Cruise the length of the CBD through Melbourne's arcades – rain, hail or shine. Uncover cutting-edge artwork, independent fashion, local music and stunning design.
Slip beneath Flinders Street Station and Degraves Street to Campbell Arcade, where you'll be surprised by The Dirty Dozen and Capsule, a glass-cabinet exhibition space lining the walls, which gives commuters something to smile about. Further reasons to smile are the seriously excellent coffees from Cup of Truth, big beats at Wax Museum Records, and a world of zines at Sticky Institute.
Cathedral Arcade and Manchester Unity Arcade
Pop above ground, meander along Degraves Street and up Flinders Lane to Cathedral Arcade to find this hallowed space with a dome, stained glass and lead-lighting. Browse the wares at Kuwaii, stop by for an espresso at Cathedral Coffee, and ride the lifts up to the Nicholas Building.
Head on to Collins Street and the Manchester Unity Arcade. Marvel at the bespoke tile work, black-marble friezes and tablets, and ornate elevators of the ground-floor arcade, a grand entrance to the art deco, neo-gothic Manchester Unity building.
Block Arcade and Royal Arcade
Link through from Collins Street to Little Collins Street via the historic Block Arcade, a mosaic-floored laneway sheltered beneath a soaring glass canopy. Head into Block Place for al fresco eating options, and rollicking tunes at Basement Discs. There's also VAULT, Melbourne's best place for reclaimed vintage designer fashion (courtesy of the National Trust).
Cross over to Royal Arcade, nodding to the giant statues of Gog and Magog, and set yourself up with babushkas, board games, bling and super style from Marais, Moku Concept Store and KICKSTW.
Step back to the future along Elizabeth Street, making for the rainbow-like facade of the Strand on the corner of Lonsdale Street. Peruse big-name fashion at Cos and Onitsuka Tiger, or delve into the world of colourful indie resin jewellery at Dinosaur Designs.
From Bourke Street you can zip through the bright lights of Myer into the Emporium shopping mall to connect with the Strand. From there, wend your way through Emporium and across Lonsdale Street into Melbourne Central for more stores and good eats. Rustica upstairs is our personal favourite.
A short tram ride north of the CBD, innocuous Lygon Court (on Lygon Street, near Elgin Street) is home to the perfect duo. Blow your mind (and tastebuds) with sweet treats from iconic Italian cake store Brunetti Classico, and ride the escalator to a purple-velvet seat at arthouse Cinema Nova. Sip a wine on the Nova Bar balcony, and eye up the next bestseller in the Readings bookstore window, just across the road.