For a suburb so close to the city, North Melbourne is deceptively suburban. It’s spacious, tight-knit and much less developed than other pockets of the inner city. At most times of day finding a park on its wide streets is no hassle.

The broad, wedge-shaped area is bordered by Royal Park in the north and Queen Victoria Market in the south. At the height of Melbourne’s boom in the 1880s, it was the most densely populated part of the city, filled with blue-collar workers who favoured its ease-of-access to the factories in the city and out west.

Although the population has changed markedly since then, those early residents left their architectural footprints on the area. Closer to Parkville, stately Victorian and Edwardian-era terrace houses line the main streets. Approaching the city you’ll find intact weatherboard workers’ cottages, or simple stone constructions.

The proximity of the main strip, Errol Street, to the Queen Victoria Market has stymied the growth of food-retail in the suburb. Luckily, that’s translated to an upsurge in dining options in the area. And because only 40 per cent of North Melbourne’s population was born in Australia, those options are broad. Excellent Italian, Mexican and Vietnamese restaurants are all in close range of one another.


  • At this 1857-built art deco pub, enjoy a meal cooked on the hotel’s parilla grill and English-style ales served from hand pumps. Plus, stunning Sunday roasts and a record player spinning Dolly Parton and the Beatles.

  • The Fitzroy North institution is now open in North Melbourne. Find many of the classics including the cult chickpea bake, and the ever-changing share banquet – which takes inspiration from owner Assafiri’s Moroccan, Lebanese and Turkish heritage.

  • A quaint Vietnamese eatery where pho is the hot ticket.

  • North Melbourne’s paragon of Italian fine dining.

  • A relaxed, wallet-friendly pizzeria.


  • In the site once home to one of Melbourne’s best-loved cake shops, you’ll find knafeh, “Melburnian cheesecake”, Nutella cookies and pizza made with 96-hour slow-fermented dough.

  • A light and bright cafe serving stacked breakfast buns with pillowy omelette and cheese, and Swedish-style cinnamon buns. Plus, Seven Seeds coffee, key-lime-pie shakes and natural wines.

  • A bean-to-cup hot chocolate experience.

  • At this Japanese cafe, almost everything revolves around fluffy-house baked shokupan (which you can get to take away). You'll also find fried-chicken katsu sandos, teriyaki fries and airy sponge cake.

  • Market Lane sets up in the bustling Dairy Hall at Queen Vic.

  • This buzzing, industrial-chic spot is one of the area's most popular spots for brunch, for good reason. The coffee's great and the dishes – which aren't as revolutionary as they were when Auction Rooms first opened – are well-executed.


  • Enjoy Aussie wines and local spirits alongside hand-rolled pasta, chicken parmigiana and steaks from the grill right at this classic pub opposite the Queen Vic Market. Spend the night in one of the “micro hotel rooms” or drinking in the basement whisky bar.

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  • If Keith Richards were a pub, the Townie would be it: weathered by years of partying, yet somehow still as good as ever. It’s open till all hours, which means there’s a high chance of catching some live music and a late-night pint. It serves no-fuss pub fare at incredibly reasonable prices.

  • A Victoria Street classic, with decades of lived-in, kitschy charm.

  • Take one look behind the bar and you’ll see these guys don’t mess around with cocktails.

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  • A down-to-earth pub with burgers, local beers and live music.

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  • A destination for pre-loved designer bags – from Vivienne Westwood to Prada and Fendi. The impressive range is hand-picked at auctions across Australia, Asia and the UK. Plus, there’s plenty of designer clothes, accessories and shoes that are equally hard to resist.

  • Two French bakers are making classic sourdough, fruit loaves and three-ingredient baguettes and getting creative with banana-split croissants and blood-orange doughnuts in an airy, mint-green space.

  • For decades, members of Melbourne’s Polish community have come to this tiny shop in Queen Victoria Market for traditional sausages, smoked pork loin and handmade pierogi.

  • Caffeinate while updating your cycle kit at this bike hub and cafe in a converted warehouse.

  • Try and buy aged, fermented Chinese tea direct from Yunnan.

  • Metal and classic rock since 1992.