Not long ago, National Geographic ran an I Heart My City series. The series invited people from all over the world to finish a set of sentences that explain why they heart their city so much. This invitation also allowed respondents to reveal their local secrets at the same time.
Naturally, there were quite a few responses for Melbourne. However, this prompted me to think about why I heart Melbourne so much. So, I attempted to finish many of the sentences myself and publish my thoughts here.
When someone comes to visit me, the first place I take them is to a live show at one of Melbourne’s incredible live venues, for example Cherry Bar in aptly named AC/DC Lane.
Anytime is the best time to visit my city because Melbourne is known to feature “four seasons in one day”. This is one of Melbourne’s quirkier personality traits.
You can see my city best from the City Circle tram. This tram runs a free service for visitors. Its journey starts and finishes at historical Flinders Street and coasts along the major streets around Melbourne’s city grid. Running commentary gives visitors a lowdown of the city and visitors can hop on and hop off to explore parts of Melbourne at their leisure.
The Melbourne Shop by Lumbi is the place to buy authentic, local souvenirs. It’s located at Shop 2, 8 Driver Lane, Melbourne 3000.
In the past, notable people like media mogul Rupert Murdoch, singer Kylie Minogue and entertainer Barry Humphries (best known for his alter ego Dame Edna Everage), have called my city home.
My city’s best museum is the Ian Potter Museum of Art because visitors can experience one of Victoria’s biggest art collections for free.
If there’s one thing you should know about getting around my city, it’s tram travel. Tram travel is a necessity for many Melburnian public transport travellers. Tram travel through Melbourne’s city and inner city suburbs is cheap, reliable, accessible and quintessentially Melbourne. Melbourne’s tram system is one of the largest tram networks in the world, and one of the last fully-operational tram systems in Australia.
The best place to spend time outdoors in my city is the Royal Botanical Gardens, about a 10 to 15-minute walk along St Kilda Road from Flinders Street. Visitors can access, for free, specialty gardens, memorials and lengthy paths to stroll along as well as destinations within like Herbarium, Plant Craft Cottage, Melbourne Observatory and The Tan (a popular running and jogging track). Garden volunteers are available for free guided tours.
You can tell if someone is from my city if they wear black.
For a fancy night out, I love enjoying a staggered multi-course dinner at Shu Restaurant on Johnston Street in Collingwood.
Just outside my city, you can visit the eclectic, inner city beachside suburb of St Kilda.
My city is known for being cold and wet, but it’s really the most liveable city in the world.
To find out what’s going on at night and on the weekends, read free street press magazine Beat Magazine or Broadsheet, a website that’s in-the-know.
My city’s biggest sports event is not limited to one: Australian Open at Melbourne Olympic Park throughout January, Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park in March and Australian Football League Grand Final at Melbourne Cricket Ground in September to name a couple.
When I’m feeling cash-strapped, I take a wander through Melbourne’s many laneways to check out local and international street art. The laneways’ walls are ever-changing canvases so there’s something new to see whenever you go. Plus, it’s free to wander!
To escape the crowds, I enjoy an espresso at Pellegrini’s Espresso Bar on Bourke Street, browse the shelves for old CDs at Polyester Records on Brunswick Street in Fitzroy, check out an arthouse film at Australian Centre for the Moving Image at Federation Square on Flinders Street, or take a stroll through Carlton Gardens on Victoria Street.
If my city were a celebrity it’d be Dame Edna Everage because, like her, Melbourne is bright, unpredictable, full of life, honest and not scared to speak her mind.
The dish that represents my city best is Vietnamese pho or Chinese dumplings.
The Block Arcade in Collins Street is my favourite building in town because the building dates back to 1892. The Block Arcade houses beautiful boutique shops and historic Melbourne architecture. I have loved enjoying a light lunch at Hopetoun Tea Rooms in the Arcade when I was younger. I was lucky enough to enjoy a lovely lunch of point sandwiches, scones with jam and cream and freshly brewed tea there with my grandmother once. It felt so old world and so simple. Plus, it was the perfect spot to enjoy a slice of history with my most favourite matriarch of my family.
The most random thing about my city is that it was the site of filming for the world’s first picture film in 1906 – ‘Story of the Ned Kelly Gang’.
Cherry Bar in AC/DC Lane, The Hifi Bar or Toff in Town on Swanston Street or Corner Hotel on Swan Street in Richmond are the best places to see live music, but if you’re in the mood to dance, check out The Night Cat on Johnston Street in Fitzroy.
Taking a right-hand turn in a car from the far left lane could only happen in my city. It’s locally known as the “hook turn”.
In the spring you should take a ferry trip to the historic inner city suburb of Williamstown.
In the summer you should head to one of Melbourne’s many roof-top gardens and bars for a beer or cocktail like The Fox Hotel on Wellington Street in Fitzroy, or pack a picnic lunch to enjoy in one of Melbourne’s many public gardens.
In the fall (autumn) you should walk The Tan at the Royal Botanical Gardens or visit the National Gallery of Victoria or check out a great exhibition at Melbourne Museum.
In the winter you should head to one of Melbourne’s many live music venues at night, or enjoy decent coffee and shopping on Degraves Street by day, or read a fabulous book under the 100-year old dome in the La Trobe Reading Room at the State Library of Victoria.
When I think about my city, the song that comes to mind is Four Seasons in One Day by Crowded House or It's a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock 'n' Roll) by AC/DC which was filmed along Swanston Street.
Do tell me about your city and why you heart your city so much!