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Melbourne, Australia’s Coffee Capital! Streetscapes of Melbourne’s central business district (CBD) have more restaurants, bars and cafes than shops. Famous for Italian food since the 1950s, classic restaurants dedicated to quality food and wines are to be found. Melbourne has vibrant and diverse cultural experiences: opera, theatre, music, film and comedy.
The three top attractions in Melbourne as identified by Business Victoria are available to those looking for that special something after 5:00 pm:
- Melbourne CBD Shopping,
- Federation Square
- South Gate / South Bank.
Each year Melbourne has approximately three million international and twenty-seven million domestic visitors. This city is ready to entertain, with many choices after five.
Visit Little Italy
Melbourne is famous for authentic Italian restaurants. Make your way to Melbourne’s Little Italy on Bourke Hill. My two favourites are Bottega and Florentino’s.
Delicious modern Italian food with a selection of premium Italian and Australian wines are to be found at Bottega. This restaurant is open for lunch and dinner Monday to Saturday with an approximate cost of $40AUD for a main course.
At Florentino’s, owned by Guy Grossi, you have three choices: Florentino upstairs (prices beginning at $130AUD), the Grill (main course around $50AUD) and Cellar Bar (casual dining with antipasto around $15AUD per plate). I have enjoyed Florentino upstairs for a dining experience to remember, the Grill recently for my birthday and the Cellar Bar is a place I regularly meet friends.
And while you are in Little Italy enjoy a drink at one of the many bars in this part of Melbourne or the rooftop bar at the Imperial Hotel with views of Parliament House; beautifully lit at night. View one of the famous street art lanes at Meyers Place; it can be viewed from Bourke Street.
Take the 86 or 96 tram along Bourke Street toward Parliament House (corner of Bourke and Spring Streets). These restaurants and bars are a short walk down the hill from tram stop 9.
Take in a show at an iconic theatre
If you enjoy the experience of sitting in a theatre where the experience of being there is as wonderful as the performance itself Melbourne has several ornate theatres from the past.
The Athaneum Theatre at 188 Collins Street, Capitol Theatre at 115 Swanston Street, Comedy Theatre at 240 Exhibition Street, Forum Theatre 150-162 Flinders Street, Her Majesty’s Theatre 219 Exhibition Street, Princess Theatre 163-181 Spring Street and Regent Theatre 191-197 Collins Street.
Enjoy musicals, comedy and more with restaurants nearby providing pre-theatre dinner.
Shopping and Champagne
Shop and relax in Melbourne’s iconic department stores Myer and David Jones. After a shop at Myer enjoy a drink at The Salon Champagne Bar or visit the Basement Food Hall at David Jones.
Across from these Department Stores visit Royal Arcade to experience the first arcade built in Melbourne and longest standing arcade in Australia. With designer stores this arcade is part of the Victorian Heritage Register.
Myer, David Jones and the Royal Arcade are located on Bourke Street between Elizabeth and Swanston Streets. Both Myer and David Jones are open until 7.00pm Saturday to Thursday and 9.00pm Thursday and Friday.
Michelin in Melbourne
My favourite restaurant in Melbourne CBD is Ezards; two star Michelin. This is our restaurant to go to for special occasions and sometimes just ‘because’. Attentive staff, subdued lighting, comfort and delicious food. A taste sensation with each mouthful from pink peppercorn cured swordfish to Sher Waygu Beef and the most delicious dessert tasting platter.
As we sit enjoying our meal with wines selected for us (perfectly matched) we see couples celebrating, business dinners and small groups enjoying the whole experience.
You can choose from eight and Five Course Tasting Menus (vegetarian and vegan options available) and a la carte.
The chef at Ezards is Teage Ezard and it is located at 187 Flinders Lane.
Arts in the cultural precinct
Arts Centre Melbourne is Melbourne’s flagship performing arts venue in the cultural precinct. It is the place to go for opera, theatre and music.
Under the spire are an array of venues: The Playhouse located on the Yarra River designed for drama, orchestra, dance, musical comedy and chamber opera and Hamer Hall for orchestra and chamber music. Experience Aboriginal artworks in the foyer of The Playhouse.
The National Gallery of Victoria is open on Friday nights from early December to early April. Enjoy arts, bars, dining and DJs in the garden.
The Arts Centre Melbourne is located near the Yarra River in walking distance from the iconic Flinders Street Station (corner of Flinders and Swanston Streets), South Gate / South Bank with a promenade along the Yarra River and many restaurants and bars to choose from. Federation Square nearby is a venue for arts, culture, public events and restaurants and bars.
After a long day of sitting behind a laptop what better way to get rid of the day’s cobwebs than to hit a gym for a quick workout. Melbourne central has a multitude of choices if you are into any sort of fitness. Here are the 10 best Gyms in Melbourne as suggested by the Culture Trip.
The St Kilda Sea Baths is a great venue whether you want to work out or do some laps of a pool. The precinct is made up of restaurants, bars, gymnasiums all along the famous St Kilda Beach overlooking the gorgeous Port Phillip Bay.
You can find them at 10-18 Jacka Blvd, St Kilda and being only 6 km’s from the central CBD there are a multitude of trams and buses that will take you there. It is open from 5am to 1am every day.
Melbourne is an eclectic city with much to see and do after five. Free trams are available throughout the CBD making for easy and safe travel. Taking a tram through the city stopping to experience restaurants, bars, theatre and department stores is a must do.
Before arriving in Melbourne you might like to subscribe to:
- City of Melbourne: What’s going on in Melbourne
- Broadsheet Melbourne: Always great for new restaurants and bars and things to see and do