Melbourne has been dubbed one of the most livable cities in the world, and it’s easy to see why. The city centre itself is a bustling hive of activity and entertainment, while its suburbs are charming, with a rich character of its own. On a recent trip with a local tour guide from Localing, I discovered what the quaint, historic neighbourhoods of Fitzroy and Carlton had to offer.
Known as a bohemian neighbourhood, Fitzroy is popular for its vibrant street art, music and culture, as well as a diverse community. Hipster cafes, pubs and establishments pepper the area, most notably along its main thorough way, Brunswick Street. As Melbourne’s first suburb (established in the 1830s), visitors will find plenty of old, Victorian architecture alongside colourful graffiti.
Although the entire suburb only spans several blocks (1.4kmsq), there are several notable art galleries, space and studios, such as the Gertrude Contemporary Art Spaces and the Centre for Contemporary Photography. Live music is also popular at venues such as the Old Bar, Evelyn Hotel, Cape Live, and more.
Buildings tagged with graffiti create an odd, eclectic mix of old and new.
The neighbourhood of Carlton, just next to Fitzroy, is of similar ilk – founded in the 1850s, it retains much of its Victorian era buildings, with wide walkways, garden squares and elaborately detailed balcony fronts. Perhaps best known for its Lygon Street, home to the city’s ‘Little Italy’ district, bakeries, pizzerias and al fresco cafes.
Double storey ‘terrace’ homes/walk-up apartments are typical in Carlton’s residential districts; housing mostly students and lower income earners. Despite the shaggy, rather run-down look, the buildings retain a certain old-world charm.
Detailed motifs adorn the arches and balconies.
We popped into a bakery called Baker D Chirico, and was duly rewarded by the fragrant aroma of freshly baked breads and pastries. It was near closing time, but the homely outlet still had quite a number of items for sale, which we sampled.
Wonderful array of home made tarts, pies, biscuits, cookies, muffins and more. Their signature is the nougat, and during Easter, people line up in droves for their fruit cakes.
It’s actually been awhile since I had hot cross buns! These were fluffy and light enough as a snack.
BAKER D CHIRICO
178 Faraday St, Carlton VIC 3053, Australia
Business hours: 8AM – 5PM (closed on Mondays)
So if you’re looking for a chill place to hangout in the city that’s still close enough without taking a daytrip, consider venturing to Fitzroy and Carlton and see what gems you can unearth! 🙂