Enjoy la dolce vita in village-like Carlton. Revisit student life with the uni students, discuss the Il Globo headlines over espresso with the Italian stalwarts, take in a slice of Federation history, and eat till you're fit to burst.

Food and wine

Lygon Street and its neighbours are going through a revival, and there's plenty to discover, both old-school and new.

At the southern end of Lygon Street, traditional Italian eateries fronted by ardent spruikers serve up pizza and pasta in family-friendly volumes. At the northern end, local institutions Tiamo and Jimmy Watson's share street space with newcomers Milk the Cow and Heartattack and Vine. The revamped King & Godfree empire includes pasta-loving wine bar Agostino and rooftop affair Johnny's Green Room. 

Wander just beyond Lygon Street to discover plenty more: elegant dining room Epocha, sleek Carlton Wine Room and pizza aficionado D.O.C.

Caffeine and sweet treats

Getting good coffee is a safe bet in the neighbourhood credited as the birthplace of Melbourne's cafe culture. For a guaranteed cup of goodness, visit roastery Seven Seeds. For accompanying sweet treats, try shiny sugar emporium Brunetti Classico or one of Lygon Street's many excellent gelaterias.

After-dinner entertainment

It's not (quite) all about the food in Carlton. There are arthouse and limited-release films to see at Cinema Nova, independent theatre to applaud at La Mama and books to browse at Readings, which has stores for both adults and kids. For something more active, catch live music at the John Curtin Hotel and gigs of all kinds at Trades Hall.

Family fun

If you have bambinos in tow, explore kid-friendly displays at Melbourne Museum. Let little legs run wild in the Carlton Gardens or send them wide-eyed at the IMAX cinema. Just beyond Carlton, take the kids to explore Melbourne Zoo and spooky Old Melbourne Gaol.

History and heritage

Use your get-out-of-jail free card to wander from the Old Melbourne Gaol up to the heritage-listed Trades Hall building. Across in the Carlton Gardens, admire the elegant Royal Exhibition Building, home to Australia's first parliament and one of the world's oldest remaining exhibition pavilions.


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