Sitting in a hidden cafe, browsing beautiful shops and soaking up the sun at a rooftop bar. There are so many things we miss about Melbourne. Put these glorious city adventures on your post lockdown to-do list

Taking an endless garden stroll

Topping the list is Melbourne’s beloved Royal Botanic Gardens. When the gates are open to everyone at last, going for a wander down a winding pathway to the lake will be as sweet as can be. With the Conservatory, Tudor Village and Fairies' Tree, Fitzroy Gardens comes a close second. Swinging by KereKere Green for a takeaway picnic hamper is the perfect cherry on top.

Aerial view of a very intricate garden with the city skyline in the background.
Guilfoyles Volcano in the Royal Botanic Gardens

Reading a book on the sun-soaked State Library lawn

Everyone’s favourite stretch of city-centre green is the State Library front lawn. When the sun peeps out, it’s the cue to get down on the grass and chill.  When they reopen, we’ll pop into a bookstore first for a browse. Metropolis is nearby, for books on what Melbourne does best: design, culture and the arts. Or step inside the library for some Oz literature from Readings.

Watching the sun set over the Yarra

The river’s been out of bounds for most of us for months. When the time is right, take a stroll beside the Yarra at sunset and capture that golden hour glow. Stop and gaze downriver from Princes Bridge to see the sun sparkle and glitter off the water. Or stand on the Hamer Hall end of the bridge to look back at the city skyline as it lights up.

Princes Bridge at sunset with people sitting on the grass.
Views towards Princes Bridge

Stocking the pantry at 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. When iso ends, beat a path to the market’s fruit and vegie stalls and Dairy Hall delis. Then sip a coffee on the go from Market Lane while snacking on gozleme from the Borek Bakehouse. It’s a simple, everyday pleasure that's quintessentially Melbourne.

Grabbing a laneway coffee

Our caffeine options have been limited over the past few months. Start your coffee reunion in Degraves Street, where you can order a traveller and danish from tiny Tulip. Stop for a sit-down coffee with fruit toast at The Quarter, or a Euro-style break at Caffé E Torta around the corner. Then one last latte from subterranean Cup of Truth before heading home on the train.

The exterior of a small laneway cafe with pedestrians outside.
Stop for a laneway brunch at Caffe E Torta

Drinking and dining at rooftop bars

This summer will be a season of fresh-air bevs and alfresco dining. Pop in for a visit at old faves Rooftop Bar, Bomba, Siglo or Loop Roof. Then work through all the newbies, from Farmer's Daughters to Dom's. Or wander down a leafy laneway for an open-air drink at Chuckle Park Bar. Can't choose between rooftop bar and hidden laneway diner? Have it all at Sojourn.

Spotting the latest street art

Checking out street art is a major Melbourne pastime. Iconic spots like AC/DC Lane, Duckboard Place and Hosier Lane are just as vibrant as they were before lockdown. Or take a self-guided stroll to see all the new Flash Forward artworks popping up around the city. Not sure where to start? Check out our guide to the completed works so far.

A brown and green mural painted on the side of a building
Still, Life! by Shawn Lu is one of the new Flash Forward artworks

Getting a gelato in Carlton

Wander up Swanston Street to Carlton and visit Melbourne’s home of gelato. Ah, but then decisions will have to be made. Will it be pistachio and rose meringue from Pidapipó? A cup of vegan passionfruit sorbet from Lavezzi? Or house-made durian delights from Il Dolce Freddo? Finish up with a nightcap atop Johnny's Green Room and soak in the sights.

Feast on dumplings in Chinatown

Delivery dumplings just aren't the same. Melbourne's best dumpling spots will be waiting to welcome you with open arms. Order a huge bowl of chilli oil dumplings from HuTong, hand-folded pork buns from Yulongfu or sweet golden custard buns from Tim Ho Wan. Dumpling empire Shanghai Street has opened a new location on Elizabeth Street during lockdown, complete with an upstairs tiki bar!

A plate of dumplings covered in chilli oil
HuTong's iconic chilli oil dumplings

More Melbourne icons to revisit after lockdown

NGV International

NGV International houses a whole world of international art.


Museum dedicated to the moving image through events, film screenings and exhibitions.

Melbourne Museum

Explore history, culture, science, and nature at this popular Melbourne attraction.

Melbourne Zoo

Journey through a world of wildlife in the heart of Melbourne.

Arts Centre Melbourne

With its iconic spire, the Arts Centre Melbourne is a cultural and architectural landmark.

Hamer Hall

This multi-level concert hall is the largest venue at the Arts Centre.

Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (ACCA)

An art gallery presenting challenging and innovative contemporary work.

SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium

Discover thousands of aquatic animals in four enchanting worlds at this top Melbourne attraction.

Last updated on Mon 25 Oct 2021

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