November marks my 5th month in the city that made me realize my worth and helped me find myself. There have been many highs, a number of lows, and everything in between, but I really wouldn’t have changed my time here in Melbourne for anything.
I’ve been getting a lot of questions about what there is to do in the CBD of the city where I live, so I thought I would give a little guide to all of my favorite places and spaces in the city that I love. This is not a guide to the ultimate tourist spots, but rather a list of the places I hold close to my heart. Here we go!
1. Journal café
Located inside the City Library and right behind my apartment complex, this pretty little café has the cheapest coffee that tastes the absolute best. I love a good mocha here or an iced coffee (that comes with ice cream!) while I sit and plan lessons on the weekend or want to dig into another good book. The atmosphere is cozy, with mood lighting, 1920’s art deco vibes, and books around every corner!
2. City Library
This library is located on Flinders lane and is comprised of 2 floors nestled in between a crowded street. It’s hard to see, but once you find it, you’ll be hooked! They always have the latest copies of my favorite magazines, new fiction, and even a piano lounge. It’s a great place to get away and also a great place to hold tutoring sessions!
3. Hopetoun Tea Rooms
Located in the Block Arcade, this is Melbourne’s original high tea room created in the 1800’s. They have a glass window full of delicious cakes, green leaf wallpaper adorning every wall, dressed up waitresses, and fabulous coffee. What’s not to love about a proper high tea in the middle of a bustling city??
4. Dymock’s Bookstore
If you know me at all, you know that I am overly obsessed with bookstores. I go out of my way to find the best one in every city, and this one happens to be about 5 minutes away from my apartment! Dymock’s is a HUGE bookstore that trumps any Barnes and Noble I have ever seen in my life. Its sections are neatly labeled, the selection of knick-knacks is impeccable, and the travel section is unreal. Every time I wander the streets, I always end up right back in Dymock’s and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
5. Retrostar Vintage
Every store on Collins Street is major expensive and super out of my strict budget, so I often end up in this warehouse of a vintage shop. It has more turtlenecks, 50’s dresses, patches, and band tees than the eye can see, and all for a reasonable price. It makes me happy knowing that I can buy clothes second hand and not have to ruin the environment by buying new items. Plus, everything is so cute and unique – it makes me feel like I am still relying on my own personal style instead of sticking with the current Melb trends.
6. Embiggen Books
I accidentally stumbled upon this bookstore on my way to the State Library and automatically fell in love. It is literally like stepping into Belle’s library – oak wood shelves, ladders in every nook, and ethereal items hidden between the books. It’s such a warm and inviting atmosphere that also sells coffee! I am addicted and always love stopping by.
7. Empress of China
Melbourne has the oldest China Town in the world and it is definitely a sight to behold. It goes on for miles and hosts a variety of noodle shops, Chinese markets, and red lanterns. After testing the Chinese food waters and almost choking to death on a larger than life dumpling in Shanghai Street, I stumbled into Empress of China on a whim and have never looked back. You can get 15 pan fried, Kelsey sized dumplings for $7 and can bring your own drinks. I literally go there every single weekend and have introduced every single person I know to my favorite place in Melbourne. PLEASE make sure to wait until the dumplings are cooled – I have burnt my mouth one too many times and hope you don’t do the same!
8. My Father’s Office
Also located by the library, this walk up bar is 1920’s American themed and serves $5 wine during happy hour. It’s got a very chilled out vibe with a nice balcony and wonderful seating. This is my American expat hangout and such a great place to unwind after work!
9. National Gallery of Victoria
Right after Flinders Street station and across the bridge is the National Gallery of Victoria, which houses all of my favorite Impressionist paintings and Modern art. It’s free, multiple stories high, and always has an impressive exhibition on the main floor. It’s definitely a great place to walk around when you’ve got some free time and helps me unwind after a stressful day!
10.Queen Victoria Market
On Sundays, I love to head up to the Market on the tram and shop for fresh fruits and veggies. They also have the best doughnuts, cacti, posters, soaps, and flowers. They have such a plethora of items and it’s so inexpensive to get your groceries there! They also have Winter Night Markets, which come alive with lights, music, and pastries on Wednesday nights.
So that’s my list of loves – the places I cherish and spend my weekends in with friends that have become my family here. It’s been such a blast, and such a learning experience, but I have a feeling a new adventure is on the horizon soon…
So stay tuned!!