Melbourne is my favourite city in Australia. Always has been always will be. It feels less touristy than Sydney, buzzier than Canberra, bigger than Brisbane and then I’ve not visited the other capital cities so sadly can’t validate my love for Melbourne against them. But I’m pretty sure Melbourne would always win.
Growing up in a VERY small country town I loved when we would go to Melbourne in the summers. We’d go to the Australian Open and MCG, shop in ‘cool’ shops, eat out in fancy restaurants, wander along the Yarra, travel by tram, shop the at the Queen Vic markets, marvel at the Crown Casino decorations and spend far to much time getting myself lost in the captivating Melbourne side streets. One suburb of Melbourne we would always visit and still always visit is St Kilda. A trip to Melbourne isn’t complete without it.
St Kilda is around 5kms out of the city centre and is easily reached by tram or bus. It’s on the coast so if you are feeling brave you can even go swimming in the crisp Port Philip Bay water. There are key points of interest there as well as the amazing cafe culture that will keep you feed and watered on your adventures around Melbourne. The boutique and vintage shops offer a great shopping experience and the beach and pier just help to slow down the pace of the city life. With the beach, esplanade and parks there is plenty of places to get active on and off the water. We once stayed just off the esplanade and with my new roller blades I decided that was the only way I was going to get around. This was of course back when roller blades were cool. If you grew up in the 90s in Australia you would also know St Kilda frequented heavily in The Secret Life of Us. I LOVED this show and alway used to wander part the Espie Hotel imagining I was in the show hanging out with Deborah Mailman. Yes 16 year old, rollerblading me was soo cool.
Alas, I digress. I love St Kilda a lot it’s my favourite suburb in my favourite city so here are my 7 favourite things to do in St Kilda
1)St Kilda Beach & Sea Baths
This is the most famous beach in Melbourne and whilst Melbourne doesn’t always get the warmest of weather all year round you can swim in the beach year round. But you may freeze. There is also the sea baths located just off the beach which have the history of the area and pier shown through pictures so you can see it back in its heyday. There are lots of activities available both on water and land by the beach from windsurfing to beach volleyball and as you can imagine it’s a hugely popular with locals and tourists alike enjoying the beach lifestyle
You can’t to St Kilda and not walk along the historic Edwardian pier. You really can’t. The pier was built in the 1850’s and is cloaked in history. It also feels very British- the Brits do love a pier and you can tell from the piers of Britain were a good influence on this build. There is a kiosk at the end of the pier which is a lovely spot for a cuppa and cake. There is also a colony of penguins at the breakwater but they aren’t always out to play so you could be lucky in seeing them. Visiting this pier is just a lovely change of pace from the hustle and bustle of the city.
3)The Melbourne SkyLine
I love a city skyline and standing out on the pier looking back over the city you get a gorgeous panoramic view of the Melbourne Skyline. I don’t think there is anywhere else in the city you would get views like this. It’s also particularly beautiful at sunset so have an early evening stroll along the pier and look back over this striking city.
The big (slightly creepy) smiling face of Luna Park is a firm favourite in St Kilda and Melbourne alike. It’s been there since 1912 and is one of two Luna Parks operating in Australia (the other being in Sydney just under the Harbour Bridge). It doesn’t cost anything to go in and walk around but if you did want to go on any of the rides there is a charge. I’m not one for roller coasters ( I’m a bit of a scardey cat) but I do love walking around the park. It’s all very old world theme park with street performers, funny mirrors and old school games. https://lunapark.com.au/
5)Acland Street & Fitzroy Street
Food and drink in St Kilda is amazing! From the restaurants with all cuisines covered, bohemian/hipsta bars, trendy cafes and coffee shops to the bakeries stocked with the most lust-worthy cakes and sweet treats. I get about 10 pounds heavier just looking at the menus and shop windows in these streets.
6) Esplanade Markets
We always try and get to St Kilda on a Sunday to see these iconic markets. They are full of wonderfully creative items and you can always pick up some real gems for presents and souvenirs. For more details on the stall holders check here http://www.stkildaesplanademarket.com.au/index.htm
I’ve sadly never been to a concert in this beautiful Art Deco theatre but I do have a huge appreciation for the facade of this grand building. Even if you don’t go in its one of those places where you need to stop and stare. Just off the ESplande and next to Luna Park it’s a beautiful juxtaposition of old world class vs the bright lights of the theme park. We also met Janelle Timmins from Neighbours circa 2007 on our neighbour’s tour there so obviously a very dear place in our hearts. Haha!
Have you been to St Kilda and love it also? Anything I’ve missed off the list? Do let me know in the comments below.