Melbourne CBD

Melbourne CBD

A plethora of dining options, some of the city's best nightlife, tourist attractions and seemingly unlimited retail options can all be found in Melbourne's sprawling CBD.

Melbourne CBD
Melbourne CBD
  Melbourne City guide
Discover everything Melbourne has to offer
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A plethora of dining options, some of the city's best nightlife, tourist attractions and seemingly unlimited retail options can all be found in Melbourne's sprawling CBD.

The CBD is laid out in the famous Hoddle grid with wide main streets, each with a corresponding “little” street. This layout creates a microcosm in itself with enough boulevards, streets and laneways for a lifetime of exploration. 

Different parts of the CBD have different flavours. Retail is centred around Bourke street, historical Collins street is full of grand Victorian-era architecture, theatres are clustered in the east end theatre district, and Flinders street has more of a touristy vibe with Federation Square and Flinders Street Station. Not to mention cultural precincts like Chinatown and the Greek precinct.

One of the most magical things about the CBD is the network of laneways and arcades that have become a defining feature of the city. Check out the Laneways and Arcades walking tour for a self-guided tour of the highlights.

It seems to be standard for Australian cities to have a pedestrian-only shopping district in the middle of the CBD - Bourke Street is Melbourne’s instance of this. The mall runs between Swanston and Elizabeth streets and apart from trams that run down the middle of the street, it is a pedestrian-only area. You’ll find the major department stores like Myer and David Jones as well as flagship stores for major retailers and countless smaller retailers.

Step through the red pagodas that mark the entrance to Australia’s oldest Chinatown[14] and discover the sites, smells and flavours that can only be found in Chinatown.

The precinct is located on Little Bourke street between Swanston and Spring streets. Being a “little” street, it is fairly narrow; add in the myriad of signage and throngs of people (day or night), the area has the vibrant and hectic feel you might expect on the streets of Hong Kong.

The street is lined with 19th century buildings with several brick laneways radiating off the main strip. You’ll find some of the city’s best Asian cuisine (not just Chinese) including the celebrated Flower Drum.

You really get a sense of Melbourne's grandeur in the Victorian era while strolling along Collins street. Many of the 19th century buildings that earned the city its “marvellous Melbourne” title have been retained giving the street a historical feel. The wide, maple-lined street with trams trundling down the middle are a postcard-perfect sight so keep your camera ready.

The Greek precinct runs parallel to Chinatown on Lonsdale street between Swanston and Russel streets. The area is marked by a distinctive Greek pattern on the street signs. You’ll find Greek community centres as well as a concentration of Greek restaurants including Stalactites and Tsindos. A short walk away is the Hellenic Museum which is housed in the former Melbourne Mint.

The eastern end of Collins street between Swanston and Spring streets is known as the Paris End due its strong European flavour created by the architecture and haute couture stores located here. High-end brands such as Louis Vuitton, Versace, Chanel and Dior (to name just a few) have clustered on the Paris End of Collins street.


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