These iconic shops are home to some of the city’s most colourful retail characters. Now that you can visit again, get out to uncover and rediscover Melbourne’s local gems.

City Hatters

City Hatters is one of the few Melbourne shops that can boast being in the same location for over 100 years. Trading since 1910, this one-stop hat shop has been owned by the Buck family for most of its history. Venture beneath Flinders Street Station and discover their range of headwear, from tweeds to trilbies. Open Monday to Saturday.

The exterior to a shop with window display full of hats and a neon sign above the windows
City Hatters

The Paperback Bookshop

The Paperback Bookshop has been a champion of the independent book scene since the 1960s. Next door to the also legendary Pellegrini’s, this gorgeous spot is open again for Melbourne lit-heads. Browse the bookshelves and lose yourself among the pages of literary greats.

Christine on Collins

Tucked away at the Paris end of Collins St, Christine’s is a city shopping icon that has been around for decades. Owner Christine Barro was once a buyer for Georges department store, bringing Prada and Fendi to Australia in the 1970s. Dedicated to sourcing the world’s best, she brings unique items from her travels to Melbourne. Where else would you find brands started in the 12th century by Dominican monks next to glimmering Lanvin jewellery?

A woman holding a bottle of perfume in a fancy shop with accessories, jewellery and other trinkets on display
Christine on Collins

Hearn's Hobbies

Hearn’s opened its doors in 1947. As a family of World War Two pilots, the Hearn brothers wanted to share their hobby collection with other enthusiasts. Over 70 years later, Hearn’s offers a range of rare items that would please even the pickiest hobbyist.

Paint n Powder

The historic Royal Arcade‘s grand design includes signature black-and-white tiled floors. Once you’re done snapping photos, make your way to Paint n Powder. A Royal Arcade icon that has been serving glittering glam for over 50 years. Drop in for fragrances, scarves, jewellery and more. 

the outside of a perfume shop
Paint n Powder

Readings

A favourite among word nerds across the city, Readings Books and Music has been a Carlton icon for over 40 years. It began life as a tiny solo shop in 1969. In the pre-internet era Melburnians would even cluster at the window to view ads for share houses. Don’t miss their Lygon Street neighbours Readings Kids – a cerebral playground for little minds.

Clementines

Home to handmade Victorian produce and products, everything in Clementine’s is charmingly local. Pick up rooftop honey, street art inspired gifting, fierce fashion and more. Snap a pic with the orange Vespa on your way out to make your visit even more iconic.

A vesper parked on the footpath in front of a small shop in a city laneway
Clementine's

Gewurzhaus

Celebrating 10 years in June, the Lygon Street outpost of Gewurzhaus is the shop that put their name on the map. And the iconic spice merchants have been mixing up unique small batch blends ever since. Like their brand new, on trend vegan chicken salt – made right here in Melbourne.

Metropolis Bookshop

Curtin House has been around for nearly 100 years, housing everything from a dubious ‘strangers room’ to the Communist Party. Less controversial but just as cool, Metropolis Bookshop hides on its third floor. Word nerds have long loved this curated selection of books on art, design, music and film.

Rocksteady Records

Rocksteady Records offers good grooves, vinyl, turntables and more – with a fierce local focus. Find your way up the art deco dream that is Mitchell House and treat yourself to new releases and indie wax. Ask local legend Pat for record recs if you just can’t choose.

A man standing behind a counter in a shop surrounded by shelves of vinyl records
Rocksteady Records

Retrostar

A walk through this hidden retro emporium is something of a rite of passage for every Melburnian. Retrostar Vintage Clothing is filled with items from the 1940s – 1990s, from band tees to ball gowns. Mingle with ageing punks, vintage clad teens and curious newbies as you browse.

Queen Victoria Market

Haven’t we envied Melburnians with a central postcode? They’ve been able to shop at Queen Victoria Market during the past few months. Now that lockdown has dialled right back, we’ll be beating a path to the market’s fresh produce stalls and Dairy Hall delis. Then off to sip a coffee on the go from Market Lane while snacking on gozleme from the Borek Bakehouse. All with our loot from the specialty shopping stalls in tow.

A stall full of fresh produce including colourful cauliflowers
Queen Victoria Market

Wunderkammer

Meaning ‘cabinet of curiosities’ in German, Wunderkammer is no ordinary gift shop. It’s home to everything rare, unusual and unique in Melbourne. Find treasures from shark teeth and meteorites to antique science equipment.

Basement Discs

Basement Discs, the legendary record shop and live music spot, has been in the city over 25 years. With the whole world moving towards streaming music that’s no mean feat! The knowledgeable staff and shelves of CDs, vinyl and books keep their loyal customer base coming back year after year

a woman standing in front of and looking at a vinyl record display
Basement Discs

Last updated on Tue 27 Apr 2021

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