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Take Yourself to Melbourne's Markets

22 Nov 2018

Whether you’re after food or a gift, there’s a shopping spot for you.

Enter the Queen

She’s the grand dame of Melbourne markets and one of the favourite places for people to visit in this city. But Queen Victoria Market, which has been operating for more than 140 years, is far more than just a tourist attraction. Spanning several city blocks, it’s where many city residents come to buy their fresh food for the week. Plan to spend a couple of hours here. You can explore the artisan shops selling art, gifts and fashion on String Bean Alley. Wander through the historic sheds to find yourself a souvenir of Melbourne, a great t-shirt or something for the home. If it’s a beautiful day, head to the Meat, Fish and Dairy Halls where you’ll be able to stock your picnic basket with cheese, charcuterie, olives and fresh bread. There’s plenty that’s ready to eat, too: grab yourself a coffee and a donut, try a borek or bratwurst, or tuck into a hot roast roll at Pickett’s Deli & Rotisserie. Queen Victoria Market is open Tuesday and Thursday to Sunday. Check the website for hours for specific areas.

If you’re interested in learning more about the market, the Ultimate Foodie Tour is a two-hour ramble through the best of the market with a guide who’ll lead you to some of the very best produce on offer, tell tales of the market’s history and uncover some of the specialty products available. The tours run Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at 11am and cost $69. You can book here.

Getting There
Tram The Queen Victoria Market is in the Free Tram Zone. Take tram routes 19, 57 or 59 to Stop 7/Queen Victoria Market or tram route 58 to Stop 9/Peel Street.

South of the Yarra

It’s been sitting on the corner of Coventry and Cecil Streets for more than 150 years, but somehow South Melbourne Market just keeps getting better. You can shop for some of the best fresh produce in the city, but there’s plenty more to do there, too. There’s a food court, as well as a string of excellent cafes and restaurants, including Proper & Son and Claypots Evening Star, which serves amazing, Mediterranean-influenced seafood dishes. And whether it’s your first time to South Melbourne Market or your fiftieth, you can’t help but stop by South Melbourne Market Dim Sims to tuck into one of the city’s most famous snack foods. Within the market, you’ll also discover SO:ME Space, a unique retail environment where young local designers sell handcrafted, sustainable and vintage fashion and homewares. There are a number of permanent traders here, as well as four pop-up spaces that rotate regularly.

Looking for something else to do? South Melbourne Market is home to the Neff Market Kitchen, where some of Melbourne’s best chefs and cooks hold cooking classes. They’re incredibly popular, so check the schedule to see what’s coming up.

South Melbourne Market is open Wednesday and Friday to Sunday from 8am to 4pm (5pm on Friday).

Getting There
Tram Catch tram route 96 to stop 127/South Melbourne.

All Along the Beachfront

There’s nothing like a day out in St Kilda. You can splash in Port Phillip Bay, get your adrenaline flowing on the rides at Luna Park and enjoy all the great restaurants the bayside suburb has to offer. And if you head there on a Sunday (10am–5pm), you can also check out the work of local makers at St Kilda Esplanade Market. Chat to any of them of about what they have for sale and they’ll be more than happy to tell you the stories behind their creations. You’ll discover fashion and jewellery, gifts, skincare products and homewares, as well as all kinds of art, from ceramics to photography. There are plenty of tasty treats to keep you going, as well as live entertainment to enjoy.

Getting There
Tram Catch tram routes 16 or 96 to stop 138/Luna Park.

Produce at its Best

Just around the corner from one of Melbourne’s busiest shopping precincts, Chapel Street, you’ll discover Prahran Market. It’s been on this site on Commercial Road since 1891 and is one of Melbourne’s favourite produce markets. You can stock up on everything for the fridge and pantry, but even if you don’t want to shop there’s plenty to do. There are plenty of events on offer: chef Tobie Puttock is hosting a workshop to demonstrate reducing household wastage (24 November); live music takes place every Saturday and Sunday; kids’ dance lessons are a popular Friday morning activity; and on Tuesdays and Thursdays, there’s a Market to Table tour where you get to shop and prepare a Malaysian feast. Free Hidden Gems market tours are also held at midday on the first and second Saturday of every month – bookings essential.­ There are lots of places to eat, too. We love the Fondue Special grilled cheese sandwich from Maker & Monger, but there’s also sushi, gozleme, falafel, empanadas and more. Prahran Market is open Tuesday and Thursday to Sunday.

Getting There
Tram Catch tram route 72 to stop 30/Prahran Market.

The Craft of the Arts Precinct

It’s one of the most visited areas in Melbourne, home to theatres and NGV International, but on Sunday the grassed area in front of Arts Centre Melbourne along St Kilda Road hosts the Sunday Market. Between 10am and 4pm, about 80 local artisans set out their wares, all of them unique and handmade. You might find the perfect leather wallet, a funky piece of jewellery, a piece of art for your wall or perhaps a delicious, freshly baked cupcake. There’s also live music on the lawn, starting from midday, making this the perfect place to do a bit of shopping and relaxing on your Melbourne visit. For a few weekends before Christmas, the Sunday market extends its hours for the Saturday Christmas Market (24 November, and 1 and 8 December) to ensure everyone has time to get what they need for under the tree.

Getting There
Train Catch any train to Flinders Street Station then take a scenic walk over the Princes Bridge.
Tram Catch either tram route 3, 3a, 5, 16, 64 or 72 to stop 14/Arts Precinct.

The Best From the Farm

There is no shortage of farmers markets in Melbourne, but many of them only pop up in their locations once a month. It doesn’t matter what weekend you’re in town, though, when you’re planning a visit to Flemington Farmers’ Market. It takes place at Mount Alexander College every Saturday between 9am and 1pm. Every single stallholder here either grows or makes the goods on sale, ensuring that everything you buy is top quality. Plus, you can ask Victoria’s regional producers anything you want to know about what they’re selling. As well as amazing fruits and vegetables, there’s a huge selection of honey, cheese, eggs, meat, poultry, pasta, nuts, dips, coffee and much, much more. If you’re stocking up for Christmas, don’t forget your esky.

Getting There
Tram Catch tram route 59 to stop 25/Mount Alexander College.

Fitzroy's Favourite

If you’re heading to the Melbourne for the weekend, it’s a great idea to plan some time exploring Fitzroy. Have an inspired brunch ­– fruit sashimi, smoked manchego omelette, turmeric and beetroot bagel ­– at Industry Beans, then head next door to The Rose St Artists Market. Open both Saturday and Sunday from 11am to 5pm, this is one of Melbourne’s premier craft markets. The work of about 120 different creatives is showcased and it’s the perfect place to discover the next big name in fashion, art, jewellery and more. Stop for a chat and find out the stories behind many of the individual pieces.

Getting There
Tram Catch tram route 11 to stop 17/Leicester Street and walk about 100 metres.