Melbourne isn’t just a fantastic attraction because of its city, but also its outer suburbs. We go through what these outer Melbourne suburbs have to offer, and why to check them out!
Located north of the CBD, Fitzroy is one of Melbourne’s oldest suburbs, rich with history. Despite this, it is far from old fashioned, with its bohemian aesthetic that mixes both the ultra modern and retro together, there is nothing that you can’t do in this suburb that has become a city within itself!
The basis of Fitzroy’s appeal is certainly its diversity. From both designer to second hand shops, cafes and restaurants of various cuisines, different genres of music shows (techno, rock, indie etc.) happening every night, different themed rooftop bars, nightclubs and art galleries, there truly is a touch of something for everyone in Fitzroy.
The historical pools are still open for the public to take a dip, with DJ’s playing on weekends, making it the perfect summer playground.
There are also true crime walk tours to take, exploring the suburb’s notorious gang wars in the early 1900’s. Spooky!
Also north of the city, Brunswick prides itself on its art-filled streets and alternative flair in a similar fashion to Fitzroy.
Further out from Melbourne city and in the heart of the northern suburbs, Brunswick has kept its multicultural tropes from being one of the most popular settling destinations for migrants since the 1950’s, and blended it with progressive youth culture. Its traditional Middle Eastern and Asian restaurants down the northern stretch of Sydney Road are about as authentic as you can get. There is also a huge Mediterranean culture, packed with continental food stores and furniture wholesalers. What a great place to take nonna for a day out!
Brunswick is also op-shop heaven. If you’re after some cheap second-hand threads, the biggest ‘Savers’ in Melbourne has you covered, as do the other limitless thrift shops in the area. ‘Dejour Jeans’ is also a huge hit, building custom made jeans for under $50.
Also infamous for its ‘hipster’ culture, Brunswick is the perfect place to go man-bun spotting (remember to bring binoculars!)
The area is also famous for its very own ale, ‘Brunswick Bitter’, that most people drink on the notorious Sydney Road ‘pub crawl’.
Another one of the outer Melbourne suburbs that prides itself on the arts, Northcote truly is a progressive treasure.
A hot spot for foodies, Northcote (as well as its neighbour Westgarth) are well known for their dedication to vegan and organic cafes and restaurants. ‘Welcome To Thornbury’ is also the permanent food truck bar hosting over 80 trucks every weekend.
The Northcote Social Club is one of Melbourne’s most popular bandrooms, and shows are running here every week of all different genres.
For those who live to shop, Northcote is home to many independent retailers, as well as new and secondhand bookstores.
4. St. Kilda
For those who love to party, it doesn’t get much better than the Melbourne outer suburb of St. Kilda. Situated on a prestigious esplanade, St. Kilda offers both day and night activities for everyone.
Melbourne’s oldest theme park, ‘Luna Park’, sits directly next to the beach, and provides a day of fun for the whole family at a reasonable price. If the weather permits it, you can walk to the beach afterward for a dip, eat some ice cream at the skate park, or even hire some windsurfing gear.
For the night owls, St. Kilda is home to some of the most prestigious up-market fine dining restaurants and bars. Whether dining on The Esplanade or hitting up some of the most well-known nightclubs in Melbourne, there’s little that this seaside suburb doesn’t offer for an evening of scrubbing up.
St. Kilda is home to seven theatres, including the famous historical Palais Theatre, which runs shows all year round.
The iconic St. Kilda Festival runs annually every February (and is free!), showcasing the hottest live music, comedy, visual arts and more.
5. South Yarra
Moving on to south west outer Melbourne suburbs, South Yarra is an affluent area reputable for its ultra-modern art deco aesthetic, pricey apartments, well-preserved mansions, and the famous Chapel Street.
A busy and bustling area, there are many magnetic factors to this polished suburb, including shopping and fashion. Chapel Street has been acknowledged as one of the hottest shopping spots in Melbourne, including independent and designer retailers.
Chapel Street is also famous for its prestigious gourmet restaurants and cocktail lounges that come alive at night. The street is also host to some of the most popular, buzzing nightclubs in Melbourne, including the iconic ‘Revolver Upstairs’; which you’ll hear the locals refer to as a “Revs sesh”.
The Royal Botanic Gardens in the area is also a hot spot for picnics and day drinks.
One of Melbourne’s most historic suburbs, like Fiztroy, Footscray was one a stomping ground for back alley gang fights and binge drinking on the street. However, the western suburb has now turned itself around into a rich portrayal of Melbourne’s progressive culture.
As far as multiculturalism goes, it doesn’t get much more authentic than Footscray. There is no better place in Melbourne to grab some African and Vietnamese cuisine, at any time of the day. Food choice is extremely varied and includes the famous ‘8Bit’ burger restaurant, which has been crowned for the best burgers in Melbourne. Pubs and historical hotels fill the streets and come alive at night with gigs and music shows.
The Footscray Market is one of the most popular markets in Melbourne, as well as the best place to grab fresh fruit and veg in the western suburbs.
The Footscray community takes pride in its arts culture; its hot spot destinations being ‘The Dancing Dog Theatre’ and ‘The Footscray Community Arts Centre’.
Another western suburb, Yarraville is a Melbourne outer suburb that appears to be preserved in time.
Family owned businesses and restaurants are still running strong from generations ago, which can be an absolute treat to eat at and score some second hand treasures.
Its main attraction is definitely the timeless art deco ‘Sun Theatre’, opened in 1938 (which serves the BEST buttered popcorn) which is still running all of the latest movies every night.
Rich with bars and pubs, Yarraville is a western hotspot for nightlife, with its streets lit by lanterns at dusk. My two personal favourites by far are ‘The Railway Hotel’ for a great classic pub feed, followed by a walking distance trip to ‘The Vault’ for some scrumptious, well priced cocktails in their gorgeous beer garden. The food and margaritas at Hecho en Mexico, conveniently located right next to the railway station, is also always a hit if you’re feelin’ caliente!
Set on the coast of the west, Williamstown is another bustling western outer suburb of Melbourne proud of its historical heritage.
Famously known as Melbourne’s first port settlement, Williamstown is highly associated with maritime themed activities. The ‘HMAS Castlemaine’ is a classic warship built in 1941 that hosts tours of its history, and often floats around the bay for photogenic opportunities. If that isn’t enough to satisfy the curious seaside explorer, ‘The Titanic’ theatre restaurant and its show dedicated to the sinking of the infamous ship should do it, over a three course meal. The venue even turns into a vintage nightclub when the show is over, so you can party in Gatsby style on an imaginary ship! For something a little quieter, there is also the ‘Williamstown Museum’, run by the suburbs historical society.
Along the esplanade, five star ocean view seafood restaurants stand tall amongst boating piers. If you’re in the mood for a more casual dining experience, restaurant/bars of various cuisines fill the strip of Nelson Place.
Williamstown isn’t just a blast for the adults though. ‘Scienceworks Museum’ is an educational barrel of fun for the entire family. Check out the awesome planetarium, and participate in a day filled with awesome and fun discoveries about the amazing world of science.
Just outside of Melbourne city, Carlton is Melbourne’s own terrace homed ‘Little Italy’. A fantastic place to take Nonna if she’s feeling homesick, Lygon Street is famous for its gelatos, pizzerias, and lively atmosphere.
Home to ‘The University Of Melbourne’, many cafes have taken on this title with pride, in particular ‘The University Cafe’. Many tailor their spaces to university students, including accessible laptops and free wifi.
‘La Mama Theatre’ is always hosting recent and progressive plays, usually written and acted out by local talent of the university. If this floats your boat, also check out ‘Cinema Nova’, which screens newly released independent films on the daily.
The Carlton Gardens is also a great place for a picnic, jog, or to people-watch the Italian old men squabble over the paper while enjoying your gelato. Magnifico!
This harbour themed outer Melbourne suburb has so much to offer in terms of entertainment.
Loaded with waterfront fine dining restaurants, Docklands is the place to be if you’re after the ultimate fine dining experience with a view, or even just looking for a few relaxing drinks after work.
‘Marvel Stadium’ hosts the biggest national and international sporting and music events all year round, and with its title of most technologically advanced in Australia, you won’t miss out on any of the action no matter what angle you’re seated at!
Day activities are also a plenty at Docklands, with the Star Observation Wheel assisting you in seeing the beautiful city of Melbourne at new heights. The O’Brien Group Arena is open both night and day, for the public to ice skate to some funky tunes whenever it suits.