Melbourne might be my favourite city on the planet. Sure I’ve not been to enough places to make that call in any kind of official capacity but having lived there for a year and been back to visit once since, it’s definitely a home away from home and has a special place in my heart. Great people, a great variety of types of everything (from super shiny slick restaurants to the best little hipster cafes and everything in between), big high street stores to independent designers. It’s got beaches and it’s not too far from mountains if you want to ski in the winter, public transport and a bike will get you pretty much everywhere, there are parks around every second corner and the people are friendly and most importantly – really genuine.
Making friends in Melbourne
Making friends as an adult can be hard, even if you’ve lived somewhere you’re entire life. I think Melbourne is easier than most places I’ve lived, people seemed to be really open to just adopting new friends in any situation. But it can be hard to know where to start, especially if you don’t find yourself bumping into those friendly faces. GirlCrew is the perfect back-up plan. It was set up to make a few new friends for nights out on the town, but it quickly evolved into the place to go for some new female friends for any kinds of social activities. It started in Dublin but the Melbourne group is well established and one of our most active thanks to some super members, crazy lovely admins and one of our most dedicated community managers in the world – big hat tip thank you nod to Jackie. The group is open to all women over 25 years and with no upper age limit. There are always new members joining so don’t feel worried about everyone already knowing each other. We’ve all been newbies once! Join the Melbourne crew here or check out our other city groups here.
The Night Market at Victoria Markets
The Victoria Market is in the central city area and is a great place to shop for everything from fruit to fish to cheese, it can also be the home of a great bargain on these if you’re there towards the end of a day. But in the summer months, they also hold the Night Market there. Potter around with some live music in the background, try some tasty new food for dinner and mingle with all the lovely people. It’s always an evening well spent.
Just around the corner from Victoria Market is my favourite Melbourne Bar, Workshop. It’s trendy but great and sits upstairs over some other place so you can look out the windows on the street below from the outside area or grab some food inside. You’ll see the same faces there if you go a lot, which is nice, and if things haven’t changed too much since I left, there’s also some excellent mural work by street artist Drewfunk.
Speaking of Street Art…
This is something Melbourne is incredibly well known for and it’s one of the most vibrant scenes around. Conveniently, just across from Workshop (head through the empty car park type space back towards the Vic markets and follow the street art filled lane to some garage doors!) is the Blender Gallery & Studios – an institution of the Melbourne street art culture, started by Adrian Doyle and Regan Tamanaui (aka Haha). It’s been home to a LOT of Melbourne’s greatest artists and brings street art and galley art together. The run street art tours around the city too. Please tell them elva said hello and I’ll be back to crash there soon.
Oh also Beyonce filmed one of her videos there I believe, so there’s that little fun fact too. Sadly, I wasn’t there for that.
Something that’s really lovely about Melbourne’s art scene overall, and super refreshing after growing up in Europe, it’s really unpretentious. It’s intelligent without being over-intellectualised and the work speaks for itself so the artists don’t have to, they just have a beer and chat about something else. Or at least that was my experience of it. It’s definitely worth a trip to the National Gallery of Victoria too as well as Australian Centre For Moving Image.
Cafes & Independent Little Shops
Fitzroy/North Fitzroy and Brunswick are hipster central. They have all the same things as other areas, but hipsterised for your vintage/kitsch/indie needs 😉
If you visit and never want to leave, I feel your pain. There are few times I’ve cried as much as I did on the plane leaving that fair fair city.