Where to Stay in Melbourne in 2024: The Best Melbourne Neighbourhoods

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Article written by: Rebecca
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Wondering where to stay in Melbourne? Here’s my guide to the best Melbourne neighbourhoods.

If you’re an out-of-towner and you’re planning your trip to Melbourne, one of the first questions (after “where should I eat?” – if you’re anything like me…) will likely be, “where should I stay in Melbourne?”

And it’s an important question to ask, because where you stay will determine the experience you have in this wonderful city of Melbourne.

But, no matter where you stay in Melbourne, there’s plenty to see, do and eat.

As a Melbourne local who knows this city like the back of my hand, I’ve picked what I think are the coolest Melbourne neighbourhoods to base yourself in. I’ve even added a few suggested activities to experience in each area.

So, let’s find you some Melbourne accommodation!

This blog post may contain affiliate links, meaning if you book or buy something through one of these links, I may earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you).

Quick overview of where to stay in Melbourne

Here’s my quick and dirty guide to where to stay for certain types of travellers.

  • Where to stay in Melbourne for first-timers – the CBD
  • Where to stay in Melbourne for hipsters and cool kids – Collingwood or Fitzroy
  • Where to stay in Melbourne for foodies – the CBD (or anywhere, really)
  • Where to stay in Melbourne for sports lovers – Richmond
  • Where to stay in Melbourne for nightlife – Prahran, Collingwood, St Kilda or Fitzroy
  • Where to stay in Melbourne for families – the CBD, St Kilda or East Melbourne
  • Where to stay in Melbourne for shopaholics – Prahran, the CBD

Read on to figure out where are the best places to stay in Melbourne for you.

Melbourne is one of the best places to visit in Australia

Where to stay in Melbourne: The CBD

The CBD is the heart of the city. It’s the central business district and it’s where you’ll find businesses and government offices. It’s also where most of the main Melbourne attractions are located – museums, galleries, laneways, street art, bars, restaurants and parks are all here.

Chances are you’ll visit the CBD at least once during your visit to Melbourne, so if you’re planning to spend a good portion of your trip here, it’s a good place to base yourself.

Stay in the Melbourne CBD if it's your first time visiting the city, and if you want to be close to the main Melbourne attractions

Why stay in the Melbourne CBD?

Staying in Melbourne’s CBD puts you right in the heart of it. You won’t have to travel very far to get to the best Melbourne attractions. And even if you want to go further out of the city, the CBD is the public transport hub so you’re connected to every suburb, making it one of the best areas to stay in Melbourne.

There’s a free tram that runs through the CBD and stops at most of the major tourist attractions, so staying in the CBD means you can save money on public transport.

There’s so much to do in the Melbourne city centre, you seriously won’t get bored. From exploring Melbourne’s best museums to roaming the laneways in search of cool street art to sipping cocktails in hidden bars, you can easily fill a week in Melbourne without ever leaving the CBD.

There are also plenty of hotels in the CBD, so you can be picky when browsing all the Melbourne hotels in the area. These range from cheap accommodation in Melbourne (including plenty of hostels and budget hotels) to luxury Melbourne accommodation.

Why avoid the CBD?

The CBD can be very busy – especially during weekdays when everyone’s rushing to and from work. Even on weekends, the city is a rush of people checking out restaurants and shows.

I also don’t think the CBD is very “authentic” Melbourne – it’s not where Melburnians live. It’s a place where people go to work, where students study and where tourists flock, so you don’t really get the vibe of what local life is like for people in Melbourne.

Where to stay in Melbourne CBD

Check out my full guide to Melbourne CBD accommodation, or use the quick list below to narrow down your choice.




  • Le Méridien – If you’re in Melbourne for a special occasion, stay at Le Méridien. This 5-star gem gets ticks from me for spacious rooms, friendly service, and comfortable, modern rooms. It’s one of the best places to stay in Melbourne for a special weekend away. Check rates with Booking.com | Expedia
  • Adelphi Hotel – One of the funkiest hotels in Melbourne. With only 34 rooms, this is the best place to stay in Melbourne for first-class attention. The rooftop pool has a see-through bottom so you can spy on the people walking in Flinders Lane below. Book a stay online | Read reviews of Adelphi Hotel online


The National Gallery of Victoria is one the best places to visit in Melbourne
Image courtesy of Visit Victoria

What to do in the CBD

As I’ve said, oh so much! You’ll spend a good portion of your Melbourne itinerary in the CBD (I’ve got guides to a weekend in Melbourne, 3 days in Melbourne and 5 days in Melbourne).

Where to eat in the CBD

You won’t go hungry in the CBD. This part of Melbourne is jam-packed with restaurants serving up a variety of cuisines. It was actually really hard to only include a few Melbourne restaurants here!

  • Get cheap dumplings from anywhere in Chinatown (or join a dumpling tour)
  • Dig into a bowl of ramen from Shujinko
  • Grab brunch at the very popular Higher Ground – book ahead, especially on weekends
  • Gorge on a lobster roll at Supernormal, known for its modern pan-Asian menu
  • Join the queue for a table at Chin Chin
Inside the Queen Vic Market

Where to stay in Melbourne: Fitzroy and Collingwood

Fitzroy and Collingwood are where I think you’ll find the “real” Melbourne. This is where hipster Melburnians live and play.

I’m putting these two suburbs together because they’re right next to each other and share many of the same achingly cool qualities.

Fitzroy is one of the coolest Melbourne neighbourhoods, with plenty of street art, food, shopping and nightlife

Why stay in Fitzroy and Collingwood?

Fitzroy and Collingwood are always happening. There’s live music, pubs, unique shopping and great food. Staying in this area will give you an insight into how we Melburnians live and allow you to experience cool Melbourne culture. Smith Street in Collingwood was even recently voted the coolest street in the world, and there’s plenty to see and do in Fitzroy!

Why avoid Fitzroy and Collingwood?

There aren’t a lot of reasons to avoid staying in Fitzroy, but I’d say that it’s not a great area for families to stay. There’s not a tonne of stuff here to keep kids entertained, but it is close to the city, so you’re never far from more family-friendly activities.

The two suburbs are also still a bit gritty. It’s not too long ago that you’d see junkies getting high in back streets, but this has largely been cleaned up.

Where to stay in Fitzroy and Collingwood

I have a full guide to where to stay in Fitzroy and Collingwood, which includes the recommended suggestions below.





Fitzroy and Collingwood are two cool Melbourne neighbourhoods to consider if you're wondering where to stay in Melbourne
Image courtesy of Visit Victoria

What to do in Fitzroy and Collingwood

  • Check out street art, which is one of the best things to do in Melbourne. Much like the CBD, you’ll find plenty of graffiti hidden down alleyways and laneways and out in plain sight. Melbourne Street Tours guides tours, each one led by street artists.
  • Pick up some handmade souvenirs at the Rose Street Market, held every weekend. More than 100 crafty creatives bring out their wares for sale.
  • Pat farm animals at the Collingwood Children’s Farm, an actual working farm. You can also grab breakfast or a coffee at the Farm Café while you’re there.
  • Wander through the studios and galleries at Abbotsford Convent, a former convent that’s been revived.
  • Go shopping in the stores along Gertrude St, or pick through the op shops (thrift stores) along Brunswick Street.

Where to eat in Fitzroy and Collingwood

Eclectic Fitzroy and Collingwood both have a diverse dining scene. Top recommendations include:

  • Grab $5 pizzas at Kewpie
  • Grab a burger in a train on a rooftop (yes, you read that correctly) at Easey’s
  • Take in the city views at the rooftop at Naked For Satan and try a few of their tapas
  • Grab a pub meal at the Marquis of Lorne (their potato cakes are the best!)
  • Munch on some delicious birria tacos from the Dingo Ate My Taco food truck
  • For something fancier, book a table at award-winning Cutler & Co
Naked for Satan rooftop

Where to stay in Melbourne: Carlton

Just a hop, skip and a jump from the CBD (you can walk here from the city) is Carlton, Melbourne’s Little Italy. In this neighbourhood you’ll find a mouthwatering range of restaurants, delis and bars, as well as bookstores and shops ready to take your money.

Carlton is a great place to stay in Melbourne, Australia. Close to the city, this area has incredible food and shopping
Image courtesy of Visit Victoria

Why stay in Carlton?

The food alone is enough reason to base yourself in Carlton during your trip to Melbourne.

Carlton is also right on the edge of the CBD so you’re close to everything without being right in the heart of the busy-ness of the city, and there are plenty of hotels in Carlton.

Why avoid Carlton?

If you’re driving, parking can be tricky.

Where to stay in Carlton




What to do in Carlton

  • Check out the Royal Exhibition Building, which has been around since 1880 and was built with money from the gold rush.
  • Have a picnic in the Carlton Gardens – you can buy plenty of yummy snacks from the many delis and bakeries that line Lygon Street.
  • Learn about Melbourne at the Melbourne Museum.
  • Pick up some books at Readings, which has been voted one of the best bookstores in the world in recent years.

Where to eat in Carlton

Carlton is a foodie’s dream and you’ll be rolling yourself out of the many restaurants that are jammed into this historic Melbourne neighbourhood. Top picks include:

The Royal Exhibition Building in Carlton is a great place to explore
Image courtesy of Visit Victoria

Where to stay in Melbourne: Richmond

Just a short train or tram ride from the city is Richmond, another top choice for where to stay in Melbourne. This residential, inner-city suburb provides insight into the life of Melburnians but also has some great attractions.

Bridge Road in Richmond is one of the best places to go shopping in Melbourne, with a mix of factory outlets and unique boutiques
Image courtesy of Visit Victoria

Why stay in Richmond?

Richmond is close to the city, so you’re always close to everything in Melbourne. It’s also a transport hub so you can pretty much get to anywhere you need from Richmond Station (a major train station).

The famous MCG is in Richmond, so sporting fans will find a great base here.

Why avoid Richmond?

Richmond might be a little too residential for some. There’s not a huge range of accommodations to choose from, so you may find yourself in apartments rather than hotels.

Where to stay in Richmond




The MCG is one of the best Melbourne attractions for sports-lovers - see a game of footy or cricket, or take a tour of the stadium
The iconic MCG | Image courtesy of Visit Victoria

What to do in Richmond

  • Richmond is home to the ‘G, the largest stadium in the southern hemisphere. Here, you can catch an AFL game, a cricket match or even tour the grounds.
  • Catch live music at the Corner Hotel, one of Melbourne’s iconic music venues. They also do a great parma (chicken parmigiana, a must-try dish when visiting an Australian pub).
  • Head to Bridge Road for shopping. While the shopping scene has changed along the street, there are still bargains to be found in the factory outlets and boutiques.

Where to eat in Richmond

Richmond is where you’ll find some of the best Asian food in the city. But there are plenty of other cuisines on offer.

  • Wander Victoria Street and eat pho, Thai food and many other Asian cuisines – just pick a restaurant, it’s hard to make a bad choice! I Love Pho often gets top pick for the best pho in Richmond
  • Try sushi at upscale Minamishima
  • Head to Top Paddock for a delicious brunch
  • Try South American flavours at Onda
  • Taste the local brews at Bodriggy Brewing Company or Mountain Goat
Richmond is a great area to get authentic, delicious Asian food
Image courtesy of Visit Victoria

Where to stay in Melbourne: Prahran

Shopaholics will be in heaven in this trendy area. It’s hip, but it has a totally different vibe to Collingwood and Fitzroy.

The Chapel Street Bazaar is a great place to find unique treasures when shopping in Melbourne, Australia
Image courtesy of Visit Victoria

Why stay in Prahran?

This is the place for shopping. If your reason for coming to Melbourne is maxing out your credit card and being seen in stylish bars and restaurants, then there are plenty of places ready to take your money.

Prahran isn’t too far from the city, a 20-30 minute tram ride at most.

Why avoid Prahran?

The first reason might be because you can’t even pronounce the place! You’ll hear most Melburnites call it simply “Pran” in that typical syllable-dropping, drawling way of Australians.

When compared to the CBD, there aren’t a huge number of hotels available.

Where to stay in Prahran





The Prahran Market is the oldest surviving market in Melbourne
Image courtesy of Visit Victoria

What to do in Prahran

  • Go shopping along Chapel Street, Melbourne’s iconic shopping district. This street runs through three suburbs, and you’ll find everything from high-end designer stores to unique boutiques.
  • Find unique treasures at vintage-lovers’ delight, the Chapel Street Bazaar.
  • Pick up cheeses, salami and other snacks at the Prahran Market, a beautiful, heritage-listed building from the 1800s.

Where to eat in Prahran

Prahran doesn’t disappoint when it comes to food. A few good choices:

  • Head to Lucky Coq for pizza or a late-night snack
  • Gobble all the yum cha (dim sum) you can at David’s, a well-known Chinese restaurant
  • Take the stairs above Revolver and its gritty floors and eat Thai at Colonel Tan’s
  • Try French-influenced pub food at L’Hotel Gitan
Chapel Street is renowned as a shopping destination in Melbourne, Australia, with everything from high-designers to Australian labels and independent boutiques
Shopping on Chapel Street | Image courtesy of Visit Victoria

Where to stay in Melbourne: St Kilda

On a sunny day, this is Melbourne at its finest: bay views, the wide esplanade, palm trees and beaches. St Kilda draws crowds for many reasons, and it’s a great area for families, backpackers, music lovers, artsy types and foodies to base themselves.

St Kilda Beach is only 6 kilometres from the Melbourne city centre, and one of the best attractions in St Kilda
Image courtesy of Visit Victoria

Why stay in St Kilda?

The beach attracts lovers of the outdoors, and the music and food scene just adds to the hedonistic vibe. St Kilda has plenty to suit everyone. This is the best area to stay in Melbourne for families.

It’s a short, 20-minute tram ride to the city, so it’s a good place for people who want to experience everything Melbourne has to offer.

Why avoid St Kilda?

While St Kilda has moved on from its past reputation as a haven for hookers and junkies, it’s still got a grungy vibe. Some parts of St Kilda can feel a bit unsafe at night, so avoid dark alleyways and unlit streets.

Where to stay in St Kilda

There are so many hotels in St Kilda, for all budgets and needs.





Wander the St Kilda Pier and see the little penguins wade in to the shore each evening - they're just a few of the best things to do in St Kilda, Melbourne
Image courtesy of Visit Victoria

What to do in St Kilda

  • Sunbathe on St Kilda Beach, a 700-metre-long slice of sand. Take a dip in the water or simply lay back and watch the kitesurfers, sailors, rollerbladers, cyclists and runners that pound the pavements and ride the waters each day.
  • Check out the cute Little Penguins that waddle up to St Kilda Pier each night to nest. The penguins come out of the water around sunset and head back just before sunrise.
  • Ride the rickety rollercoaster at Luna Park – which is more than 100 years old! I’ve done it and was scared sh*tless at every bump. Luna Park is free to enter and you can buy rides individually or unlimited passes. This is a great family activity with kids in Melbourne.
  • Catch a gig at the Palais Theatre, an iconic venue that dates back to the 1920s. The Rolling Stones, Tom Jones and legends of Australian music have all played here.
  • Head to the St Kilda Esplanade Market to peruse the arts and crafts stalls. The market is held every Sunday.

Where to eat in St Kilda

A foodie’s paradise, St Kilda is home to iconic eateries. Make room for a few:

  • Brunch the morning (and early afternoon) away at Fitzrovia
  • Taste the classic menu at Donovans, a Melbourne institution
  • Dive into award-winning food at the famous Stokehouse, complete with ocean views
  • Try something more casual at the Stokehouse’s downstairs restaurant, Pontoon
  • Nibble on pizzas and pub faves at Lona St Kilda
  • Get spicy at Babu Ji, which serves up delicious Indian food
The St Kilda Esplanade Market is held every Sunday and is a great market to visit in Melbourne, Australia
Image courtesy of Visit Victoria

Travel tips for a Melbourne trip

A few things to keep in mind when planning your visit to Melbourne:

  • Expect high prices. Melbourne (like the rest of Australia) ain’t cheap. You’ll get sticker shock when you see the prices of hotels, meals, drinks, public transport, clothing… yeah, everything. But there are ways to save money – here’s a guide on free things to do in Melbourne!
  • Book transport and hotels in advance, especially if you’re coming during high season, like summer or during school holidays (check out my guide to the best time to visit Melbourne for tips).
  • Check out more of my Melbourne travel tips.

I hope this guide has helped you figure out where to stay on your first time or your next visit to Melbourne! If you want to explore outside of the city, check out my guides to the best Airbnbs in Victoria or day trips from Melbourne for inspiration.

Found this article useful? Consider buying me a coffee as a way to say thanks!

What’s your pick for where to stay in Melbourne? Drop any questions in the comments below and I’ll do my best to help you plan your trip to Melbourne.

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I’m Rebecca, a Melbourne local excited to show you the best of Melbourne. I've visited more than 40 countries and have a Master of International Sustainable Tourism Management. After living abroad for 8 years, I’m back home in Melbourne, rediscovering this city that I love and have missed. My aim is to help you find the best things to do in Melbourne.

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