How to Spend a Long Weekend in Melbourne
Sydney may have the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge, but when it comes to culture and nightlife, there's nowhere quite like Melbourne.
With some of the country's best restaurants, hottest bars, great shopping, world-class theatre and comedy clubs, beautiful beaches and more, you could spend years in Melbourne and still have plenty to keep you busy.
However, if you're only in Melbourne for a few days, it's all about maximising your time and experiencing the best that the city has to offer. Luckily for you, we've done all the hard work, scouring Melbs for the best eats, drinks, accommodation and activities. Shall we?
Welcome to Melbourne! Hopefully the city has put on some beautiful sunny weather for you because we're kicking things off with breakfast in St Kilda. Head to Republica for a fresh, flavoursome brekkie and some great coffee with sweeping views of the beach.
Afterwards, hit up Acland Street and splash some of that hard-earned cash at the cute boutiques and drool over the many, many bakeries and cake shops.
Start making your way back to the CBD, stopping off along the way for an afternoon of culture at the National Gallery of Victoria. This architectural marvel houses works from some of the greatest artists from around Australia and the world and holds the title of the country's oldest and most visited art gallery. Well worth checking out, even for the not-so-artistically-inclined among us.
It's hard to mention the words "dinner" and "Melbourne" without Chin Chin popping up. And while it's definitely worth a visit, in the battle of modern Asian cuisine, we reckon Rice Paper Scissors comes up trumps.
You can't book ahead (unless you want lunch or a 5pm dinner) so you'll have to put your name down and wait for a text bringing the sweet news that your table is ready, but trust us, it's worth it. Get some drinks nearby then mosey back to RPS for some honestly life-changing, hawker-style Asian fusion food and killer cocktails. And yes, there are plenty of vegan options.
After dinner, head to the most Insta-worthy cocktail bar in the city, Madame Brussels. Step out onto the terrace for some serious garden party vibes and stunning cocktails - the Gin Garden is simply to die for.
Now that you're well and truly fed and watered, it's time to find somewhere to crash. Luckily, Melbs is full of city-centre Airbnbs and chic boutique hotels to keep you safe and warm for the next few nights.
Our top picks? Alto Hotel on Bourke Street offers stylish budget digs starting from $158 a night, while the cool, eclectic QT Melbourne is great for mid-rangers with prices from $266 a night. Keen for a bit of luxury? You can't go past the iconic Crown Towers for five-star luxury from $419 a night.
Hopefully you didn't hit the cocktails too hard last night, 'cause we've got a big day in store. Of course, that means you'll need a satisfying brekky to fuel you, so make your way to Hardware Societe, the cult fave French eatery with the best brunch menu you've ever seen.
Today is all about shopping till you (and you bank account) drop, so jump on a tram and head to the Queen Victoria Market - one of the oldest and most beloved markets in Australia. Open every day except Monday and Wednesday, it's packed with locally-designed clothing, homewares and gifts, plus plenty of fresh food and gourmet eats.
Once you've had your fill of market stalls, drop your new purchases off at the hotel and pop into Manchester Press for some beaut bagels - we love the NY Lox with smoked salmon, dill cream cheese, capers, onions and chives. Mmm...
Now that you've had a little energy boost, continue your shopping adventure through Bourke Street Mall, which boasts stores like H&M, Myer, David Jones, Zara and more.
Next, walk to Melbourne Emporium. It may be one of the newer spots on the city's shopping scene, but it's also home to boutiques from some of the best local and international designers.
Bargain hunters, on the other hand, will love DFO South Wharf and Spencer Outlet Centre, both of which are chock-full of hugely discounted fashion, beauty, homewares and more from some of your favourite brands.
Tonight, immerse yourself in Melbourne's bustling food scene with a visit to Flinders Lane, the gateway to some of the city's coolest laneway restaurants.
Located on Hosier Lane, the iconic street art alleyway, Movida Bar de Tapas is a true feast for the senses. As you can probably guess from the name, Movida is a tapas bar serving up authentic Spanish fare with a bit of Aussie flair.
After dinner, go bar-hopping through the laneways. You can't really go wrong here, but our favourites are Bartronica, which boasts heaps of fun arcade games, GoGo Bar, located downstairs from Chin Chin, and Hihou, the Japanese lounge and bar offering awesome cocktails.
Rise and shine! This morning, we're putting you through to Operator 25, the city's hottest brunch spot located in a heritage-listed building that once housed Melbourne's first switchboard. The pulled pork Benedict is an absolute must-eat.
The last couple of days have been all about living like a local, so we've earned at least one tourist-y experience, right? Well, we've got two to pick from: The Eureka Skydeck, which offers panoramic views of the city and beyond, and the Melbourne Star Observation Wheel, the only one of its kind in the southern hemisphere!
Skydeck tickets start at $15 for kids and $23 for adults, while the Observation Wheel will set you back anywhere from $16.50. Either way, you'll get some killer views of the city. What better way to celebrate your last arvo in Melbs?
Toast to your final night in style! Vue de Monde (a.k.a. one of the country's best restaurants) may be out of most of our price ranges, but thankfully there are plenty of Melbourne eateries with views that are just as good.
First, there's Taxi Kitchen in Fed Square. Here, you'll find modern Asian fusion dishes designed for sharing, a mammoth wine list, and some of the most delicious cocktails you'll ever try. Throw in stunning views of the Yarra and you're in for a real treat.
Next, you've got Kobe Jones, the Docklands institution serving up Californian-style Japanese fare in an intimate waterside venue. The menu is packed with modern takes on all your favourites - think wagyu tataki, green tea salmon and a range of signature sushi and sashimi dishes. Our advice? Go with one of Kobe's beautiful set menus for a dining experience like no other.
Finally, we have Berth, perched right on the water in NewQuay. With floor-to-ceiling windows lining the dining room, it's hard to get a bad view at this ultra-modern Docklands favourite. And with its affordable and crowd-pleasing modern Australian menu that celebrates fresh, local seafood, it's hard to have a bad meal, too.
No matter whether you're a visitor or a Melbourne local wanting to play tourist in your own city, head over to Scoopon now to check out our huge range of dining experiences, wellness packages and activities, all hand-picked to help you live that luxe life for less!