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Tuck your Penguin Classic into your back pocket, scuff those shoes and adjust your specs: you're entering the home of Melbourne's creative elite and the stomping ground of the city’s fashionistas. Hark at the bars, design stores, writers' studios, galleries and boutique fashion outlets.

Looking good

Be dazzled by the choice of local and international fashion between Swanston and Elizabeth streets, the heart of Melbourne's original 'rag trade'. Find something to challenge and delight around Flinders Lane and Cathedral Arcade, a long-time haven for experimental designs by young and emerging designers.

Take home an artwork

Catch the contagious creativity from the art spaces that comprise Australia's highest concentration of commercial galleries. Find quirky letterpress, contemporary sculpture and Indigenous art, and snap up one-offs at Craft – a gallery and shop showcasing the work of Victoria's finest craftspeople.

Recharge or charge up

With an endless array of hole-in-the-wall cafes, bakeries, sushi, sandwich and soup bars plus with bars and restaurants galore, you’ll easily find a place to recharge.

Chow down at Chin Chin, go subterranean at Coda, be bookish at Journal and admire Andrew McConnell's golden touch at Cumulus, Inc.

Loiter over Centre Place at Hell's Kitchen, and earn your rock stripes at Cherry on AC/DC Lane.

How to get there

Free Melbourne Visitor Shuttle: Stop 2. The complete trip includes 13 stops and takes approximately an hour and a half. The bus runs every 30 minutes between 9.30am and 4.30pm daily (excluding Good Friday and Christmas Day) and includes an on-board commentary.

By foot: Half a block north from Federation Square (about one minute).

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Things to do

Flinders Quarter

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Bars

Go Go Bar

Go-go below to the cocktail bar beneath Chin Chin, with its DIY Champagne cocktails, delicious bar-snack menu and melancholic neon sign.

Art galleries

fortyfivedownstairs

Head downstairs for independent, experimental and thought-provoking visual art, theatre and live music at this not-for-profit theatre and gallery space.

Restaurants

The Meatball and Wine Bar

Roll up for Melbourne's latest food and wine craze – meatballs and prosecco. Or chianti. Or anything, really, in the swish Flinders Lane bar.

Restaurants

Ezard

Chef Teage Ezard combines the East and the West with verve and creativity, making this two hatted restaurant a must try for any visiting gourmand.

Restaurants

Cumulus Inc.

This loft-inspired restaurant, hatted by The Age Good Food Guide boasts a drinking bar, an eating bar and regular tables for serious eating.

Restaurants

Cecconi's

Push the boat out with a modern Italian feast at Cecconi's, purveyors of style and service and winners of a hat in The Age Good Food Guide.

Fashion

Incu Mens

Have your shopping expectations exceeded at Incu Mens, a manly space so expertly curated with fine things that shopping frowns are turned upside down.

Restaurants

Coda

From Movida's Mykal Batholomew and Longrain chef, Adam D'Sylva, this hatted eatery ticks all the right boxes without taking itself too seriously.

Bars

Hihou

Take your drinking to a new level of sophistication at this decadent Japanese-influenced bar and lounge offering libation with unmatched elegance.

Cafes

Dukes at Ross House

With sustainability at the heart of Dukes, it makes sense that the coffee roasters would set up in Ross House to bring coffee to the masses.

Restaurants

Sake

Overlooking the Yarra River in revamped Hamer Hall, this sleek city restaurant and bar offers new-style sushi and classic Japanese cuisine.

Restaurants

Fonda Flinders Lane

Take your tastebuds to Mexico at Fonda Mexican, where their signature burritos, tacos and antojitos keep diners coming back for a flavour fiesta.

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Shopping

Fashion

Wear Melbourne with pride and seek out the Melbourne-based designers who are taking the world by storm. You'll be spoilt for choice.

Destinations

Arcades

Do a modern version of "the block", a century-old form of cruising Melbourne's arcades that takes in cutting-edge artwork, fashion, music and design.

Art & culture

Art galleries

Make your way around Melbourne's 100-plus galleries, ranging from large public institutions to smaller commercial spaces and artist cooperatives.

Itineraries

48 hours: Art and design

Find inspiring art and design in likely and unlikely spaces, in galleries, laneways, shops and markets, upstairs, downstairs, and all across the city.