Known as Melbourne’s Little Italy, this inner-city suburb offers so much more than European cuisine.

Known as Melbourne’s Little Italy, this inner-city suburb offers so much more than European cuisine.

At any time of day, you’ll find Carlton bustling. Best known as the home of Lygon Street, the city’s Italian precinct, it has plenty of other opportunities for entertainment and discovery. Adults and kids alike will love Melbourne Museum, with its vast galleries covering the history of Victoria. Spend a couple of hours here, then head next door to gawp at the World Heritage-listed Royal Exhibition Building and Carlton Gardens.

Talk a leisurely stroll across to Lygon Street — be sure to check out the Victorian architecture of the suburb’s terrace houses along the way. Following World War II, 150,000 Italian migrants made their way to Australia and Carlton became a popular meeting place. Lygon Street began Melbourne’s cafe culture. Students, locals and international visitors all gather at places like Ti Amo for coffee and pasta; across the road, grab a footpath table at Brunetti and feast on pastries while watching the world go by.

There are plenty of other spots to eat and drink here — Milk the Cow is popular for cheese and wine matching — but it’s also worth seeking out its arts scene. The Ian Potter Museum of Art is part of the University of Melbourne and the largest university-based museum in Australia, while independent La Mama Theatre produces contemporary, cutting-edge theatre, and has been since 1967.

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