Rug up and roam on a long weekend in Melbourne this winter. Leaf through bookshops and basement bazaars or drop by bars and pubs with cosy couches and flickering fireplaces.

Wander undercover via Victorian arcades. Browse independent boutiques and big brands. Stop for cheese, craft brews and gin joints before diving into steaming bowls of spicy pho and cocktails after dark. There's nothing like a long winter weekend in Melbourne.

Friday night

Start your weekend like a local, with a Pellegrini's coffee on Bourke Street, before threading through laneways packed with artworks. Linger at Lillian’s euro-style brasserie or dial up the dining over sister venue Society’s curated a la carte menu. If you prefer something spicy, head for the buzz of MoVida Next Door’s Spanish wine and tapas, or tuck into native flavour-filled share plates at Federation Square’s Big Esso.

Cross through Fed Square and over the Yarra River to join the steady flow of pedestrians along Southbank Promenade. Take in twinkling views of the city lights and shimmering reflections. Pawa is our top pick for coffee and nibbles down here. 

Slip into the NGV Friday Nights for an evening line-up of local talent, and enjoy after-hours access to exhibitions paired with drinks, DJs and French-inspired desserts. Arts aficionados should also consider a trip in early June to kick off winter with Melbourne’s hottest arts festival, Rising.

If you’re more in the mood for a masterclass, stop by legendary cocktail bar, 1806. Let the bar-person know what you love so they can work their mixology magic for you.

Later, grab a quick bite at a late-night diner. Slurp pho until sunrise at Straight Outta Saigon, or find burgers, yakitori and toasties 24/7 at Butchers Diner. Stop in at BYRDI for native-ingredient nibbles and cocktails until late.

Saturday morning

Feast your way through Queen Victoria Market. You'll find food halls and market sheds loaded with buyers, sellers and fresh produce, locally-made goods and great coffee. As you discover deli stands and bakery counters, flower stalls and food courts, don't miss local favourites like The American Doughnut Kitchen and the borek and bratwurst shops.

Slept in? Take it easy with brunch at Manchester Press on Rankins Lane – a laneway cafe in the city’s heart. After 12 noon, head to the deli at Farmer's Daughters. Hole up with a coffee and a good read.

Saturday afternoon

Wrap yourself up in a stylish Melbourne-made scarf and take the tram down St Kilda Road to Melbourne's green heart: the Royal Botanic Gardens. Then stroll to South Wharf along the Yarra for LUME’s dazzling digital display of modern and classic art. Langlands' all-day menu may tempt you on the way.

Want more to explore? Eureka Skydeck delivers incredible 360-degree Melbourne views. If you're in the mood for culture, check out the latest ACMI collection, or an exhibition at the famed Melbourne Museum. There's also the newly opened Dome Promenade at the Exhibition Building. It's been closed off for over 100 years! 

Time to head back to the city. Off Exhibition Street, pop into basement bar Juliet for cocktails and bar bites, or wine and dine bistro-style at the moody Bar Margaux

Saturday night

Booked your seat in Melbourne's East End Theatre District? See & Juliet or Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – they're both continuing a stellar run.

For pre-show menus, check out Italian fine diner Grill Americano or circle back to 80 Collins for Tokyo-inspired Yakimono. CBD wine bar Embla raises the roof with a wonderful wine selection, and if it’s late dinner you’re after, get your fill of barbecued bites at Belles Hot Chicken, Fancy Hanks or Le Bon Ton.

Sunday morning

Jump on a tram to nearby neighbourhoods, and explore leafy streets, cafes and patisseries, record stores, wine bars and boutiques. Discover Carlton Gardens; Rose St Artist's Market, Collingwood Yards arts precinct, Gertrude and Brunswick streets in Fitzroy; and Smith Street, Collingwood.

Sunday afternoon

Winter Sundays in Melbourne are for roasts and wine-matched long lunches. Check blackboards at Neighbourhood Wine, Estelle or Marquis of Lorne for warming specials, or kick back over a sharing menu at Old Palm Liquor in Brunswick East. If you find yourself on Smith St in Fitzroy, make a beeline for the ice-cream at Fluffy Torpedo.

Sidestep the sidewalk to explore covered heritage arcades in the CBD. Head to St. Collins Lane for fashion’s latest collections, stop at the Block and Royal arcades for chocolatiers and jewellers. Take flyovers connecting Melbourne Central to Emporium and Bourke St malls. Cross to Centre Place and Degraves for cafes, and Flinders Lane for the best boutiques.

Sunday evening

Ease into Sunday evening at a relaxed bar with top-notch food. Take your pick of HER Bar, Gimlet at Cavendish House or Bar Liberty and join the great debate: is it a bar or a restaurant? With food, wine and cocktails this good, we're happy to keep searching until we find the answer. For a bit of fun to finish the weekend, head to global food-meets-electronic-darts restaurant sensation, Oche.