10 Unique things to do in Melbourne
Make the great escape
A rite of passage for every Melbournian is to do an escape room! Created by two psychology PHDs, you have 70 minutes to unravel the mystery of a hidden room, working as a team of 2-6 to solve some mind-boggling puzzles to escape. While Escape Rooms have been popping up all over the city, the OG was Escape Room Melbourne (ERM). Originally located in Flemington, ERM now has rooms in South Melbourne and Geelong, each one with a unique theme and story behind it. Step into the role of a Magician’s Assistant and solve a series of puzzles in order to prove your skill, or solve the mystery of your missing colleagues at a mine. For an even more intense experience, try the escapeXperience rooms in Oakleigh – themed “Amnesia,” “Burlesque” and “Clockworks” – make of that what you will! Whichever room you choose, an ERM experience is a must-do. Get your brain working and have plenty of fun along the way.
Street art without crowds
You’ve already seen Hosier Lane - and the gaggle of tourists that comes with it, fighting amongst themselves for the perfect Instagram post! Why not check out some of the lesser known street art laneways, where you can be guaranteed the perfect photo without the crowds? On your next visit to Queen Victoria Market, make your way to Blender Lane, the spiritual home of Melbourne’s street art scene. A colour explosion through and through, even the ground is considered a canvas. Near Little Collins St, find your way to Presgrave Place – home to Melbourne’s smallest art gallery where the tiny pieces rotate on a regular basis. It’s also home to Melbourne’s smallest bar, Bar Americano. For the infamous Kim Kardashian and Emily Ratajkowski mural, head to Sniders Lane, just off Drewery Lane, off Lonsdale St. Click here for the full lowdown from a local!
You’ve been to Melbourne’s most famous market, the Queen Victoria Market, now it’s time to check out the lesser known, but equally glorious South Melbourne Market. First opening in 1867, it is Melbourne’s longest continually running market, but needless to say plenty has changed since the days of food getting delivered by wagon! Today, there is over 150 stalls operated by small business owners selling fresh fruit and veg, hard-to-find meat, seafood and deli foods, men and women’s fashion, Manchester and fabric, homewares, kitchenware, books and stationery, as well as plenty of restaurants, cafes and unique food stalls to keep you energised. In particular, the Market is home to the city-renowned South Melbourne Market Dim Sims – enormous, delicious dumplings the size of your fist. So venture 10 minutes out of Melbourne’s CBD and check it out – once your belly and shopping bags are full, you’ll know it was an excellent decision.
Living in a city that never sleeps, it’s no surprise some Melbourne locals can get wound up and want to let off some steam. Some go running, some drink wine, others go to The Break Room in Collingwood. The concept is simple: a room where you can break things and relieve stress in a controlled environment. The team will kit you out in a Break Suit and helmet to protect your beautiful self from flying chards, then they will arm you with a baseball bat and a crate of crockery, and you’re free to go wild. Smash things with the bat, throw things at the brick wall and feel your stress slide off you with every plate you break. Listen to whatever music you like as you do it. You can even BYO things to break (gifts from your ex, anyone?) So if intense workouts aren’t your thing but you’re dying to use your body to relieve some stress, book a session at the Break Room and safely express yourself.
Brunch like a local
If there’s one thing Melbourne is renowned for within Australia, it’s their unrivalled, unique and super extra brunches! There’s no better way to soak up the booze from last night than to pay a visit to one of Melbourne’s infinite hip cafes and order food that is delicious, affordable and actually contains some nutrients. You’re also guaranteed to find something that hits that sweet spot, and don't forget to wash it down with a famous Melbourne coffee of course. You won’t have to look far in Melbourne CBD at all for a fabulous, filling and memorable brunch. We suggest just heading out for a mid-morning walk and you'll stumble across the local favourite.
Dinner like a local
No doubt your brunch will fill you up until it’s time for dinner – and you’re absolutely spoilt for choice with options. There’s nary a cuisine you can’t find or a craving you can’t satisfy, and you won’t have to look far to uncover fantastic eateries only the locals know about. For an epic burger experience, try Grand Trailer Park Taverna – read here for more info on this much-loved American-themed burger joint. If you’re craving Asian food you’re in luck – Hochi Mama serves delicious Vietnamese fusion food and inventive cocktails to boot. Searching for the best pizza in Melbourne? Look no further - +39 Pizzeria is where you’ll find it. As the foodie capital of Australia, the best way to do Melbourne like a local, is to eat in Melbourne like a local.
Drink like a local
Now that your tummy is well lined, it’s time to party! You may think you know Melbourne’s bar scene from the hotspots you’ve been taken to on a pub crawl, but you really don’t! Melbourne is home to many quirky bars, and one of the city’s most popular is Berlin Bar. Found in Corrs Lane off Little Bourke St, ring the doorbell for entry…and you’re in for an experience like no other. Be transported to Cold War Germany, as you realise the bar is split between East and West Berlin (the bleak and the lavish). The only difference is this time, you’re allowed to cross the border. Pay a visit to State of Grace on King St – make your way past the glitzy chandeliers and find your way to a bookcase downstairs. Slide it across, and bam! You’ve discovered Fall from Grace, one of the best “hidden” bars in town.
A trip on the Yarra
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If you enjoy being out on the water, then we recommened you jump On A Boat! You can choose to be the captain of your own vessel or put it the hands of the experts. Either way, there's room for 9 people and you bring your own snacks & drinks to make the experience truly unique to you and your crew.
Have a Puffing Billy experience
Puffing Billy is a steam train with open carriages that takes you on a scenic drive through the breathtaking Dandenong Ranges, only an hour east of Melbourne. It’s the perfect opportunity to get out of the city smog and relax and breathe the fresh air, with the soothing rattle of the train weaving its way through the temperate rainforest. Simply taking the trip is an adventure in itself, but if you want to add a lil’ more sparkle, Puffing Billy offer a number of fun experiences, including the Dog Express! Puffing Billy is a truly unique and unforgettable Melbourne experience.
A trip to the theatre
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Getting tickets to a world-class show is a MUST for any visit to Melbourne! And right now, there are so many in production that the hardest decision will be which one to choose (or all of them!). Currently showing is Harry Potter & The Cursed Child (with a new format coming May 2022), Frozen (ends January 2022) & Moulin Rouge! The Musical, just to name a few. If musicals aren't your thing, there is always a comedy show on somewhere in the city! For your one stop shop for all things show-biz, click here.