One of the best things about Melbourne is that the city is made up of such fun and diverse neighborhoods, each with their own unique vibe. Of these areas St. Kilda is a favorite for backpackers and locals alike. This eclectic beachside suburb has everything that you could ask for on a beautiful warm summer’s evening. Fine dining, grungy pubs, classy nightlife, boutique cake shops, a gorgeous beach, fairy penguins and it even has its own amusement park. Seriously what is missing?
Spending an afternoon of activities in St. Kilda isn’t a hard thing by any means. What’s hard is making sure you spend it the right way and don’t miss a thing!
Take your pick from the plethora of selections and recommendations, but this is probably going to come down to individual choice. One thing’s for sure, you won’t struggle to find a location that suits your mood. The beachside bar at Republica is a great pick, as is anywhere along that boardwalk when the sun is high in the sky.
If you’re in the mood for something a little grungier hit up The Esplanade Hotel (affectionately known as The Espy) for a nice beach view. Grab a cold Victoria Bitter and sit out over the balcony and watch the afternoon go by. Another top recommendation is The Vineyard, if you can find a seat in the always packed out bar.
Pre-Drinks on a Budget
If you’re on a tight budget and can’t afford to sit in a bar or pub on $10 pints then our suggestion is to grab a couple of sneaky drinks from the bottle shop and hit up the beach or the park opposite Luna Park. You won’t be alone in choosing the cheaper option, especially if the sun’s out. Acland Cellars, on Acland St, has a MASSIVE collection of international and local beers, so if you’re craving something from back home this is your best bet. Swing past the bottle-o (liquor store), grab a sixer (six pack of beers) and she’ll be right (it’s all good).
Another tough decision to be made. If the weather is great, money is tight and you want to enjoy the sun, you can’t beat some fish and chips to go, a couple of take away beers and a spot on the beach or in the park. You’ll find a few fish and chip shops on Acland St, in fact you’ll find pretty much everything you need on Acland St.
If you’re looking for something different, check out Lentil As Anything for a unique dining experience. Designed around the premise of ‘pay what you think your meal is worth’, this quirky little restaurant only serves vegetarian meals, is staffed by volunteers and has an honesty system where you choose how much you pay and anonymously deposit it into their collection box. Get ready to encounter long waits to get in on busy nights, shared communal dining and that awkward moment when you need to decide how much to give.
Otherwise there is an abundance of places to choose along Acland St and Fitzroy St. Both are jam packed with restaurants. La Porchetta is a simple Italian restaurant that never fails to fill the stomach with reasonably priced pizza and pastas.
A post dinner stroll through St. Kilda is perfect at sunset. Head down the pier to the St. Kilda Breakwater to check out a little natural beach wildlife. No, I don’t mean those annoying seagulls or flopping fish, but actual warm climate penguins! You can join the crowd that gathers around sundown to watch these little guys gliding through the water, back to their nests in the rocks.
After you’ve had your fill of penguin watching, head back to Ackland Street for some dessert. The street is famous for gourmet cake shops and the window displays are always chock-full of fruit tarts, shortbread cookies, homemade chocolates and pretty much any other sweet you could be craving. I highly recommend the fruit flans, and Christine loved the blueberry slice .
Once you’ve stuffed yourself with treats keep walking down to Luna Park. This old school amusement park is famous for its big mouth entrance. Take your obligatory photo shoot out front and then head inside (entrance is free) to check out all the retro rides. If your inner child is calling, hop on a coaster for the full Luna Park experience.
If you’re still in the mood for some late night activities then you don’t need to go far. From the pubs and bars of Acland Street you can take a walk up the Esplanade and into Fitzroy Street. If live music is your scene drop by The Espy and see what live gigs are on. You’ll be sure to find a number of different bands playing all types of music across the multiple rooms, from rock to reggae to rap.
If you’re into DJ sets and house music then Fitzroy Street has a bunch of lounge bars that conveniently double up as raging night life, depending on the night. You’re always a safe bet in Cushion Lounge, Robarta or the Prince Bandroom where you’ll find a mixture of musical talents.
Further up the street, on the corner of Canterbury Rd and Fitzroy Street, there’s another couple of funky little spots at Metropol and Secret Garden.
Whether you’re looking for a quiet iced coffee after a day on the beach or a big night out for drinks, St. Kilda offers a spot for everyone!
Spent a day of activities in St Kilda and now looking to explore Melbourne? Check out our Flat Broke Guide to Melbourne, for the cheapest and best activities around town!