From the shopping precincts of Bourke Street Mall, Melbourne Central and the glitzy Paris End of Collins Street, to the markets and galleries of Federation Square, the CBD is a hotbed of activity.
Jump on the free City Circle tram if you’re a newb, which will trundle you past sights like the Melbourne Aquarium, Old Melbourne Gaol and Parliament House – and of course you’ll want to jump out and explore the coffee, boutiques and street art of the laneways and old arcades.
So do the time-honoured thing: meet someone under the Flinders Street Station clocks and explore.
The best restaurants in the CBD
The best bars in the CBD
The best hotels in the CBD
Grand Hyatt Melbourne
There are some travellers that love staying in the heart of a city and walking the town. Admittedly, it’s a favourite past-time of ours here at Time Out and if you haven’t explored Melbourne by foot, there’s never been a better time to do so than now. Located at the ‘Paris’ end of Collins Street, thanks to many high-end French fashion labels that call this part of town home, Grand Hyatt Melbourne is ideal for the bar hopper, shopper and urban adventurer alike. The hotel is looking the finest it has ever been following an extensive refurbishment to the lobby areas, bars, restaurants and a number of rooms, and its club lounge is up there with the best in town. Absolutely request one of the newly-renovated, Joseph Pang-designed rooms which are as equally comfortable for singles, couples and families alike. The couches in front of the windows - even in the standard guest rooms - means some canoodling, snogging or perhaps more with one of the best views in town.
Before you even enter this 1883 grand dame, you know you’ve stumbled upon something special. Located opposite Parliament House on Spring St in all its nineteenth-century splendor, The Windsor has played host to Muhammad Ali and Sir Laurence Olivier to name a few. Even if you're not a hotel guest, stop by for afternoon tea - it's a must.
More great venues in the CBD
Using first-hand accounts, real-life imagery and memorabilia, the true stories of people who have migrated to Victoria are recounted in this fascinating Melbourne museum. It's housed inside a magnificently restored building that, between 1858-70, acted as Melbourne's own Customs House, gateway to the fledgling colony. Upstairs on the second floor is an exhibition space exploring social issues and cultural oddities, veering from multicultural cuisine and religion right up to death while at the Museum's epicentre is the wonderful Long Room, a revivalist marvel of Renaissance architecture worth the price of admission alone. Permanent exhibitions Behind the Wheel Ever wondered what the backstory is of the cabbie you hailed down at 4am? Taxi-driving is just one of the many opportunities new migrants all over the world latch on to as a way to make a living. A new display at the Immigration Museum sheds some light on Lebanese migration and their early entrepreneurial ventures in the taxi business, here in Victoria. It will be added as a long-term element of Immigrant Stories, showing for five years.
When Melburnians want to take a break from complaining about the weather, they start whinging about Melbourne's 'Meeting Place', Federation Square. Love it or hate it, there's always something happening - farmers' markets, free films on the big screen, art and craft displays, wine and food exhibitions, and live music.
This six-storey building houses some of Melbourne's most interesting tenants. From clothing stores, restaurants (Mesa Verde and Cookie), bars (The Toff in Town and Cookie), a hair salon, to martial arts school, visitors can get the full Melbourne experience without setting foot outside of the building. Don't miss the Curtin House's crowning glory, the Rooftop Bar.