24 Hours in Melbourne’s CBD and How to Make it Magical! 

After spending even a short time in Melbourne, it’s easy to see why it consistently makes the list of the “world’s most liveable cities.” It’s beautiful, walkable but also has great public transportation, is chock full of fantastic international cuisine, and boasts a hip and lively arts scene. Truly, what’s not to love? I certainly wouldn’t mind calling this delightful city home. That said, assuming you’re not quite ready to up and move to Melbourne, here’s an itinerary for 24 hours in Melbourne’s CBD and how to make it magical! Oh “CBD” means “Central Business District”, just FYI, aka the “city center”. 

24 Hours in Melbourne's CBD

Where to Stay and When to Go

I stayed at the W Melbourne when I visited Melbourne and I loved it! Definitely recommend. Read this post to get all the details! 

Autumn (March – May) in Melbourne is lovely. The days are crisp and the parks and gardens are full of fall foliage, providing the perfect backdrop for exploring the city. Definitely pack items you can layer as there can be a chill in the air come evening. Honestly, the weather in Melbourne is fickle even on the best days. Locals joke that you can experience all 4 seasons in one day! For more info on Melbourne’s weather year round, click here.

Hop On (and Off) the City Circle Tram

The City Circle Tram (No.35) is easily distinguishable from Melbourne’s other trams by its distinct maroon color. And great news – it’s FREE! It’s the best way to get a feel for the city and check out many of the city’s sights. Just hop on and hop off as you see fit and explore the sights that interest you – Flinders Lane, the Parliament House, the Docklands, the Aquarium,  the Botanic Gardens, the banks of the Yarra River, ect. For more info the the City Circle Tram, click here.

Browse the Queen Victoria Market

Buzzing with bargain shoppers and interesting eats since 1878, the Queen Victoria Market is a sprawling bazaar where you can buy everything from organic produce to vintage jeans. Enjoy food trucks and live music on the weekends which always have a festive air. Regardless of the day (except Mondays – the market is closed), browsing the Queen Victoria Market for an hour or two will entertain you and give you the chance to rub elbows with locals. Here is the website if you want more info.

Get Your Art On

From street art, to galleries, to live performances, to fashion, to festivals, Melbourne’s art scene does NOT disappoint. The CBD is definitely the place to be to enjoy the arts. Wander Melbourne’s famous laneways to pop in and out of small galleries and take in street art. And Hosier Lane in particular is renowned for its vibrant street art. 

Melbourne is home to the National Gallery of Victoria which is massive and houses works from internationally known artists (including Picasso, Van Gogh, and Renoir). It also happens to have the world’s largest stained-glass ceiling which is stunning to see in person. Entry into the gallery is FREE (though some special exhibitions do require purchasing tickets). I highly recommend visiting the National Gallery of Victoria – even if you’re not the most educated of art lovers, you’re sure to see something beautiful or interesting or both. 

Take in the View

There’s no better way to appreciate how beautiful Melbourne is than from the 88th floor of the Eureka Tower. The Eureka Skydeck happens to be the highest public viewing point in the Southern Hemisphere. And if you’re not afraid of heights, for an extra fee you can head out on the Edge. It’s a glass enclosed cube that extends out about 10 feet from the viewing platform making you feel as if you’re suspended over the city.  Whether or not you venture out on the Edge, the Skydeck is a lovely place to enjoy a drink and take in the view. 


The bars and restaurants in Melbourne are truly world class. There are so many amazing restaurants and I barely scratched the surface in my time there. That said, the few I did make it to were AMAZING and so I definitely want to call them to your attention!

  • EVERLEIGH: this classic and beautifully appointed cocktail bar does EVERYTHING right. And people are taking note – it’s even made the “World’s 50 Best Bars” list. The cocktail menu is purposely limited and the drinks on it are curated, creative, and delicious. That said, you can always order “The Bartender’s Choice”. Chat with the bartender about what you like (and don’t like) in your cocktails, and he or she will whip up a specialty cocktail tailored to your tastes. HIGHLY recommend it. 
  • MARION WINE BAR: lovely atmosphere, delicious food, and an impressive wine list (more than 20 wines by the glass!) make Marion Wine Bar the perfect choice for an intimate dinner. Warning, if you just stop in for a glass of wine, there’s a high likelihood you’ll stay for a bottle.
    • NOTE – both Everleigh and Marion Wine Bar are just outside of the CBD in Fitzroy. Not to worry, both are just a short  taxi or rideshare away from the CBD.
  • LONGRAIN: if you’re craving delicious Thai food while in Melbourne, please do yourself a favor and go to Longrain. It’s a vibrant modern Thai Restaurant near Melbourne’s theater district, making it perfect for a late dinner after  taking in a show (or in my case, after getting back into the CBD late after seeing the Penguin Parade out on Phillip’s Island). 
  • GIMLET AT CAVENDISH HOUSE: this astoundingly sophisticated and yummy restaurant resides in a charming 1920s building on idyllic Russell Street. The menu and space suit any occasion – casually catch up at the bar or enjoy an elegant dinner in an intimate booth. My meal here was simply phenomenal. I savored every bite while enjoying the ambience just as much. 

And there you have it – everything you need for 24 hours in Melbourne’s CBD and how to make it magical! Enjoy! 

Traveling to Melbourne soon? Pin this post or share it with anyone you happen to be traveling with! Or feel free to drop a comment if you want to chat more about Melbourne with me! 

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