St Kilda is mash up of so many different cultures and eras. Some of what you hear is true, and some of it isn’t - but either way it’s a mighty fine part of Melbourne to explore.
With its backpacker culture and beachside vibes, you’re never going to be short of something to do and somewhere to drink.
We’ve used our best local knowledge to take a look at this bayside gem, and bring you our top picks of the area.
St Kilda Fest.
St Kilda Festival is on again and they're treating you to Australia’s largest free music festival. A carnival style event full of market stalls, gigs, street performers, food, bevvies and all round summer vibes, it's well worth popping your head in. Grab some mates and catch some sweet gigs, including Hayden James, Tuka, The Grates, and a stack load more.
St Kilda Sea Baths
St Kilda Sea Baths sit right on St Kilda beach, and are home to a fantastic public swimming pool. Head upstairs to the spa, Dreamtime, where there’s a full menu of relaxing treatments for you to enjoy.
St Kilda is home to the Palais Theatre, one of Melbourne’s best and most renowned entertainment venues. There are a heap of really excellent gigs coming up that you can still get tickets to including Icehouse and Bananarama (!) It’s a great seated theatre - so you’ll always be able to see what’s going on.
We just couldn’t leave Luna Park off the list! If you’re after a day of big-kid fun, grab a few mates and head to Luna Park for a few rides and a bunch of frivolity. It’s right near the beach, so the view from the top of that rollercoaster is pretty epic!
Luxembourg Bar and Bistro
Luxembourg Bar and Bistro sits pretty on Fitzroy Street in St Kilda and dishes up some really beautiful modern European food. Part of the same family as Cumulus, Cutler & Co, Builders Arms Hotel etc, the team here really know what they’re doing. We recommend that you load up on share plates and try as many things as possible - the charcuterie is well worth the order.
Fitzrovia is one of our favourite all-day venues in Melbourne. Dishing up a top-notch breakfast, lunch and dinner, it's an interesting mix of café and restaurant where you’ll feel like you’re treating yourself. They deliver a rather fancy breakfast if you head there early in the day, but it’s still got a great vibe in the evening as well. Beautifully decorated with fruit boxes and glassware, Fitzrovia also has a heap of outdoor seating.
A funky setting with relaxed Mexican vibes, Radio Mexico is the go-to destination for your fill of tacos, burritos and a tipple of tequila. We suggest getting in quickly – it’s a popular one, particularly in the summer months.
Another multi-talented St Kilda institution is Rococo. Not only does it dish up some of the best Italian in Melbourne, the breakfasts are also pretty fantastic. The produce is always of the highest quality, and the dishes are totes Instagrammable. Our pick? The hotcakes.
If BBQ Is your religion, then Newmarket Hotel is your temple. Drawing influences from California, Texas and Mexico, you can expect to find plenty of meat with big, bold, smokey flavours, as well as some lighter seafood dishes and tacos. There are some great lunch deals available, but Newmarket Hotel is also a great spot for an after work drink or an evening meal.
Owned by cooking personality Karen Marktini, Mr Wolf is well and truly a St Kida gem. A more refined take on everyone’s favourite pizzeria, Mr Wolf serves pizzas, salads, antipasti and dessert. There is a stack-load of pizza options to choose from – but I’m not going to recommend one, as everyone has their views on what should and should not be on a pizza!
Milk The Cow
It’s hard not to love anywhere that’s entirely dedicated to cheese, but Milk The Cow really are the masters. Catering to both your dine-in and take-home cheese needs, it’s a great spot to sit with friends to devour all. The. Cheese. The paired cheese and wine flights are an absolute winner - but honestly, with such a cheesy menu, how can you go wrong?
The Local Taphouse
You’ll find The Local Taphouse on Carlisle Street, where you’ll be able to take your pick from 40+ beers. With such a huge range of local and imported beer, you’re bound to find something that takes your fancy. Not a beer drinker? Ask for something light and have a try - you might be surprised. The food is also pretty epic, with a full menu or smaller bar nibbles to choose from.
Renovated in 2015, Dog’s Bar is still an ‘old favourite’. With an open fireplace, a great wine list, and a menu that includes gnocchi, bone marrow and an epic cheese board (not all together!), what’s not to love?!
This is personally one of my favourite shops in Melbourne. Housing a perfectly curated collection of old and new homewares and knick-knacks, I’ve been known to peruse Scout House for a looooong time. You’ll find one-off pieces, vintage pieces, beds that can be coloured to order, and virtually every other vintage inspired homeware that you didn’t know you needed. The team at Scout House are really helpful when it comes to packaging and posting, and will ship Australia-wide if it’s at all possible.
Little Veggie Patch co
The Little Veggie Patch Co has everything you need to get your garden up and running. Whether you have a tiny apartment balcony or a full blown sprawler, they’ll fix you up with plants, potting mixes, trellises, planting vessels and a heap of top-notch gardening advice.
Have you checked out everything and anything around St Kilda in our Directory?
Image credit: Luna Park Melbourne, Milk The Cow, Newmarket Hotel and Scout House - all via instagram