Cruise the length of the CBD through Melbourne's arcades – rain, hail or shine. Uncover the creative heart of Melbourne, where spectacular architecture houses stores filled with independent fashion, eclectic goods and high-end wares.
Cathedral Arcade and Manchester Unity Arcade
From Flinders Street Station, 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 the ornate elevators of the ground-floor arcade – it's 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. 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 kit yourself out in super designer style at Marais Mens, Moku Concept Store and KICKSTW.
Along Elizabeth Street, make 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 the Strand, connect with glittering multi-level shopping mall Emporium. You can also zip through the bright lights of Myer on Bourke Street into Emporium and the Strand. Wend your way through Emporium and across Lonsdale Street into Melbourne Central for more stores and good eats. Rustica is a local favourite.
While you're here, pop into Acne Studio for a fashion fix that comes direct from Stockholm, or treat yourself to a five-star hair experience at Franck Provost's flagship salon.
A short tram ride north, innocuous Lygon Court on Lygon Street, near Elgin Street, is home to sumptuous, iconic Italian cake store Brunetti Classico and standout arthouse Cinema Nova. Sip a wine on the Nova Bar balcony, and eye up the next bestsellers in the Readings bookstore window, just across the road.