The coastal city of Melbourne in Victoria offers a range of exciting opportunities for travellers, from vibrant arts and cultural attractions to hip bars and restaurants. If you’re planning a short break, check out this recommended itinerary and ideas for spending 2 or 3 days in Melbourne to discover how to make the most of the experience.

Cityscape at St Kilda near Melbourne

St Kilda

Friday Evening

When you arrive on Friday, you’ll have 72 hours in Melbourne. Have dinner and drinks at Bar Liberty, a bar with wine, cocktails, and spirits, as well as unique foods like burrata with black garlic and cucumber. There’s also the Old Raffles Place, a Singapore-inspired restaurant with Chinese sausage, char kway teow, and Hokkien mee. You could also have a few drinks to get your night started.

After dining, there’s no better way to start your weekend than with a Ferris wheel ride on the Melbourne Star. The towering observation wheel offers panoramic views of the city, as well as unique experiences like sangria jugs or wine. If you prefer to stand still and take in the sights, visit Eureka Skydeck 88, one of the tallest observation decks in the Southern Hemisphere. While you’re looking out into the city, you can sip beer, wine, or champagne for a romantic evening.

Saturday Morning

On Saturday morning, you’ll have 48 hours remaining in Melbourne. Visit Higher Ground for imaginative breakfast and brunch dishes like avocado crackers with macadamia feta and poached eggs in an industrial-chic atmosphere. There’s also Cumulus Inc., which serves classics and unique dishes like homemade crumpets with whipped ricotta.

After breakfast, take some time to explore Federation Square, a hub for arts, culture, and public events. You can also unwind with a stroll through the Royal Botanic Gardens, which are home to a rich mix of native and exotic plants near the river or stroll along the Yarra River to get in touch with nature.

For lunch, have a delicious French-inspired meal at Hardware Société. The restaurant serves meals like baked eggs with pork belly, lobster eggs benedict, and fried brioche with meringue. You’ll also like Bowery to Williamsburg, a café inspired by New York subways with Southern-style foods.

Waterfall in Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne

Royal Botanic Gardens

Saturday Afternoon and Evening

After lunch, get some shopping done at Queen Victoria Market. The historic market hosts a variety of shops and stalls selling all manner of goods, from food products to handicrafts. If you’re bringing the kids, you can visit the Melbourne Zoo to see an array of global animal species.

On Saturday night in Melbourne, you can experience the best of the city’s nightlife. Start with wine at the Carlton Wine Room, a popular haunt with an extensive wine list and mouth-watering dishes like duck and pork croquettes and cuttlefish gratin.

For the thrill-seekers, the Melbourne Gaol offers nightly ghost tours that take you through the original gaol to hear stories of its haunting former residents. There are 3 tours available, including one with an in-depth cell block experience. The city has other ghost tours as well, which take you to places like the Pentridge Prison and the old port town of Williamstown.

Sunday Morning

On Sunday morning in Melbourne, you’ll have 24 hours left for sightseeing. Start with breakfast or brunch at Rustica, a charming restaurant with pastries, traditional breakfasts, and cold-pressed juices. There’s also Operator25, a brunch restaurant in a former telephone exchange building with creative breakfast options like sweet potato waffles with chocolate sauce and Singapore kaya toast.

After breakfast, you can visit the National Gallery of Victoria to see masterpieces of Australian and international artwork. You’ll also like the SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium, which is home to many vibrant marine species in naturalistic habitats. Kids will like Luna Park, a nostalgic theme park with fun kiddie rides and games.

For lunch, visit The European, a diverse restaurant that combines traditional dishes from France, Spain, and Italy for unique brunch foods. You could also try the gorgeous art deco-style 1932 Cafe & Restaurant, which serves hearty brunch foods.

Sunday Afternoon and Evening

After lunch, you can relax by the water at St Kilda Beach, a famed beach that’s popular for water sports. There’s the St Kilda Pier as well, which is home to unique seaside shops and attractions.

On Sunday night in Melbourne, things really get exciting. Begin with dinner at Gerald’s Bar, an industrial space with creative drinks and a bistro menu. For wine and inspired dishes like Bass Strait octopus and Spanish anchovies, try Napier Quarter.

After dinner, visit one of Melbourne’s unique bars, such as Storyville, which is fairy-tale-themed, or Lui Bar, a rooftop watering hole with spectacular views. You’ll also like the Murmur Piano Bar, which hosts sing-alongs.

Another great way to end your trip is with a tour of the laneways, which are home to restaurants, cafés, and bars with late-night Melbourne activities. There’s also an abundance of beautiful and quirky street art, particularly on Union Lane and Hosier Lane.

People by the seaside in St Kilda Beach

St Kilda Beach

Ready for the perfect weekend getaway?

Now that you have the ideal weekend itinerary for a fun-filled trip to Melbourne, it’s time to start planning. Take a look at deals on Melbourne vacations on Expedia to make the most of your experience!