Parade, Middle Park, VIC 3206
Opening Hours: Open 24 hours
4. Smart Artz Gallery
This gallery features the best that is offered in art in South Melbourne and Melbourne as a whole. It was a formerly an industrial warehouse, which was transformed into the chic place one sees today, holding exhibitions for those interested in art. The likes of Kim Kennedy, who taught herself to do contemporary art, are exhibited here and Charles Rocco, who hand sculpts his artwork, also features in this galley. Dame Nellie Melba’s original piano, which is also listed as a national treasure, is showcased in this gallery. Always check to see what they have on exhibit as they also take in work from other artists locally and internationally.
Smart Artz Gallery
Address: 2 Alfred Pl, South Melbourne, VIC 3205, Australia
Opening Hours: Tues - Fri: 11:00am - 4:00pm
Contact: +61 396908872
Website: Smart Artz Gallery
5. Emerald Hill Library and Heritage Center
Formerly known as the Emerald Hill, South Melbourne has quite the historical background. The Emerald Hill Heritage Center is housed in the 18th-century post office and is right next to the South Melbourne library. Its main focus is on the Aboriginal culture, the local history and the cultural heritage around South Melbourne. The heritage center also holds art exhibitions and heritage exhibitions during the course of the year.
Emerald Hill Library and Heritage Center
Address: 195 Bank St, South Melbourne, VIC 3205, Australia
Opening Hours: Mon: 10:00am – 6:00pm. Tue: 12:00pm – 8:00pm. Wed - Fri: 12:00pm – 6:00pm. Sat: 10:00am – 2:00pm. Sun: Closed
Contact: +61 392096611
6. The Old Paper Shop
Who does not like cake with their coffee? Well, when in South Melbourne, you can enjoy your coffee with cake at The Old Paper Shop. It offers breakfast, lunch and dinner. When passing nearby, the smell and the welcoming decadent cakes and other sweet condiments displayed in the window will pull you in, with the guise of just finding out what the café is all about, but before you know it, you are seated and digging into an oh-so-moist cake and washing it down with aromatic coffee. Also a deli is here, so you can have your fill of sandwiches and/or salads.
The Old Paper Shop
Address: 266 Clarendon St, South Melbourne, VIC 3205, Australia
Opening Hours: 6:00am - 12:00am
Contact: +61 396906702
7. Wat Da Pho
For that truly Vietnamese food, go to Wat Da Pho, which features indoor and outdoor areas to dine. They serve pho, which comes hot and ideal for lunch and dinners. Their spring rolls and frozen coconut water are a godsend after a long day in the sun shopping and checking out South Melbourne. Come and enjoy Vietnamese food served by friendly people.
Wat Da Pho
Address: 212 Clarendon St, South Melbourne, VIC 3205, Australia
Opening Hours: Mon - Fri: 11:30am – 3:30pm, 5:30pm – 9pm. Sat: 12pm – 9pm. Sun: Closed
Contact: +61 396965605
Website: Wat Da Pho
8. South Melbourne Market
Ah yes, now you should make it a must to go to the South Melbourne Market, as it is termed ‘the beating heart’ of this suburb. This is where you are bound to find the freshest, greenest and tastiest food produce. If the kitchen is not your domain but you know how to dig into a good plate of food, fret not, there are different restaurants and street food stalls lined up at this market. You can enjoy gozleme from Turkey, paella from Spain, dim sims from Vietnam and so many other foods at this market. If coffee is life, then get your fix at Clement Coffee and for some cold niceness, Fritz Gelato will do you good, thanks to their delicious ice-creams. In summer, the market turns into a night market and it is a wonder to see.
South Melbourne Market
Address: Coventry Street & Cecil Street, South Melbourne, VIC 3205, Australia
Opening Hours: Mon, Tue & Thu: Closed. Wed: 8am – 4pm. Fri: 8am – 5pm. Sat - Sun: 8am – 4pm
Contact: +61 392096295
Website: South Melbourne Market
Cultural experienceIf you are fan of all things culture, South Melbourne will cater for you well. Come and enjoy its architectural buildings, the restaurants, the food, its heritage, its spiritual sanctuary for meditation and the South Melbourne Market, where all different cultures that make up the suburb come out to play.
Get Trip101 in your inbox