Melbourne is defined by its suburbs, and almost every suburb has it’s own shopping precinct. Shopping in Melbourne is like a sport all of its own, to go with the myriad sporting options every visitor to Melbourne should check out. Melburnians are no shrinking violets when it comes to fashion, with many of the country’s trends starting right here in Australia’s fashion capital. However, with so many options, from the biggest chain retailers to the smallest chic boutiques, from enormous shopping malls to suburban shopping strips, it can be overwhelming to know where to go to get what your looking for. To make your shopping experience a little less intimidating, here is a selection of the biggest, best and most popular Melbourne shopping precincts for you to check out during your visit.
Bourke Street Mall, CBD
If you’re visiting Melbourne you’ll probably spend some time in the city centre, so why not start your shopping in the Bourke Street Mall. You’ll find Australia’s biggest department stores, Myer and David Jones, in this pedestrian and tram-only precinct, along with plenty of other big retail chain stores such as Sportsgirl and Zara. At the Elizabeth Street end is GPO, the old general post office that has been converted into a fantastic shopping precinct with a number of stores, cafes and restaurants. You’ll also find a Visitor Information Booth in the middle of the Bourke Street Mall where the staff will help you with any questions about your stay in Melbourne that you may need answered.
Also located at the Bourke Street Mall is the beautiful Royal Arcade. Even if you don’t buy anything here, you just have to visit and take photos of the exquisite interior facade. Constructed in 1869, it’s the longest standing arcade in Australia, filled with windowed stores and a high glass roof. There are plenty of individual boutique stores to suit any Melbourne visitor.
Bridge Road, Richmond
A short tram ride from the Melbourne CBD is Bridge Road where you can pick up a designer bargain for a fraction of the price. Known for its fashion factory outlets, you can spend a whole day here buying everything you need to get you through the following 12 months and beyond. It’s also a great place for a bite to eat, and if you’ve made the move here, there are some excellent furniture stores to check out.
Brunswick Street, Fitzroy
If you’re looking for something a little left of centre, Brunswick Street could be the place for you. Yes it has a few of the major brand outlets dotted along the street, but it’s full of great boutique stores, local designers, vintage clothing, second hand stores and factory outlets making it a great shopper’s paradise. You can also find fantastic bookstores and record shops, plus great cafes and restaurants, in this alternative yet stylish area of Melbourne.
Just off Brunswick Street is Gertrude Street, another smaller shopping strip full of additional boutique shopping and cafes. Don’t miss it while you’re in this neck of the woods.
Chadstone Shopping Centre, Chadstone
The self-titled ‘Fashion Capital’ is the biggest shopping centre in the southern hemisphere, and it’s still growing with development currently underway on a new hotel so now visitors will be able to make their way to Melbourne solely for the Chadstone shopping experience. It’s got over 530 stores, including a dedicated luxury precinct, so you’ll find literally anything you’re searching for, from an international retailer to a small local designer. You can also catch a movie at the cinema, go 10-pin bowling, or relax in a day spa if you’ve had enough shopping for one day. The only problem with Chadstone is it’s a long way out of town, and there’s nothing else to do in the area. But that’s ok because you’ll probably spend your whole day there anyway.
Chapel Street, South Yarra/Prahran/Windsor
If you go nowhere else to do your shopping while in Melbourne, make sure you get to Chapel Street. It’s nirvana for anyone who loves to spend money, with over 1,000 shops spanning two kilometres through three suburbs. Divided into two distinct areas, roughly at the Commercial Road intersection, the eastern end of Chapel Street is where you’ll find expensive boutique stores and global chains, while the western end is where you’ll find more alternative and eclectic shops. Just off Chapel Street is Greville Street, a lovely little ‘village’ where you can find a mishmash of record stores, boutique fashion shops, bars, magazine shops and eateries.
Collins Street, CBD
Also located in the Melbourne CBD, Collins Street is where to go for your luxury items. The ‘Paris End’ of Collins Street (Eastern end) is filled with designer shopping and jewellery stores including Chanel, Georg Jensen, Giorgio Armani, Bvlgari, Hugo Boss, Herringbone, Tiffany & Co. and Louis Vuitton among a host of others, and it’s also a wonderful area to find beautiful architecture for those impressive Melbourne photo opportunities. You’ll find entrances to two of the city’s most visited retail centres, The Block Arcade and St Collins Lane (previously Australia on Collins), between Swanston and Elizabeth Streets. The Block Arcade is one of the most beautifully decorated interiors you’ll find in the city, complete with mosaic tile floors, carved stone and wrought iron finishes, and glass canopy.
Emporium Melbourne, CBD
Split over seven levels, The Emporium is one of Melbourne’s newest shopping centres in the CBD. Located on Lonsdale Street between Swanston and Elizabeth Streets, it boasts the largest collection of Australian designers under one roof. It’s an incredibly impressive restoration, and features everything you look for in a modern indoor shopping precinct. You’ll find everything you need in one of the 200 High Street fashion and food outlets, and if you can’t, it’s connected to Melbourne Central, Myer Melbourne and David Jones via pedestrian bridges and tunnels.
Melbourne Central, CBD
Get off the city loop train at Melbourne Central (funnily enough) and head straight upstairs into an incredible shopping arcade. Filled with designer brands from over 300 different retailers over seven levels, Melbourne Central runs across two city blocks. Check out the Marionette Watch hanging in Shot Tower Square where you’ll see an hourly rendition of ‘Waltzing Matilda’, Australia’s unofficial national anthem!
Shopping in Melbourne doesn’t end there!
These are just a handful of the more popular and well-known shopping areas in Melbourne. There are plenty of other places where you can go shopping in Melbourne such as Acland Street in St Kilda (cakes and sweets, Luna Park), Smith Street in Collingwood (vintage fashion), Crown Entertainment Complex (fashion and food), Lygon Street in Carlton (Italian food), China Town in the CBD (Chinese food), and Docklands in the CBD (fashion and food). Melbourne is a big city and it would take a year to write an article that did justice to all of the shopping precincts here.
However, if you get to take in just a few of the options outlined above, you’ll have had an extraordinary shopping experience in Melbourne, multiple winner of the ‘world’s most liveable city’ award.