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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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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What other good laneways can you recommend in Melbourne? We’d love to hear your recommendations in the comment section below.