5 Cool Culturally Diverse Areas In Melbourne You Will Love + What To Do There

 In Australia, Community, Melbourne

Moved to Melbourne and now you’re missing home? What if we told you there exists little enclaves of culturally diverse areas, just here in Melbourne? Known as ‘the world’s most liveable city’, Melbourne is home to 5 million people, with almost a quarter of this population being born overseas. Fun fact: After Athens and Thessaloniki, Melbourne has the largest Greek-speaking population outside of Europe!

With citizens from over 200 countries calling Melbourne their home, you are sure to find culturally diverse areas that are perfect for you to settle down in or visit on a day out. Here are just some of our picks of the most culturally diverse areas in Melbourne and everything you can do once you visit!

1. Footscray

Footscray, Victoria is a culturally diverse area in Melbourne.
Photo credit: Michael J Fromholtz / Unsplash

Talk about a trendy and exciting area to visit! Footscray is an inner-western suburb of Melbourne, just a quick bus ride away from Melbourne’s central business district. With a population of just over 16,000, Footscray is a quaint and culturally diverse area in Melbourne. This trendy suburb is characterised by a very culturally diverse, multicultural central shopping area.

Formerly, Footscray was a centre for Greek, Italian and former Yugoslavian migrants. Today, it is a hub for Vietnamese and East African immigrants in Melbourne. In fact, Footscray was ranked 13th in Time Out Magazine’s ‘50 Coolest Neighbourhoods in the World‘ for 2019, reflecting its evolving reputation and exciting array of international cuisine, nightlife and bars!

Eat + drink

Pho Chu The

Culturally diverse foods in Melbourne, such as pho at Pho Chu The.
Photo credit: Marek Minor / Unsplash

What’s better than a warm, comforting bowl of pho to nurse that hangover, or just to end off a tiring day? Footscray boasts some of Melbourne’s best, not to mention authentic Vietnamese food – courtesy of the large population of Vietnamese immigrants that call this area home. We especially love the Signature Rare Beef Pho (from $11) from Pho Chu The, packed with tender sliced beef and silky smooth rice noodles in a clear, flavourful broth. 

Pho Chu The
Address: 92 Hopkins St., 3011 Footscray Victoria, Australia
Tel: +61 3 9687 8265
Opening hours: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. (Daily)

Nhu Lan Bakery

You might have to queue for this one, but we promise, it’s worth it! Nhu Lan Bakery boasts some of Melbourne’s finest banh mi (think, a sub sandwich made with a baguette and Vietnamese-inspired flavours) options. Baguettes are baked on-site daily and stuffed with house-made butter, a wide selection of cold cuts and topped with fresh vegetables. You’ve got to try the BBQ Kebab Roll ($5.50) or the Chicken Onion Roll ($5.50) if you visit here. 

Nhu Lan Bakery
Address: 16 Hopkins St., 3011 Footscray Victoria , Australia
Tel: +61 3 9689 7296
Opening hours: 5 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Sat. to Thu.); 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. (Fri.)

Mr West

Culturally diverse foods in Melbourne, such as drinks at Mr West.
Photo credit: Graham Denholm

A trendy spot that opened in 2017, Mr West started out as a first-floor bar serving up a delicious array of over 26 craft beers (on tap!) but has grown into a Footscray staple for anyone who enjoys a cheeky drink. You can even sign up for its wine and beer subscription service if you’re too busy to make a trip to the bar!

Mr West
Address: 106 Nicholson St., 3011 Footscray Victoria, Australia
Email: bookings@mrwest.com.au
Opening hours: 4 p.m. to late (Tue. to Thu.); 4 p.m. to 1 a.m. (Fri.); 1 p.m. to 1 a.m. (Sat.); 1 p.m. to late (Sun.); Closed on Mon.

What to do

Footscray Community Arts Centre

A hub for contemporary arts, community involvement and cultural expression since 1974, Footscray Community Arts Centre caters to everyone – from established artists to curious families. Here, you can often find exhibitions from West Melbourne artists depicting their beloved and culturally diverse Footscray through a unique lens. There are also film screenings and live music performances from up-and-coming artists on any day of the week, so keep your tabs on its website to stay updated!

Footscray Community Arts Centre
Address: 45 Moreland St., 3011 Footscray Victoria, Australia
Tel: +61 3 9362 8888
Opening hours: 9:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. (Tue. to Thu.); 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Mon. + Fri.); 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Sat. + Sun.)

Footscray Market

Shop for culturally diverse foods in Melbourne at Footscray Market.
Photo credit: Footscray Market

This massive fresh food market in the centre of Footscray has (seemingly) everything. Taking a note from the culturally diverse population around here, Footscray Market stocks everything from fresh globe artichokes to South Australian scallops. The market is also walking distance from the art centre and Footscray Park, making it the perfect pitstop for a day out.

Footscray Market
Address: 18 Irving St., 3011 Footscray Victoria, Australia
Tel: +61 3 9687 1205
Opening hours: 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Tue. + Wed.); 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Thu. + Sat.); 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Fri.); Closed on Mon. + Sun.

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2. Brunswick

Brunwick, Victoria is a culturally diverse area in Melbourne.
Photo credit: Philip Mallis / Flickr

What Soho is to New York, Brunswick is to Melbourne. A culturally diverse area noted for its large Italian and Greek communities, Brunswick is known for its bohemian culture and strong arts and live music scenes. Side note: This suburb is also home to a large (and lively) student population, given its proximity to both the University of Melbourne and RMIT University, the latter of which has a campus in the area.

At Brunswick, you are sure to find a hip vintage store, tattoo pop-up or quirky artist gallery just around the block. Pair this with lively pubs and some of Melbourne’s most celebrated restaurants and you have a buzzing place where there’s never a dull moment.

Eat + drink

A1 Lebanese Bakery

A1 Lebanese Bakery is just one of the culturally diverse foods you can find at Brunswick.
Photo credit: A1 Lebanese Bakery

The reputation of this bakery precedes itself. Since 1992, A1 Bakery has been serving up authentic Lebanese loaves of bread, pitas and pizzas to everyone who drops by its quaint storefront. No visit to A1 is completed without trying their Falafel Pizza ($9.50), with falafel spread on a homemade pizza base, topped with lettuce, tomatoes, pickled cucumbers and tahini sauce. (FYI: This guilt-free item is vegan!) Its Chicken Tawouk Wrap ($9.50) with marinated chicken, potato chips, pickled cucumbers, cabbage coleslaw and garlic paste makes a great on-the-go snack.

A1 Lebanese Bakery
Address: 643/645 Sydney Rd., 3056 Brunswick Victoria, Australia
Tel: +61 3 9386 0440
Opening hours: 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Daily)

Noisy Ritual

Founded by two wine-loving friends after a serendipitous discovery of a wine fermenter, Noisy Ritual is now a full-blown winery specialising in premium wines with grapes sourced from vineyards all over Victoria. Here, you can find a wide selection of wines from sparkling, rosé and white to a huge range of reds. Grab a bottle here for your next dinner party or stop by for a quick sampling of its grazing platters.

Noisy Ritual
Address: 249 Lygon St., 3057 Brunswick East Victoria, Australia
Tel: +61 3 8394 2772
Opening hours: 5 to 10 p.m. (Wed. + Thu.); 5 to 11 p.m. (Fri.); 1 to 11 p.m. (Sat.); 1 to 6 p.m. (Sun.); Closed on Mon. + Tue.

What to do

Blak Dot Gallery

Talk about culturally diverse, Blak Dot Gallery is the leading gallery for contemporary First Nations art in Australia. Established in 2011, this artist-run space showcases contemporary artworks from Indigenous cultures and a network of First Nations artists from all over Victoria and Australia. Blak Dot hosts regular community events and workshops, where you are able to learn more about Indigenous cultures, art and how these artists integrate non-traditional artistic mediums into contemporary works.

Blak Dot Gallery
Address: 33 Saxon St., 3056 Brunswick Victoria, Australia
Tel: +61 474 328 370
Opening hours: 12 to 4 p.m. (Thu. to Sun.); Closed Mon. to Wed.

CERES Community Environment Park

CERES Community Environment Park is one of the culturally diverse areas in Melbourne.
Photo credit: Kelly Sikkema / Unsplash

CERES Community Environment Park is a scenic escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. This isn’t just a park situated in a culturally diverse area of Melbourne – CERES is also a sustainability centre and urban farm by the Merri Creek, which promotes education on sustainability and the environment. Things to check out here: CERES Organic Grocery & Bakery sells delicious loaves of sourdough every day, and there’s even a flea market here on Sundays!

CERES Community Environment Park
Address: Stewart St. and Roberts St., 3057 Brunswick East Victoria, Australia
Tel: +61 3 9389 0100
Opening hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Daily)

Mediterranean Wholesalers

Hosting your next dinner party and not sure where to get what you need? Mediterranean Wholesalers is a staple meeting place of this culturally diverse area, uniting gourmands and food lovers alike with its competitively priced pantry staples and specialities from Europe. You can find goods such as aged aromatic Italian prosciutto, specialty Italian cheeses and even authentic sheep’s milk Pecorino cheese from Sicily. There’s also a coffee bar here where you can grab a cuppa and cannoli before you continue shopping.

Mediterranean Wholesalers
Address: 482 Sydney Rd., 3056 Brunswick Victoria, Australia
Tel: +61 3 9380 4777
Opening hours: 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (Mon. to Fri.); 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. (Sat.); 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. (Sun.)

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3. Carlton and North Carlton

Carlton and North Carlton is a culturally diverse area in Australia.
Photo credit: Matnkat / Flickr

Welcome to the Carlton suburbs, also known as ‘Little Italy’ of Melbourne! This culturally diverse area boasts the largest population of Italian immigrants in Melbourne, and due to its proximity to University of Melbourne, RMIT University and Australian Catholic University, it is also home to one of the highest concentrations of university students in Australia.

With culinary hot spots abode here, this suburb attracts a lot of singles and young couples. It’s a popular spot for families to settle down in, too. Carlton is also well known for the historic Carlton Gardens, Royal Exhibition Building and the Melbourne Museum.

Eat + drink

Tiamo

Tiamo is a restaurant found at Carlton.
Photo credit: Tiamo

We can’t discuss what to eat at Carlton without mentioning Italian food. A family-favourite, Tiamo has been serving up authentic food to Carlton residents for over 40 years. We recommend the Schiafatelle ($22.90), a traditional Italian homemade pasta (think gnocchi, minus the potatoes) tossed in Napoli sauce and basil. The show-stopping Veal Palermitana ($28.90), served with a creamy pesto sauce and seasonal vegetables, is also not to be missed.

Tiamo
Address: 303 Lygon St., 3053 Carlton VIctoria, Australia
Tel: +61 3 9347 5759
Opening hours: 7 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. (Daily)

Johnny’s Green Room

This trendy rooftop bar is tucked away on a prime Carlton corner, at the intersection of Lygon and Faraday streets. Be amazed by the stunning view of Melbourne’s skyline the moment you walk out onto the open-air space. Aside from killer views, the bar’s menu is all about modern-day Italo snacks designed to sit alongside a Victorian wine on tap, a Negroni, or any selection of cocktails from its impressive drinks list.

Johnny’s Green Room
Address: Level 2/293-297 Lygon St., 3053 Carlton Victoria, Australia
Tel: +61 3 9347 1619
Opening hours: 12 to 11 p.m. (Thu. to Sun.)

ima Project Café

ima Project Cafe is a cafe found at Carlton.
Photo credit: ima Project Café

Aside from Italian food, this culturally diverse area of Melbourne is also home to exciting and inventive food ventures like ima Project Café. This café blends Japanese flavours with Australian brunch sensibilities to create a menu that’s not only delicious – it’s sustainable. Here, you can find a distinctly Australian twist on Japanese classics like its Japanese Breakfast ($25), which includes locally sourced hibachi fish, okazu, rice and miso soup. Its take on the Avocado Toast ($16) includes crispy kale, nori paste and is topped with furikake.

ima Project Café
Address: 169 Elgin St., 3053 Carlton Victoria, Australia
Tel: +61 3 9348 1118
Opening hours: 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. (Mon. to Fri.); 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. (Sat. + Sun.); Closed on Tue.

What to do

Carlton Gardens

This UNESCO World Heritage Site is not just a popular spot to have your weekend picnic and barbecues, it’s also home to an array of wildlife unique to Australia, such as the brushtail possum. At Carlton Gardens, you can find examples of Victorian landscape designs, with sweeping lawns and various European and Australian trees that fill the park.

Carlton Gardens
Address: 1-111 Carlton St., 3053 Carlton Victoria, Australia
Tel: +61 3 9658 9658
Opening hours: Open 24 hours
daily

Melbourne Museum

Melbourne Museum is a landmark in Australia.
Photo credit: 123RF

Carlton is not just ‘Little Italy’, but is home to Melbourne Museum as well! Having opened its doors in 2000 as part of a project of the Government of Victoria, Melbourne Museum is a natural and cultural history museum located in the Carlton Gardens itself. Fun fact: This is the largest museum in the Southern Hemisphere and provides a platform for education, history and cultures to intersect in a contemporary setting. A popular tourist attraction, Melbourne Museum constantly ranks as one of the most popular museums in all of Australia.

Melbourne Museum
Address: 11 Nicholson St., 3053 Carlton Victoria, Australia
Tel: +61 3 8341 7777
Opening hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Daily)

Admission: Free

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4. Box Hill

Box Hill is a culturally diverse area in Melbourne.
Photo credit: Ray Reyes / What’s On Melbourne

Take a walk through Box Hill and you’ll be faced with the alluring scent of freshly roasted duck and steaming plates of dumplings. Home to Melbourne’s Chinatown, Box Hill also has the city’s largest population of Chinese community living in its eastern suburbs. In fact, Melbourne’s Chinatown is actually the oldest one in all of the Western world!

With a plethora of top-notch primary and secondary schools here, Box Hill tends to attract families. However, this culturally diverse area and growing shopping district has made it one of the most desirable places to live and relocate in Melbourne’s East.

Eat + drink

Supper Inn

Night owls listen up! This late night establishment is popular amongst local chefs and hospitality workers who often dine here after a late shift – so you know it’s legit. Supper Inn was opened in 1977 and has been satisfying those late-night cravings ever since. Highlights include its Signature Roast Duck ($35 for a whole duck, $18.50 for half a duck), Steamed Oysters in Ginger and Soy ($19) and Sliced Beef with Black Bean sauce and Chilli ($17.50).

Supper Inn
Address: Level 1/15 Celestial Ave., 3000 Melbourne Victoria, Australia
Tel: +61 3 9663 4759
Opening hours: 5:30 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. (Daily)

HuTong Dumpling Bar

HuTong Dumpling Bar is a restaurant in Melbourne.
Photo credit: HuTong Dumpling Bar

“HuTong” is Mandarin for a narrow lane or alleyway in a traditional residential area of a Chinese city, especially in Beijing, from which it originated. HuTong Dumpling Bar embodies this authentic spirit and adds a performative flair as you watch skilled chefs pleat xiao long baos behind glass panels. You don’t need to go overseas to be able to sample authentic Chinese dishes such as Steamed Crab Meat Dim Sim ($9.80), Chongqing Fish Fillet in Hot Chilli Oil ($28.80) and Szechuan Bean Curd with Minced Pork ($15.80).

HuTong Dumpling Bar
Address: 14-16 Market Ln., 3000 Melbourne Victoria, Australia
Tel: +61 3 9650 8128
Opening hours: 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 5:30 to 10:30 p.m. (Sun. to Thu.); 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 5:30 to 11 p.m. (Fri. + Sat.)

Flower Drum

Flower Drum is a restaurant in Melbourne.
Photo credit: Flower Drum

Hailed as one of the best Cantonese restaurants in all of Australia, Flower Drum balances great food, fine wine and impeccable service for a unique dining experience that you will not want to miss. Chef-owner Anthony Lui marries fresh local seafood with decades of culinary experience to create Cantonese dishes that will have you feel like you’re in Hong Kong. Splash out on dishes like Seafood Fried Rice with Black Truffles ($48) or the signature whole Roast Suckling Pig ($850), which requires a two-day advance booking to prepare.

Flower Drum
Address: 17 Market Ln., 3000 Melbourne Victoria, Australia
Tel: +61 3 9662 3655
Opening hours: 12 to 7 p.m. (Wed. to Sun.)

What to do

Chinese Museum

The Chinese Museum or Museum of Chinese Australian History is an Australian history museum located in Melbourne’s Chinatown. Established in 1985, the museum also functions as a Chinatown Visitor Centre where you can learn more about this culturally diverse area in Melbourne. With a wide range of permanent exhibitions relating to the Chinese experience in 19th Century Australia Goldfields, this museum is sure to have an attraction that will delight you.

Chinese Museum
Address: 22 Cohen Pl., 3000 Melbourne Victoria, Australia
Tel: +61 3 9662 2888
Opening hours: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Daily)

Admission: $9 (Child); $11 (Adult)

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5. Greek Precinct

Greek Precinct is a culturally diverse area in Melbourne.
Photo credit: Greek City Times

Running adjacent to Chinatown is yet another culturally diverse enclave in Melbourne – the Greek Precinct. Unbeknownst to many, Melbourne has the largest Greek population of any city in the world (outside of Greece, of course) and is actually a sister city to Thessaloniki, Greece’s second-largest city.

Aside from authentic Greek food, this culturally diverse area is home to an array of art museums, trendy pop-up stores and the annual Greek Festival that celebrates Hellenic culture through Greek dancing, foods, activities and rides.

Eat + drink

Stalactites Restaurant

Stalactites is a Greek restaurant in Melbourne.
Photo credit: Stalactites

Stalactites is one of Melbourne’s longest running and most well-known Greek restaurants – and for good reason! Owned and operated by the same Greek family since 1978, Stalactites is a staple of cuisine at the Greek Precinct. Its most famous item would definitely be the Souvlaki, a popular Greek fast food consisting of small pieces of meat and sometimes vegetables grilled on a skewer. Each Souvlaki comes rolled in pita bread with lettuce, tomato, onions and homemade tzatziki, as well as a variety of fillings ranging from Chicken Giros ($16.50) to Grilled Lamb Fillet ($18.50).

Stalactites Restaurant
Address: 177/183 Lonsdale St., 3000 Melbourne Victoria, Australia
Tel: +61 3 9663 3316
Opening hours: 11 to 12 a.m. (Sun. to Thu.); 11 to 2 a.m. (Fri. + Sat.)

Tsindos

In the heart of the central business district is Tsindos, a Greek restaurant that prides itself on providing friendly service and traditional Greek cuisine. If you’re a native Greek speaker, you’re in luck! The staff here are bilingual and are fluent in Greek, which bumps the authenticity of this place up a notch. In terms of food, Tsindos’ mezes (appetizers) are not to be missed! Its Saganaki ($16), pan-fried Greek Kefalograviera cheese, and Zucchini keftedes ($16), fried zucchini and fetta cheese spheres, are just some highlights here.

Tsindos
Address: 197 Lonsdale St., 3000 Melbourne Victoria, Australia
Tel: +61 3 9663 3194
Opening hours: 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 5 to 9:30 p.m. (Mon. to Thu.); 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 5 to 11 p.m. (Fri.); 5 to 11 p.m. (Sat.); 5 to 9:30 p.m. (Sun.)

What to do

Hellenic Museum

Hellenic Museum is part of the culturally diverse area of Greek Precinct, Melbourne.
Photo credit: Nils Huber / Unsplash

Founded in 2007, the Hellenic Museum promotes an appreciation of the rich cultural traditions of ancient and contemporary Greece. This museum occupies one of Australia’s landmark sites in the former Royal Mint building and continues to be a prominent cultural destination in Melbourne. You can find hundreds of objects, each spanning over 8,000 years of Greek history, on display at the Hellenic galleries, along with numerous contemporary exhibitions from Greek-Australian and international artists.

Hellenic Museum
Address: 280 William St., 3000 Melbourne Victoria, Australia
Tel: +61 3 8615 9016
Opening hours: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Daily)
Admission: $12 (Adult); $7 (Student or senior concession)

The Greek Centre for Contemporary Culture

Upon visiting the Greek Centre for Contemporary Culture, the first thing you’ll probably notice is the image of Discobolus (The Discus Thrower) who can be seen on the facade of the building. The Centre is found in the heart of the Greek Precinct and functions as both a venue for activities and an education centre for all Hellenic affairs. 

The Greek Centre for Contemporary Culture
Address: 168 Lonsdale St., 3000 Melbourne Victoria, Australia
Tel: +61 3 9662 2722
Opening hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Mon. to Fri.)

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