Experience all things creative and cool in the inner-city suburb of Fitzroy.
What would Melbourne be without the vibrancy and vivacity of Fitzroy? The mecca of hipsterdom, it has come a long way since its streets were lined with humble workers cottages. These days some of the cottages remain but they’re valued at millions of dollars, and they’re neighboured by townhouses and apartment buildings heaving with hip young things.
A wave of gentrification may have swept through Fitzroy, but its unique fusion of creativity and foodie culture has firmly taken root. To kick your visit off, drop by one of the bakeries — there’s enough to satisfy any pastry craving. You’ll find twice-baked croissants and cruffins at Lune; an assortment of Eastern European-influenced offerings including cheese blintzes (pancakes) at Babka; and freshly baked quinoa, soy and linseed or olive and basil loaves (served up with the wholesome breakfast dishes, of course) at Rustica Sourdough.
If you’d prefer your breakfast with a view, settle into one of the luxurious chairs at Bentwood on Napier Street. With floor to (almost) ceiling windows, you can sit back with a coffee and enjoy a feast for your eyes and belly on the menu.
To experience a deeper insight into the fresh, seasonal food to be found in Fitzroy, join Foodi on a Food Night Safari Fitzroy tour. Wander through laneways and past vast and colourful street art, taste cheeses and sip wine at suave bars, and snack on tapas at food vans.
This is an excellent spot for dining before seeing some live music at the suburb’s various venues. At The Workers Club, an eclectic mix of new and emerging bands take to the stage. Down the road, The Evelyn has been around for more than 20 years and is what many consider a music institution. Then there’s Old Bar, another old-school venue where performers spanning all the rock genres perform. For jazz, blues, funk and soul, check out The Night Cat on Friday and Saturday nights when the dance floor gets busy.
As a compact inner-city suburb, the best place in Fitzroy for some exercise is Fitzroy Swimming Pool. With a 50-metre outdoor heated pool plus toddler pool, spa, sauna and steam room, its popularity with locals and visitors is the stuff of legend — seriously, it was community activism in the 1990s that saved the pool from destruction.
If you’re after a unique gift or simply feel like spoiling yourself, head to Rose Street Artists Market (open Saturday and Sunday). Here, you’ll discover some of Melbourne’s artisans and designers displaying their creations, from clothing, shoes and jewellery to candles, photography and tasty bites. After you’ve shopped to your heart’s content, relax with a beverage at the onsite diner or the rooftop bar.
Fitzroy has seen its share of changing businesses over the years, but a few spots have stuck around long enough to qualify as institutions. Grab a seat at the window of Mario’s morning, noon or night to soak up every scent, sight and sound of bustling Brunswick Street (as well as killer coffee and great Italian fare), or dive into the action at Vegie Bar, one of the best — and best value — vegetarian restaurants in Melbourne.