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Do a modern version of "the block", a century-old form of cruising Melbourne's arcades that to this day takes in cutting-edge artwork, independent fashion, imported music and stunning design.

Arcades with history

These days you're not walking endlessly around Block and Royal arcades, unlike your forebears who were trying to escape the prying eyes of their elders. You may still start at Block Arcade, which links Collins Street and Little Collins streets via a glass canopied, mosaic floored laneway. Slaver over the cake displays at Hopetoun Tearooms, rollicking tunes at Basement Discs and al fresco eating options.

Cross over to Royal Arcade, nodding to the giant statues of Gog and Magog and set yourself up with babushkas, board games, bling and super style from Marais and Somewhere.

Embarking on new "block"

Your new-fangled "block" doesn't end there. Cover your tracks back over Collins Street and head for Cathedral Arcade, with the dome, stained glass and leadlighting that the name suggests. Browse the wares at Kuwaii and ride the lifts up to the Nicholas Building ateliers, studios and galleries.

Going underground

Slip beneath Degraves Street to Campbell Arcade and be surprised by the latest offering from the Platform Artist Group, one of Melbourne's oldest artist-run initiatives that gives commuters something to smile about. Also proffering reasons to smile is Cup of Truth and its seriously excellent coffee; indie fashion at Cats Meow and Corky Saint Clair; big beats at Wax Museum Records; and Sticky zine world, which almost defies description.

With all the cafes, bars and restaurants scattered around "the block", you can maintain your energy levels, and do it all again.



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Things to do


Cup of Truth

Go underground for barista-brewed coffee so smooth you won't want to get it at street level again.

Nicholas Building

Take the veteran lifts to floor after floor of studios and galleries in this heritage-listed creative hub.


Nestled in the historic Nicholas Building, this artist run space presents an ever-changing program.


Feel the magnetic pull down Cathedral Arcade towards Kuwaii's timeless and beautiful womenswear .


Drench yourself in colour, and dresses, coats and pants, at this distillery of cutting edge fashion.


Ascend the stairs to a sartorial haven of French glamour with achingly cool, covetable collections.

Corky Saint Clair

Art meets life and then gets madly meta as you find yourself browsing Corky's shop in real life.

Hopetoun Tea Rooms

Raise a pinky to founder Lady Hopetoun as you dine the 'old-fashioned way' at this house of fine tea.


Get stuck into zines at Australia's undisputed headquarters for lovingly photocopied publications.

The Melbourne Shop by Lumbi

Take home stylish souvenirs: Melbourne-themed prints on clothing, accessories, canvas and homewares.


Indulge in all things Nordic by nature at this stylish fashion store with an upstairs gallery space.

The Basement Discs

Pick up new releases and find rare titles from the world's best folk, blues and country artists.

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