The city of Melbourne is a trendy and vibrant metropolis that features an exciting city centre, inner-city districts that are full of distinct character, and lush green parks and mountain ranges where you can experience the most of what the Australian natural environment has to offer.
The city is well-known for its extensive network of alleyways, the variety of its cultural offerings, the high quality of its food alternatives that are accessible to those with varying financial means, and its spectacular street art.
In addition to this, it is renowned for being the coffee centre of the world and is consistently ranked as the city that is considered to be the most habitable in the whole globe!
Let's check out some of the top attractions and activities that Melbourne has to offer:
See Federation Square
Federation Square, often known as Fed Square, is the primary focus of Melbourne's most important cultural attractions and events of world-class calibre. It is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Melbourne, and it can be found at the crossroads of Flinders and Swanston Streets, which is just outside of the core business area. Additionally, it is directly across the street from the Flinders Street station.
It first opened its doors in 2002, and ever since then, it has been one of the most popular tourist destinations in Melbourne, with millions of tourists each year. In addition to this, it has been ranked as the sixth best public square in the world and has been given a number of honours for its architecture and design.
Fed Square is a public plaza that spans a total area of 3.6 hectares, and it is surrounded on all sides by nine buildings that have intricate architectural designs and appealing aesthetics. It has two civic spaces; one is a large Plaza with an open-air amphitheatre that boasts of being capable of hosting up large gatherings at the same time, and the other is an Atrium that is exquisitely glazed and comprises a glass-walled theatre on the south side of the building. Both of these spaces are capable of hosting large gatherings at the same time.
Fed Square is home to a number of popular tourist destinations, including the Australian collection at the National Gallery of Victoria, The Ian Potter Centre, the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI), and an impressive selection of restaurants, pubs, and specialised retail establishments. You will be able to take use of free Wi-Fi, free daily seminars focused on health and wellbeing, and free sporting events broadcast on a massive TV screen here.
As a result of the fact that there is always something going on here and an exciting calendar of events and activities that take place throughout the year, the Fed Square has evolved into the city's most recognisable gathering spot. It gives you the opportunity to become familiar with the acoustic performances that are performed in the city through a series of free outdoor concerts and festivals that are conducted every Thursday during the summer.
It is the ideal location for appreciating Melbourne's unparalleled cultural scene, which can be experienced through eclectic and diverse theatrical productions at The Edge, displays of Australian artworks at the National Gallery of Victoria, and live concerts and annual events at the Zinc.
What Not to Miss at Federation Square
The iconic Federation Square serves as the location for a wide variety of civic, cultural, and artistic gatherings. It is packed with a variety of thrilling activities, and a trip there would be well worth your time. In this location, you may participate in a wide variety of activities that provide an explanation of native Australian art, rich culture, the history of Australian Cinema, and other related topics. In addition to that, it functions as a path along which one may savour the delectable meal. Some of the most well-known and fascinating activities that you should include on your bucket list are the following:
Participating in Melbourne City's Events: Because this location plays home to a large number of cultural, community, and sporting events on an annual basis, you should not pass up the opportunity to participate in any of them. in order for you to have the opportunity to participate in the activity that coincides with the date and time of your visit and for you to enjoy being there.
Taking pleasure in the mouthwatering cuisine Fed Square is not only a paradise for shoppers, but also for foodies, as it offers a wide variety of cafés, pubs, and restaurants of the highest quality. Some of the most well-known restaurants include Time Out and Transport Hotel, Chocolate Buddha, Il Pom, and Bokchoy Tang. These establishments provide cuisines from all over the world and give you the opportunity to please your palate without making any sacrifices.
Spending leisure time with books: If you are an ardent book reader, then you may use the time you have here to look for something new to read, which is a wonderful use of the time you have here. Every Saturday, the Atrium of Federation Square hosts Melbourne's largest weekly book market, and the atmosphere is always lively, melodic, and amusing thanks to the presence of Melbourne's greatest buskers.
Unforgettable Walking Tour of the Aboriginal Community Learn more about the Aboriginal community on this historic tour and hear tales of the days when Federation Square was nothing but grassland and bush. These tours are offered on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays of every week.
Having the wonderful experiences of a lifetime at the Winter Garden and the Winter Village: If you are here during the winter, then you should not miss the opportunity to traverse the Winter Garden, which is a beautifully manicured botanical garden and offers a wonderful display of colourful hand-knitted florals. If you are here during the summer, then you should not miss the opportunity to experience the Winter Village.
You may also spend time with your loved ones and friends in Winter Village, a winter paradise that has big igloos, an ice skating rink, as well as delectable food and cocktails.
History of Federation Square
Before the Victorian Government opted to rehabilitate it as the city's new communal space, the site that is now known as Fed Square was a location that had a mortuary, a nasty fish market, dozens of Brutalist office buildings, stinky train yards, and other undesirable features. In 1996, Melbourne hosted an international design competition with the goal of planning the construction of an inspirational public area that would also serve as a modern global site.
The design submitted by the Lab Architecture Studio was selected as one of the finalists. This plan called for cultural and commercial venues, as well as an open amphitheatre with capacity for up to 15,000 people.
The construction of Fed Square was started in 1998 by The Studio in collaboration with an architecture firm called Bates Smart. The project had a budget of $450 million and was sponsored by the Victorian State Government, the City of Melbourne, the Commonwealth Government, and a number of private sectors.
The project was met with a great deal of criticism due to its high expense, missed deadlines, design, and a great deal of other concerns; nonetheless, ever since it opened on October 26, 2002, it has been a focus of attraction. In addition, only one year after it was opened to the public, it was given a total of five major awards for architectural and design excellence, making it the project with the most honours conferred upon it in the whole history of the Royal Australian Institute of Architects Victoria (RAIA).
Restaurants and Bars at Federation Square
Not only is Federation Square well-known for its attractions, museums, and exclusive galleries, but it is also an excellent location for enjoying the exquisite dishes, beers, and wines offered at the numerous restaurants, cafés, and pubs that are located there. The following are examples of restaurants that are well-known for their high level of sophistication in both the cuisine and the atmosphere:
1. Riverland Bar and Cafe: This establishment, which can be found on the banks of the Yarra River and sits just below Fed Square, is widely regarded as one of the best places in all of Melbourne to enjoy freshly brewed beer, tasty bar food, and breathtaking scenery while doing so. You may also indulge in the world-famous Popstic ice cream, which has authentic versions of traditional flavours and is created with only fresh and local ingredients.
- We are open every day starting at 11 am and staying open till late.
- Situated at the River Terrace.
2. Chocolate Buddha is the ideal location for savouring Japanese specialities such as ramen, donburi, and izakaya, in addition to Japanese beer, wine, and shakes. It provides its guests with a sushi train and an expedited delivery train, both of which assist in the delivery of hot food that has been ordered using a tablet computer.
- We are open on Sundays and Mondays from 11:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
11:30 am to 10:00 pm, Tuesdays through Saturdays
- Location: the Central Market Place
3. Il Pom Italian is a Mini Italy located in Fed Square that serves traditional Italian dishes prepared in a home-style manner. Some of the dishes offered here are pizza, risotto, and zuppa. It is the perfect place to indulge in any of the four courses, a coffee, lunch, supper, or beverages to fulfil your hunger.
- We are open every day from midday until late in the evening.
- Location: Upper Square
4. Transport Public Bar: This is yet another great place to go in Fed Square if you want to sample the many tastes of the delectable food and beverages while also enjoying live music, athletic events, cultural festivals, and other activities of this kind. It can be seen from a considerable distance and is easily identifiable because to the full glass wall window that it has along with a massive letter T. It is the hub of action in Melbourne and is located in close proximity to both the trams and the trains.
- We are open every day from 11 am till closing time.
Shopping at Federation Square
There is no such thing as a successful vacation that does not include at least one shopping excursion, and this town has more than enough shops to satisfy the inner shopaholic in anybody. It is possible to purchase unique keepsakes, accessories, relics, and a wide variety of other goods that may be used in the home. The following is a list of some of the most well-known retail establishments that stock a wide variety of products, presents, and other items:
1. The National Gallery of Victoria design store located within The Ian Potter Centre:
It features a comprehensive selection of art, fashion, photography, and design publications from both Australia and other countries. You may also go shopping for design products here, such as exclusive NGV items, the most recent and best-selling fashion accessories, gorgeous homewares, intriguing presents for children, and one-of-a-kind native Australian pieces.
- We are open every day from midnight till five in the afternoon.
This shop, which can be found within the Koorie Heritage Trust, is an excellent destination for purchasing a memento or genuine works of art and antiques created by Koorie people. When you make a purchase from this location, you are providing indirect support to the Aboriginal Victorian artists as well as the culture and art that dates back 60,000 years.
- We are open from 10 am to 5 pm, every day of the week.
3. The ACMI Shop: a place for
When it comes to shopping for movie books, memorabilia that is inspired by movies, and other types of collectibles, this establishment is the gold standard. It is housed within the Australian Centre for the Moving Image and features an extensive assortment of unique presents, unusual mementoes, movie-themed games, interesting accessories, toys, and trading cards, among other things.
The establishment is open every day from 10 am to 5 pm.
This is a convenience shop that is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and can be found on the Swanston Street Forecourt. It sells a broad variety of products, including goods that are needed on a daily basis, newspapers, magazines, Myki passes, as well as hot meals and snacks.
- Opening Hours: Open 24 hours
Tips for Visiting Federation Square
You've never been to Federal Square before, have you? If this is your first time visiting this beautiful location, there are a few things you need to pay attention to in order to ensure that your time here is both enjoyable and memorable. Before coming to Fed Square, every visitor should familiarise himself with the following list of helpful hints:
1. Although galleries, stores, pubs, and cafés in Fed Square all have their own operating hours, the square itself is open around the clock and admission is free.
2. Because there is always something going on at Fed Square, you should plan your trip there only after checking the schedule for activities that you are interested in attending.
3. The weather in Melbourne may be very unpredictable. Even if there is a sudden shift in the weather, you can remain comfortable if you have prepared yourself with items such as a raincoat, boots, and many layers.
4. If you plan on going to the location during the summer and participating in the event at the open theatre, don't forget to bring some sun protection with you, like sunscreen, sunglasses, and an umbrella.
5. If you are going to be in the area during the wintertime, you absolutely must put a visit to the Winter Garden and Village on your list of things to do.
6. Prior to making a purchase of Aboriginal art, it is important to conduct research to determine the facts of the work's provenance and to get confirmation that the artwork is legitimate. Not all art works are authentic or ethically obtained.
7. If you're a foodie, you're going to love this establishment. Therefore, you shouldn't pass up the opportunity to experience the mouthwatering cuisine and drink that are provided at a variety of restaurants, pubs, and cafés.
Live life luxuriously at Block Arcade
What exactly is it?
If you only go to one arcade while in Melbourne, make it the Block Arcade. You won't regret it.
The building was constructed in the 1890s, and you can tell by looking at it. Although we believe that the entrance located on Collins Street gives off the impression of the most opulence, the splendour that greets you at Block Place is sure to take your breath away. The Block seems like it might have been taken straight out of Harry Potter thanks to its elaborate cornices, high, domed glass ceilings, and intricately tiled floor.
Even the stores inside the arcade, which sell a variety of goods, have been designed to match the theme of the wizarding world. There are fine chocolate shops, traditional tea rooms, jewellers, watchmakers, and more.
Purchasing anything from Haigh's is an absolute must. If you do so, a member of the staff will also provide you with a complimentary taste of chocolate.
The Block Arcade is undeniably the location of the most aesthetically pleasing stretch of retail real estate in all of Melbourne. The spectacular arcade was opened in 1892, and it instantly astounds visitors with its beautiful French Renaissance style architecture. This architecture has tall, sweeping arches, delicate cornices, and a colourful tiled floor that looks like something out of a fancy magazine.
However, despite its attractive appearance, Block Arcade is still a fully operational shopping arcade that welcomes customers of all ages and demographics.
But in order to acquire a piece of the pie here, you need to be someone extraordinary, and every merchant has something that is just a little bit more luxurious to give. When you enter off Collins Street, you'll instantly be welcomed with the lineups outside Hopetoun Tea Rooms. This tea parlour is decorated in a Victorian style and serves pastries that are so aesthetically pleasing that you may check your diet at the door.
Although it is likely that more window shoppers than genuine consumers walk through Block Arcade on a daily basis, these people are all anxious to have a peek inside stores such as Georg Jensen, Crabtree & Evelyn, the French Jewel Box, Card & Caboodle, and the chocolate kings Haighs chocolatiers.
Check out one of the many hole-in-the-wall cafés that are crowded shoulder to shoulder in Block Place if you'd rather not line for your lunch (Hopetoun is extremely busy on the regular), and if you'd like to avoid the crowds at Hopetoun.
Walk and learn on a Drinking History Tour
What exactly is it?
Join your guide, Ben Oliver, on a Drinking History Tour if you find walking tours to be too sedate and pub crawls to be beneath your dignity.
Not only will you see iconic Melbourne locations such as Federation Square, the Forum, the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), AC/DC Lane, the Old Treasury Building, and Chinatown, but you'll also make stops at three pubs along the way. You will hear enthralling tales about the sordid history of Melbourne, including accounts of murder, brothels, and a mystery that dates back hundreds of years that has never been solved.
It would be a shame to miss out on any of the amazing excursions that are offered in and around Melbourne; thus, you shouldn't restrict yourself to just one.
On foot, with an expert guide pointing out nooks and corners you may otherwise miss and giving amusing anecdotes about Melbourne's colourful past, is one of the finest ways to learn about Melbourne. This is one of the greatest ways to learn about Melbourne. However, both walking and studying require a lot of energy, don't they?
Enter Drinking History Tours, which will take you on a trip into laneways, up alleyways, and through hidden sections of Melbourne or Fitzroy in order to educate you about the hidden treasures and secret history of the city. And perhaps most crucially, the trips stop at three of Melbourne's most popular and exciting watering holes along the route.
The Federation Square, the Forum, the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), AC/DC Lane, the Old Treasury Building, Chinatown, and other areas are included in the Melbourne tour. Along the way, the trip will stop at three different bars. There will be nibbles at the second bar, and a full meal will be served at the third bar. You'll hear some riveting tales about the sordid side of Melbourne's history, including those concerning murder, brothels, and a mystery that dates back hundreds of years.
The Fitzroy walking tour begins at St. Patrick's Cathedral and goes on to include the Royal Exhibition Building, the Spanish Club, Brunswick Street, Johnston Street, and the laneways in between. You will get knowledge about the seedier side of Fitzroy, such as the epic struggle between Squizzy Taylor and his archrival, in addition to interesting details about the art and music culture in the area.
In addition, it makes stops at three pubs along the route, including one that has been reimagined as a hipster hangout, an ancient Melbourne institution, and one of the greatest cocktail bars in Melbourne. Guests may also go on a Whisky Bars and Gin Joints tour, which takes them to three different bars where they can sample whisky or gin and learn about the history of these beverages in Melbourne.
Ben Oliver, the company's founder, has years of experience in the field of guiding, including five years spent leading walking tours in Melbourne and some time spent leading bar crawls in Greece. What we're trying to communicate is that you shouldn't worry since he has a solid understanding of the significance of both drinking and history. However, while food is included in the price, beverages are not. There will be drink deals at the pubs along the way.
FAQs About Visiting Melbourne
- Plan your visit to coincide with a festival.
- Buy a Myki before you board.
- Stand on the left, walk on the right.
- Go on a walking tour.
- You can eat late, but you need to know where.
- Pack for all seasons.
- You can get a drink late at night, but not everywhere.
- You can eat well, for cheap.