8 of Melbourne’s best laneways

Melbourne's laneways are a colourful expression of the city's character.

There's no better place to lose yourself than in Melbourne's laneways. The narrow arcades are jam-packed with boutique cafes, al fresco trattorias and one-off boutique shops. Street art and buskers put a creative spin on the laneway scene, inviting one photo opportunity after another.

You could spend weeks exploring every corner of the seductive streets, but sadly not everyone has that luxury. If you're only in Melbourne for a quick visit, get right to the good stuff and check out these five must-see laneways. 

1. Centre Place

Start with the most classic laneway in the city. Popular with tourists and locals alike, there is always a buzz in the air at Centre Place. This is a great spot to hunt down some lunch, with hole-in-the-wall cafes serving up everything from dumplings to crepes and bagels. 

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2. Tattersall's Lane

Melbourne's alternative vibe is summed up in this lively street. The old brick buildings that line the laneway house Shanghai-style eateries. The fare available is rounded out by the odd Indian and Japanese restaurant, and polished off by a few grungy dive bars. 

3. Blender Lane

The appropriately named Blender Lane is an eclectic blend of murals, graffiti and stencils. There's a riot of colour everywhere you look. In the summer, an artist's market takes over the laneway, and you can shop for crafts and jewellery. To dig a little deeper into Melbourne's street art scene you can take a tour or attend a local art workshop. 

4. AC/DC Lane

The quintessentially Australian laneway, you can find layers of local rock'n'roll history down AC/DC Lane. From the lightening bolt on the street sign to the live music venues, this alley pays homage to Australia's rock music legacy. It's not as busy as some of the other laneways, so you can take your time to enjoy the AC/DC related artwork and hunt for the bars secreted away along the street. 

5. Hosier Lane

Classy cocktail lounges contrast with politically-themed graffiti in Hosier Lane. It's edgy and sophisticated at the same time, embodying much of what people love about Melbourne. The colourful walls are in a state of constant flux, with the art changing every few months and making Hosier Lane completely unique and a different experience every time. To learn more about the art and artists active in this laneway, joining a walking tour is a great option. 

6. The Block Arcade

A heritage shopping arcade, the Block has mosaic-tiled floors, carved stones and an elegant glass roof. Dating back to the 19th century, it has a richly decorated style that is reminiscent of Milan. The arcade is perfect for rainy days, with a string of boutiques and cafes that will keep you busy for hours. However, while the cakes and tea are lovely, the main draw of the Block is the lush atmosphere – one of the best things to do is simply stroll up and down and enjoy the European vibes. 

7. Degraves Street

Don't let the name fool you – this narrow street was one of the first laneways to draw crowds to its bars and cafes, and remains a bustling good-time centre in Melbourne. Throngs of people head to this pedestrian walkway to get their caffeine or Italian food fix. The art deco architecture, cobblestones and umbrellas give the street a Parisian air, helped along by the buskers keeping passersby entertained with piano accordions and other instruments. 

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8. Meyers Place

Meyers Place is one of Melbourne's oldest laneways and a perennial favourite with people who have been on the laneway scene from the beginning. As part of the new Green Your Laneways project, Meyers Place is slowly taking on a life of its own, with creepers, vertical gardens and window boxes planned to compete with street art to cover the laneway's walls. Amongst the foliage, you can find dozens of great bars – this laneway has been at the heart of the small bar scene for some time. From rooftop bars, to art venues with films and live gigs and old-school cocktail lounges, you can get the full range of Melbourne's bars here. For a piece of history, try and find the city's oldest laneway bar, called Meyers Place. 

Make sure you don't miss out on anything Melbourne has to offer by hiring a car to zip around in – we've got you covered with our great range of vehicles!

About the Author

Chester is a foodie and loves to explore the great land of Australia. He is currently blogging for East Coast Car Rentals.

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