From near and far visitors flock to North Melbourne, a suburb filled with so much food, drink, arts and culture it’s bursting at the seams. Morning, noon and night, there are lots of things to do in North Melbourne.
If you find yourself in North Melbourne with a hankering for a caffeine hit, you’ll never have to look far. On Errol Street, hop off the 57 tram at the North Melbourne Town Hall and stroll half a block north to one of Melbourne’s best cafes, Auction Rooms. Regularly regarded as the best coffee in the city, it roast some of the best beans in town under the name Small Batch (keep an eye out for it elsewhere across Melbourne) and serve it with style. What’s more, its brunch and lunch menu is laden with mouth-watering treats.
For something a little more humble, stay on the tram an extra stop and search out Beatrix. A quaint selection of tantalising cakes and baguettes gives way to fragrant coffees and teas, and the homely vibe will entice you to stay for an extra cup. It’s a neighbourly spot where the locals start their day, and they’ll welcome you with a smile.
North Melbourne is home to Australian Rules club North Melbourne Kangaroos, and their training ground on Arden Street has been their home for more than 125 years. With the club fielding an AFLW team from 2019, the ground is an even busier hive of activity, and with construction on a major redevelopment for the precinct kicking off 2018, it’s certainly worth visiting to see what all the fuss is about. (Fun fact: as part of a circus promotion in 1978, an elephant did a lap of the ground at half time in a match. When the crowd erupted in applause, it started running at the crowd and nearly trampled the audience!)
Night time in North Melbourne is lots of fun. The Comic’s Lounge is Melbourne’s biggest permanent comedy house, with a capacity of more than 400 punters able to fit in a watch Australia’s — and the world’s — best comedians bust out the LOL’s.
If you’re looking for arts and culture, you’re in the right place. Arts House is Melbourne’s contemporary centre for performance and interactive artforms. Located in the North Melbourne Town Hall (a building with more than 140 years of history), the venue’s calendar reads like a hodgepodge of cultural disciplines. Dance, theatre and music converge to give audiences a thought-provoking experience, while it also doubles as an incubator for artists through its CultureLAB program.
Another venue worth visiting if you have an artistic itch that needs scratching is the Meat Market. As with many buildings in North Melbourne it is steeped in history, having been the centre of Melbourne’s meat trade from 1880 to 1974. Since 1998 the Meat Market has been used as a performing arts space and regularly hosts independent, small- and medium-sized performing arts organisations and individuals. Look at the calendar of events and take a punt on something new and unusual. The performance will likely entertain, and the cavernous space will astound.