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Overview

Arts precinct

When you've exhausted the drinking dens, subterranean restaurants and witty street art of Melbourne's laneways, what else is there to do but go up?

The city's Curtin House and Nicholas Building have been characterised as vertical laneways, boasting the requisite boutiques, bars and eateries, but both adding distinctly quirky stamps to the scene.

The perfect fit of fine craftsmanship

Nicholas Building is where you go for the perfect fit. The veteran lifts in the Nicholas Building will take you back in time, and deliver you to floor after floor of studios, galleries and curiosities. Find craftspeople making the finest made-to-measure shoes, couture, hats and jewellery. Dig around for collectable buttons, and stumble upon breathtaking kimonos. Check out the surprises in store at Blindside artist-run gallery.

You won't always have access to the busy studios within the Nicholas Building, but schedule in a visit during the regular Open Studio days and plant your peepers on all the tools of the trades.

Raise the roof

Tackle the stairs at Curtin House (often faster than queuing for the lift) and emerge into a scene reminiscent of 1970s New York, with city kids lounging on sultry rooftops. Brave the elements and stop by for a drink, and during summer it's a rite of passage to stick around to watch movies illuminated by Melbourne's skyscrapers.

Working down

Work your way down from the rooftop through the levels of what appears to be a hipster ant colony. Spy on the soldier ants training at the Wing Chun Bing Fa Kung Fu and the drinker ants who swarm Cookie and Toff in Town at any opportunity.

Even ants need to look the part. Spend your hard-earned on threads from Someday and Bul and specialty books from Metropolis.

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Things to do

Arts precinct

Art galleries

NGV International

See one of the Southern Hemisphere's most impressive collections of European, Asian, Oceanic and American art at this iconic Melbourne gallery.

Performing arts

The Australian Ballet

Founded in 1962, The Australian Ballet is one of the country's flagship arts companies. Each year the company performs classical and contemporary...

Art galleries

Australian Centre for Contemporary Art

Get a fresh perspective. See works by the best international and Australian contemporary artists and attend inspiring workshops and public talks.

Performing arts

Arts Centre Melbourne

See local and international performances and exhibitions at Melbourne's home of performing arts. Take a tour and browse the Sunday arts and craft market.

Performing arts

Malthouse Theatre

Encounter endless possibilities presented by an inspired program of contemporary theatre in a cherished building, plus refreshments pre and post-show.

Performing arts

Melbourne Theatre Company

Be entertained, challenged and enriched by the MTC's consistently excellent program of classic and contemporary Australian and international theatre.

Performing arts

Melbourne Recital Centre

Listen to the best local and international performers at this outstanding, purpose-built recital hall in the heart of the Southbank arts precinct.

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Discover the wealth of public art works along the Geelong waterfront from the whimsical Baywalk Bollards to the Cargo Boxes and Paving Splats.

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See the big names of the stage in blockbuster productions at historic theatres, or catch new local talent on tiny stages in edgy theatres.

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Music and performing arts

Choose any night of the week to indulge in Melbourne's local and international opera, ballet, comedy, live music, plays, performing arts and openings.