Where To Stay In Melbourne: The Ultimate Neighborhood Guide
The capital of the state of Victoria, Melbourne is the second biggest city in Australia and no doubt one of the most popular destinations in the country. Often regarded as the sports and cultural capital of Australia, rivaled only by Sydney, Melbourne has so much to offer to all types of travelers. In fact, it has been awarded the “World’s Most Livable City” multiple times and should be part of any traveler’s bucket list.
From its inner-city beaches and cultural attractions to its world-renowned sporting events and eclectic dining scene, there’s something for everyone in Melbourne. When making plans to visit this lovely coastal city, you have to take into account the area where you will be staying. When you arrive in the city, store your bags with a Melbourne luggage storage service while you decide on your accommodation choice. Then, take a look around!
Luckily, Melbourne has an array of vibrant neighborhoods and buzzing districts that cater to all interests and budgets. Are you looking for a centrally-located area? Do you want to stay somewhere affordable? Do you want to be near the beach or other free things to do in Melbourne? These are just some of the questions that you will ask yourself before booking your accommodation. To help you prepare for your trip, we’ve compiled this guide on where to stay in Melbourne.
Where to stay in Melbourne CBD: First-time visitors
The Melbourne Central Business District, or simply the CBD, is the first thing that comes to mind when talking about where to stay in Melbourne. As the city’s downtown area, Melbourne CBD is home to some of the city’s most prominent sights and nearly every establishment is a short walk away from the other. In addition, the district is well connected to the rest of Melbourne via public transportation.
Among the must-visit attractions found in the City Centre include the Flinders Street Station, the National Gallery of Victoria, Queen Victoria Market, the Federation Square and the Eureka Tower. Moreover, Melbourne CBD is known for its narrow laneways adorned with graffiti art, lovely malls and markets, multiple bars and restaurants for brunch or dinner, a range of accommodation options – from luxury hotels to budget hotels – and a variety of public spaces to hang out in. All in all, Melbourne CBD is a tourist hotspot and the perfect base for those who are visiting Melbourne for the first time.
Where to stay in Docklands: For tourist activities
Docklands is an inner western suburb of Melbourne and is one of the most popular areas in the city. Located just 2 kilometers away from the CBD, Docklands is an ideally located harbor development that has a reputation for its artistic display and buzzing atmosphere. It’s also an ideal option for travelers who want to go sightseeing; the district has just about everything from cultural attractions to outdoor spaces and more.
At Docklands, there is a diverse selection of eateries and cafés by the bay that tourists can enjoy. Additionally, the area is home to the District Docklands shopping centre, which hosts an array of boutiques and vendors as well as other amenities such as cinemas, an indoor skating rink, an arcade, and a mini golf course. Other points of interest in Docklands include the Melbourne Star Observation Wheel, the Federation Square and the Etihad Stadium. All in all, Docklands has a more relaxed and quieter vibe compared to the CBD, making it an ideal place to stay for tourists that are visiting Melbourne.
Where to stay in Fitzroy: For nightlife
In any city you visit, there’s always a specific area where you can socialize and have a few drinks. For Melbourne, it would be Fitzroy. Often dubbed as one of the coolest Melbourne neighborhoods, Fitzroy attracts creatives and hip crowds because of the vibrant street art found in the area. As a result, there is a range of Melbourne hotels that cater to all preferences and budgets.
Nowadays, it is also known as arguably the best spot for nightlife; the neighborhood is filled with artsy bars, rooftop lounges, dance clubs and even eclectic pubs. Some of the most beloved nightlife spots in Fitzroy include The Workers Club, the Builders Arms Hotel and Upside Rooftop Bar.
Apart from its vibrant nightlife scene, Fitzroy also has a collection of independent boutiques and vintage shops that can be of interest to tourists. The main retail area in the neighborhood is Brunswick Street, where vendors sell everything from clothing and homewares to second-hand items and souvenirs.
Where to stay in St Kilda: For families
If you are coming to visit Melbourne with the entire family, especially with children in tow, you would definitely find St Kilda to be the ideal area to stay in. This bohemian beach suburb is situated in southeast Melbourne and is the top choice for traveling families because of the range of activities that can be enjoyed by kids and the kids at heart.
For one, the suburb is home to its namesake St Kilda Beach, where the whole family can partake in various seaside activities and water sports, such as kitesurfing and paddleboarding. The neighborhood also has an extended pier where people can enjoy strolling or cycling along the boardwalk or hang out to watch the lovely sunset. Another popular family-friendly attraction found in St Kilda is Luna Park, a historic amusement park (and the oldest one in Australia) that features a range of eccentric, interesting rides.
For a more relaxing experience, you and your family can head to the St Kilda Botanical Garden for some downtime after a full day of adrenaline. Finally, to refuel from all the family fun, the neighborhood also boasts numerous eateries and cafés that suit all tastes – from traditional Aussie fare and seafood to Asian and European cuisine.
Where to stay in South Melbourne: For those on a budget
Because of its popularity and the high quality of living that it offers, Melbourne is not exactly a cheap city; staying here for a longer period can really burn a hole in your pocket. If you are looking to stretch your budget during your trip, you may want to look for accommodations in the inner city suburb of South Melbourne.
Located between Port Phillip Bay and the Yarra River, just a few tram stops from the Melbourne city center and St Kilda, South Melbourne is an upmarket residential area with an eclectic vibe. The suburb is home to a number of budget-friendly hotels as well as backpacker hostels, making it arguably the cheapest area to stay in Melbourne.
Its ideal location makes South Melbourne a great base for people wanting to take road trips in the Victoria region. In fact, it is only a short distance away from Albert Park, which is surrounded by a lake and a 3-mile long path that is used for running, walking, hiking and cycling. The roads here are also transformed into a racing circuit during the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix.
While it may not be as crowded and popular as other parts of the city, South Melbourne offers plenty of things for travelers. Here, you can find the magnificent Royal Botanic Gardens, which is among Melbourne’s loveliest public spaces and filled with colonial-era architecture, trees, glasshouses and more. Another noteworthy attraction is the South Melbourne Market, one of the city’s oldest public markets that features numerous food stalls and vendors. The area is also home to a variety of cafés and restaurants where you can find affordable but quality eats.
Where to stay in Southbank: For foodies
Melbourne has a reputation for its exciting dining scene and it’s not hard to find quality eateries anywhere in the city. However, if you’re a foodie who wants to truly try the best of the best, the best place to stay in Melbourne would have to be Southbank. Located on the southern bank of Yarra River (thus its name), the neighborhood is a melting pot of cultures, which shows in the diverse cuisines being offered in its restaurants.
Southbank is lined with upscale bistros and riverside restaurants that can satisfy a wide range of tastes and budgets. Some of Southbank’s most acclaimed dining spots include the world-renowned Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, Japanese fine dining giant Nobu and beloved local restaurant Meat Wine & Co. For those looking for something more unique and romantic, there are also all-inclusive dinner cruises on the Yarra River that are being offered.
Perhaps the main highlight of Southbank is the extraordinary Crown Casino complex, one of Melbourne’s best luxury hotels and the biggest casino complex in the Southern Hemisphere. The complex features a selection of retail stores and designer brands, nightclubs, a bowling alley, an arcade and several on-site restaurants.
Where to stay in South Yarra: For shopping
One of Melbourne’s most sought-after residential areas, South Yarra is another top choice when planning where to stay in Melbourne. Located about 4 kilometers southeast of Melbourne CBD, this historic suburb was once a retreat for the rich during the 1840s. Today, it still retains a sophisticated touch but with a carefree vibe to it. While the area is not that popular among tourists, it has a wide range of boutique hotels and reasonably-priced accommodations to choose from.
South Yarra is considered to be one of Melbourne’s top retail destinations because of the multitude of shops and weekend markets found in the area. Moreover, the neighborhood is home to the famous Chapel Street, an over 4-kilometer long street that is lined with retail stores, restaurants and coffee shops.
At Chapel St., you will find just about anything from international chain stores to arts and craft stalls. In addition, the neighborhood is home to the Prahran Market, a local market that sells organic produce, delicacies, ready-to-eat meals and other fresh food items.
Where to stay in Collingwood: For an authentic experience
If you want to get a glimpse of how the locals live and have an “authentic” experience during your trip, your best bet is to stay in the inner northeast suburb of Collingwood. Known for its “hipster” population, Collingwood used to be an industrial area known for its blue-collar beginnings.
Over the years, the neighborhood has transformed into one of the most diverse and exciting areas in Melbourne and is a hub of cultural activity. In fact, the area is filled with cutting-edge art galleries, live music venues and is renowned for its thriving café culture. If you’re into art, you will surely appreciate Smith Street, which is filled with street art and murals. The accommodations at Collingwood are also plentiful; you can easily find a boutique hotel or a modern inn that meets your needs.
Where to stay in East Melbourne: For outdoor fun
Located on the eastern side of the city centre, is East Melbourne, an affluent residential area known for its well-maintained Victorian-era terrace houses and sprawling public parks. As one of the first suburbs in the city, East Melbourne remains to be the home of some government institutions, including the Parliament of Victoria along Spring Street.
East Melbourne is also surrounded by lovely spaces, one of which is the 64-acre Fitzroy Gardens, famous for its beautiful lake and walking paths. The neighborhood is also where the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) can be found, which is the biggest stadium in the country that regularly hosts major sporting events from all over the world.
If you’re coming to the city to catch a sports game, you’ll find several hotel options within walking distance from the stadium. As a bonus, due to its great location and extra space, the best boutique hotels and luxury accommodations in East Melbourne allow for excellent, panoramic views of the city.
Central Melbourne and Beyond
The question of where to stay in Melbourne is a hard one to answer with all the lovely suburbs and neighborhoods found all over the city, each of which has its own charm and vibe. This comprehensive guide takes into account a variety of preferences and budgets to help you weigh your options. Hopefully, it will enable you to easily decide where to stay during your time in this lovely Australian city!