The Cultural Capital
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The city of Melbourne is very extensive. It is divided into districts, each of which has its own unique characteristics.
The central part, called CBD (Central Business District) is the one in which are located the offices, many museums, government offices, botanical gardens, the casino and many shops and shopping centers.
There is a free tram that runs around the entire central part. However, all trams are free in the centre of Melbourne anyway.
Within the CBD, don’t forget to visit the famous Laneways: dark alleys that were once only the rear entrance of the buildings on the main roads, now teeming with bars, restaurants and in some of them, you can admire murals that are works of art that will leave you breathless.
In addition, the pedestrian area known as Bourke Street Mall, is crowded with shops and “malls” (high quality shopping malls) all connected to each other by internal connections. The most famous are “Myers” (Christmas is a tradition to visit the magnificent decorated windows), David Jones, Emporium, Melbourne Central (which is worth a visit because inside there is a tower an imposing brick tower embedded in a glass cone).
Collins street, the chic street of the city with all the world’s most famous fashion stores not to mention the popular Queen Victoria Market.
My suggestion is to visit the city’ during the week to get an authentic idea of it, idea that can be had only when the city’ teeming with people and offices are open. On Sundays, you will find almost exclusively tourists.
Southbank is the district along the Yarra River. Part of this district (lower part) is along the Yarra River while the upper part, at street level, is known as the Art Precinct, the central cultural district of the city.
You can therefore admire the Art Centre (the theatre where the Australian Ballet and the Melbourne Theatre Company perform) and, above all, the Spire, its 115-metre-high spire that recalls in a distant way the Eiffel Tower in Paris and it is very beautiful to see it especially at night.
Here you’ll find the National Victoria Gallery, NGV, home to art exhibitions as well as magnificent building worth visiting inside.
The main façade is very fascinating and has huge windows on which water constantly drops as if it were a waterfall.
Another very beautiful theatre, specialized in acoustics and therefore the venue for many concerts of classical and non classical music, is the new Recital Centre (https://www.melbournerecital.com.au) with its facade that recalls a hive.
Also interesting are the façade of the Melbourne Theatre Company with its coloured glowing tubes and the Acca Centre, the museum of contemporary art famous for its imposing rust structure built by architect Wood Marsh.
The Southbank part of the Yarra River offers a beautiful pedestrian walk from where you can admire the CBD skyscrapers. On clear days, climb the Eureka Tower, the city’s tallest skyscraper, with parts of the building platinumized in gold.
The skyscraper is 297 metres high with a Skydeck (glass sloping observation point on the 88th floor). It’s definitely an attraction of the city and from above you’ll get a better idea of how Melbourne develops.
Then, continue along the promenade to the Crown Casino complex, home to the city’s Casino as well as many excellent restaurants and bars, and if you want to go further, always walk along the Yarra River, past the Exposition Centre (home to many fairs) and up to the famous 1885 Polly Woodside sailing ship and Maritime Museum.
Chinatown is part of the CBD and is one of the oldest Chinese districts in the world.
The Italian district chosen by the people who arrived there around the 50s. Lygon Street is the main street full of cafes, restaurants and shops. The Victorian houses in the neighborhood are beautiful, as is the Carlton Garden, where the Melbourne Museum and the Royal Exhibition Building are located.
The area adjacent to Carlton. It’s a very unusual neighborhood, alternative, full of Vintage shops as well as Art Galleries. It’s a neighborhood to explore while walking and letting yourself be guided by its Hipster atmosphere.
It is a new part of the city with a modern design but still lacking the authentic atmosphere of the city. However, it is nice to walk along the marina and in good weather, climb on the Southern Star Observation Wheel.
Here you can also find many outlet shops.
SOUTH YARRA, TOORAK AND PRAHRAN
The main fashion districts that host many high quality restaurants.
Further south, you’ll find the neighborhoods of South Melbourne, home to a very nice food market and cafes; Albert Park, known as the home of the formula one circuit, is simply a road that runs around the perimeter of a pond throughout the year. If you have a car, you can drive freely along the Ferrari route at a maximum speed of 40 km/h! Be careful because there are many hidden cameras. It’s nice because it goes along the pond that is nice to visit with children. There are playgrounds especially in the closest part to the city and a very nice Aquatic Centre with outdoor and indoor pools.
Port Melbourne is Melbourne’s port area, from where ferries depart to Tasmania and from here you can take a stroll to St. Kilda along the sea. This is a very popular neighborhood for young people and is a seaside resort where you can also find the historic Luna Park.
For many years, Brighton was considered a popular seaside destination for locals because it was not too far from the city. Today you can admire a beautiful beach and the main attraction are the Brighton Bathing Boxes or the historic colorful houses that are really very impressive. They are privately owned and are used as changing cabins or as cottages to be used for a picnic by the sea.
You’ll find them on the opposite beach on Dendy Street. You can also get off at the Brighton Railway Station train stop and walk about 500 metres from there through Green Point. It’s a very nice walk.
In Elwood, another residential neighborhood that overlooks the sea, you can enjoy an authentic atmosphere of the Melbourne people’s lives. It has the atmosphere of the Villages in New York. It’s a young neighborhood full of trendy cafes.
Finally, Williamstown, which is located beyond the West Gate Bridge (the bridge that connects the suburbs to the west of the city) is one of the first inhabited districts of the city and still retains some of its historical taste.
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