Melbourne has been called the cultural capital of Australia, and for good reason. With its many art galleries, museums, gardens, restaurants, cafés, pubs, bars, art laneways, live music events and sports games, it has much to offer. Although this list could easily be longer, we’ve narrowed it down to our top 5 recommendations for the best things to do in Melbourne.
1. Art Galleries & Museums
Given its reputation for culture, we have to start with Melbourne’s best-known art galleries and museums. The National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) is the oldest public art gallery in the whole country, and exhibits over 70,000 art pieces. As if that’s not enough, entry is free so definitely give it a visit. Then there is the Melbourne Museum, which is the biggest museum in the Southern Hemisphere. It offers exhibitions for children and adults alike, and its proximity by tram to the CBD makes it an accessible, popular spot. There are many other galleries and museums, but we’ll list just a few: The Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (ACAA), the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI), The National Sports Museum, The Immigration Museum, and the Heide Museum of Modern Art. All of these have the capacity to inspire, so it’s just a matter of going where you feel called to visit.
2. Eureka Tower
If you want to get an epic view of the city, then look no further than the Eureka Tower, which stands at 91 stories high. Its Skydeck on the 88th floor offers 360-degree views of the city. It is the southern hemisphere’s fastest elevator ride, so we suggest not eating a big meal right before hopping on! Oh, and if you’re really brave, then try out The Edge – a glass cube that slides out three metres from the building.
3. Royal Botanic Gardens
Melbourne’s vibrant cityscape is well served by its Royal Botanic Gardens at the edge of the CBD. Visitors get free entry into the 38-hectare garden, making it an attractive option for those on a budget. The Aboriginal Heritage Walk is an informative and popular exploration of Indigenous Australian culture. In the summer, Moonlight Cinema is set up under the stars, and year round visitors can go for a walk or run at the Tan Track, which is the 3.8 km track on the edge of the gardens. Inspired to be in nature in other parts of Melbourne? Check out Queen Victoria Gardens, Fitzroy Gardens, Flagstaff Gardens, Carlton Gardens, Werribee Park or Treasury Gardens.
4. St Kilda
We can’t make a list about Melbourne without mentioning the beach, because although it is known for its cityscape, its location on Port Phillip Bay affords it a number of locally treasured sandy spots. And it is probably St Kilda that wins the title of Melbourne’s most famous beach. The one-of-a-kind bohemian suburb offers many seaside attractions, including its historic amusement park. There are penguins that nest in the rocks near the Breakwater in the evenings, and though they can be seen year round, summer is the best time for viewing them. The other most iconic beach in Melbourne is Brighton Beach, thanks to its brightly coloured Victorian bathing boxes.
5. Eat & Drink
Last but not least we have to talk about eating & drinking your way around Melbourne. The restaurants are world-class, and even if you’re on a budget, your taste buds will be delighted by cuisines from all over the world. The nightlife does not disappoint so after you’ve finished eating, head out to a multitude of options for live music, connect with friends at a local pub or party late into the night. Whatever your scene, Melbourne has you covered.