Why we love the central city

1 March 2022

Have you ever tried to count the ways you love the city? It’s a trick question really, because the city reinvents itself every day. Your list of favourites is probably a living thing too. 

Hidden gold vaults. Rooftop bars. An underground Mexican bodega. A concept store in a cathedral-esque space. A cheese cellar. A vertical gallery with a view of Flinders Street. 

Secret gardens. Cheeky container bars that spring up between towering buildings. A hole-in-the-wall chocolate shop. The Greek Quarter. Australia’s oldest Chinatown.  

Chinatown in Melbourne by night


Quietly discovering the stories of the city.

The place where there was once a waterfall, a saltwater lake. Country, cared for since time immemorial by Traditional Owners the Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung peoples of the Eastern Kulin. Go deeper at Mapping Aboriginal Melbourne.

Free walks that take you on a quest for green space, icons and architecture, music legends, the glorious grid, street art. Stumbling across that Banksy. 

So many layers of street art, from ephemeral paste-ups to monolithic murals. A new generation of artists flashing forward to unlock gems in our beloved cobblestone laneways. Giant light boxes, walls that seem to glow, neon reminders.  

A city of literature and knowledge. Bookshops for paperbacks, books for cooks, bookshops in basements and three floors up. A domed reading room. A piano serenade in a laneway library and new pop-up libraries in unexpected locales – even one for kids.  

A tram passing Melbourne Town Hall by night

Melbourne Town Hall

A conversation hub. A gallery with a moat and a water wall and blockbusters and a pink pond. A museum for immigration, another with a rainforest gallery. 

People dressed as birds leaping into the river of mists while crowds cheer. Sleek fashion parades in laneways. Comedians in colourful costumes spruiking their new shows. Haunting creatures in a forgotten ballroom.  

Pop-up shops. Stately arcades. A shopping complex built around a shot tower, another alongside our first public hospital. Walkways in the sky, connecting upscale retailers in a flurry of fashion, design and food. Artisans and entrepreneurs reinventing empty shopfronts.  

Laneway dining in Melbourne

Laneway dining

The city soundscape. A sunrise walk along the Birrarung. Taking lunch in a pocket park. A twilight run around the gardens. An outdoor feast. A drink after the show. A late-night gig. A city pad or swish hotel to tumble into, with a nod to the old fabric and an eye on the new. 

Explore the city’s neighbourhoods at 11 ways to love Melbourne. And get to know your local area with our Neighbourhood Portals.

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