Inner suburban Fitzroy is Melbourne’s bohemian heart. An edgy mix of alternative, artistic and hip elements, it has a fascinating collection of young designers and vintage clothes stores, bookshops, galleries, cafés and restaurants, and a vibrant nightlife.
You’ll get a feel for the suburb with a short walk along Brunswick Street, the backbone of Fitzroy. See quaint and quirky shops and eclectic art in studios, galleries and on brick walls, where street art and commissioned murals come and go. Pick up bargain recycled fashion, arty homewares, locally made jewellery or just a colourful bunch of flowers.
Brunswick Street’s cool cafés, restaurants and boisterous bars offer anything at any time, serving all-day breakfasts and coming alive at night when the crowds descend. The area around Brunswick Street is a good place to get a no-nonsense, decent meal at pubs like the Napier, the Rose and the Standard.
Nearby Smith Street is a hotbed of hedonism. Impossibly fashionable designer stores, bars and restaurants pop up when and where you least expect, alongside the budget-friendly Asian, Greek, Moroccan and Middle Eastern eateries. Gertrude Street’s relatively modest size belies the amount of fun to be had – in just one strip you’ll find bars, restaurants, galleries, boutiques, vintage wares, costume hire and old-fashioned pubs.
Tucked between Brunswick and Smith streets, Johnston Street is Melbourne’s Spanish quarter and has a range of tapas and flamenco bars. Every November the road is closed to host the two-day Hispanic-Latin-American festival.
Fitzroy is only two kilometres from Melbourne’s CBD. Take tram 112 from Collins Street or number 86 from Bourke Street and within 15 minutes you’ll be deep in Fitzroy.