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Famed for its hidden laneways, Melbourne is a maze of tucked-away eateries and secret cocktail spots. It would take a traveller days to discover only a handful of the city’s concealed gems, which is why we’ve wrangled up tips on where to eat, where to stay and what to do from some of our favourite locals. Consider this your head start.

jamesbanham_melbourneJames Banham, writer and editor of lifestyle blog The F
Where to eat
One of my favourites is Fall From Grace. Stylish with avant-garde decor, there’s a restaurant upstairs with a sumptuous menu and a hole-in-the-wall cocktail bar downstairs through a secret, hidden doorway – it’s the kind of clandestine gem that Melbourne is famous for.
Where to stay
Ovolo Laneways in the CBD. The penthouse is the stuff dreams are made of, and it’ll wow not just you, but your guests, friends and family, too.

The Penthouse at Ovolo Laneways

The Penthouse at Ovolo Laneways

Best tourist attraction
Head to St Kilda jetty for views of boats and the city skyline. It’s an ideal date spot.
What the locals know
Avoid the free City Circle Tram at all costs. It’s so much more colourful, interesting and photo-worthy to walk around the perimeter of Melbourne CBD.

Clea GarrickClea Garrick, creator of fashion label Limedrop
Where to eat
I love Burch & Purchese Sweet Studio in South Yarra, which is famous for its dessert tubes. There’s even a Limedrop Splash, created in collaboration with our brand.
Where to stay
I’m also a fan of Ovolo Laneways, which is a sleek place at the top end of the city. Nearby, you’ll find stylish rooftop bar Siglo, as well as foodie delights like Longrain and Gingerboy.

Rooftop dining at Siglo

Rooftop dining at Siglo; photo by Tess Kelly

Best tourist attraction
Eureka Tower is the ideal vantage point for taking in the sights of Melbourne. Go just before sunset.
What the locals know
The best way to explore Melbourne’s hidden laneways is to get lost and then ask a local for help. Or, for the less intrepid, book a Hidden Secrets tour for a guide to all the hidden spots.

Emily GillisEmily Gillis, creative director and founder of luxury scarf brand Same Silks
Where to eat
Kaprica is a snug Italian restaurant serving up rustic, home-style pizzas. It’s in Carlton, which is home to Melbourne’s Little Italy neighbourhood on Lygon Street.
Where to stay
The Cullen boutique hotel is inspired by the bold art of Adam Cullen – you can see his art throughout the property, which I love. Plus, the hotel is in a central location with lots of shops, cafes and restaurants nearby.

The Cullen, Melbourne

The art-focused interiors of the Cullen hotel

Best tourist attraction
Nothing beats shopping for local designers’ wares in Fitzroy and Collingwood during the day, and bar hopping at night.
What the locals know
Grab a six-pack of lagers and head to Edinburgh Gardens in North Fitzroy on a Sunday during the summertime. It’s crawling with picnic rugs, dogs and boomboxes.

Elliot WaldronElliot Waldron, founder of men’s skincare brand Hunter Lab
Where to eat
Hawker Hall in Windsor. It’s an Asian street food take on a beer hall, and the $60 all-you-can-eat banquet is the winner – they keep serving dishes until you wave your napkin in surrender.
Where to stay
The Prince in St Kilda has an unbeatable position. Flanked by the hustle of Fitzroy street and the bustle of Acland Street, the hotel is home to the sensual Aurora Day Spa and the French dining experience at Circa.

Hawker Hall

Hawker Hall’s eclectic fare

Best tourist attraction
You can’t come to the sporting capital without visiting the hallowed MCG for an AFL (Australian Football League) game. Immerse yourself in the very-Melbourne atmosphere with a beer and a pie too.
What the locals know
We have the best weather, but make sure you always head out with at least one removable layer. It’s easier to experience all the seasons in one day if you’re prepared.

Featured image via Getty

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