For fresh food, irresistible treats, unique gifts and endless bargains, there's nothing like a market. And Melbourne has them scattered across the city. Produce markets, vintage fashion markets, craft markets: there's something for everybody. Just check the opening times before you go. Some of these markets are open pretty much everyday. Others are once a week, or once a month. You can always check which markets are currently running over here.
Whether you're after supplies for a simple picnic or an extravagant banquet, you'll be spoilt for choice at Queen Vic, Prahran and South Melbourne markets. Along with Dandenong Market, they're Melbourne's most famous, historic markets. Browse aisles and aisles of fresh produce, and endless glass cabinets of heavenly deli goods – small goods, fine cheeses, marinated everything – as well as organic wines, freshly brewed coffee and great baked treats. Best of all, the stallholders' spruiking and bargaining is great theatre. Enjoy the show!
Pick up artworks, jewellery and clothing from local creatives at Fitzroy's Rose Street Artists' Market, or head to Fed Square for cheap books. Treat yourself to twilight retail therapy at beachside night markets in the summertime, and scour eclectic collections of, well, everything, at suburban collectors' markets. You're bound to find what you're looking for, and probably a few things you weren't.
If you're travelling to a Melbourne suburb on a weekend, there's a good chance you're not too far from a farmers' market. These are always great community days, with live music, activities for the kids, and tonnes of fresh, local produce. Hampton Farmers' Market, Mulgrave Farmers' Market and Heide Market in Bulleen are all great places to start. Pick a sunny day, bring a tote bag and head down early. Grab a coffee and spend a few hours browsing the stalls. It's the perfect way to start a Melbourne weekend.
Trash & Treasure markets
Sometimes the best markets are the spontaneous ones. The ones that spring up in a carpark, with everyday people selling their wares out of the back of a van. These are Melbourne's trash and treasure markets, where you could stumble onto rare antiques, designer clothes, secondhand books and everything in between. Camberwell Market is arguably the best of these, but if you like a good rummage, you should also check out Coburg, Wantirna and Dandenong Trash & Treasure markets.
Melbourne's famous night markets tend to run seasonally. The biggest and the best is the Queen Victoria Winter Night Market, which usually pops up in June, with stallholders slinging mulled wine, whisky cocktails, giant bowls of pasta, and every kind of delicious food you can imagine. You should also check out the Soul Night Markets, which run in three locations throughout the year: Mornington, Dromana and Brighton.