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How to Spend 24 Hours in Melbourne

Picture of Monique La Terra
Updated: 2 July 2017
With so much to see and do in Melbourne, it’s impossible to squeeze everything into just 24 hours, but our compact guide will help you divide your day among some of Melbourne’s major highlights. Although we can’t guarantee you’ll see everything, we are sure you’ll be back for more.

Morning

Kick off your day like a local, and head to Industry Beans in Fitzroy, where you can indulge in a cold drip coffee alongside the seasonal menu. Once caffeinated, it’s time to head to Carlton Gardens to see the Royal Exhibition Building and the Melbourne Museum, the largest museum in the Southern hemisphere. Not too far is the Queen Victoria Market (QVM), where you can pick up souvenirs, and treat yourself to a jam doughnut.

Courtesy of Industry Beans
Courtesy of Industry Beans
Royal Exhibition Building, Melbourne
Royal Exhibition Building, Melbourne | © François Philipp/Flickr
Courtesy of Queen Victoria Market
Courtesy of Queen Victoria Market

Afternoon

No trip to Melbourne, however brief, would be complete without roaming the labyrinth of laneways, where you’ll be treated to an urban canvas of awe-inspiring street art. We recommend Hosier Lane off of Flinders Street. Once you’ve snapped a few Instagram shots, visit Federation Square to grab some lunch, people watch in the piazza or visit Australian Centre for Moving Image and the Ian Potter Centre. Adjacent is Flinders Street Station and St Paul’s Cathedral.

Federation Square, Melbourne
Federation Square, Melbourne | © Claudio Forghieri/Flickr

After Federation Square, take the tram up St Kilda Road to the National Gallery of Victoria, the oldest and most visited art gallery in Australia and home to a collection of more than 70,000 works of art. The Arts Centre Melbourne and The Shrine of Remembrance are close by. If you’re in need of some peace and quiet, visit the tranquil Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and take a much deserved break.

Len French ceiling NGV
Len French ceiling NGV | © Daniel/Flickr

Before setting off in search of dinner, visit the Eureka Skydeck at Eureka Tower to catch the sunset from the highest public vantage point in the Southern hemisphere. Enjoy 360-degree views of Melbourne, and if you’re feeling brave, you can step out onto The Edge—a glass cube that suspends visitors 300 meters above Southbank.

Evening

After a busy afternoon, you’ll be in need of a good meal, and the variety in Southbank is unparalleled. If you’re craving Japanese, visit Nobu, or for the best pizza in town, stop by Gradi at Crown Melbourne. If you’re interested in a proper feast, explore the historical British grub at Dinner by Heston Blumenthal. Digest your meal with a walk along the Yarra River, and marvel at the Gas Brigades, which send fireballs into the sky each night on the hour.

Southbank, Melbourne
Southbank, Melbourne | © Mike Russell/Flickr

For a quintessentially Melbourne experience, end the night at one of city’s rooftop bars. Rooftop Bar on Swanston Street transforms into a cinema during the summer. For a more sophisticated night out, visit Siglo Bar on Spring Street, and have a drink on the terrace overlooking Saint Patrick’s Cathedral and Parliament House. If you happen to be in Melbourne on a Wednesday, stop by the night market at QVM, or on Friday nights, the National Gallery of Victoria hosts events related to major exhibitions.

Image courtesy of Siglo
Image courtesy of Siglo | © Tess Kelly