Melbourne is crammed with hidden spaces, nooks and crannies. From secret drinking dens to tiny street art, car-park cafés and rooftop bars – here are some gems you may have missed.

A street art stencil on a building of a parachuting rat

Where Banksy made his mark and other street art sites

Before they were tourist attractions, Melbourne's laneways had already been discovered by famous street artist Banksy. Although his work is increasingly difficult to find, you can still see one of his infamous rat stencils. Head down AC/DC Lane and into Duckboard Place. You will find it hiding in a doorway. It's just one of many sights on City of Melbourne's free street art walking guide.

Diner cooking hotpot on a bright blue table.

The restaurant in a car park

You have to have a bit of grit and a lot of confidence to open a restaurant in a car park. Luckily Soi 38 has both, as the steady lunch queues prove. Boat noodles with beef are an easy choice or opt for braised duck noodle soup for something a little richer.

A series of doorways along a long underground corridor

Hidden gold vaults in the Old Treasury Building

The Old Treasury Building tour is more than a trip down memory lane. It’s home to the original vaults where gold bullion was stored during the Gold Rush era. Explore the vaults with free entry Sunday through to Friday.

Three people holding cocktails at an outside bar in a street art covered laneway

The tiny hidden bar surrounded by street art

Ok, so it’s not quite dining, but we couldn’t leave out Melbourne’s tiniest hidden bar. While the Bar Americano only has room inside for a handful of (standing) patrons, they’ve now taken over Presgrave Place with outdoor seating for up to 32 guests. Book online for your next negroni fuelled night out.

Mannequins and shelves displaying clothing in a fashion store located in an old building with a high ceiling and arch windows

Alpha60 concept store in Chapter House

This extraordinary retail space, just next to St Paul’s Cathedral, has to be seen to be believed. Walk up two flights of stairs to an elegant and lofty hall with high ceilings, expansive glass windows and a grand piano. In addition to showcasing Alpha60’s cuts and styles, it’s also a place for artistic collaboration. Previous pop-up events have included the MSO’s Secret Symphony series and White Night.

Fashion, fragrances, accessories, art and antiques in Christine on Collins store.

Christine on Collins

Tucked away in a hidden space at the top of Collins Street, Christine’s is a city icon that’s spanned decades. With a background that included a long stint at luxe fashion store George, the lady herself is a legend in Melbourne fashion circles. She is known for her dedication to sourcing the best, most unique items for her store. Where else would you find skincare brands created by Dominican monks alongside stunning bags from Aboriginal designers?

Small outdoor bar in a laneway with hanging lanterns.

Chuckle Park Bar

Wedged off Little Collins, Chuckle Park is a sliver of a café and bar. And while a lot of Melbourne’s coolest bars can boast a laneway location, this cute spot has its very own mini side street. Complete with vintage caravan bar, bright faux flora and magical lanterns, it doesn't get more Melbourne than this.

An aerial view of an old cathedral and city landscape as seen through a window

The gallery with the great views of Flinders Street

Find Blindside Gallery, high above Melbourne on the seventh level of the Nicholas Building. Over 25 exhibitions are hosted here each year, with showcases open to the public five days a week. With stunning city views, the natural light beaming through open windows is a hidden extra.

Big blocks and wheels of cheese in a cellar

The underground cheese cellar at Spring Street Grocer

If you’re seeking gourmet goodness, follow Spring Street Grocer’s neon cheese sign down a spiral staircase. Behold! An underground temple of cheese sourced from around the world and stored in fromage friendly conditions. From brie to blue, your heart’s desire awaits at Spring Street Cheese Cellar.

people walking past outdoor tables and umbrellas next to a street art covered building

Carlton's hidden coffee roaster

In a hidden alley behind a petrol station, Vertue Coffee Roasters used to have a name even more obscure than its location. Inspired by a handbill promoting London’s first coffee house, it began as The Vertue Of The Coffee Drink. A micro-roaster, café, kitchen and retailer, they take their coffee very seriously.

Two children standing in front of a mural painted as outer space

The immersive trick art gallery hiding in Docklands

Touch, feel and grab the camera at this one-of-a-kind art gallery in Docklands. ArtVo is the ultimate trick art spot, home to a collection of over 80 hand painted immersive artworks. Kids young and old will love the different zones where viewers become the art. Even better, you can get 25% off the ticket cost, in addition to the same savings at SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium and Melbourne River Cruises, when you buy a Melbourne Attractions keypass.

Last updated on Mon 10 Jan 2022

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