Wandering through the city’s mosaic arcades and art-filled laneways might be the ultimate way to see Melbourne on foot. Here’s where to find the hole-in-the-wall cafes, secret shops, tiny wine bars and iconic restaurants of the small streets.
This walk is approximately 2.4km and takes around 2 hours.
Sights on this walk
1. Degraves Street
Across the road from Flinders Street Station, Degraves Street is ground zero for street art and alfresco brunch. Browse handmade gifts at Clementine’s, bite-sized treats at Little Cupcakes and stationery at Il Papiro.
2. Centre Place
Cross Flinders Lane and pause to admire the 1928 Spanish Moorish Majorca Building, surrounded by street art, upstairs bars and offbeat shops.
3. Scott Alley
Stop for French crepes at Roule Galette or a taste of Hanoi at Heartbreaker Bun Mee.
4. Cathedral Arcade
This 1926 Art Deco arcade is the gateway to the nine-storey vertical village of the Nicholas Building filled with artists, studios and galleries. Shop local fashion brands Kuwaii and Obus for ethically made forever pieces or turn back time at Vintage Sole.
5. Manchester Lane
Double back to Manchester Lane, named for its 1860s fabric and factories. Fast-forward 160 years to find independent designers, chic shoes and limited edition streetwear.
6. Block Arcade
The Block Arcade's stunning 1893 glass canopy and mosaics echo the Galleria Vittorio in Milan. Stock up on spices by the gram at the fragrant Gewürzhaus and don’t miss the unique Art of Dr Seuss gallery.
7. Royal Arcade
Australia’s oldest shopping arcade dates to 1870. Spot the famous Gaunt’s clock, flanked on either side by mythical figures Gog and Magog. Shop boutique gifts at The Melbourne Shop and sweet treats at Chocamama or Agathé Pâtisserie.
8. Hardware Lane
The city’s most European laneway features live music and alfresco dining. Stop in for a drink at the locally loved Kirk’s Wine Bar, named after the laneway’s 1840s horse-trading heritage.
9. Warburton Lane
Head east down Little Bourke Street to find Spanish piano bar Murmur, in Warburton Lane.
10. Whitehart Lane
Visit Whitehart Lane for a cocktail at Whitehart’s double-storey shipping container bar and rooftop.
11. Rankins Lane
Beloved Melbourne artist Mirka Mora once had a studio in Rankins Lane, where balconies now overflow with greenery. Stop for coffee and bagels at Manchester Press before shopping luxe cotton basics at Bassike.
12. Somerset Place
The coffee odyssey continues at Cartel Roasters in Somerset Place. Overlooking the laneway, Captains of Industry offers bespoke footwear, slick haircuts, made-to-measure menswear and lunch.
13. The Strand
Shop designer denim at Rag & Bone on the corner of The Strand’s rainbow-lit arcade.
14. Driver Lane
Head to Driver Lane for independent fashion at the velvet-clad Monk House Design and the colourful Gorman. Pause for cake at Sweet Canteen or sip cocktails at basement bar Beneath Driver Lane.
15. Postal Lane
A lush vertical garden leads to Ca de Vin’s lantern-lit pizzeria in Postal Lane. From the Little Bourke Street end, you'll find five floors of retail therapy at Emporium or walk though for more at Melbourne Central.
More to explore
With 1950s Italian icon Pelligrini’s Espresso Bar on one corner and The Paperback Bookshop opposite, this little laneway is a must. Stop in at tiny cocktail bar Romeo Lane and shop local designers like Lucy Folk.
This shortcut between Chinatown and Bourke Street showcases the city’s dining spectrum, from Cantonese fine dining at Flower Drum to casual eats at Hutong Dumpling Bar or German beer and schnitzel at Hofbrauhaus.
Albert Coates Lane
This newer laneway within QV Melbourne is named after Sir Albert Coates OBE, a surgeon who served in both world wars. Check out cool local designers and international labels like Kloke, APC and Incu.
Revitalised via the Green Your Laneway project, this urban jungle is a foodie hotspot. Grab a New York-style Five and Dime Bagel or drop by Hardware Societe for brunch.
Download the Iconic laneways and arcades walk (PDF 452KB).
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