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Birrarung Marr
Photograph: Roberto Seba

Ways to hang out alone in Melbourne

Make time for yourself and try out Melbourne's best adventures for one

By Rebecca Russo

There's an art to hanging out by yourself. At worst, you'll end up sitting on a park bench staring wistfully at passers-by. At best, you’ll enjoy a marvellous escapade where the only person calling the shots is you.

Flying solo? Don't sweat it. We've found the best bars for drinking alone in Melbourne, too.

Where to hang out alone in Melbourne

Pellegrini's Espresso Bar Minestrone Soup
Pellegrini's Espresso Bar Minestrone Soup
Photograph: Graham Denholm

Eat and drink

1. Pull up a barstool at Pellegrini’s and work your way through a huge bowl of ravioli.

2. Grab a seat at one of Melbourne's many warm and friendly little bars: we’ve found that the bartenders at Lulie Street Tavern, Black Pearl and Rooks Return are particularly talkative with solo patrons.

3. Eat a plate of dumplings in Chinatown – you'll probably be shoved on someone else's table anyway.

4. Arm yourself with a magazine, a novel (or, if you're feeling creative, a notebook and pen,) and try a new place for brunch.

5. Dine in a restaurant with an open kitchen so you can watch the chefs at work: visits to Cumulus Inc, Pastuso and Chez Dre are delicious and fascinating.

Headphones at Northside Records
Headphones at Northside Records
Photograph: Graham Denholm


6. Go vintage shopping at one of Melbourne’s cavernous bazaars: our favourites are the Chapel St Bazaar and Fitzroy’s Lost and Found. Being alone means you can rummage for hours, guilt-free (and try on the weirdest ’80s prom dresses and faux-fur pimp coats you can find).

7. Explore the left-field shops in Melbourne's vertical lane, Curtin HouseThere's Metropolis specialist bookshop and high fashion mavens Dot Comme.

8. Go crate-digging in record stores all over the city: we recommend Greville Records and Northside Records.

9. Pick up a tattered old novel in a second-hand bookshop and wonder where the time went once you’re halfway through the story.

Big Buck Hunter at Pixel Alley
Big Buck Hunter at Pixel Alley
Photograph: Supplied


10. Pick up a console at Bartronica or Pixel Alley and try to beat your own high score at these vintage video game bars.

11. Enjoy the company of the feline persuasion at these cat cafés.

12. Enrol in a dance or circus class that scares you. Unlike your mates, you’ll never have to face your classmates ever again if you don’t want to. 

13. Lace up your sneakers and run the Tan!

14. Wander around your favourite ‘hood with a camera and practise your photography skills.

15. Head to the Melbourne Museum and spend the whole time in the dinosaur area (or, if you’re insane, in the Bugs Alive! room).

16. See quality art for nothing at Melbourne's free art galleries. Spend hours gazing at a piece that inspires you, or – if you're not into it – shamelessly get through the whole gallery in five minutes.

17. See the world from up high. Have a drink at Rooftop Bar, the Lui Bar or the Eureka Skydeck and watching the miniature city buzzing along.

18. Sign up for a spot of public service, like volunteering at your local op shop. A good deed only counts if you do it under the radar.

19. Explore the Abbotsford Convent: you’ll find more than you think.

A swimmer at Fitzroy outdoor Swimming Pool
A swimmer at Fitzroy outdoor Swimming Pool
Photograph: John Halbrook


20. Take a walk through the Melbourne General Cemetery (or the adjacent Princes Park) for some quiet, reflective time.

21. Overcome the mental hurdle of going to a bathhouse: it’s one of the best ways to chill out. These are our favourites.

22. Treat yourself to a beauty treatment: get your nails did, or get a massage.

23. Go swimming at one of Melbourne's best public swimming spots.

More Melbourne must-dos

Spend some quality time slurping


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