Catch the tram and spend some time in St Kilda, where some of the best food and nightlife in Melbourne can be found in the bayside playground.
Take a stroll down Carlisle Street, where eateries and delicious smells abound, and head to Uncle. Here you’ll find an extensive menu of Vietnamese dishes, including bahn mi, steaming pho and a dedicated ‘Uncle Knows Best’ menu, where you can sample a mix of dishes from a single platter, all of which can be enjoyed on the alfresco rooftop.
Around on Fitzroy Street, stop in for a pizza at Topolino’s, a St Kilda institution with more than 40 years’ history. Open seven nights a week, it’s as popular with tourists as it is with locals who enjoy not only its pizza, but its meat dishes.
If it’s a bar that you’re after, stop in at Milk the Cow. It’s Melbourne’s first late-night licensed cheese shop and offers punters an ever-changing selection of 180 artisan cheeses from around the globe, paired with boutique wines and other beverages. If you’re unsure what to try, order a Cheese and Booze Flight platter — four cheeses paired with four drinks sounds like a perfect way to end the day. Another great late-night option is Acland Street Cantina, part of the Prince complex, where cocktails and lounge music pump out until the wee hours.
For live entertainment, head to the Palais Theatre. Built in 1927, it operated as a cinema until the 1950s before becoming the venue it is today. A huge range of musical theatre productions, concerts and comedy acts appear beneath its sculpted archways.
The biggest, brightest smile around marks the entrance to the famous Luna Park, where the rides and attractions have been thrilling families for generations. Home to the Scenic Railroad – the oldest, continually operating rollercoaster in the world – the park is the perfect place to let the kids run wild, or embrace the child within. With names like Pharaoh’s Curse, Coney Island Top Drop and Circus of Screams, the 18 rides on offer are sure to thrill, and with plenty of events happening throughout the year, Luna Park is a great place to spend some time.
After many years closed for renovations, one of Melbourne’s grandest pubs, the Esplanade Hotel, reopened in late-2018 and quickly garnered a new legion of fans. The Espy, as it’s known to locals and visitors alike, is a gargantuan labyrinth of a venue with three live music stages, 12 bars and countless opportunities to have fun.
Another St Kilda pub worthy of your time – although it’s a little bit classier than most in these parts – is the Newmarket Hotel. The menu features staples like the chicken parma and a stack of burger varieties (the spicy beef punches above its weight) alongside a healthy selection of steaks and a drinks menu based around a great range of wines, all available by the carafe.
If a spot of shopping is on your agenda, check out Prime. Heritage sports brands reign supreme here — Adidas Originals, Converse, Deus Ex Machina, Fred Perry, Levis, Nike and Red Wing are just a handful — and you’ll discover t-shirts, pullovers, jackets and jeans, as well as an extensive sneaker range. While most of the clothing is geared to menswear, there is also a small selection of women’s apparel available.