The best way to shop is often by precinct rather than by product. Melbourne is full of great precincts, where often great shopping is combined with great cafes and dining…
Here are some of the best in Melbourne…
Collins Street and Block Arcade, Collins St CBD
Perhaps the most famous Melbourne shopping street is Collins Street, home to high end jewellery (including Georg Jensen, Makers Mark, Bvlgari, Jan Logan, Rutherford and Tiffany & Co), high end fashion (Cose Ipanema, Husk, Herringbone, Hugo Boss and the legendary appointment-only boutique Le Louvre), shoes and luxury goods (such as Ralph Lauren, Hermes, Chanel, Gucci, Bally, Salvatore Ferragamo and Louis Vuitton).
There is also shopping complexes such as Collins Place, Georges on Collins, Collins two3four and Australia on Collins, which feature fashion, home wares and gift stores.
Block Arcade forms a laneway between Collins St and Little Collins St. The arcade which was erected between 1891 and 1893 was designed by architect David C. Askew whose brief was to produce something similar to the Galleria Vittoria in Milan. The result was one of Melbourne's most richly decorated interior spaces, replete with mosaic tiled flooring, glass canopy, wrought iron and carved stone finishings. Block Arcade is one of Australia's best surviving examples of the Victorian Mannerist style.
Over 30 boutique shops include Haigh’s Chocolates,Melbourne-based Douglas & Hope (fashion and homewares), various fashion, jewellery and specialty shops.
Great cafes abound including the popular Hopetoun Tearooms which ooze elegance and charm, Café D’Uomo and Brown Sugar.
The Collins Street entrance is only a minutes walk from Flinders St Station.
Bourke St Mall
Bourke Street Mall is one of the major shopping hubs of Melbourne! Enjoy the great mall and a bustling and attractive precinct between Swanston and Elizabeth Streets. Plenty of designer brands here including popular Myer and David Jones, Forever New, Sportsgirl, and the addition of international brand Zara.
The David Jones Store is massive occupying three buildings! Myer is also massive with nine stories of retail!
Melbourne's 1864 postal building GPO has been stunningly refurbished and provides a great retail experience showcasing fashion, luxury goods and dining. Look out for gorman, Leona Edmiston, Mimco, Ben Sherman, Georg Jensen, Camper, Cacao Fine Chocolate & Patisserie plus delicious eateries in GPO Lane.
Also nearby are excellent cafes including Brother Baba Budan, Manchester Press, Captains of Industry and The Little Mule – all sensational!
A personal favourite is to visit Shanghai Street Dumpling House on Little Bourke nearby for some pan fried pork dumplings. Or visit Mamasita for Mexican on Collins St or Grossi Florentino on Bourke St.
The Melbourne Visitor Booth is mid way along the mall.
Melbourne Central is one of Melbourne’s premier shopping experiences! It’s great to have large shopping complexes with scores of designer brands that also feature a train station! Another recommended stop on the CBD shopping tour!
Melbourne Central is a modern shopping complex with many name brands including Crumpler, GAP, Oroton, Calibre, Peter Alexander, Armani Exchange, Calvin Klein ck, Country Road, Dangerfield, Diesel, Elwood, G-Star, Guess, Saba, Alanah Hill, Sass and Bide, and many many more!
Cafes and restaurants and food courts abound! A personal favourite café is Emily’s Place near Swanston St entrance.
Also a great complex for parking including earlybird rates.
Crown Casino Complex
Crown Casino is a popular Melbourne destination and a massive massive complex at Southbank! Parking is reasonable and available in the huge car parks. Along with gaming the complex offers first rate restaurants and cafes and designer shopping.
Brands include designer Burberry, Louis Vuitton, Prada, AJX Armani Exchange, and Tiffany and Co. to name a few…
This is a great place to come for fine dining - with acclaimed restaurants like Rockpool Bar and Grill, The Atlantic, Guiseppe, Arnaldo & Sons, Nobu and Spice Temple, to name a few!
Crown Casino is a popular destination for entertainment events.
Accommodation is world class with impressive rooms and suites.
Outside, on special occasions, chimney stacks lined along the boardwalk shoot bursts of flames into the air, giving the casino an awesome appearance somewhat like the cityscape featured in the film Bladerunner.
Chapel Street is known to be one of the best fashion strips (if not the best) in Australia! It provides designer chains but also unique boutique experiences.
Popular stores include French Connection, Sportsgirl, Cue, Mimco, Witchery, and Alannah Hill.
Also check out Portobello Lane for divine jewellery, Mac for cosmetics, Louis Epstein for great jeans, Indigo Boutique and Eurotrash (eccentric selling vintage couture).
Also Linda Black provides vintage accessories, shoes and clothing.
The Chapel St Bazaar is a classic featuring haberdashery, homewares and fashion, with hidden gems to be had!
Chapel St is a precinct where you can easily spend a day! Or two! Chapel St is also a popular spot for op shoppers!
St Kilda itself is an eclectic place with many attractions! Check out the Esplanade (while taking in the markets on a Sunday). Stroll along the Pier and grab an ice cream.
Take in Acland Street and the fine European cake establishments. In fact many ofMelbourne’s finest restaurants are in St Kilda, with many in Fitzroy and Acland Streets. Enjoy fine dining at great restaurants like Circa The Prince.
Brunswick St Fitzroy
Iconic Melbourne precinct! Enjoy the ambience of the Brunswick St set! Personally I like to enjoy both Brunswick St and Smith St together as they’re not far apart…
People from all walks of life! This place rocks – on a recent visit here a group of ladies I know spent the whole day just visiting shops and cafes over only a few hundred metres!
Brunswick St is a great place for vintage clothing. Relive the 80s! It’s also great for op shops. A popular stop are the factory outlets – get yourself some bargain Alannah Hill.
Browse character filled shops selling vintage wares and locally designed sensations. Try Vintage Sole, Somebuddy Loves You, The Untitled Shop, FAT 4, Hunter Gatherer and in.cube8r. Flick though cult classics at alternative bookstore Polyester Books or through records at the music shop sibling. Visit the Rose Street Artists' Market on a Saturday.
One must visit some of the amazing cafes and restaurants, including Babka Bakery Cafe, the cool Black Cat, the popular vegan Vegie Bar, Eat Drink Man Woman, Little Creatures Dining Hall, Atomica, Madame Sousou, Newtown Social Club, to name a few.
Or venture down Gertrude St for more boutique shopping and amazing cafes and restaurants.
Smith St Collingwood
Smith St has been transformed in recent years to be a trendy precinct full of fashion, great cafes and restaurants and boutique stores.
Smith Street was Melbourne's first suburban shopping strip.
... the first Coles store was opened in Smith Street in 1914.
... a tunnel was used to communicate between the Foy & Gibson department store on Smith Street and their warehouses located between Little Oxford Street and Wellington Street.
Check out Lost and Found, for a bedazzling array of vintage clothes, wigs, art and especially furniture! It’s an amazing second hand store with several levels of wares -where treasures can be found.
Enjoy a coffee at Monsieur Truffe, where they also make their own fine chocolate.
A must is to take a diversion to nearby Proud Mary, one of Melbourne’s finest cafes in a renovated warehouse. And another great café right down the end of Smith st is the eclectic The Bell Jar.
For fine dining check out Huxtable, Cavallero, or Easy Tiger. Further down Smith St are some factory outlets.
A great place to shop and dine, including factory outlets. Harbour Town Shopping Centre at Docklands has some great stores including Designer’s House and large Costco.
Also great Shopping at Southern Cross Station on Spencer Street.
Also DFO South Wharf next to Docklands with over 100 brands and large discounts.
Check out Etihad Stadium with the roof that closes! Either for a game or a tour!
Queen Victoria Market
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 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!
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 specialist coffees.... And so it goes on.
Large parking area is great or simply catch a train to Melbourne Central or Flagstaff and walk.
Check out the Turkish Borek Shop with amazing cheap eats. Or the French Shop for cheeses and French food. And of course The Bratwurst Shop. And the Fish Market next to the Meat Market.
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.
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.
Chadstone Shopping Centre
This place is huge! Chadstone is now the biggest shopping centre in the Southern Hemisphere, boasting over 530 stores including a dedicated luxury precinct - home to 12 World Class Luxury Brands. It is situated out of the city in suburban Melbourne in Dandenong Road, Chadstone.
In addition, there are a myriad of stores in every category including fashion and accessories, homewares, sport and lifestyle goods, giftwear and childrenswear.
Many dining options are provided including two international food courts!
And, there is plenty to entertain and relax you, including cinemas and bowling or day spas and retreats!
Westfield Doncaster Shoppingtown
Westfield Doncaster Shoppingtown is located 20 minutes east of the CBD and is one of the biggest shopping centres in Victoria. It is also a great shopping centre not just because of the designer brands, but the classy ambience of the centre.
Following an extensive redevelopment, the new look Westfield Doncaster was officially opened on 16 October 2008. As part of the $600 million redevelopment, the centre more than doubled in size and expanded from 200 to around 420 stores, creating one of Melbourne's premier retail destinations.
The Food Court overlooking Melbourne is spectacular.
Bridge Road, Richmond and Ikea
Business types know you can pick up a value suit along this precinct.
There are also many stores of up-and-coming local fashion designers.
Love the cafes along the strip including Niche on Bridge, Chimmy’s, Richmond Hill Café and Larder, Boheme, Kojo Brown, Gypsy and Musquito and nearby sensation Pillar of Salt or 7 Grams.
Ikea has one of it’s huge stores in the Victoria Gardens Shopping Centre part of Richmond.