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Overview

Laneways

It's always a thrill entering Melbourne's hive of bustling, creative laneways, with their covert boutiques, famed restaurants, hole-in-the-wall cafes and astonishing bars.

Bar finds

Give 'Mainstreet' a miss and head down alleyways to find walls covered with stencil work, lightboxes and sculptures that point you to the door of quirky bars. Check out Bar Americano in Presgrave Place, Section 8 in Tattersalls Lane, Croft Institute in Croft Alley and Cherry Bar in ACDC Lane. Find addresses that reveal themselves to be velvety jazz clubs and flashy wine bars, or bare-bone student hangouts and dimly-lit hideaways.

Old favourites

Never forget those tried and true laneways, favoured for their reliability. Meyers Place still hosts the eponymous bar plus no-fuss Italian amico Waiters Restaurant, while the Pellegrini's welcome to Crossley Street is an institution. Hardware Lane, Degraves Street and Centre Place are vying to feed you and ensure you look the part.

Visual arts

On the off chance that a tiny laneway isn't hiding a boozy dens or caffeine lairs, you're likely to find colourful street art as part of the annual Laneway Commissions. See anything from neon animals in Cocker Alley to video installations in Manchester Lane and paste-ups in Westwood Place.

More secret art can be uncovered in the galleries that line Guildford Lane. Duck into the old red-brick furniture warehouses and printing suppliers and find lofts showcasing independent exhibitions, and stop for video art at Screen Space.

Somerset preening

Menfolk who give a hoot about the cut of their jib should make their way to Somerset Place and neighbouring Rankins Lane to Comeback Kid and Captains of Industry for streetwear, bespoke footwear, made-to-measure attire, and good grooming. Ride away with a takeaway coffee and custom wheels from The Little Mule Cycle Company & Cafe.

Explore

City laneways

Destinations

Curtin House and Nicholas Building

The city's vertical laneways Curtin House and Nicholas Building each add a unique stamp to the scene with levels of boutiques, bars and eateries.

Destinations

Centre Place and Degraves Street

Idle the afternoon away by the bluestone cobbles at a Degraves Street or Centre Place cafe and become part of a Melbourne postcard scene.

Destinations

Crossley Street

There's great comfort in knowing places like Crossley Steet still exist, with the venerable Pellegrini's standing guard over quirky shops and cafes.

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Things to do

Laneways

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La Belle Miette

Pick up a box of French treats from La Belle Miette, purveyor of specialty macarons in all flavours.

Jungle Juice

Squeezing into Jungle Juice is worth it for a bagel, a fancy coffee, and of course, a fresh juice.

Bar Americano

Knock back daytime espressos and nighttime cocktails in this standing-room only bar.

Hells Kitchen

Climb the stairs next to Jungle Juice and settle into a window seat in this perennial indie gem.

Pellegrini's

Eat a pile of pasta to ensure Pellegrini's is always around with its charm and Italian comfort food.

Laneway Commissions

Getting from A to B efficiently is usually the aim when walking through the city. But in Melbourne,...

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Eight of the best

Laneway coffee spots

Krimper

Get a dose of Australian architecture and design history alongside your Proud Mary coffee.

Little King

Hide away from bustling Flinders Street and Fed Square in the Lilliputian haven that is Little King.

Traveller

Savour a coffee and dream about places you've been and those you're yet to discover at Traveller.

Switch Board Cafe

Squeeze into the storage cupboard and experience Switchboard's unique charm as well as great coffee.

The Little Mule

You'll be surprised at how often you feel the need to return to this weirdly welcoming workshop.

Dukes at Ross House

Get your coffee fix with a dose of feel-good factor from the combined forces of Dukes at Ross House.

Operator 25

Purveyor of brunch and specialty coffee from Code Black Coffee Roasters, Operator 25 answers your call.

Patricia

Stand around with a serious but simple brew. Coffee here comes three ways: black, white and filter.

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Art & culture

Public art

Take in art from the City Circle tram, or walk through city streets, laneways and squares and along the Yarra River to see the city's public artworks.

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.

48-hour itinerary: Laneways

48 hours: Laneways

Lose yourself among bars and boutiques, galleries and street art, and high-end restaurants and hole-in-the-wall cafes in Melbourne's famous laneways.

Food & wine

Laneway dining

Dine like a local and find some of the city's favourite eateries tucked away upstairs, downstairs and behind bustling queues in Melbourne's laneways.