Blog & Insights

Lose yourself in Melbourne’s Laneways

Whilst you can never be entirely sure of the Melbourne weather, you can be very certain that you will never find yourself short of a good coffee – or indeed somewhere interesting to drink it. A city that is blessed with diversity and oozing a blend of cultural infusions, Melbourne is widely acknowledged – albeit somewhat begrudgingly – as the unofficial cosmopolitan capital of Australia. Now you’re fully up to speed with the Uni schedule, the best way to get to know your new home is to get yourself totally and utterly lost…

Lost and found

So you’ve ticked off the tourist hotspots – done a walking tour, marveled at the views from the Eureka Skydeck, hopped on and off trams and gasped at the magnificent St Paul’s Cathedral. Now it’s time to really discover what it is that puts Melbourne on the world map and makes it such a special place to live. Unlike most other Aussie cities Melbourne has an incredibly European feel, a uniqueness that can’t be fully explained or realised – until you get completely lost. Yes, losing yourself in Melbourne’s famous laneways is a favourite regular pastime for locals, with each arcade and alleyway spilling over with eateries, cafés and creative spaces alike. If you’re into coffee, art, fashion or food – or simply like to soak up the ambience of life itself – then look no further. Melbourne’s laneways are the perfect place to find somewhere to perch and watch the world go by.

Follow your nose

If you’re not sure where to begin, the best place to start is Centre Place. Sitting somewhere between a grungy London side street and a spirited Spanish alleyway, this lively laneway is abuzz with foodie delights, live music and street art all around. Not to mention delicious coffee. Sup on a hearty soup from The Soup Place and while you’re there, pay it forward by buying an extra bowl for half price that a homeless person will benefit from later on. Park yourself on a crate outside Jungle Juice to enjoy a serious caffeine fix and then surf straight into lunch at Aix Creperie. For more of the same stroll across to Degraves Street, a narrow, cobbled alleyway with a similar vibe and equally delicious offerings. If Italian fare is your thing, there’s no better place than Hardware Lane to sample some delicious al fresco summer treats. Now one of the city’s busiest eating streets, your meal will often be accompanied by some free lunchtime jazz. Enjoy a lazy afternoon beer at the Shanghai-inspired Golden Monkey.

Art and about

With street art very much integral to the whole laneways vibe, be sure to head over to Hosier Street for a heavy dose of urban contemporary action. Previously used as access and delivery for the Flinders Lane factories, Hosier Street has taken off very much in its own right as the epicentre of naked self-expression – as well as home to the uber-cool tapas bar, MoVida. Renowned for delivering a real taste of Spain to your palate, MoVida does not disappoint with delicious Riojas, Tempranillo and Grenache all available to accompany your tapas selection. Book well ahead – or take a chance on one of the barstools for a casual supper.

On the darkside

One of Melbourne’s oldest laneway spots, Meyer’s Place has everything you need and more for a night’s entertainment. Start with a drink at The Loop rooftop bar for views across the city, then afterwards enjoy a meaty parilla and a glass of Malbec at San Telmos to experience a touch of Buenos Aires. Duck into Lily Blacks to finish off the night, an art-deco inspired bar with an extensive range of beverages available as well as an imaginative cocktail list. A fitting tribute to the band that began their career living and working in Melbourne, ACDC Lane sits in the hub of the bar and rock district. Unsurprisingly the huge draw-card here is Cherry Bar, the self-proclaimed ‘best rock and roll bar in the world’ featuring live acts and DJs late into the night. There’s no better place to burn off that late night energy. Grab a meaty snack and a Pisco Sour at the Peruvian eatery Pastuso for the way home.

Melbourne’s interconnected weave of laneways embody everything the city is best at: coffee, culture, vibe, ambience and collectives. Explore the laneways and find hidden treasures and cheeky gems in the many nooks and crannies. Truly experience Melbourne life the way the locals like to live.

When has getting lost ever been so much fun?

By Jael Livingston

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