Flying interstate over the break? Broadsheet’s city cheat sheets cover everything from new players that live up to the hype to old favourites that continue to deliver. This is a hit list that’ll have you making the most of every minute in Melbourne, no matter where you’re staying.

EAT HERE

Morning:

Big day planned? Hit the ground running with some grab-and-go carbs. In a converted CBD garage, Japanese-inspired bakery Bakemono does fluffy shokupan (Japanese milk bread); pillowy canelé (small French cakes flavoured with rum); and tall, puffy danishes. Or join the line at Melbourne’s world-famous, worth-the-hype croissanterie Lune, which has outposts in Fitzroy and the CBD. Heading north, there are excellent pork-and-fennel sausage rolls (and a cabinet full of baked goods) at the popular All Are Welcome; smoked-salmon bagels with schmear at Mile End in Fitzroy and Brunswick; and real-deal pastéis de nata at Casa Nata, a dedicated house of Portuguese tarts.

Fancy a sit-down brekkie? Try the good-looking Nine Yards or Moby south of the river, or north-side spots Lagotto or Napier Quarter (the anchovy toast is a must).

Afternoon:

In the CBD, find Thai street-food spot Soi 38, which is hidden in a parking garage (and known for its boat noodles), and dumpling mecca Shandong Mama in an unassuming shopping arcade.

Moving to Collingwood, get the chicken-salad (or traditional salad) sandwich we’ve waxed lyrical about at Falco, or whopping tortas (a type of Mexican sandwich) from Frankie’s, in a jazzed-up former kebab stand.

Evening:

Newcomers to Melbourne’s restaurant scene include 1800 Lasagne, a moody Italian spot where – you guessed it – the cheesy, bechamel-doused stuff reigns supreme, and Poodle, a double-decker bar and bistro that’s almost too handsome for its own good. South side, Firebird is an aptly named fire-focused Vietnamese joint in a soaring old furniture warehouse, and Komeyui is a swish Japanese diner where you can splash out on a sushi degustation.

Always-exceptional old faithfuls include Supernormal, Cumulus Inc and Cutler and Co by trailblazing restaurateur Andrew McConnell, as well as in-demand Italian spots Tipo 00 and Osteria Illaria. For boundary-pushing Southeast Asian, try Sunda in the CBD (hint: there’s a knockout off-menu Vegemite curry) or Anchovy in Richmond.

Late-night:

Gimlet is another McConnell stunner in the CBD – this one’s located in a Chicago-style 1920s building, with a supper menu (from 10pm onwards) worth skipping dinner for. Or descend some stairs, pass through a nondescript door and enter the dimly lit brasserie Bar Margaux for one helluva burger. In search of an Asian feast? Melbourne institution Supper Inn nails Cantonese classics, and the 24-hour Dragon Hot Pot is perfect for a spicy, Sichuan-y, soul-cleansing soup.

For a night-ending – or stamina-maintaining – slice, there’s Pizza Pizza Pizza in the CBD (which has a bar hidden behind its glossy black curtain), and Ollie’s Pizza Parlour and Bar Romantica in Brunswick.

DRINK HERE

Afternoon:

Sun’s out? Get sky high with an ice-cold pint or bottle of pét-nat at one of Melbourne’s best rooftop bars. Use this guide to find the one nearest to you.

Plus, it’s the summer of breezy outdoor pop-ups – check them out before they’re (or you’re) gone. Three to try: Layla, a laid-back Middle Eastern bar doing saffron-spiked Aperol Spritzes and zaatar-infused Margaritas in a CBD laneway; an Italian piazza (with a spritz station, cocktail towers and bocce) in the Pepe’s courtyard; and a Naples-style laneway-drinking situation at the usually standing-room-only Bar Americano.

Two other top spots for arvo boozing in the sun: the Palm Springs-inspired Ponyfish Island – Melbourne’s only bar in the middle of the Yarra – and the similarly buoyant, 69-metre-long pontoon bar Arbory Afloat.

Pre-dinner or post-dinner (or with dinner, if need be):

Ideal for this category: wine bars that aren’t technically restaurants, but may as well be. Our coincidentally all-European-leaning picks of 2020’s new arrivals: Northcote’s Oh Loretta, which feels like a dinner party in your bougie mate’s living room (but with a more well-rounded wine stock); the three-in-one bistro, bar and deli that is Zsa’s, also in Northcote; and Clifton Hill’s buzzy neighbourhood spot Spensley’s, where natural and skin-contact wines are favoured.

Other failsafe options: Embla, City Wine Shop and Kirk’s in the CBD; Marion and Bar Liberty in Fitzroy; and sibling spots Neighbourhood Wine (in Fitzroy North) and Old Palm Liquor (in Brunswick East).

Late-night:

Kick on in 1930s opulence at Nick and Nora’s – the newest arrival from the prolific Speakeasy bar group – with fancy canapés, theatrical cocktails bubbling with liquid nitrogen and boozy yuzu-pineapple punch bowls for four. Or embrace the always-3am-feel of Melbourne’s newly relocated rock’n’roll icon Cherry Bar. Other rowdier options include the neon-lit, loud AF Heartbreaker, where the jukebox does all the work and the pre-batched cocktails are topnotch, and the good-time Angel Music Bar, which sits somewhere between a cocktail bar and a nightclub.

CAFFEINATE HERE

Theodore’s: this family-friendly spot in a residential Brunswick backstreet does bottomless filter coffee (and morning-appropriate cocktails designed for boozy brunches).

King & Godfree Espresso Bar: old-school Italiana is the vibe at this heritage-listed spot, which does robust house-blend espresso, as well as filter and cold brew.

Everyday Coffee: the name says it all. This place serves consistently outstanding coffee – every day – in a converted warehouse in Collingwood.

Industry Beans: this warehouse cafe’s backstreet location is often quiet during the week – you might even have the tranquil front yard to yourself.

SEE THIS

The National Gallery of Victoria emerged from lockdown – in glorious fashion – with its second blockbuster Triennial (bonus: it’s completely free). There’s a soaring, mirrored sculpture of a Roman goddess by Jeff Koons, a chapel-like structure in the garden by renowned French artist JR, and a gallery wrapped in fruit-covered wallpaper. And nearby, at NGV Australia’s Ian Potter Centre, find a major retrospective of bold Indigenous artist Destiny Deacon, which features an Indigenous reimagining of The Wizard of Oz (yellow-brick road included); a “Koori kitsch” lounge-room installation; and a room dedicated to blak life in urban Melbourne.

Elsewhere, discover an iconic Keith Haring mural hiding in plain sight on a Collingwood building, and an “Arid Garden” with more than 3000 cacti and succulents at the Royal Botanic Gardens in South Yarra.

SHOP HERE

For those wanting to mosey up and down all-encompassing shopping strips, Gertrude Street in Fitzroy and High Street in Armadale are very safe bets. If you’re wanting to zero-in on specific categories, find Melbourne’s best womenswear stores here, homewares stores here and bookstores here. And, for skincare fanatics, a heritage-listed Carlton building is now home to Aussie label Grown Alchemist’s new global flagship – look for the brick, steel and glass-clad cube.