Melbourne’s laneways are synonymous with the city’s reputation for arts and culture. From random characteristic street art to mysterious drinking holes, there is so much to discover at every turn. After capturing the attention of Aussies and tourists alike with the 2006 Visit Melbourne advertising campaign which featured the slogan “Lose Yourself in Melbourne”. What soon revealed to the world was a surprising facelift that had revived Melbourne city’s laneways from their former glory to a modern-day art gallery. The revival created a blank canvas for talented young graffiti artists to practice their craft without undue intervention from the authorities.
Melbourne’s laneways are constantly changing as more and more artists flock to these parts to showcase their talents to passers-by – no two days are the same! Be sure to bring your camera, because it might be the last time you get to see this exhibition. With a myriad of laneways dotted all over the city centre, it’s hard to pick which ones to visit. As frequent visitors, we’ve come up with a list of the best laneways in Melbourne to check out on your next visit.
1. Hosier Lane
Possibly the best of the best laneways in Melbourne, if you’ve seen any photos of Melbourne graffiti street art, chances are the photo was taken at Hosier Lane. From Federation Square, head northeast along Flinders Street and turn left at Hosier Lane. On the corner, you’ll find MoVida Tapas Bar, which is something of an institution in the Melbourne dining scene. Hosier Lane is a much-celebrated landmark of sophisticated and often controversial urban street art. On weekends graffiti artists can often be found here, fabricating their masterpieces.
2. Degraves Street
Walk back down Flinders Street past Flinders Street Station and off to the right you’ll find Degraves Street, the centre of Melbourne’s cafe culture. Stop here for a coffee or some breakfast and watch people eating, drinking, shopping, socialising and generally going about their daily business. Degraves Street also has a collection of cute little boutique shops and handicraft stores.
3. Centre Place
Keep on walking past Flinders Lane and you’ll hit Centre Place. It also features a gathering of quaint little cafes, most smaller than a shipping container. People pack out the street sipping coffee while seated on a milk crate. Be sure to try the soup place!
4. Union Lane
Just off Bourke Street Mall, Union Lane is a little unusual and features some of the city’s best street art. Nearly every brick is covered in giant murals of graffiti art. Union Lane is an ever-changing canvas, graffiti artists are constantly re-using this canvas, updating the artwork with something new. This one is totally Instagrammable!
5. Block Arcade
From Centre Place, cross over Collins Street and turn left before entering the exquisite 19th century Block Arcade and you’ll find one of the best laneways for shopping in Melbourne. With mosaic floors and fascinating shops to explore; admire the beauty in the architecture or pick a table at Block Place and grab a bite to eat.
6. Hardware Lane
Hardware Lane is another one of the best laneways in Melbourne for the cafe and bar scene. Foodies should come for the breakfast and nighttime revellers will enjoy the quaint cocktail and wine bars.
7. Niagara Lane
Lined with a group of beautiful red brick 1880s warehouses, this laneway was named in the 1860s after the Niagara Hotel in Lonsdale Street. There are no cafes or graffiti down this laneway, the beauty is in its history.
Melbourne is constantly evolving with new things to discover every day. New shops, designer boutiques, restaurants, galleries, places to stay and things to see and do. If you visit again in a year’s time, there will be a whole lot more to discover!
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More Information for Your Visit to Melbourne
Where to Stay in Melbourne
We recommend using Booking.com to find the best rates and many hotels offer free cancellation in case your plans change. Here are some of our favourite hotels in Melbourne:
- InterContinental Melbourne The Rialto
- Art Series – The Olsen
- QT Melbourne
- Hotel Lindrum Melbourne – MGallery by Sofitel
How to Get Around Melbourne
- Trams: this is the easiest way to get around Melbourne. There are plenty of trams available around the city centre. Melbourne trams are cashless, so be sure to pick up a Met Card from a local corner store before boarding a tram. Check out the free loop tram, which circuits the city centre and departs every 12 minutes.
- Trains & Buses: To get to the suburbs outside of Melbourne city and country areas, the trains and buses are also very convenient and well interlinked. They use the same Met Card as trams.
- Taxi or Rideshare: Yellow taxis are available all over the city. Rideshare services such as Uber, Ola and Didi are also readily available.
- Bike: Melbourne has a bike-share program, with stations dotted all over the city. Please note that bike helmets are required by law in Victoria when riding. Bike helmets can be purchased from most convenience stores closest to each bike dock and cost $5.
Best Tours in Melbourne
Here are some of the most popular day tours and things to do in Melbourne:
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- Tasmania Itinerary: 6 Day Winter Road Trip
- The Ultimate Travel Bucket List
What other good laneways can you recommend in Melbourne? We’d love to hear your recommendations in the comment section below.
Planning a trip soon? Here is a list of the websites and resources we use for booking everything from flights, to accommodation, tours, and more:
- Skyscanner for booking the best flight deals
- Booking.com | Agoda | Hotels.com for the best rates on hotels
- Airbnb | HomeAway to find the best apartment and home rentals
- Rentalcars.com for quick and easy car rentals
- Luxury Escapes for luxury package holiday deals and tours
- Get Your Guide for a great range of day tours
- Tourradar | Intrepid for multi-day experiential and adventure tours
- Priority Pass for airport lounge access in hundreds of locations around the world
- Skyroam to stay connected to WiFi everywhere I go
- iVisa to apply for entry visas for most countries in the world
- World Nomads for the most comprehensive worldwide travel insurance
About the Author:
Amanda Twine is the founder and creator of Fly Stay Luxe – a luxury travel blog sharing informative travel guides, food guides, hotel reviews, itineraries and tips about how to make luxury travel more affordable.