If you ask me, there are three really good reasons to go to Melbourne: Flair, Fitzroy and food (in Fitzroy). Gazillions of "things-to-do" and "ultimate weekend trip guides" have been written about Melbourne, some of which I've consulted and followed myself, so I'm going to leave the touristy stuff to the local experts and instead will tell you why the city's vibe, the hip inner-city suburb of Fitzroy and the fabulous food were my personal highlights and the reason Melbourne even stands a chance competing with Sydney. Spoiler alert: Sydney is #1 for me, but Melbourne is pretty cool as well.
It's a fact, Melbourne has a cool vibe. No matter where you go, you'll find cutesy, artsy, pretty corners. Street art works are literally everywhere, although admittedly, some are sophisticated designs and some are illegible tags. There's so much street art that there's plenty of "street art walking tours", like this one, that guide you through all the lanes and alleys decorated with works by the likes of Keith Haring and Banksy.
Part of Melbourne's charm comes from the fact that people dress pretty nicely, too. Melbournian street style is edgy and modern and strongly influenced by local designers, such as Alpha60, FME Apparel or Dejour Jeans. Apparently, people wear so much black that it's a common thing to say that someone 'dressed in "Melbourne black"'. I actually recall seeing a lot of people rocking funky colors, but that may have been because it's the beginning of Spring. The combination of ubiquitous street art and a thriving fashion scene creates an eclectic, urban flair and makes Melbourne a city that is very different to Sydney - with its tidier and straighter character - and probably best compared to Berlin. Except that a 30-minute tram ride from the city center takes you to the beaches of St. Kilda. Berlin & beach? Yes, please. I think this unique combination and ambiance makes Melbourne worth visiting.
Arguably the hippest area in Melbourne, this suburb is a vibrant cultural and creative hub, home to a good portion of the city's art scene, restaurants, cafés, bars, boutiques, second-hand shops and, of course, street art works. The artsy heart of Melbourne is so attracting that we literally spent every.single.day. of our weekend trip there. Whenever we found an amazing restaurant or café that we wanted to try, it ended up being in Fitzroy. This place is just vibrant and full of interesting spots and, to be honest, although Surry Hills is pretty awesome, Fitzroy has no direct equivalent in Sydney. Experiencing it is definitely a good reason to go to Melbourne.
This happens to be point three on my reasons-to-go-to-Melbourne list but who am I kidding, it's actually the main point for me. The food in Melbourne is out of this world. There are so many vegan options, I was so over the moon. I think I had vegan pancakes every day and a donut every other day of our trip and what sounds like I seriously lost control over my life was really me enjoying all the things I (luckily) cannot usually have, simply because they are not vegan. Well, in Melbourne, they are. Even if you're not plant-based, the food in Melbourne is amazing and I'll stop this now because I'm getting hungry haha.
Have you been in Melbourne? What did you like best?