Where To Stay In Melbourne – A Guide To The Best Neighborhoods

Written By: The Planet D

Choosing where to stay in Melbourne can be difficult. Especially when there are so many different neighbourhoods.

Local resident and writer LC Hunter of Birdgehls  shares her expertise to give you the best information for Where to stay in Melbourne and a guide to its neighbourhoods. From activities, tours and accommodation in the city, this complete guide will give you all the tools you need to enjoy your stay.

As the most liveable city in the world (seven years in a row, but who’s counting?) it can be hard to decide exactly where you should base yourself when visiting Melbourne, Australia. But this guide is here to help you out.

Where to Stay in Melbourne, Australia

The city is a little too hip – there are many wonderful neighborhoods to stay in Melbourne in and for a newcomer, it can be difficult knowing which one will suit your tastes best.

Do you want to be in the thick of things, with easy access to all the sights and free transport? Or would you rather experience life as the locals do – shopping in local boutique stores, having cocktails in hip bars, or drinking the city’s renowned coffee in tiny, intimate cafes?

Here are 8 neighborhoods you can choose from in Melbourne, each with their own individual vibe and attractions. Use the following guide to decide which one is best for you.

Suggested Melbourne Neighborhoods

If you want to skip directly to any of the neighborhoods in Melbourne, click on the links below.

where to stay in melbourne
Tips for Where to Stay in Melbourne

Melbourne Quick Tips

melbourne travel tips city tram
The free city tram

Transportation

Melbourne has the best public transport of any city in Australia. You can easily get around using the buses, trains and trams that make up its transport system. When arriving in Melbourne, you’ll need to purchase a myki – a transport card that will enable you to navigate your way around the city.

Myki cards are priced at $6 and can be pre-loaded with cash. A full two hour fare in zones 1 + 2 costs $4.10 and a daily fare is $8.20. If you’re staying in Melbourne for a week or longer and you plan to utilize the public transport a lot, consider getting a myki pass. 7 days will cost you $28.

If you’re staying centrally, tram access around designated routes in the city is free.

Melbourne doesn’t have a train line that runs direct to the city from the airport. Some suburbs are easier to get to simply by booking an Uber or taking a taxi from the airport.

Visitors instead are given the option of catching the SkyBus, which takes you direct to Southern Cross Station in the city. When booked online, a one way ticket is $18, a return is priced at $35. I would only recommend using the Skybus if you’re staying in or around the city.

BOOK YOUR TRANSFER FROM THE AIRPORT TO THE CBD FOR ONLY $16.95/PP

1. The Central Business District

where is the best neighborhood to stay in melbourne
The view of the city from the Shrine of Remembrance.

The Major Attractions in the CBD

Melbourne’s CBD is home to its most renowned sights, such as Flinders Street Station, Eureka Tower, Federation Square and the National Gallery of Victoria. The CBD is a mecca for artists.The city is known for its sprawling laneways, covered in graffiti that changes almost daily.

  • Wander the streets of the sprawling Chinatown for cheap and exotic feeds.
  • Drink cocktails from the bars at the top of high-rise towers, overlooking the city.
  • Try your luck at the pokies at Crown Casino.
  • Or just chill out in one of the many parks that can be found around the city.

If you are looking for where to stay in Melbourne and want to be in the heart of things this is the area for you.

My favorites areFitzroy Gardens – home to a conservatory,  Cook’s Cottage (where the parents of James Cook, “discoverer” or Australia lived, brought over from England) and a model Tudor village.

Suggested Hotels Near the CBD

Things to see in the CBD

National Gallery of Victoria – The National Gallery of Victoria or NGV is the oldest public art gallery in Australia and consists of two sites – the Australian collection and International Collection.

The Laneways – Melbourne is famous for its laneways, incorporating cool bars, trendy little cafes and urban art. The best known of all the laneways is Hosier Lane.

Chinatown – Melbourne’s Chinatown was established during the Victorian gold rush in the 1850s. The modern day Chinatown sprawls through the CBD and is home to some hip bars and as eateries that will satisfy every budget.

Queen Victoria Market – QVM is a popular spot for tourists and locals alike. At seven hectares big, it’s the largest open plan market in Australia.

DON’T MISS THE QUEEN VICTORIA MARKET FOOD TOUR FOR ONLY $64/PP

Flinders Street Station – Flinders Street Station was the first railway station to be built in Australia and is the central hub for the metro lines in Melbourne. The station was constructed in 1909, is heritage listed and recognised as a cultural icon of the city.

Royal Botanic Gardens – The Gardens are located near the center of the city, south of the Yarra River. They’re home to a mixture of exotic and native flora..

Shrine of Remembrance – The Shrine was built after the First World War to commemorate the Victorians who had served abroad or been involved in the war efforts at home. Guided or self-guided tours are offered daily.

Eureka Tower Eureka Tower is 91 stories high and located in Southbank. It is home to Skydeck, on the 88th floor offering the highest public view from any building in the Southern Hemisphere.

If you’re particularly brave, you can step out onto The Edge – a glass cube that slides out three metres from the building. Book advance tickets with Get Your Guide

Suggested Tours

melbourne neighboroods guide

Get Your Guide is a Great Site for booking tours.

Melbourne City Pass – starting at 210 AUD and available in 3 or 7 day passes, this will give you entry to sights such as Eureka Skydeck 88 and Melbourne Zoo.

Yarra Cruises – see the highlights from the Yarra River with a 1 or 2 hour cruise. Book a Cruise in Advance with Get Your Guide

Melbourne 1,2, or 3-Day Hop on Hop off Bus Pass – If you are in Melbourne for more than one day, this is a great option for getting around to all the sights.

Day tours to the Great Ocean Road can by booked through Get Your Guide. To learn more of the Great Ocean Road, check out our post where we did the Great Ocean Walk. 

Getting There

  • Flinders Street Station – any Circle Loop train will terminate here.
  • Royal Botanical Gardens – stop at Domain Interchange/St Kilda Rd from tram lines 3/3a/6/16f/64/72
  • Queen Victoria Markets – catch a train to Flagstaff Station along the City Loop and walk.
  • For more information check out the Public Transport Victoria website.

2. St Kilda

melbourne neighbourhood guide
Urban art in Hosier Lane.

 A historic neighborhood by the sea. St Kilda is beloved by both locals and tourists alike.A postcard perfect part of Melbourne, its renowned for its view of Port Phillip, palm-lined boardwalk and beautiful sunsets.

There are plenty of seaside activities available for visitors and the suburb is littered with great restaurants, bars and cafes.

There are plenty of stunning old buildings, famous theatres (such as the Palais Theatre) and festivals happening all year round, such as the annual film festival and the eponymous St Kilda Festival, held every summer.

One of my favorite things to do in St Kilda is to go to one of the cafes on the water, order a chai latte and a bowl of chips and people watch.

Or of course, go for a paddle in the water!

Where to Stay Near St Kilda

Things to See in St Kilda

St Kilda Pier -The Pier and Breakwater is considered to be a landmark of Melbourne, offering views of Melbourne’s skyline and Port Phillip Bay. It’s also home to a colony of 100 Little Penguins.

St Kilda Beach – It may not be Bondi Beach, but St Kilda at the very least provides access to water and there are some really lovely pubs and cafes nearby.

Luna Park -Luna Park is a historic amusement park, which opened in 1912. It was one of five original parks, with only it and Sydney’s remaining in operation.

The Astor Theatre -If you consider yourself a film buff, you’ll love the Astor Theatre. A single-screen movie theatre, it regularly shows the classics, alongside movie-marathons and singalongs. Open since 1913, it was nearly shut down in 2015. After much protesting, cinema chain Palace Cinemas leased the premises and has continued on with its traditional screenings.

Getting There

There are no train stations in St Kilda – the area is serviced by trams. Catch the 3/3a, 67 or 16f from Flinders Street or the 96 from Southern Cross. For more information check out the Public Transport Victoria website.

3. Richmond

Where to stay in Melbourne CBD

Richmond is an inner-city suburb of Melbourne, which underwent a period of gentrification in the 1990s. It’s now one of the most extremely sought-after postcodes in the city.

The area is known for its top-notch Vietnamese food and is a popular area of congregation for sports fans, thanks to the proliferation of sports bars in the suburb, along with the presence of the city’s most beloved sporting venue, the Melbourne Cricket Grounds.

Suggested Hotels Near Richmond

Things to see in Richmond

Melbourne Cricket Grounds (the MCG) -Melbourne is the sports capital of Australia and the best of the best happens at the MCG. First opened in 1853, it is the 10th largest stadium in the world and the biggest in Australia. It was the main stadium for the 1956 Olympic Games, the 2006 Commonwealth Games and is considered both the birthplace of Test Cricket and the official home of Australian Rules Football (also known as “Aussie Rules” or simply as “the AFL”). If catching a game there isn’t enough for you, you can take a 75-minute tour of the grounds and the Australian Gallery of Sport and Olympic Museum.

The Owl and Cat Theatre – This small theatre is located near Richmond Station and is a popular, intimate venue for both plays and music.

Tour a Craft Beer Facility –Aussie’s love their beer in all forms and in the hip, inner suburbs of Melbourne, craft beer is only growing in popularity.

Mountain Goat Brewery open their doors to the public three days a week, for tours, food and of course, a cold bevvie on tap.

Getting to Richmond

Richmond train station is one stop away from Flinder Street Station. Multiple lines service the station (Frankston, Cranbourne, Pakenham, Sandringham, Glen Waverley, Alamain, Lilydale and Belgrave will all get you there).

4. Fitzroy

where to stay in melbourne australia

Fitzroy is one of the hippest suburbs in Melbourne. A neighborhood for creatives, it features a mix of specialty bookshops, art galleries, boutique clothing stores and beyond-decent eateries.

If you want to know where to stay in Melbourne that is also a very affordable this is it. It’s also a great place for thrift shopping – I bought one of my favorite pairs of shoes there for $8. Bargain.

The area is also an excellent place to head to for a night out on the town and is home to some of the most amazing urban art to be found within the city.

Suggested Hotels in Fitzroy

Things to See and Do in Fitzroy

Hit up an Aussie Pub –Going to an Australian pub is an interesting experience and one you won’t have experienced unless you’ve ordered a schnitty (schnitzel) that’s a big as a plate, with the chips inexplicably hidden underneath the crumbed chicken. 

Visit The Workers Club or Builders Arms Hotel for a true Australian experience.

For something a little different The Old Bar is a venue for live music, along with art exhibitions, knitting nights and a VHS Club.

Go Shopping Along Brunswick St –Fitzroy is renowned for its shopping and the main street (Brunswick St) is littered with boutique shops filled with clothes, homewares and other tack. For those on a budget, you’re sure to find a bargain amongst one of the suburb’s many thrift shops.

Visit the Edinburgh Gardens – At 24 hectares in size, Edinburgh Gardens is one of the largest parks within the city. Have a game of tennis, try your hand at lawn bowls, or cook a BBQ Aussie style using the park’s own facilities.

Getting There

Fitzroy is serviced extensively by trams. Catch the Number 11 from Collins Street or Number 86 from Bourke Street. For more information check out the Public Transport Victoria website.

5. Hawthorn

where to stay in Melbourne richmond

Hawthorn is the ideal location for any travelers wanting to experience Melbourne “like a local”. Located 6kms from the city, it is one of the city’s most influential suburbs. Its ethnic diversity has led to a top-quality restaurant scene and due to its strong student population, it has a thriving nightlife.

Suggested Hotels Hawthorn

Things to see and do in Hawthorn

Check out the Melbourne Tram Museum – Most Melburnians would be lost without their trams and this museum pays homage to the transport system that has been in place since 1885. Open Saturdays, the museum is located at Hawthorn’s original tram depot and features 20 vintage tramcars, alongside other historic memorabilia.

Pick up a book at Readings –In 2016, Melbourne based Readings was awarded the London Book Fair’s Bookstore of the Year award, beating out bookshops in Estonia, Italy and China. Its flagship store in located in Carlton, just north of the CBD, but the Hawthorn branch is also worth a visit. Grab yourself a novel and then wander round to any nearby cafe to spend an afternoon reading some quality literature, drinking some of Melbourne’s internationally renowned coffee and indulging in the greatest pleasure of any traveler – people watching.

Immerse in Australia’s brunch scene –Brunch in Australia isn’t just a meal, it’s an institution. Most Aussie’s love nothing more than parking themselves at their favourites cafes, ordering a plate of smashed avocado and whiling the hours away with their nearest and dearest – whether that be friends, family or just their dogs.

Most suburbs in Melbourne are home to some truly excellent cafes, so take your pick. Be sure to arrive early, so you can get a seat as once most patrons park themselves down, it’ll be awhile before they get moving again!

Getting There

Take a train from the city to Hawthorn, Glenferrie or Auburn Station. The area is serviced by the tram lines 16, 48, 70, 75 and 109. For more information check out the Public Transport Victoria website.

6. Prahran and Windsor

where to stay in Melbourne skyline

Located a stone’s throw from the city, Prahran and Windsor are known for their top quality eateries, vintage finds and pumping nightlife. Chapel Street in particular is the place to be seen, featuring boutique shops, a range of restaurants and cafes and eclectic bars.

I once went for a walk down the street to “see what it had on offer” and accidentally spent $400 on clothes. Collateral damage – it could happen to anyone.

Suggested Hotels for Prahran and Windsor

Things to do and see in Prahran and Windsor

Chapel Street –Chapel Street is one of Melbourne’s premier shopping districts, known for its boutique stores, hip cafes and trendy bars. Wander up and down the street and try not to spend all your money at once.  

Prahran Market –Open five days a week (it closes Mondays and Wednesday), Prahran Market is considered to be the #1 food market in Melbourne. Here you can pick up a range of food from the delis and produce shops, or grab a feed at one of the many eateries located in the premises – from simple toasties, to German Bratwurst.

An animal farm visits the market every Tuesday, providing an opportunity for kids (both big and small) to get up close to some delightfully fluffy farm animals.

Head to Revolver for the Thai Food – Revolver is quite possibly one of, if not the most disgusting nightclubs in Melbourne – the kind of place where people will arrive late on a Friday night and won’t leave until 10am Monday morning. Yet, it’s also home to the suburb’s best Thai food, Colonel Tan’s. Hold your nose, avert your eyes, scale the stairs to the upper quarters and feast on pad thai and stir fried beef until your heart’s content.

Getting There

Main metro stops are: Catch the tram line 6 from Flinders Street to get to Prahran and Windsor. Prahran Market is serviced by the 72. South Yarra train station is the closest to Chapel St. Alternatively, jump on the 78 or 79 to travel its length. For more information check out the Public Transport Victoria website.

7. Brunswick

brunswick places to stay in melbourne

Brunswick is hands down my favorite neighborhood in Melbourne. It’s the kind of place where people will stop to have a chat with you in the street. Where cafe staff will tell you to “come back and pay when you have the money”, if you don’t have any cash on hand. Where you can get a burger and a beer for under $15. Where you’ll see some of the most thought-provoking street art in Melbourne.

You could wander the streets of this suburb all day and not run out of things to see or do.

Suggested Hotels for Brunswick

Things to See in Brunswick

Self-Guided Urban Art Tour –Although the laneways in the city are famous for their graffiti, you have to head deep into the suburbs to see the good stuff.

Brunswick is one such suburb whose identity is linked to its urban art and it features some of the best in Melbourne – some of which has been around for generations. Both Jewell and Brunswick train stations are good places to start.

Savour Chocolate & Patisserie School – It’s one thing to sample delicious desserts, another to be able to create them yourself. Savour school offers a range of classes, from chocolate artistry, to pastries and tarts and even macarons.

Drink where Beyonce once drank – Big Bey fan? Well, when visiting Australia in 2013, Beyonce was spotted by fans entering Brunswick’s Retreat Hotel for a tipple.

Visit the Melbourne Zoo – not far from Brunswick is Melbourne Zoo, which is worth visiting for the very neat Butterfly House and penguin enclosure at the very least.

Getting There

Melbourne Zoo – the 19 tram line will take you there from Brunswick. Alternatively, it’s a 14 minute walk from Brunswick Station. Catch the Upfield line from any station on the City Loop and get off at Jewell or Brunswick Station for access to Sydney Road. For more information check out the Public Transport Victoria website.

8. Collingwood

The butterfly house is one of the coolest features of Melbourne Zoo.

Collingwood is yet another suburb located a very short distance from the CBD, but with its own distinct feel.It’s one of Melbourne’s top dining and drinking suburbs, with loads of beautiful architecture to ogle out.

I can happily spend a day here shopping along Smith St, poking my head into various art galleries and boutique stores and whiling away hours drinking coffee in any of the neighborhood’s cafes.

Suggested Hotels in Collingwood

Things to do in Collingwood

Grab a cup of Melbourne Coffee –If it’s one thing Melburnians are passionate about, it’s their coffee and the city is cited to have some of the best in the world. Inner city suburb Collingwood is one of the area’s trendiest, so you’re guaranteed to find a decent cup of joe, wherever you go.

If you want a true, Australian coffee experience, order a flat white. If you’re lucky, it’ll come with some truly spectacular latte art.

Collingwood Children’s Farm –Yep, there’s a farm located only a few kilometres out of the city! Collingwood Children’s Farm is open daily and parents will be happy to hear that there is a cafe onsite, where they can sip on a hot beverage whilst their children run wild. Daily highlights include cow milking and guinea pig cuddles.

Stomping Ground Brewing Co. –Stomping Ground is a relatively new warehouse turned beer hall in Collingwood. Head there for a bev, or a bit of live entertainment. If you want to see the inner workings of a craft beer brewery, free tours are held every Saturday and Sunday at 12 noon.

Getting There

Catch the South Morang line from the city to Collingwood station, or alternative head to North Richmond. The 86 tram line leads to Collingwood from the city. For more information check out the Public Transport Victoria website.

Plan Your Melbourne Trip

The local currency is the Australian Dollar. $1 USD = $1.25 AUD – For up to date conversions get the XE Currency Converter App 

Melbourne’s weather is in a word, unpredictable. The city is regularly cited as experiencing “Four Season in One Day” (there is a famous Crowded House song that is titled as such). Layers will see you through the winter, along with a sturdy coat (preferably water proof).

Don’t expect the weather to necessarily be hot in the summer seasons – come prepared with a light jacket or sweater. Be sure to pack one pair of waterproof shoes.

Eagle Creek Plug Adapter – This all in one adapter is all your need for Australia and your other world travels.

So that’s it. If I were visiting Melbourne for the first time, I’d be happy to stay in any of the above suburbs. If you have any other suggestions, please leave them in the comments below.

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where to stay in melbourne australia a guide to the best neighborhoods

Author Bio

LC is a proud Melburnian and an advocate of backyard travel. Visit her blog Birdgehls for more on Australia and beyond. Check out her complete 7 Day itinerary to Melbourne for more ideas and travel planning. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube

Disclosure: There are some affiliate links in the post above, but these are all products we highly recommend. We won’t put anything on this page that we haven’t verified and/or personally used.

Travel Planning Resources

Looking to book your next trip? Why not use these resources that are tried and tested by yours truly.

Flights: Start planning your trip by finding the best flight deals on Skyscanner

Book your Hotel: Find the best prices on hotels with these two providers. If you are located in Europe use Booking.com and if you are anywhere else use TripAdvisor

Find Apartment Rentals: You will find the cheapest prices on apartment rentals with VRBO

Travel Insurance: Don't leave home without it. Here is what we recommend:

  • World Nomads - Digital Nomads or Frequent Travelers.
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Need more help planning your trip? Make sure to check out our Resources Page where we highlight all the great companies that we trust when we are traveling.

About The Planet D

Dave Bouskill and Debra Corbeil are the owners and founders of The Planet D. After traveling to 115 countries, on all 7 continents over the past 13 years they have become one of the foremost experts in travel. Being recognized as top travel bloggers and influencers by the likes of Forbes Magazine, the Society of American Travel Writers and USA Today has allowed them to become leaders in their field.

Leave a Comment

20 thoughts on “Where To Stay In Melbourne – A Guide To The Best Neighborhoods”

  1. This is a great, comprehensive post, thank you for that! I would go to Melbourne right away, unfortunately it is not possible. But, I will save your post for later and if I would have a chance, I will follow your article for sure!

    Thank you for this and wish you all the best!

    Bye Renata

    Reply
  2. Outstanding Post! We’re stopping in Melbourne for 5 nights in February for the first time. Your post was extremely helpful for planning our stay in the city!

    Reply
  3. Awesome guide, thanks! I’m planning to move to Melbourne in February. Currently living in Vietnam and simply love the coffee culture here. I’ve heard Melbourne is the coffee capital of Australia so it should be a nice transition. What is the best area to stay if you’re working online? I’m mainly looking for work-friendly cafes, an existent digital nomad community and plenty of places to eat. Thanks.

    Reply
  4. Great, this will definitely help me what to do and where is the place to stay in Melbourne. Thank you for sharing this with us.

    Reply
  5. This is so informative, thank you for sharing; now I didn’t have to think about where are the best places to stay for my travel vacation in Melbourne Australia.

    Reply
  6. As a proud Melbourne resident your article is spot on – one of the best things about Melbourne is the weather – 4 seasons in one day as we say – so bring clothing for all types of weather!

    Reply
  7. I have been to Melbourne countless times now and enjoyed my time there, been through all these mentioned areas, all pretty central. The train transport makes getting around so easy and quick. It is true Melbourne is a very livable city. Thanks for sharing…

    Reply
  8. i really like your post because i dream tro visit Melbourne It’s one of Melbourne’s top dining and drinking suburbs, with loads of beautiful architecture to ogle out

    Reply
  9. I visited Melbourne (Australia) last year and I stay in Grand Hyatt Melbourne, That was a real luxury hotel, one of the best experience in my life.

    Reply
  10. Nice post.Thanks for sharing.Its really helpful for me to travel and stay at Melbourne.Thanks for the post.Keep sharing.

    Reply
  11. Melbourne, an absolutely great place to visit. One of my friend has been living there for long years. I will get there as soon as i have the chance. I will use this great blog post as a travel guide. Thank you for the good reading and inspiring photos!

    Reply
  12. Wow such an amazingly thourough post. I’m hoping to make it back to Melbourne again this year for a couple festivals. One of my favorite cities in the world 🙂

    Reply
  13. The way you expresses things is really very eye-catching, people just have to visit here and will get all the information regarding how he/she can make the trip more good and memorable. Thanks for sharing this post.

    Reply