Top Winter Experiences in Melbourne’s Precincts
Cosy up this winter in Melbourne’s best precincts, where laneways twist past galleries, live gigs, street markets and fine-dining restaurants with crackling fireplaces. This winter playground also extends to Melbourne’s inner neighbourhoods, setting the stage for late-night wining and dining, admiring local art galleries and browsing eclectic shops.
Need some Melbourne winter trip inspiration? Let us guide you through the best experiences from Australia’s oldest food market in Prahran to live music in Brunswick and a riverside arts centre in Footscray. Read on to discover where you should spend winter in Melbourne.
Prahran and Windsor
Prahran and Windsor is a veritable feast of charming local culture, farm-fresh food and beautifully decorated boutiques. Along with offering Australia’s oldest food market, Prahran and Windsor is home to vintage shops, independent record stores, cafes and retro stores along Greville Street.
This is also a hotspot for boutique beer and liquor, thanks to a wealth of distilleries and bars with beer gardens. Early risers can enjoy a number of cafes for brunch, while the dinner crowd flocks to internationally-inspired restaurants. Need some culture? Don’t miss exploring the exhibits at Prahran’s art museum.
Prahran and Windsor Winter Highlights
- Taking a private tour of the contemporary art at the Justin Art House Museum.
- Shopping for fresh fruit, organic meat, seafood, spices and artisan goods at Prahran Market.
- Finding trinkets and vintage clothing at Chapel Street Bazaar.
- Purchasing rare vinyls and sipping on freshly-brewed coffee along Greville Street.
- Tasting one of more than 100 varieties of vodka from around the world at Borsch Vodka and Tears.
- Seeing live bands and touring DJs at Revolver Upstairs.
- Dining on Japanese and Korean-fusion food at Tokyo Tina.
Fitzroy Winter Experiences
Fitzroy’s bohemian vibe and lively student-filled bars are renowned across Melbourne. This eclectic precinct is a haven for vintage clothing stores, second-hand bookshops and quirky cafes. You needn’t wander far through Fitzroy to discover an eye-catching street mural, inviting restaurant or cocktail lounge or a treasure-filled boutique.
Fitzroy is also home to some of Melbourne’s top attractions and an exhibition centre for photographers and is near the scenic Carlton Gardens. During winter, this neighbourhood is the perfect spot for late-night dancing along Smith Street, browsing the Rose Street Artists’ Market and bar hopping along Brunswick Street.
Fitzroy Winter Highlights
- Pairing craft beer and cocktails with vinyl music at Black Cat.
- Finding rare vinyl records at some of Fitzroy’s shops, such as Vinyl Revival, Poison City Records and Polyester.
- Drinking and dining while soaking up city views from the rooftop terrace at Naked in the Sky.
- Taking advantage of those sunny winter days with a picnic in Atherton Reserve.
- Admiring local and international artwork at Brunswick Street Gallery or the Centre for Contemporary Photography.
- Satisfying your foodie cravings at Po’ Boy Quarter, Belles Hot Chicken Fitzroy or Charcoal Lane.
Collingwood Winter Experiences
Collingwood might have a blue-collar history, but this diverse inner-city precinct is these days a hotspot for boutique shopping, live music venues and upscale bars and restaurants. Winter in Collingwood is all about indulgence, whether you’re satisfying your caffeine cravings in hip coffee shops or globetrotting through various international restaurants.
The revelry rarely stops in Collingwood, thanks to various breweries, distilleries and wineries, which sit alongside local live music institutions that showcase top performing acts. The neighbourhood’s intimate galleries highlight Melbourne’s emerging artists, while factory outlets complement one-of-a-kind fashion retailers.
Collingwood Winter Highlights
- Admiring beautiful paintings at Backwoods Gallery or browsing one of Melbourne’s most unique ranges of books at Happy Valley.
- Finding stylish outfits at The Social Studio or Japanese trinkets at Cibi.
- Catching an energetic music act at The Tote, Grace Darling or The Gem.
- Tasting house-made beer at Stomping Ground Brewery & Beer Hall.
- Combining boutique beer, wine and liquor under one roof at The Craft and Co.
- Devouring delicious pizza at Lazerpig or sitting down to a six-course feast at IDES.
Brunswick Winter Experiences
Slightly further north of the Melbourne CBD, Brunswick offers a more laid-back ambience with its independent retailers, ever-changing line-up of cafes and late-night venues. Along with an enthralling local market, Brunswick offers shoppers a wealth of creative designers and art sale exhibitions.
Families will enjoy Brunswick’s close proximity to the Melbourne Zoo, while socialites can catch up while admiring creative interior design, curated fashion or art at Monk House Design or Mr Kitly. Although Brunswick centres around Sydney Road, venturing down its side streets reveals more of the precinct’s character-filled bars and restaurants.
Brunswick Winter Highlights
- Catching live music while enjoying Canadian-quality poutine at Spotted Mallard or combining music and cinema in a bespoke theatre at Howler.
- Bar hopping along Sydney Road while ticking off notable watering holes, such as The Brunswick Green and The Penny Black.
- Tasting locally-brewed beer at Temple Brewing Co., Thunder Road Brewery or The Alehouse Project.
- Browsing the vintage decor, second-hand clothing and trinkets at the Lost & Found Market.
- Capturing the heart of Brunswick’s performing arts with a theatre, film or music show at the Brunswick Mechanics Institute.
- Dining at Mediterranean restaurants and Arabic eateries along Sydney Road.
Carlton Winter Experiences
Carlton boasts a distinct Italian culture that’s best experienced within its enticing eateries along Lygon Street or at the alfresco cafes filled with Italian ex-pats. Enjoy a deep dive into Melbourne’s culture at Carlton, from the cinema dining experience at Cinema Nova to the historical exhibits at Melbourne Museum.
Heritage also abounds within this dynamic precinct, particularly at the Old Melbourne Gaol, historic Trades Building and the magnificent Royal Exhibition Building in Carlton Gardens. Caffeine lovers will enjoy one of Melbourne’s biggest coffee shop scenes, while families can explore the nearby Melbourne Zoo.
Carlton Winter Highlights
- Catching a 3D blockbuster movie in the IMAX cinema at Melbourne Museum.
- Dining at Epocha, which was hatted in the Good Food Guide 2018.
- Taking the spooky Hangman’s Night Tour at the Old Melbourne Gaol.
- Browsing independent book publishers and emerging authors at Readings.
- Grazing on authentic Italian food at the traditional eateries on Lygon Street.
- Watching arthouse films at Cinema Nova.
Richmond Winter Experiences
Nestled on the Yarra River, Richmond enjoys beautiful natural surrounds, including waterfront parks and botanic gardens. It’s also the perfect precinct for catching Melbourne’s best winter sports, such as AFL, rugby union, rugby league and netball at the neighbouring AAMI Park, Hisense Arena or the MCG.
Richmond is also a hotspot for foodies, thanks to its hatted restaurants, Asian-inspired eateries and classic Melbourne cafes. You can find high-quality shopping along Bridge Road or at the boutiques on Swan Street. Richmond’s artsy side is showcased at Albert Street galleries and with live music at the Corner Hotel.
Richmond Winter Highlights
- Watching the Richmond Tigers AFL team play at the MCG after first visiting the Richmond Football Club Museum.
- Dining on delicious sushi at the three-hatted Minamishima.
- Browsing the unique homewares and accessories at Lily and the Weasel.
- Witnessing local bands rock the stage at the Corner Hotel.
- Frequenting popular watering holes, such as the Swan, Spread Eagle or Prince Alfred Hotel.
- Strolling beside the Yarra River at Herring Island.
Footscray Winter Experiences
Footscray is a multicultural enclave where Ethiopian coffee shops and South-East Asian markets sit alongside Vietnamese noodle houses and some of Australia’s best brewpubs. Along with bustling local markets and a magnificent Chinese temple, Footscray is home to a community arts centre, annual music festival and a creative theatre company.
These days, Footscray’s hipster scene is as well-known as its multiculturalism, from the vegan-friendly restaurants to the brunch-happy cafe culture. Home to the Western Bulldogs AFL team, Footscray is also the place to be for international festivities throughout the year.
Footscray Winter Highlights
- Watching the Western Bulldogs take on other AFL teams at Etihad Stadium
- Washing down Station Hotel’s delicious steak with a craft beer at Hop Nation.
- Purchasing fresh produce and spices at Footscray Market or Vietnamese delicacies at Busy Little Saigon Market.
- Admiring the exotic exterior and sea-goddess Mazu reliefs at Heavenly Queen Temple.
- Catching live music at Reverance Hotel or experimental theatre at the Footscray Drill Hall.
- Enjoying theatre shows, workshops and art galleries at the Footscray Community Arts Centre.
- Participating in sport, art and music workshops or family-focused activities at the Phoenix Youth Hub.