Melbourne's alternative and creative thinkers have found a home in Fitzroy.
By Ellie Schneider
Fitzroy is truly one of Australia's hippest neighbourhoods. In this trendy suburb of Melbourne, explore the painted alleys and laneways around Rose Street, eat and drink your way down Brunswick Street and make new additions to your wardrobe on Gertrude Street.
- Sample Australian local spirits and specialty coffee
- See Melbourne's famous street art
- Shop for one-off finds at countless boutiques
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Top things to do in Fitzroy
Meet the creatives at Rose Street Artists Market
Tucked just off Brunswick Street, Rose Street Artists Market is held every Saturday and Sunday from 11am until 5pm. Melbourne’s emerging artists and designers sell their wares here, including handmade jewellery, accessories, art and photography; there are plenty of opportunities to pick a unique gift to take home. When you're ready to take a break from the browsing, stop for a coffee at adjoining Young Bloods Diner.
Browse the boutiques on Gertrude Street
Gertrude Street is home to a string of small boutiques selling everything from vintage clothing to designer fashion. Find new and second-hand vinyl at Northside Records or rummage through antiques and oddities at Tarlo & Graham, a go-to among Melbourne's design lovers. Browse through beautiful, locally made women’s fashion at Obüs and cutting-edge threads at ESS Laboratory. And try the luxurious skincare range at Aesop. For the fellas, Handsom offers timeless, everyday clothing while Smart Alec boasts an eccentric collection of accessories including fedoras, scarves and gloves.
Taste Australia's best gelato
Since opening its first store in the Sydney suburb of Darlinghurst in 2002, Messina has become the Australian mecca for gelato, expanding to Melbourne, the Gold Coast and even Las Vegas. Try Messina at its Fitzroy outpost on Smith Street. There are 35 flavours in its stable, as well as five specials every week, which in the past have included passionfruit cheesecake, red velvet and key lime pie.
Sample specialty coffee with brunch
Housed in a converted warehouse on Rose Street, Industry Beans is a specialty coffee roaster serving single origin and blended coffee using a variety of methods, such as espresso, pour over, aeropress and cold drip. Pair your coffee with a pick from the innovative brunch menu. Popular dishes include fried Creole chicken burger, coconut-crushed brioche and avocado smash. At De Clieu on Gertrude Street choose from the house blend or single origin coffee and try a filter or cold brew. Sit outside at Grub Food Van on Moor Street, an eclectic café decked out with picnic tables, a 1965 Airstream van and garden gnomes, and tuck into dishes such as confit salmon and marinated sardines.
Do a DIY bar crawl
Fitzroy's bar scene is booming, and the best way to take it all in is on a DIY bar crawl. Start at Naked in the Sky, the rooftop bar above Naked for Satan, and watch the sun set above the city. Order from its list of house-infused vodka – try cherry ripe or salted caramel – and a selection of pintxos (small snacks eaten traditionally in northern Spain). Move on to Bad Frankie to sample a selection of boutique Australian spirits where a friendly bartender will happily talk you through the extensive menu. If you're feeling a little hungry, there's a menu of toasted sandwiches (known as jaffles in Australia), with delicious fillings such as poached chicken or corned beef. End the night at Black Pearl, a buzzy cocktail lounge named in the World’s 50 Best Bars.
Snap up the street art
Melbourne is considered one of the world' s leading street art cities and many Fitzroy buildings are splashed with large murals, transforming the suburb into a free public gallery. See these colourful works on an easy stroll around Fitzroy's cobbled laneways. Head to Wood Street to see works by renowned photorealist painter Smug or Leicester Street to see The Bogan, a collaborative work by artists Sofles, Smug and Adnate. Keep your eyes peeled for Rone’s large-scale female portraits, which are celebrated around the world and decorate buildings in New York, London, Tokyo and Berlin. Delve deeper into Melbourne street culture on a guided tour led by some of Melbourne's best street artists.
How to get there
Fitzroy is two kilometres (1.2 miles) north-east of Melbourne's city centre and can easily be reached by tram or on foot. Hop on tram 86 from Bourke Street Mall to Gertrude Street, or, take the 25 minute walk up Little Bourke Street and along Carlton Gardens.