Situated in Melbourne’s inner north, Carlton has wide open spaces and laid-back atmosphere make for a great place to spend a bit of leisure time. Packed enough to keep you busy for days, yet compact enough that you could do it in a day, here’s a bit of what 3053 has to offer.

Enjoy a book or two…

Readings bookstore - CarltonReadings bookstore, located on Lygon St, is a Carlton institution. It houses a great range of books, music, and movies on towering library bookshelves, complete with fun rolling ladders. Open until late, Readings is a great time-killer for when you show up a bit too early for that dinner date, but also guaranteed to fulfill any of your genuine literary needs. From history books, to vinyl records, to books in which the Star Wars scripts are entirely rewritten in Shakespearean English, Readings has got it, or will get it for you.

And a movie

And if reading books seems too much like hard work, you can hop straight across the road and catch the movie version of it at Cinema Nova. Nova features a fun mix of Hollywood blockbusters and arthouse films, all screened in their cosy little cinemas. If you’re lucky enough to have a Monday off, tickets are only $7 before 4pm and $9 afterwards.

Or enjoy a walk in the park

Carlton also has no shortage of outdoor park space. The Carlton Gardens, sandwiched between Rathdowne St and Nicholson St, are abound with playgrounds, grassy picnic spots, and tennis courts. They are also home to the Royal Exhibition Building, Melbourne Museum and the adjoining IMAX Theatre, which are a godsend for when the Melbourne weather inevitably turns on you. Royal exhibition building - CarltonA bit further north, above the university precinct, you’ll find Princes Park. Princes Park is a bit more of a sporting parkland, whose dirt track perimeter is occupied by a perennial stream of sweaty joggers and within which are a number of footy fields, tennis courts, and lawn bowl greens. Ideal for taking the dog for a stroll or the kids to the playground, it’s also home to the Carlton Football Club. Having a stroll through the suburb is a pleasure in itself. The Carlton streets contain rows and rows of grand Victorian terrace houses, nice little bits of architectural history for those so inclined. Elgin St is flanked by a number of quirky shops; for the musicians among us, look no further than the Music Swop Shop for your window-shopping (or otherwise) needs.

And finally dinner time

Food in Carlton is definitely too big a topic to tackle here; Lygon Street itself is the subject of its own book. While Lygon Street is considered Melbourne’s Little Italy, it offers a fairly wide range of cuisine. Here are a few of our highlights:

  • Tank Fish & ChipperyLygon St - Carlton – like your local fish n’ chips, but a bit fancier. Great seafood in interesting dishes.
  • Vincent the Dog – classic Melbourne brunch food with a few little twists.
  • D.O.C. – some of the best pizza out there.
  • Pidapipo – gelatos and sorbettos that are worth the queue.
  • Intersection Cafe – midnight pizza and kebab deliveries. What more could you ask for?

  Bordered by Brunswick, Fitzroy, and the CBD and with plenty of GoGet vehicles around, Carlton is a great base from which to explore Melbourne and itself a neat place in Melbourne to explore.