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It seems like Essendon Fields has sprung up overnight, but the micro-suburb is home to some of the most fun – and best shopping – in Melbourne.

With a number of the austere buildings along Wirraway Road heritage-listed, it probably comes as a surprise to most visitors that one – Hangar 4, boasting an impressive saw-tooth roof and steel frames and which was once the headquarters of the Australian National Airways – is now home to BOUNCE, arguably the (second) most fun you can have with shoes off. One of three locations in Victoria and 20 across Australia, the centre is onto a good thing with wall-to-wall trampolines, dodgeball, extreme fitness classes and a Big Air Bag, a giant soft landing for perfecting your sweet aerial moves.

It doesn’t take much to look at a map of Essendon Fields and notice the airport positioned smack bang in the middle of it. While this is excellent news if you’re planning a mini-break to regional destinations like King Island or Flinders Island, Merimbula or Portland, it also means there’s a good reason for Flight Deck Experience to exist here. A perfect birthday present with a twist, Flight Deck Experience puts you in the cockpit of an A320 flight simulator. Take off and land at some of the world’s most breathtaking airports, and take a glimpse at what goes on at the pointy end of the plane.

DFO Essendon

When many mums and dads from across the northern and western suburbs want to add a little class, some extra freshness and a delicious treat or three into their trolley, they make a bee-line to arguably the most-loved supermarket in the area, La Manna. With 10,000 square metres of fresh produce, boutique and traditional items to explore, a visit to La Manna is a luxurious shopping experience. Wide aisles, friendly staff and a mouth-watering patisserie will have you thinking you’ve arrived at supermarket nirvana. You’ll never look at your local Coles the same.

If you’re looking to add a spot of retail therapy into your visit to Essendon Fields, there’s no going past DFO Essendon. Home to dozens of luxury labels and casual brands, make sure you set aside a couple of hours to treat yourself. Stock up on women’s, men’s and children’s clothing, gifts or sporting gear, or if you’re looking to add something new to your home then spend some time strolling through the DFO Homemaker Centre. Of course, if your shopping goals are a bit more reserved – i.e., you don’t need to fill an entire car boot! – you can catch Bus 903 from Essendon or Coburg Train Stations.

And as day turns to night, a newcomer to Essendon Fields worth whiling away an evening is Mr McCracken; a place to enjoy a post-work cocktail or live music every Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Mr McCracken which opened in October 2017, offers a very decent $25 express lunch menu. While Essendon Fields is legitimately a thriving suburb – both commercial and residential development have been booming over the past ten years – this new hotspot offers somewhere new to indulge. Owned by the same trend-setting team behindCaptain Baxter and Republica in St Kilda, the bloodlines here are very promising indeed.

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