Melbourne filter: the awesomest things to do, see and eat
February 8, 2019 5:09 PM   Subscribe

We're going to be in Melbourne, Australia for a month! What are cool things we should do, see and eat beyond the top 10 tourist items? Personal interest details inside...

Spending such a long time in one city means we can go way beyond the normal "do a Yarra river cruise / visit Block Arcade / see the MCG / walk the Botanic Gardens / take a trip out to the 12 Apostles" itinerary. A couple of items about our tastes:
- I enjoy photographing street art, and I know Melbourne is one of the best places to do so; if there's places besides the super obvious ones like AC/DC Lane I'd love to know about them
- We like quirky things like the Museum of Jurassic Technology in LA, Sharmanka Kinetic Theater in Glasgow and Univers du Poete Ferrailleur in Brittany (for three examples) so anything odd or unique would be welcome
- we looooooove to eat, but I'm a vegetarian so the venue needs to have vegetarian options - we like good food, whether it's classy and upscale or a hole in the wall
- we looooooove coffee, which is a very easy need to fill in Melbourne, but what is truly the best?
- we enjoy beer bars, cocktail bars, etc - and really love hidden places (which I know are all over Melbourne, but I don't know which ones are amazing)
- under_petticoat_rule likes classical music, especially obscure and early music
- he also loves going to the movies
- we both love science fiction and general nerdery
- we looooooove wine, so Mornington Peninsula and Yarra Valley are on our list but would love specific recommendations there
- I am down for a bit of clothes shopping but am a size 16/18, so my options are somewhat limited; Dogstar and Dejour Jeans are already on the list
- I'd like to go to an AFL / women's AFL game but there seems to be a bit of a Byzantine ticket buying process, maybe? (It's what I remember from a few years ago in Sydney)
- We're already booked in for Hannah Gadsby's Douglas

I'm sure there's more, and I know people here will have exceptional recommendations for us!
posted by rednikki to Travel & Transportation around Melbourne, Australia (12 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
On AFL/AFLW, you'll be pleased to know that the women's comp has free entry to matches, check the fixture against your calendar and just head along (early, especially for popular matches with Melbourne-based teams and for the finals, as it's first come first entry). The AFLW has the added nice touch of using suburban ovals rather than stadiums, so while they're a bit harder to travel to, there's a real community-of-football feel to them, and a sense of the history of Aussie rules.

For men's tickets, matches in Melbourne are generally easier to attend than ones in Sydney as the two major stadiums (MCG/Docklands aka 'Marvel') are so much bigger than the SCG, and you can usually buy tickets from the ground when you turn up.

If you pre-order, first, check the fixture to see which match you want to go to: matches between two Melbourne based teams at the MCG often have the most atmosphere. The two Melbourne grounds, MCG and Marvel, sell the tickets through agencies (ticketek/ticketmaster respectively) and release them to the general public after certain dates, round by round.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 8:39 PM on February 8 [2 favorites]


I have heard delicious reports from the Moroccan Soup Bar near the Fitzroy Gardens. And go to Pellegrinis, at least for a coffee or vego spaghetti. It's a very-well loved Melbourne institution that was hip before hips were invented.
posted by Thella at 8:43 PM on February 8 [5 favorites]


A general recommendation I would make is to go further afield than the CBD and inner suburbs - unlike a lot of other cities, Melbourne has plenty of cool restaurants, bars, arts, music etc. in suburban areas as well as the inner city. I'd recommend checking out northern suburbs like Northcote, Thornbury, Preston, Brunswick, Coburg, as well as Footscray, Seddon and Yarraville in the west.

- A uniue/interesting place to visit is William Ricketts Sanctuary in the Dandenong Ranges.

- I'm vegatarian too: for food I'd recommend Smith & Daughters, Charcoal Lane, Red Sparow Pizza, Moor's Head, Neighbourhood Wine, Cafe Lalibela, Los Hermanos, Hi Chong Qing, Shop Ramen, Pizza Meine Liebe, Wild Yak.

- For movies, the Astor Theatre in Windsor is great, it's a single-screen art deco cinema in largely original condition that screens classic films and latest releases, and it has a resident cat! The Thornbury Picture House is a new venue that's also great.

- For bars: Beer Mash, The Rooks Return, Kitty Somerset, Monty's Bar, Noisy Ritual, Trumpy, Carwyn Cellars, the Night Heron, Back Alley Sally's.
posted by Whichty at 8:47 PM on February 8 [4 favorites]


(If you're going to check out Back Alley Sally's - give me a message, it's near me. Also, it's not too far from Mister West, which has less atmosphere but better beer).

If you're here for as long as Douglas, remember it's part of the Comedy Festival. There's a lot on.

As you mention food and wine, and you're here until Douglas, you could also check out something(s) from the Food and Wine Festival.

If heading Yarra Vally-wards for wine, there's also the Yarra Valley Dairy for the obligatory cheese side of things. Also in that direction is Healesville Sanctuary for a selection of some of the non-murderous wildlife we have here. The Lyrebirds are always fun, and the raptor exhibit is cool.
posted by pompomtom at 1:17 AM on February 9 [2 favorites]


Fitzroy and Collingwood have a lot of street art in the back streets, here's a walking map to get you started, but as it says, it is just a small taste, so you will find a lot more wandering the area.
posted by AnnaRat at 2:16 AM on February 9 [2 favorites]


My regular foodie destinations when revisiting my former home city include the aforementioned Moroccan Soup Bar and Pellegrini's; practically anywhere in Brunswick St Fitzroy or nearby Smith St Collingwood, obviously not including the McD's on the corner; Thy Thy 1 up the stairs at 142 Victoria St Richmond for fabulous cheap Vietnamese; Gopal's in the CBD; the Armstrong St Foodstore in Middle Park for a truly satisfying veggie lasagna, Greek salad, coffee and cake a short walk through leafy streets from the beach; Alasya in Sydney Road Brunswick for super fresh, super cheap Turkish bread and can't-be-bettered dips.

Also seconding the recommendation for the Astor Theatre.
posted by flabdablet at 4:28 AM on February 9 [4 favorites]


the melbourne zoo is accessible by public transport.
the old Melbourne gaol
posted by brujita at 1:03 PM on February 9 [2 favorites]


The SO also suggests the tour of Vic Market. Even if you don’t do a tour, a visit is a must.

Also also, if you were going for a beer in Footscray, Sloth Bar is awesome, and has no kitchen, so you can sit in the beer garden and order in from any of the bajillion nearby restaurants. Get a full Ethiopian feast of things-on-injera straight to the pub.
posted by pompomtom at 10:10 PM on February 9 [2 favorites]


These don't particularly fit your mentioned interests but you might like them anyway:

The Koorie Heritage Trust in Foundation Square right next to Flinders Street station: gallery showcasing work by local Indigenous artists, with more on local Indigenous history upstairs, you can also book guided walking tours here

The Botanical Gardens are spectACular

It's a tourist trap but the views from the 88th floor at the Eureka Skydeck are totally worth it, go at the start of your visit to get the lay of the land

Great foodie stalls at the posh end of the Queen Victoria Market

If you're into Nature at all, trek out past some lovely old bungalows to see the colony of fruitbats in Yarra Bend Park

and the colony of little penguins at the end of the pier in St Kilda: get there a bit before sunset
posted by runincircles at 12:59 PM on February 10 [2 favorites]


Came to recommend just starting at one end of Brunswick St in Fiztroy and walking to the other. Really great vegetarian food all the way along, basically. Madam K and Vegie Bar are specialists and worth the trip alone, and Naked For Satan has an awesome rooftop bar and you know, the best name ever. Rose Street also has some amazing street art, though to be fair you can throw a rock and hit excellent street art in Melbourne. Lots of cool little boutiques along that stretch too. I generally start at Alexandra Parade and just make a day of it, just sort of rolling back towards the CBD.
posted by Jilder at 2:51 PM on February 10 [2 favorites]


-under_petticoat_rule likes classical music, especially obscure and early music

You're in luck. Melbourne has probably the highest density of quality classical music (especially new music) in Australia. It's basically where most of the aspiring classical musicians go to look for work (there and Sydney).

Plexus does all new music (they commission something like 25 new pieces a year). The violinist in particular is astonishing to hear live. Youtube

Pinchgut Opera is a modern early-music opera company. Youtube

Bach Cantatas at St John's Southgate (scroll to the bottom).

Australian Brandenburg Orchestra

And not early or particularly obscure programming, but looking through the Arts Centre Melbourne 2019 schedule there are two concerts I'd recommend: Australian World Orchestra (basically once a year Aussies that are in prominent positions in Oz and overseas gather and do a concert), and Australian Chamber Orchestra (probably our best known orchestra internationally).

I just had a skim through what the Melbourne symphony is doing this year and it doesn't look like they're doing anything obscure or early, but here they are in case you want to have a look.

Ran out of time but also check through the Melbourne Recital Centre website to see if there's anything you like (the website's diabolical, good luck!)
posted by womb of things to be and tomb of things that were at 5:57 PM on February 10 [2 favorites]


womb of things to be and tomb of things that were - I went to a Song Company performance at the Melbourne Recital Centre the other night as a result of your suggestion. It was phenomenal! They performed liturgical works from the Eton Choirbook. I've never heard works like that performed live. I'm really glad I went! Thank you for the recommendation.
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 8:49 PM on February 14 [1 favorite]


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