Live it up! The best things to do in Melbourne

Got your coffee? Got your coat? Great, now you’re ready to dive into Melbourne.

Aerial view of Melbourne’s Royal Botanic Gardens and city skyline in the background.
  • Jetstar
  • June 2021

Melbourne has a (well-deserved) reputation for being a culture capital. The city runs on coffee, loves an innovative Japanese restaurant or a basement bar, and is first in line when a new musical opens. Beyond the city, there are beaches to relax on, mountains to hike, wineries to discover and bohemian enclaves to get lost in.

Explore the laneways

Melbourne is famous for its laneways and secret alleys, so spend a day exploring this world of backstreets. You can sign up for a walking tour or pick up a map and choose your own adventure. Within the laneways you’ll find incredible street art, tiny galleries, hidden whisky bars, independent boutiques, hole-in-the-wall cafes and award-winning restaurants. Hosier Lane is one of the most famous (and easy to find) – the walls of this lane are an ever-changing gallery of street art. Others are a little harder. Try finding Presgrave Place and you’ll uncover Melbourne’s smallest bar.

Couple looking at street art in Melbourne’s Hosier Lane.
Street-art HQ Hosier Lane

Get cultured in the arts precinct

Melbourne loves to get its art on, so make like a local and head to the arts precinct. Look for the spire, just behind Southbank’s riverside dining scene. Here you’ll find the Arts Centre Melbourne, Australia’s largest performing arts centre. Just behind that, there’s the NGV (National Gallery of Victoria), the Recital Centre, and the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art. Across the road, at Federation Square, there’s the ACMI film centre, which screens movies and has amazing film-related exhibitions for the whole family. Check out What’s On for all the latest events and get booking!

A close up of the Melbourne Arts Centre spire, lit up in orange and blue, taken from below. Image credit: Lukas Bischoff Photograph/
A classic Melbourne landmark to help you find your bearings. Image credit: Lukas Bischoff Photograph/

Have beachside fun in St Kilda

If you’re staying in the city, hop on the 96 tram and in half an hour you’ll be in the heart of iconic St Kilda. This historic beachside suburb is famous for its colourful past and lively present. Ride the Ferris Wheel at Luna Park, rollerblade along the Esplanade, splash around at the beach or stroll the pier and spot some penguins. Hungry? Pedestrian-friendly Acland Street is chock-a-block with cake shops, cafes and outdoor restaurants. Just a 10-minute drive further down the bay, the brightly painted Brighton Beach Bathing Boxes are a popular tourist photo stop.

People strolling alongside Melbourne’s St Kilda Beach at sunset.
Stroll-worthy St Kilda

Catch a game of footy

As much as Melbourne loves its coffee and its culture, it loves its footy even more. Head to the MCG to catch a game and experience the atmosphere of Melbourne in full flight. Tickets are pretty affordable, with kids’ tickets priced at just $5. Hot pies are a must. If you can’t get to a match, check out the Australian Sports Museum at the MCG instead. There are historical artefacts alongside fun interactive activities and guided tours of the grounds.

Aerial view of Melbourne’s sports precinct at night: AAMI Park, Melbourne Park and the MCG.
Friday night lights: AAMI Park, Melbourne Park and the MCG

Day trip to the Yarra Valley

The Yarra Valley is just an hour out of Melbourne. It’s the perfect day trip with something for the whole family. The Yarra Valley is especially famous for its wineries, as well as breweries and distilleries. You can tour the cellar doors and pick up some local produce. There are gorgeous forest hikes in national parks and hidden sculptures among the ferns at William Ricketts Sanctuary. Healesville Sanctuary is a must-see. It’s an Australian wildlife wonderland of koalas, kangaroos, platypus, dingoes, wombats, emus and more.

Aerial view of TarraWarra Estate winery in the Yarra Valley, Victoria.
TarraWarra Estate, one of the many scenic wineries in the Yarra Valley