The past and present collide at this hot spot, where there are regular race days and much more to enjoy.

Flemington has a reputation that precedes it. It is home of Melbourne’s Spring Racing Carnival and the Melbourne Cup, as well as the Melbourne Showgrounds, but this suburb is more than it seems. Dotted with period homes and shopfronts dating back to the Victorian and Edwardian eras, and home to a culturally diverse population from across Asia, Europe, African and Latin America, it’s infused with a rich culture.

A diverse local population garners a diverse variety of cuisine. For Ethiopian cuisine, head to The Abyssinian Restaurant, dishing up flatbreads, spiced meats, casseroles and other delicacies. For hawker-style street food, try Laksa King, serving up the famous Malaysian coconut curry soup in an industrial-styled space.

Looking for a cafe in Flemington? Splashed with a vibrant mural outside and industrial exposed brick inside, Mama Bear Cafe offers up a sensory experience before you’ve even sat down. You’ll find all-day breakfast, single-origin coffee, burgers and, for those who can’t stay long, an express takeaway menu.

This is the perfect place to fuel up before heading to Flemington Racecourse. Opened in 1840, it has played a significant part of Melbourne’s cultural heritage. Discover its fascinating history at the Flemington Heritage Centre and on a guided tour of the grounds. It’s also home to the largest rose garden in the southern hemisphere.

When it comes to school holiday activities for the whole family, you can’t go past the Melbourne Showgrounds. There are indoor and outdoor spaces for trade shows, exhibitions and festivals. Plus, it hosts the annual Royal Melbourne Show, held every September and filled with rides, arts and crafts, live music and animal shows, food stalls and, of course, hundreds of show bags.

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A family-friendly venue is the Doutta Galla Hotel, with generous, well-priced dishes including burgers, pastas, steaks and salads and a selection of desserts worth saving room for. There are sports screens and pool tables and, on Fridays and Saturdays, there’s a DJ spinning the latest tracks.

Another excellent watering hole is The Quiet Man Irish Pub. Touted as one of the most authentic Irish pubs in Melbourne, it dishes up a great selection of traditional fare, including stew, steak and munster champ (potato mash with spring onion and bacon) and beef and Guinness pie. There’s a beer garden out the back and live music from Friday to Sunday. It even has an Irish dance club on Monday nights. The pub was designed in Dublin and built in Melbourne, so it’s no wonder it’s so great.

If shopping is on your agenda, make your way to Wild Jam, where you’ll find an eclectic mix of ethically produced fashion and gifts by Australian and New Zealand designers. For new and experienced musicians, GH Music is a one-stop shop for instruments, sheet music and various supplies. There’s also music tuition and jam sessions. Owned by Garry Hyde, the son of Billy Hyde, it sits on the site of the original Billy Hyde Music store, which once hosted music legends from around the world, including The Rolling Stones, The Eagles, Foo Fighters and Red Hot Chili Peppers.

With the Maribyrnong River on one side, Royal Park on the other and the Moonee Valley Trail further afield, Flemington Cycles can get you fully kitted out for a cycling adventure into the surrounding green spaces. It offers an extensive range of products for kids and adults, including clothing, footwear, lights, locks and more.

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