If you are a shopper there is no better destination than Melbourne for the variety and the bargains. The number of markets gives you access to fashion, home wares, jewellery, handbags and accessories in quantities not seen in any other city. Melbourne is famous for its markets like Queen Victoria and St Kilda. You can grab a bargain any day of the week.
Melbourne has all of the usual major shopping centres with your favourite retailers like Myer, David Jones, Target and Big W and all of the supermarkets but if you want to experience the city shopping experience properly you need to head to laneways, markets and arcades.
Visit the outer suburbs for alternative and exclusive shopping and dining along with great coffee and cafes that makes Melbourne a shopper’s extravaganza.
The laneways in Melbourne are a new way to shop and eat with some great bars and restaurants and boutiques with all sorts of goodies. Here you will find the jazz clubs, men’s wear boutiques, bakeries, cafes, bespoke footwear and suits and art everywhere. Old warehouses have been taken over by galleries and boutiques, walls are painted and sculptures abound. The laneways are off Swanston and Elizabeth Streets so just hop on a tram and you will soon be there.
These arcades have some great hidden treasures in bars and restaurants, galleries and fashion, music and accessories. For the more obscure items you will need to find an arcade.
Many of these arcades are a part of Melbourne’s history both in design and boutiques. You have to see The Block Arcade that joins Collins Street and Little Collins Street. Its glass canopied roof and mosaic floor leads you to sweet treats at Hopetoun Tearooms and outdoor dining options along the length of the arcade. If you are after music you need to visit Basement Discs for their eclectic range of music choices.
Royal Arcade is guarded by statues of Gog and Magog where you will find shops selling board games, bling and accessories and the stylish store of Marais and Somewhere. At Somewhere you will find denim clothes and a gallery with changing art on the walls.
Find Cathedral Arcade and be inspired by the stained glass and the dome and find some work by modern fashion designer Alice Euphemia.
Not all arcades are at street level and if you find Campbell Arcade under Degraves Street you will find the Platform Artist group, great coffee at Cup of Truth and fabulous indie fashions at Corky St Clair and Cats Meow. If you are something that has been published visit Sticky and find photocopies of hundreds of publications.
Bourke Street Mall
If you want everything in one location you can’t go past Bourke Street Mall. Here you will find Myer and David Jones and check out the 1864 GPO building for a range of boutiques, fashion and luxury goods. Some of the labels found here include Gorman, Georg Jensen, Leona Edmiston, Ben Sherman and Mimco as well as the sinful Cacao Fine Chocolates and Patisserie. Have a coffee at one of the great cafes and watch the world wander by as you take a breather from your shopping expedition. Also in the GPO is the Federal Coffee Palace that has been servings its patrons for 130 years.
As you walk through the grand arched entrance you will immediately notice the aroma of Chinese cooking and herbs. The buildings here date back to the 19th century on little Bourke Street where you will find an array of Asian foods, the Chinese Museum, Croft institute and galleries and bars all mixed together in a happy assortment.
Visit great eateries for yum cha and dumplings such as Dragon Boat, Shark Fin, Westlake and Supper Inn and Flower Boat. Come here to experience the colourful Chinese New Year and join the other festivals here throughout the year.
This is modern shopping precinct with eateries and galleries taking advantage of the setting that is just 5 minutes from the CBD. Take the kids to Waterfront City, see a movie or have a great lunch. After shopping sit by the water or let the kid’s ice skate at Medibank Icehouse. Wander along the Walk of Stars and see if any of your favourites are here.
The open air Harbour Town Shopping Centre is here where you will find fashion boutiques and designer stores.
This is the arty end of town where you will find the creative fashion boutiques, design stores, galleries and writer’s studios. The area between Swanston and Elizabeth streets is the fashion centre and Melbourne’s original ‘rag trade’ area. You will find a theatre called fortyfivedownstairs that shows independent productions.
For more great shopping experiences visit one of Melbourne’s suburbs that are synonymous with shopping, celebrity chef restaurants, boutique bars and cafes and underground art.
In Carlton you will find the famous Lygon Street with its coffee shops, bookstores and Little Italy.
In Fitzroy you will find galleries, specialist book stores and studios. See the Spanish heritage here and join in the Hispanic Fiesta in November.
In Toorak and South Yarra you will find exclusive and elite boutiques including Australian designer Collette Dinnigan. Visit the commercial galleries and dine at places like MoPho and Franc Soir.
Visit Yarraville and step back into Melbourne’s past with Edwardian and Victorian shop fronts that hide gourmet treats, books and fashion stores. Go to the Art Deco Sun Theatre, built in 1938, for some cult and alternative films as well as new releases.