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Tuck your Penguin Classic into your back pocket, scuff those shoes and adjust your specs: you're entering the home of Melbourne's creative elite and the stomping ground of the city’s fashionistas. Hark at the bars, design stores, writers' studios, galleries and boutique fashion outlets.

Looking good

Be dazzled by the choice of local and international fashion between Swanston and Elizabeth streets, the heart of Melbourne's original 'rag trade'. Find something to challenge and delight around Flinders Lane and Cathedral Arcade, a long-time haven for experimental designs by young and emerging designers.

Take home an artwork

Catch the contagious creativity from the art spaces that comprise Australia's highest concentration of commercial galleries. Find quirky letterpress, contemporary sculpture and Indigenous art, and snap up one-offs at Craft – a gallery and shop showcasing the work of Victoria's finest craftspeople.

Recharge or charge up

With an endless array of hole-in-the-wall cafes, bakeries, sushi, sandwich and soup bars plus with bars and restaurants galore, you’ll easily find a place to recharge.

Chow down at Chin Chin, go subterranean at Coda, be bookish at Journal and admire Andrew McConnell's golden touch at Cumulus, Inc.

Loiter over Centre Place at Hell's Kitchen, and earn your rock stripes at Cherry on AC/DC Lane.

How to get there

Free Melbourne Visitor Shuttle: Stop 2. The complete trip includes 13 stops and takes approximately an hour and a half. The bus runs every 30 minutes between 9.30am and 4.30pm daily (excluding Good Friday and Christmas Day) and includes an on-board commentary.

By foot: Half a block north from Federation Square (about one minute).

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Things to do

Flinders quarter

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Restaurants

Coda

From Movida's Mykal Batholomew and Longrain chef, Adam D'Sylva, this hatted eatery ticks all the right boxes without taking itself too seriously.

Restaurants

Chin Chin

Think carefully about the friends you'll take to Chin Chin, as you'll be settling in and sharing plates of fresh, spicy Thai food plus plentiful wine.

Art galleries

fortyfivedownstairs

Head downstairs for independent and thought-provoking visual art, theatre and live music at this not-for-profit theatre and gallery space.

Cafes

Journal

Enjoy an 'intellectual' date of highbrow chat and down-home cooking amid the bookish atmosphere at Journal, where it's ok to eat, drink, and talk.

Restaurants

Sake

Overlooking the Yarra River in revamped Hamer Hall, this sleek city restaurant and bar offers new-style sushi and classic Japanese cuisine.

Fashion

LIFEwithBIRD

Slip into ultra modern, ultra chic clothing and accesories by Melbourne designer duo Bridget McCall and Nicholas Van Messner. Think modern classics.

Restaurants

Fonda Flinders Lane

Take your tastebuds to Mexico at Fonda Mexican, where their signature burritos, tacos and antojitos keep diners coming back for a flavour fiesta.

Restaurants

Cecconi's

Push the boat out with a modern Italian feast at Cecconi's, purveyors of style and service and winners of a hat in the Good Food Guide 2018.

Restaurants

Cumulus Inc.

This loft-inspired restaurant, hatted by the Good Food Guide boasts a drinking bar, an eating bar and regular tables for serious eating.

Bars

Cumulus Up

Kick back and sample the best of local and European wines in the designer interiors of this loft-style bar from the award-winning Cumulus Inc. team.

Bars

Hihou

Take your drinking to a new level of sophistication at this decadent Japanese-influenced bar and lounge offering libation with unmatched elegance.

Live music

Cherry Bar

This old soul of the Melbourne scene was founded by the drummer of the Cosmic Psychos in 2000 and was a launch-pad for local heroes Jet and Airbourne.

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