Peel back the inner-city onion that is Collingwood and discover layers of local history, infamous characters, quirky creativity and effortless charm.
It's mandatory to have a good time around Collingwood and your attempts are made easy by increasing numbers of bars and restaurants, making it consistently one of Melbourne's top dining and bar-hopping 'burbs.
Eat until you're told to stop at Wabi Sabi Salon, Saint Crispin or Easy Tiger. Get serious about your pub grub at The Gem, The Robert Burns or The Grace Darling, or revel till all hours at Le Bon Ton.
It's close to impossible to get a bad coffee around Smith Street. Get your cup o' Joe from Proud Mary, Cibi or Monsieur Truffe.
Don't let a night out in Collingwood end without seeing a band at The Tote. You can also hear live music at Yah Yah's and the Grace Darling.
Arts and activity
Collingwood has long led the way when it comes to supporting artist initiatives and small galleries. Take a walking tour around the 'hood and make sure you call into Lamington Drive, Fehily Contemporary, 69 Smith Street and Compound Interest. Serious art aficionados must visit Australian Galleries, Ochre and Catherine Asquith. Try your luck with a performance or exhibition at Collingwood Underground Theatre, set in an abandoned underground carpark.
These arty types don't mid a bit of sport, either. If you've already pledged your allegiance to anyone other than the Collingwood Magpies AFL club, you might consider a hit of ping pong at Panama, or jumping rope with the Collingwood Skipping Club.
Shopping Collingwood style
Even shopping in Collingwood is interesting. There are factory outlets flanking Smith Street; specialty stores like Smart Alec men's hatters; Tongue and Groove designer and vintage furniture; Scandanavian furniture alongside Japanese curios at Cibi; rare records at The Searchers Secondhand Shop; and a whole world of pre-loved everything at Lost & Found Market.
Pay attention to the neighbourhood architecture to get a sense of Melbourne's history. Check out the dramatic Collingwood Town Hall, as well as the imposing corner pubs and the largely preserved nineteenth century dwellings, shops and factories.