A few kilometres north-east of the CBD, Collingwood is Melbourne’s hipster epicentre. Stacked with quirky cafés and cool bars, these former mean streets still retain an edge that has made the area catnip to designers, fashionistas and artists. For vintage clothing, furniture and vinyl, look no further than Smith Street. Time your visit for the afternoon then finish at kooky backstreet gem Easey’s, a burger and beer bar inside vintage train carriages perched on an office block rooftop.
The off-the-wall Butterfly Club in the CBD has been a crucible for outliers of the local theatre scene for 20 years. It’s vibrant, camp and kitsch – and dull moments have been officially banned.
Architect Corbett Lyon and his family opened their striking Kew home and modern art collection for pre-booked tours in 2009 and earlier this year they unveiled a groundbreaking $14.5 million contemporary art space next door. With works by leading modern Australian artists, including Reko Rennie and Patricia Piccinini, the Lyon Housemuseum Galleries is a feast for aesthetes.
Melbourne’s coolest cinema, Thornbury Picture House, operates in an Art Nouveau service station that’s decked out with filmmaking ephemera. The front bar champions local booze and excellent Italian snacks from nearby Umberto Espresso Bar.
If you don’t feel like paying to see the city from the 285-metres-high Eureka Skydeck, Northcote’s Ruckers Hill offers a fabulous (free) vista of the skyline. Dusk is the ideal time to enjoy the view. Take the number 86 tram from Bourke Street –
all will be revealed when you disembark at Clarke Street.