It may be on the small side, but Niddrie has a big, eclectic vibe at its heart.

For a suburb that wasn’t officially recognised until 1994, Niddrie has developed into a colourful place. It was named by Henry Stevenson, after his birthplace — a suburb of the same name in Edinburgh, Scotland — placing a little piece of his heritage in the area. As more people arrived over land and sea, this tradition continued until Niddrie became what it is today: a melting pot of different nationalities and cultures.

This fact is most noticeable on the suburb’s main strip. When it comes to being in the thick of the action, the Niddrie Shopping Precinct on Keilor Road is the place you want to be. This is the vibrant, cultural hub of the suburb and you’ll find a vast selection of cafes and restaurants offering local and international cuisine, as well as grocers, butchers and bakeries, and homewares, gifts and clothing shops. Kick off the day at Mylk and Honey, with its generous breakfast dishes, burgers and variety of sweet treats. For homewares and one-off pieces, pop into Presence of Home, where you’ll find all kinds of quirky gifts, knick-knacks, art and handmade items. Across the road from here is Sticky Fingers Boutique, with a range of stylish, high-quality kids’ clothing, shoes and accessories.

For a family-friendly adventure that will surprise and delight, head up the road to Jet Flight Simulator Melbourne, where you can try your hand at flying a 737-800 commercial airliner or a military grade F-16 Fighting Falcon. With an instructor to guide you, you’ll take the controls and experience cruising at altitude to thousands of destinations around the world.

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There are plenty of cafes in the shopping precinct to drop into afterwards, but if you’re looking for an exceptional hot brew and welcoming atmosphere, Mister Hoffman is a cosy, light-filled cafe serving up Allpress coffee and Harney and Sons tea. It also has a seasonal menu featuring on-trend offerings like warm banana bread with mascarpone and garnished with fresh flowers, superfood salads, breakfast burgers and open lamb pitas.

Exotic aromas are commonplace in Niddrie and with more than 40 cafes and restaurants to choose from, you may find yourself following your nose in many directions. Head for House of Fides for authentic Turkish fare, like traditional coffee and gözleme (a savoury flatbread filled with cheese, spinach and lamb), as well as a variety of grilled meats, vegetables and dips. If it’s your first time eating Turkish food go for the mixed platter so you can sample a little of all the exotic flavours. For a taste of Asia, try Saowanee Thai Restaurant, a local favourite with fast and friendly service and a selection of traditional rice and noodle dishes.

Before you make your way back home, take a stroll along the Steele Creek Trail. Its pathway is open to walkers, joggers and cyclists, and the trail eventually branches off towards the Maribyrnong River where you’ll glimpse incredible views of the city skyline.

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