Melbourne is the type of city where indulgence is commonplace and tasteful decadence is abundant. Deemed one of the most liveable cities in the world, Melbourne is a melting pot of multiculturalism and ethnicities that come together harmoniously in a city that tends to celebrate more than deride being different. From the markets in Chinatown to every single coffee served to the layout of the city, the unofficial motto of Melbourne tends to be that mediocrity will not be accepted. A city of narrow alleyways, side streets and small bars and cafes, locals have trouble keeping up with all the new go-to spots in Melbourne. A day in Melbourne won’t come close to touching everything the city has to offer, but below is an itinerary of a few under-the-radar spots for you to hit the next time you’re in Melbourne.
Mornings in Melbourne are slow and delightful
Start your day by going to Patricia’s Coffee. Located in the corporate end of the Central Business District (CBD), Patricia, feels alien surrounded by the looming financial towers. Tucked away on Little Bourke Street, this small space is charming and takes coffee, and how we drink it, extremely seriously. It’s not the kind of place you would stay for hours on end to read the paper or have brunch - it’s more of a pitstop in a busy man’s day. The coffee is about quality rather than showmanship. Straight-up, black, white or filter coffee is on offer with a rotation of beans from various suppliers. Patricia is simply about good coffee.
From Patricia’s, make your way down to Manchester Press, a short five to ten minute walk away. It’s located surreptitiously in Rankin Lane, just off bustling Little Bourke Street. Manchester Press is surprisingly spacious and quiet - especially considering how busy its surroundings are. It’s a great break from the hustle and bustle of Little Bourke Street. A former gallery, the cafe’s owners have transformed the space into a haven for breakfast lovers. Sit down, get comfortable by spreading out a newspaper or taking your laptop out without getting irksome glares from fellow patrons. The menu, despite being small and simple features some of the best bagels in Melbourne and is the highly recommended option on the menu.
Stroll around lazily in the afternoons
Work off your breakfast with a short walk to Queen Victoria’s Market in the heart and soul of Melbourne. Eat, shop and generally explore the historic hall with its iconic food stalls. The banter between customers and shop-owners is unmatched and get ready to indulge yourself in some fine bargains. If you don’t feel like spending any money, just go there to soak up the atmosphere in the largest open-air market in the Southern Hemisphere.
Hop on an iconic Melbourne tram, a stop is situated right outside Queen Victoria Market, and travel the short distance to Brunswick. A bohemian neighbourhood with one main street, for vintage clothing and gelato lovers, there’s no better place in Melbourne. Make sure you check out Cafe Romantica, as its Brunswick’s late night haven and is just as iconic to the city as the aforementioned Manchester Press.
From Brunswick, take a train or tram to Fitzroy - another neighbourhood of Melbourne that just seems to fit the city’s aesthetic brilliantly. Regarded as the trendier, cooler suburb compared to Brunswick, Fitzroy is a great place to spend a lazy afternoon. Walk down the main street, get yourself lost in the familiar of the side streets that are littered with cafes, restaurants, shops and bars - none of which come across as mediocre or bad. Fitzroy is the perfect neighbourhood to take a rest and indulge yourself in what Melbourne has to offer.
Nights of entertainment await you in Melbourne
After one has recuperated in the relaxed atmosphere of Fitzroy, make your way back to the CBD. Walking down through Chinatown, an array of brightly lit lights hit your face along with shops and restaurants whose food you’re not entirely sure about. Tucked away in an alley arcade in Chinatown, inside a shopping arcade, is your go-to restaurant for dumplings and Chinese food. ShanDong Mama serve traditional recipes from the fishing town of Yantai in the Chinese Shandong Peninsula. With a menu that’s constantly changing to stay refreshing, you’ll find it hard to compare with anything else you’ve eaten, it’s a treat to yourself eating here.
If dumplings and Chinese food don’t tickle your fancy, go to Chin Chin’s, located right near the Yarra river in the heart of Melbourne’s CBD. Chin Chin is a fun and modern take on casual, street-inspired Asian food, with an emphasis on shared plates and flexible, come-any-time dining. You can rock up late and eat like a king with their extended hours, but be prepared to wait in line if you’re there during rush hour - it’s hard to even get a booking then. Their flexible pan-Asian menu is to die for and is regarded as the best restaurant in Melbourne. Their all-Australian wine list and extensive cocktail menu make it a perfect spot to end your indulgent, decadent day in Melbourne.
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Indulgence is everywhere and mediocrity isn’t accepted in Melbourne
Melbourne offers more to tourists in one neighbourhood than most cities do in their entire region. A flourishing mix of different cultures have amalgamated to create a city that is at once unique and welcoming. For tourists wanting to indulge themselves, for backpackers wanting to settle down somewhere and work, for students looking for a good education in a good city, for families looking to get away - Melbourne caters to all archetypes of travelers and for that reason, it’s continuously listed as one of the most liveable cities in the world.
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