Melbourne, the capital of Victoria and Australia’s second-largest city, is a vibrant and diverse metropolis that offers a plethora of entertainment, sports, culinary, cultural, and shopping opportunities. With its charming streets, lush parks, distinctive cultural districts, and stunning waterfront, Melbourne is a fantastic city to explore at your own pace.
The city has a fantastic range of attractions and activities to keep you entertained all year round.
Enjoy a cruise along the Yarra River, re-live some great sporting memories on a tour of the MCG (Melbourne Cricket Ground), or see some spectacular 360-degree views from the Melbourne Observation Deck.
Explore the animal kingdom at the Melbourne Zoo or dive with the sharks at the Melbourne Aquarium. Join in some interactive footy action at the AFL ( Australian Football League) Hall of Fame & Sensation or enjoy the international art on offer at NGV International and Australian art at The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia.
To find out how Melbourne became the city it is today, spend a day or two at one of the many local museums. The Melbourne Museum houses the state collection in an imposing modern building. The Immigration Museum and Maritime Museum- home of the Polly Woodside, highlight key events in the growth of Melbourne, while the Gold Treasury Museum shows how Melbourne became a city built on gold.
Other histories include the stomach-turning tales of the Old Melbourne Gaol, Ned Kelly’s armor at the State Library of Victoria, and Cooks’ Cottage, the parental home of Captain James Cook. Kids will love the hands-on workshops and new playground at ArtPlay and the Champions Australian Racing Museum & Hall of Fame at Federation Square.
If you’re planning a trip to Melbourne, it’s recommended to stay for 4-5 days so you can explore the Great Ocean Road and visit the adorable Little Penguins on Phillip Island. Regardless of whether you’re a family from Pittsburgh or a wine enthusiast from Austin, there are plenty of activities and sights to suit all tastes in this area.
Federation Square – Fast becoming the cultural icon of Melbourne with its ‘Fractal Facade’ system on each building in the square. The facade is made up of triangles made of sandstone, zinc, and glass pieced together at different orientations and surface angles. See it from the inside at The Atrium and the BMW Edge Theatre indoor amphitheater. The Square is home to restaurants, cafes, bars, and retail outlets as well as venues including the Melbourne Visitor Centre, the Australian Centre for the Moving Image, the Australian Racing Museum, and the Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia – dedicated exclusively to Australian art.
Queen Victoria Market – a Melbourne institution since the late 1860s, you can shop for gourmet food, clothing, toys, souvenirs, and more. Closed Monday and Wednesday.
Melbourne Cricket Ground – Melbourne’s home of cricket and Australian Rules football, and the heart of the 1956 Olympic Games and the 2006 Commonwealth Games. There are tours and the ground houses the Australian Gallery of Sport, the Olympic Museum, and the Cricket Hall of Fame.
Southbank – a bustling entertainment complex situated on the south side of the Yarra River, housing Crown Casino, restaurants, bars, nightclubs, cinemas, sculpture, artworks, and more. There is an open-air Arts & Crafts market on Sundays.
Melbourne Aquarium – a state-of-the-art aquarium located by the Yarra River, featuring sharks, stingrays, and coral.
St Patrick’s Cathedral – with soaring interiors and stained glass windows.
Old Melbourne Gaol and Penal Museum – amongst the museum’s chilling exhibits are the gallows from which Ned Kelly was hung. If you’re brave, take a night-time tour of the jail.
Docklands – New Quay – a short walk or tram ride from the CBD, you’ll find restaurants, cafes, bars, and riverside walkways decorated with public artworks.
The Shrine of Remembrance – in the parklands of Kings Domain, off St Kilda Road, a fine European-style boulevard.
St Kilda – a beachside suburb with restaurants, cafes, and bars.
Scienceworks – a hands-on, innovative science museum in Spotswood also includes Melbourne Planetarium. Exhibits include Australia’s first plane and car.
Melbourne Museum – innovative collection housed in a stunning modernist building.
Lygon Street, Carlton – known as “Little Italy”, a popular restaurant, cafe, and bar strip.
Brunswick Street, Fitzroy – a street with a bohemian heart, with cafes, restaurants, clubs, and fashion shopping.