Melbourne has great markets… Each is excellent and has their unique strengths and ambience… They’re certainly not all the same! We’ve written these reviews having visited the markets to get the real deal…
Here are some of the best in Melbourne…
Queen Victoria Market - Rating 9/10 – world class
Queen Victoria Markets is arguably Melbourne's premier market and attracts both local shoppers and hordes of tourists. It's a market of fine quality with many specialty stores.
Popular with locals and tourists alike for bargains. Also boasts quality fresh produce in abundance. Love the buzz early in the mornings. This is a Melbourne institution for over 120 years and I know people who've been coming here for decades.
Many shoppers come for the stalls and bargains on belts, flags, clothing, toys and leather jackets which is cool. All kinds of unique products are sold here. Something for everyone. I’ve enjoyed trying to score bargains among the rows of clothing. Trying on leather jackets and belts.
Frankly, I'm also a big fan of the gourmet offerings here. It's not hard to part with lots of cash when you see all the cheeses and fish and meats and olives and specialty coffees.... And so it goes on. I love to walk around the Fish Market and the Meat Market next to each other and pick up some great fish fillets and quality steak cuts.
Large parking area is great or simply catch a tram up Elizabeth St or train to Melbourne Central or Flagstaff and walk. I walk to the markets often during the week and love the ambience. This is Melbourne at it’s best.
Check out the Turkish Borek Shop with amazing cheap eats. I always visit this place whenever I’m at the markets! Spicy lamb! Chicken! It’s all good! And only $2.50! Or the French Shop for cheeses and French food. And of course The Bratwurst Shop.
Great fruit and vegetables here in a huge complex including items not always east to get. Love getting here early as they set up for the day.
Also check out the fine establishments serving great coffee including Coffea, and Market Lane Coffee who opened up across the road in Therry St. I had one of the best coffees in my life there sourced from a farm in El Salvador. As for Coffea it’s a Melbourne institution with tasty treats and top notch coffee. They make it a little on the strong side, how I like it. The staff are characters which adds to the ambience.
The Queen Victoria Market trading hours are 6am to 2pm on Tuesday and Thursday; 6am to 6pm (with the general merchandise section closing at 4pm) on Friday; 6am to 3pm on Saturday; and 9am to 4pm on Sunday.
The Suzuki Night Markets are popular on Wednesday nights from 5-10pm running through summer to March.
South Melbourne Market - Rating 9/10 – world class gourmet and quality
South Melbourne Market is arguably Melbourne's best market. The precinct of South Melbourne is fabulous so you can combine a trip to South Melbourne Market with a visit to an iconic cafe or restaurant in the area. Notwithstanding there are some great coffee and brunch options within the market.
South Melbourne Market is undercover and there is ample parking nearby, including the rooftop carpark. You may need to be careful on weekends as there is ticketed parking nearby.
Come to South Melbourne Market for excellent quality fruit and vegetables and gourmet fresh foods. It's the gourmet factor that's impressive. Here there's a step up in class with higher end stalls. There are specialists in breads, potatoes and pumpkins and fresh juices, for example.
The market has around 150 stalls including fruit and vegetables, fish and seafood, quality meats, fashion and apparel, giftware and boutique services.
Like any great market these days there is a good amount of organic options.
Many like South Melbourne Markets for the quality delis with smallgoods and gourmet delights.
South Melbourne Market offers some great value Asian cuisine including South Melbourne Dim Sims (iconic throughout Melbourne since 1947), Yo Yo Sushi, and Linx BBQ Yum Cha.
Prices are reasonable but this is not a discount market. You get quality and pay for it.
South Melbourne Market is located at 322-326 Coventry Street South Melbourne.
Opening hours are Wed, Sat-Sun 8am to 4pm and Fri 8am to 5pm
Camberwell Sunday Market– Rating 8.5/10 – great vintage bargains and ambience!
Love Camberwell Market! Always great crowds here and a pumping ambience every Sunday! This is an amazing market operated by Rotary – raising over $9M since 1976. This is all about community! And you feel a great sense of community at these markets!
There are an incredible 370 stalls which can be booked up to 3 months in advance!
We love to slowly stroll around the stalls looking for bargains. And bargains are there to be had. I know people who have offloaded their designer collections at Camberwell Markets – arriving near dawn and setting up their own stalls to make a few extra dollars.
I love the sheer variety at Camberwell Markets! This market has many stalls devoted to clothing and accessories, collectibles, books, and hand crafted goods. The prices are great! Other stall holders are seasoned campaigners and regulars week after week. About 180 of the stalls are casual stores which can be booked a week in advance!
It’s basically a market of second hand goods rather than new goods. And it’s an open air market!
We checked out rows of vintage leather jackets. The key was to identify a bargain and try and agree on a price with the stallholder! Half the fun! Vintage clothing bargains are a highlight of this market!
Then there’s the brick a brac items. Odds and ends.
The kids love the toys and figurine collectibles on display.
There is also great food to be had on a trip to Camberwell Sunday Market. There are vans that sell great donuts and the like. We don’t mind lining up to indulge! And some excellent coffee!
But there are other options around in Camberwell – you just need to walk for a couple of minutes, particularly to Burke Road. We enjoyed nachos at a café right next to the Market.
We have spent the whole morning wandering around these markets and thoroughly enjoyed the experience!
The market is located in Station Street Camberwell.
Visitors are asked for a gold coin donation on entry to give to the needy.
The market begins incredibly early at 7am and trading goes through to 12.30pm. It’s open every Sunday (except within 10 days of Christmas, the Sunday between Christmas and New Year, and Anzac Day when it falls on a Sunday).
Three tram services pass through the Camberwell Junction. Directly across Station Street from the market is a 700+ car park.
Prahran Market– Rating 8.5/10 – great fresh produce and gourmet offerings!
Prahran Market is a large and classy market in a great precinct. It contains many specialty stores and is a gourmet haven. Prahran Market is an institution! The current site is only 200 metres from Chapel Street and has been there for over 125 years.
Prahran Market also offers variety but mostly in terms of fresh produce. It’s an undercover market. Check out the fresh fruit and vegetables, including unusual varieties. This is quality produce. Check out the meat and fish cuts. The difference between markets like this and a supermarket is the ability to obtain some specialty and unusual items.
Plenty of gourmet offerings on display to fill the pantry. Deli goods are in abundance! Great cheeses! Pete n Rosies Deli offers gourmet treats from around the world! Foodhouse Deli a sensation with great variety! Rumbles Patisserie offers fine cakes and croissants. Loving fresh pasta! Condiments!
Also great cafes! A highlight here is Market Lane Coffee – one of the best in Melbourne. Their roastery and café, located on the corner of Elizabeth Street and Market Lane, is at the entrance to Prahran Market. They roast all their coffee here, and offer a large range of single estate coffee beans to take home, as well as brewing equipment. They serve espresso beverages and pour over coffee. They have a small selection of cakes and other tasty offerings. Market Lane Coffee holds free public cuppings (coffee tastings) every Thursday to Sunday from 10am - 11am.
Prahran Market has a dedicated Market Square where the community can enjoy entertainment, cafes and a playground for children.
We like to combine a visit to Prahran Market with a visit to eclectic Chapel Street.
Prahran Market is open Tuesdays, Thursdays 7am to 5pm, Fri 7am to 6pm, Saturdays from 7am-5pm and Sundays (selected traders only) from 10.am to 3pm.
Esplanade Market St Kilda– Rating 8/10 – great art, jewellery and crafts!
Loved strolls along the Esplanade in St Kilda on a Sunday taking in the Esplanade Market. It’s surprising maybe that around 150 artisans participate in these markets. The Market stretches from near Luna Park right around to near Fitzroy Street. It’s another iconic market operating since 1970.
I love it because of the creativity and the fact the stallholders are meant to be the ones who craft the items. Therefore you don’t only just admire the goods but you can talk to the artisan about how they made them etc.
This market is unique because many of the crafts you don’t find elsewhere. Items like architectural cards. Unique animal and car design magnets!
Sometimes it can get a little windy – as it’s an open air market by the sea. But it’s great to combine a visit to the market with the delights of St Kilda! Stroll along the Esplanade then visit Acland Street, or check out the beach and Pier.
St Kilda Esplanade Market is open every Sunday of the year from 10am – 5pm. The location is at the Esplanade along St Kilda Beach, from near Luna Park to near Fitzroy Street.
Preston Market - Rating 7.5/10 – diverse and large
Preston Market at The Centreway in Preston is one of Melbourne’s oldest (over 40 years) finest and most colourful markets and offers a great diverse range of produce and goods for all. Preston Market provides a fabulous multicultural experience. You feel you’ve been all around the world as you visit these markets.
Preston Market has been a favourite since 1970 and many of the current generation remember going there as a youngster. Parking is excellent and if you’re there for just a couple of hours you can enjoy free parking.
Over the years Preston Market has changed from humble beginnings and now offers an abundance of specialities from over 130 stores and from several ethnic groups. Occupying several buildings it is now the second largest market in Melbourne.
The meat and fish hall is a great place to start. The meat section is a colourful place with the shouts and sounds of each butcher premises. Here you can get cuts to suit almost any international dish. With several butchers in the area competition is fierce on price and quality. There are also some great specialty butchers that focus on certain types of meat such as the poultry specialists. Check out the pig heads hanging for all to see.
Like other markets the butchers look to sell trays of meat. This can be excellent value – often you can get 3kg of meat say for the price of 2kg. Something to watch out for is if meat is stored by layers – we picked up 3kg of lamb chops but found the underneath layer was inferior with extra fat and bone and less meat. Make sure you get what you can see!
The fruit and vegetable section is excellent with huge variety, quality and again fierce competition. To be able to get bananas for 99c per kg on the day I did was remarkable. I have to say quality is mostly good but it pays to check before purchase.
The European delis are also an attraction with excellent deli meats and breads and cheeses. We were offered some home made extra virgin olive oil at one establishment at a cheap price (after a tasting in the deli).
Come here for clothing, electronics, flowers and general home items, particularly if you’re looking for a bargain. Also great for the kids with bargain toys. You will find small businesses where the owners print up T shirts and the like, rather than the large designer brands.
A highlight is a visit to Tip Top to enjoy reduced prices on products such as bread, English muffins, hamburger rolls and crumpets.
Another highlight is to grab a hot donut from the donut wagon after a shopping session. The donut wagon is reasonably central to everything.
Coffee places are reasonable in Preston Markets but there are also some great options nearby such as Pearl Oyster and Jackson Dodds.
Accessibility to Preston Market is great with the Preston Station next door and only a 20 minute train ride from the city.
There are rumours about redevelopment of the Preston Market.
Wednesday - 8.00am to 3.00pm
Thursday - 8.00am to 6.00pm
Friday - 8.00am to 8.00pm
Saturday - 8.00am to 3.00pm
To be reviewed:
St Albans Market
Brunswick St Market