Take a walk along Swan Street

It’s just a few minutes’ away from the centre of Melbourne, and this funky strip is a great place to start your Richmond explorations.

It’s one of Richmond’s major thoroughfares and, in recent years, Swan Street has really surged ahead. If you’ve spent a day at the MCG or Melbourne Park, head this way – it’s just a short stroll or a few stops on the number 70 tram – for some great post-match entertainment. It’s got a village vibe that might surprise.

It might be better known as an eating and drinking precinct, but if you happen to find yourself on Swan Street during the day, there are some cute stores as well. Browse the new and preloved reads at Booktalk [91 Swan Street], where you can also grab a cup of coffee. Hut 31 [79 Swan Street] stocks homewares and accessories, plus some cute kids’ clothes and toys, by local artists. More Australian-made and exclusive imported gifts, homewares, body products and fashion accessories fill the shelves at Lily and the Weasel [173 Swan Street]. Both of these stores always have new products, so every visit will reveal something different. Check out the cool men’s and women’s clothing and accessories, including pieces by Naked and Famous Denim, Mink Pink and Status Anxiety, at Royal Order of Nothing [165 Swan Street].

When hungers strikes you’ll be spoiled for choice. American BBQ fans will love Meat Mother, where the slow smoked beef brisket and mac and cheese are irresistible. Modern Pan-Asian dishes and matching cocktails, if you so desire, are on the menu at Botherambo. All the dishes, from the excellent dumplings to crispy pork belly and red duck curry, are meant to be shared. Whether you’re after a long lunch or a quick glass of wine and plate of house-cured salmon, the Euro-inspired bistro Saint Urban is the perfect spot to relax. There’s even a couple of tables on the terrace if you fancy some Swan Street people watching. Eat well and help fund projects assisting people in poverty at Feast of Merit. All of the profits from the Middle Eastern farm-to-fork menu are donated to YGAP programs. There are plenty of vegetarian options, as well as a rooftop bar.

If a drink is on your agenda, there are also numerous options. For a sophisticated session, The Ugly Duckling offers a contemporary list of cocktails and wines, along with tapas-style dishes to accompany the stylish drinks. Plus, there’s full table service, a bonus after a big day. More relaxed, but beautifully designed, is Holliava, with its big main bar and sunny beer garden. An icy cold craft beer, glass of King Valley bubbles or a refreshing cocktail jug is great reward after a day at the tennis. It’s just celebrated its twentieth birthday with the reopening of the newly renovated rooftop (lots more greenery than in its past incarnation), which is sure to make The Corner Hotel more popular than ever. There’s excellent pub grub, a good range of beers and wine, plus the downstairs band room hosts shows nearly every night. You can catch intimate shows by local and international artists – in January, Norway’s Highasakite, Half Moon Run from Canada and ARIA winners Twelve Foot Ninja are all hitting the stage.

Check out more of Melbourne's wonderful neighbourhoods.

Image - Holliava