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Crowd at The Beast, Brunswick East, Melbourne
Photograph: @duncographic

It’s official: this Melbourne suburb is the sixth coolest neighbourhood in the whole world

Take a bow, Brunswick East – you’ve done us proud!

Leah Glynn
Written by
Leah Glynn

It’s that time of the year, folks: Time Out has just released its annual ranking of the coolest neighbourhoods in the world, and we Melburnians have an extra special reason to celebrate, with Brunswick East taking out sixth spot (yes, really!) on the list. 

It’s a pretty major achievement for the Northside ‘burb, which beat out some stiff competition – including hip hotspots in Tokyo, New York, London and Berlin – to land firmly in the global top ten. Best of all, Brunny East polled higher than Enmore in Sydney (the only other Aussie entry), which means it’s also the coolest neighbourhood in all of Australia. We love to see it!

The rankings were determined via the Time Out Index survey, which this year polled more than 12,000 people on their favourite local suburbs. To come up with the final list, Time Out’s global network of city editors narrowed down the selections – considering factors like community and social ventures, access to green space and thriving street art – ultimately delivering Brunswick East as the top spot Down Under.

Previous years have also seen Melbourne ‘hoods dominate, with Fitzroy at #27 in 2022, Richmond at #10 in 2021 and Yarraville at #5 in 2020. 

Street view of a bar with red lighting and a neon-lit drinks fridge.

But what is it about Brunswick East that makes it so cool? Sandwiched between Lygon Street and the lush trails of Merri Creek, it has fast emerged as a vibrant go-to hub for multicultural eateries, live music venues and cosy bars that you’ll find yourself returning to again and again. 

To really get a taste of the neighbourhood, you need to begin with coffee and carbs from the legends at Wild Life Bakery (pro tip: arrive early to snag a sourdough loaf for later). No bar crawl is complete without stops at Bahama Gold, Noisy Ritual, B.East and Waxflower, and when you start to feel peckish again make a beeline for CDMX – home to what Time Out Melbourne’s food and drink writer has declared ‘the best tacos in the city’.

Oh, and there’s always something going on at CERES, a sustainable oasis located alongside Merri Creek. Equal parts community garden, environmental education centre, urban farm and social enterprise hub, you can easily while away a whole day here.

A garden with rows of saplings.
Photograph: Supplied

According to Time Out Melbourne's food and drink writer Lauren Dinse, it’s no surprise that Brunswick East landed so high up the list:

Brunswick East is a total vibe right now for so many reasons. It’s a haven for bangin’ brunches, thanks to Sani (don’t go past the fish burger), El Mirage and Carolina Café among heaps of other cute spots. It’s also the kind of ‘hood you can just roam around all day after brekkie because there’s tons to do! Fun for bike rides and long walks, the stunning Merri Creek trail is just a hop, skip and a jump away and it’s always worth popping in to check out what’s on at CERES. When the sun goes down, you’ve got some of the best restaurants and wine bars in Melbourne on the Lygon Street strip, and the energy’s always golden. Love it.

Guess that means the secret’s well and truly out now – ‘scuse us while we go secure a booking at Etta before everyone else does.

Here’s the full Time Out list of 40 coolest neighbourhoods in the world:

  1. Laureles, Medellín
  2. Smithfield, Dublin
  3. Carabanchel, Madrid
  4. Havnen, Copenhagen
  5. Sheung Wan, Hong Kong
  6. Brunswick East, Melbourne
  7. Mid-City, New Orleans
  8. Isola, Milan
  9. West, Amsterdam
  10. Tomigaya, Tokyo
  11. Baltic Triangle, Liverpool
  12. Cours Julien, Marseille
  13. Arts District, Los Angeles
  14. Chinatown, Singapore
  15. Fort Greene, New York
  16. Leith, Edinburgh
  17. Enmore, Sydney
  18. Costa Caparica, Almada, Lisbon
  19. Hyde Park, Chicago
  20. West End, Glasgow
  21. Sea Point, Cape Town
  22. Neukölln, Berlin
  23. Haut-Marais, Paris
  24. King’s Cross, London
  25. Hannam-dong, Seoul
  26. Coral Gables, Miami
  27. Richmond District, San Francisco
  28. Vinohrady, Prague
  29. El Clot, Barcelona
  30. San Miguel Chapultepec, Mexico City
  31. Exarcheia, Athens
  32. Bebek, Istanbul
  33. Ponsonby, Auckland
  34. Zhongshan, Taipei
  35. Bonifacio Global City (BGC), Manila
  36. Centre-Ville, Montreal
  37. Dotonbori, Osaka
  38. The Annex, Toronto
  39. Song Wat, Bangkok
  40. Cantonments, Accra


Want the lowdown on Brunswick East? Check out our ultimate Brunswick East guide.

Got money to burn? Here's our shopper's guide to Brunswick East.

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