Yes, it’s true. The quiet westside suburb of Yarraville has been named the fifth coolest neighbourhood in the world right now. The list, which was compiled with the help of Time Out editors and experts, ranks 40 of the planet’s cultural and culinary hotspots. Yarraville was the only Melbourne suburb to make the list.
Every year, our shortlist of the coolest neighbourhoods in the world is based on the opinions of locals: the 38,000-plus city-dwellers who answered our annual Time Out Index survey, telling us which bits of their city they loved. And once again, we’ve consulted our global network of Time Out editors and experts to weigh up the candidates and make the call on their city’s number one hotspot.
What's so great about Yarraville? Find out with our Yarraville area guide.
But this year’s list isn’t just about what we deem “cool” – over the past months, billions of people have found themselves spending way more time close to home. Lockdowns and safety measures have hollowed out the CBD, but local neighbourhoods have thrived. Neighbours have stepped up to help each other and banded together to keep everyone safe (and to share some joy among the uncertainty).
Right now, more than ever, it's cool to be kind. So 2020's coolest neighbourhoods are still the ones with a fascinating mixture of people, innovative and inclusive food, drink, arts and culture, but this year, they are also areas where people, community and businesses have helped each other through shared tribulations. Right now, for us, the Melbourne neighbourhood that's representing the best of what our wonderful city has to offer is Yarraville.
Two lockdown stories sum it up. Firstly, Yarraville local Lee Smith-Moir started adding adorable ‘happy signs’ on walking tracks in the area to cheer up locals during our second lockdown. Then there was skater Belle Hadiwidjaja, who has been roller-skating through the streets in rotating costumes to keep families entertained on their daily walks.
Not only that, but for a relatively small suburb, the cross-section of food, drink and things to do here is pretty remarkable, ranging from landmark Art Deco cinema Sun Theatre to restaurants like the Indigenous-owned restaurant Mabu Mabu and tiny, contemporary Australian fine diner Navi. With an epicurean edge and a perfect balance of residential and recreational, right now there’s no place like Yarraville.
If you’re curious about the remainder of the list, Esquerra de l’Eixample in Barcelona took out the top spot, followed by Downtown in Los Angeles and Sham Shui Po in Hong Kong. And as a reminder – Footscray was our pick of coolest neighbourhood last year, have a read why we chose it.
Read about the other cool neighbourhoods we’re vibing (and see where Sydney ranked).
And take a peek at our favourite things to do in Yarraville (if it’s in your 5km bubble).
Time Out’s Love Local campaign is supporting local food, drink and culture businesses in Melbourne. Find out how you can help save the places that make our city great.