It’s just six kilometres west of Melbourne’s CBD, but with its welcoming village vibe you’ll find plenty to do here on a day out. There’s unique architecture, beautiful parks, a riverside setting — it’s just off the Westgate Bridge — and plenty of shops, cafes and other venues to explore. If you’re wondering what to do in Yarraville, we’ve got a few suggestions.
Whether you’ve just arrived at Yarraville village or are feeling that lunchtime hunger, you’re never far from one of the suburb’s excellent cafes.
Close to all the action is Wee Jeanie [50 Anderson Street], a sweet spot with a lovely atmosphere. Take a seat either inside, where distressed brick, white subway tiles and a mural all feature, or outside in the sunny courtyard then peruse the menu. There’s banana brulee porridge and eggs Benedict, served with pulled beef and crispy kale, if you’re feeling peckish, a range of smoothies and, of course, coffee if you need a caffeine hit.
As you’re wandering along Ballarat and Anderson streets, you’ll notice lots of places where you can stop for a bite. A few streets over, however, you’ll find Butcher 128 [128 Roberts Street], which unsurprisingly used to sell steaks and chops to the local community. Much of the facade and signage remains, and the old meat case now holds fizzy drinks, but the shop itself is now a chic eatery. There are the regular brunch/lunch choices, from smashed avo and feta on toast to sandwiches filled with salted beef, slaw, swiss cheese and pickles, as well as dishes imbued with the flavours of South-east Asia. How could you resist fried soft-shell crab with XO sauce, a fried egg and noodles?
One of the best aspects of the Yarraville shops is that they’re all complete individuals — this isn’t the sort of place where you’ll find lots of chain outlets. Instead, you’ll discover plenty of unique options, whether you’re looking for something for yourself or choosing gifts to take home.
Whether the kids in your family have just arrived or are a little bit older, there’s sure to be something that makes them happy at Chalk [85 Anderson Street]. There are lots of beautiful things for the littlies, from tiny Converse All Stars sneakers in the colours of the rainbow to paper aeroplane kits. Kit out their first bedroom with adorable cot blankets or send them off to school with a backpack decorated with foxes or flamingos.
Searching for homewares that are a little more grown-up? Curious Grace [7A Kent Street] stocks both European designs and Australian furniture. But as well as larger pieces — they’re a little harder to get home on the V/Line, although delivery is available — there’s a full range of home accessories that will give your abode a stylish edge. We love the hand-knotted, artisan rugs by Armadillo & Co and Roshi Ceramics’ delicate vases.
Need a quick pick-me-up or a cute gift for your best friend? Village Idiom [34 Anderson Street] stocks a vibrant, fun collection of clothing and paraphernalia. Check out the range of hats and bags, 50s-style atomic clocks and Japanese toys, as well as a range of T2 Teas. It’s an always-evolving display, so there’ll be something new every time you drop in.
For a hot new look, check out Standard Issue [60 Anderson Street], a boutique stocking brands like One Teaspoon, Suncoo from Paris and Assembly Label.
If you need a holiday read, drop into Sun Bookshop [10 Ballarat Street], considered one of Melbourne’s best indie booksellers. Tucked into the Art Deco building that also houses the suburb’s famous Sun Theatre, the store is filled with an excellent selection of fiction, biography, crime, travel, coffee table titles and much more. Just down the road is the kids’ version, The Younger Sun [26 Murray Street]. Head there for story time, held every Saturday morning at 10.30am.
Perhaps the best-known attraction in Yarraville is Sun Theatre [8 Ballarat Street]. When it opened in 1938 it had just one screen and seated more than a thousand moviegoers. Now, the stunning Art Deco building, whose sun sign oversees the suburb, has eight boutique cinemas. Each one, however, retains the original charm and features, and they all have names. We love La Scala, with its opulent red interior and leather couches. There are both mainstream and more independent films on show, as well as screenings of classics and performances from the Met Opera in New York and London’s National Theatre.
If you’ve got little kids with you who might not make it through a movie, stroll through Yarraville to McNish ‘Dinosaur Park’ Reserve [Court Street]. It might be a small playground but it has one big dinosaur, created by local artists from Footscray’s Bigfish Workshop. They’ll love it and it’s a quiet spot to get started on that new book you picked up this morning.
Still going? You might as well hang around, because although Yarraville isn’t exactly party central after dark, there are some great options for an evening meal.
For something casual, head to the corner of Somerville Road and Hyde Street for the Yarraville Gardens Food Truck Park. Between 5.30pm and 8.30pm week days and midday and 8.30pm on the weekend, you can scoff down wagyu sliders, mushroom burgers, spring rolls, ice-cream sandwiches and a whole lot more from Melbourne’s best food trucks.
Cafe Terroni [18 Ballarat Street] is a relaxed and welcoming restaurant featuring the cuisine of southern Italy. Enjoy big bowls of rustic pasta, from classic carbonara to pappardelle with rabbit ragu, and a glass of wine from the list that features both local and Italian drops.
Another popular spot for dinner is Vault Yarraville [13 Ballarat Street]. On the menu you’ll find hearty, classic dishes, like salt and pepper calamari, slow-cooked lamb shank with green lentil saffron rice and chicken schnitzel burger. There’s a great beer garden, too, which is a lovely spot to witness the sun going down. Sundays are big at Vault, with live music in the afternoon and a comedy open mic from 8pm.
Getting There Take the Williamstown or Werribee Line to Yarraville Station.