The Best Markets In Melbourne
Markets are one of the easiest ways of learning about the culture of the city or town you visit, and how much better given that food is involved? Whether you’re overseas and tasting local cuisine or stocking up the fridge for the week with fresh produce, markets make the process of shopping feel natural and communal. Search for markets wherever you go for an authentic morning out. Melbourne offers some of the best and versatile markets for food, fashion and crafts so we’ve put together a list of some of the best markets in Melbourne to help navigate your way round.
Located on the outskirts of Melbourne’s CBD, the South Melbourne Market is a foodie heaven. The market’s border is lined with cafes, restaurants, and fruit and veg stalls yelling out their weekly specials. Inside, there’s the mouth-watering delicatessen section with mounds of cheese and hooks of meat everywhere in sight. There’s also the meat and poultry vendors, as well as the fishmongers who offer trays of oysters to enjoy amongst it all. Enjoy an array of coffee options, the best croissants outside of France at Agathé, and your pets will love the treats at The Pet Grocer! Stalls inside also sell cookware, clothes, accessories, flowers and books. If you’re driving, there’s plenty of parking in the upstairs carpark, otherwise your best bet is to use the three-hour free parking underneath the shopping centre across the road. The South Melbourne Market also has a summer night market during January and February while daylight savings is on, allowing shoppers to revel in the heat as well as beautiful food.
QVM is a Melbourne treasure north of the CBD, officially opening in 1878! There is ample ticketed parking for ease, and trains and trams stop right outside. The outdoor rows of stalls are for all your souvenir and bargain-chasing needs, from clothes and leather bags, to toy koalas and artwork. Whereas the east end of the market has all of the food halls and cafes for recharging. The deli counters are hard to walk past, and Market Lane Coffee has some of the city’s best coffee. If you’re feeling peckish, the mouth-watering bratwurst rolls at The Bratwurst Shop & Co. or Turkish boreks and gözleme at Boreks are unmissable. There is also a Winter Night Market for the entire season, hosting themed nights or simply showcasing the stalls and food vans there for the event.
Dandenong is a 34km drive from the CBD down into the south-eastern suburbs. The region is a multicultural hub serving the Indian, Middle Eastern and Asian communities, who offer locals and travellers alike a stunning offering of their authentic cuisines. The market is quite small, but with a friendlier community feel. It has been serving the locals for over 150 years! Fill up the fridge or stock up on fresh food for your travelling journey. It is worth organising a trip with friends, and GoGet if you need a car for the day, to explore a booming culinary region. Walk around the food trucks and find a cuisine you’ve never tried: what about Sri Lankan or Afghan? You’ll be supporting immigrants and Dandenong locals who have opened businesses or food stalls for your enjoyment.
Located on the beautiful esplanade in St Kilda on Sundays, the St Kilda Market stretches above Beach Road with stalls lining the footpath overlooking Port Phillip Bay. The market proudly promotes local artists and artisans whose handmade goods are popular with all visitors. Some vendors have been there for more than 20 years! There are all types of bags, soaps, linen, accessories and artworks on offer throughout the leisurely esplanade walk. It’s all ticketed parking around St Kilda but well-worth the spare change for a nice Sunday out. Head down Acland Street later on to find somewhere for lunch or indulge in a cake from Monarch or Europa. For a good-deed feed, head to Lentil as Anything: a non-profit community kitchen run by volunteers who cook up beautiful vegetarian food for however much you can afford to pay. Their seriously good curries warrant your generosity.
Organise a road trip with a friend or two and wind your way up north to the Yarra Valley wine region for a lovely drive and day out. On the first Sunday of the month, the racecourse hosts a range of produce and craft stalls to promote the culinary region. Stock up on bottles of wine from local wineries (some of the best in the country), or fresh-from-the-ground produce from farmers. It’s most charming in winter when you can walk around with a coffee or hot chocolate, though be sure to attend a Friday night twilight market arranged at the same site during summer. Afterwards, explore the beauty of the region by heading for lunch in the gorgeous beer garden at Healesville Hotel, or the Yarra Glen town centre itself with its antique stores and local goodies.
Craft Markets Australia is the organisation that runs this market among others across the state, so head to their website to find the market calendar and other locations.
Held every Wednesday on the Main Street in Mornington, the market is a local gem for a mixture of produce and hand-crafted items, so it’s a great place to stock up for your pantry or road trip. Local artists show off their canvases and jewellery, trawl through pots of local native plants for your backyard and try to resist the guy making Dutch Poffertjes. The queue is always impatient for his plate full of bite-sized pancakes dusted with icing sugar and syrup.
There are amazing choices for food down Main Street too: DOC for some of the city’s best woodfired pizzas, fish and chips at Go Fish (which you can enjoy at the beach or park close by), elegant cheeseboards at Brass Razu, or a great brunch at The Winey Cow.
Why not take the scenic route to get here? Whilst Peninsula Link will make your drive quicker, the expanse of Port Phillip Bay is breathtaking driving along the Esplanade through Mount Eliza and down Oliver’s Hill in Frankston.