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Spend a Day in Melbourne’s Northern Suburbs: Exploring Brunswick, Fitzroy & Carlton

Brunswick Melbourne streetscape
Spend a Day in Melbourne’s Northern Suburbs: Exploring Brunswick, Fitzroy & Carlton

In the heart of Melbourne's bustling metropolis, the central business district teems with activity, a place where the modern rhythm of urban life reverberates. Yet, it's what lies just beyond this urban core that truly sets the stage for an unforgettable adventure.

Step into a hive of cultural discovery and culinary indulgence as we whisk you away to Melbourne’s enchanting northern suburbs. From the charming cafés of Brunswick, to Fitzroy’s eclectic markets, to Carlton’s iconic Italian dining scene, there’s plenty to do and see in these beloved northern suburbs in Melbourne.

Brunswick: Where Art and Food Come Alive

Brunswick is a creative hub known for its bohemian charm and thriving art scene. Step off tram 96 along Nicholson Street and you'll find yourself surrounded by captivating street art, galleries, and live music venues that infuse the air with a palpable energy. Immerse yourself in this artistic enclave as you wander down the vibrant streets.

Brunswick's colourful history dates back to the early colonial days. The fertile soil attracted market gardeners, earning it the nickname Melbourne's "Green Zone." Waves of immigration brought diverse cultural influences, with Greek and Italian communities leaving a lasting impact on the neighbourhood's culinary scene. Today, Mediterranean restaurants and cafés line the streets, offering a taste of Brunswick's multicultural heritage.

Things To Do in Brunswick

Begin your day by indulging in the moreish flavours of Brunswick's food scene by stopping at one of the many charming cafés, restaurants, or food trucks that line the streets. Let your taste buds embark on a culinary adventure, from hearty breakfast bowls to delectable Middle Eastern cuisine. And of course, no visit to Brunswick would be complete without sampling the renowned coffee culture that Melbourne is famous for. Savour every sip of your artisanal brew as you soak in the vibrant atmosphere of this most iconic of northern suburbs Melbourne.

Some of our top foodie picks in Brunswick include:

  • Code Black Coffee: Dark, moody, and industrial-chic, this must-visit café is one of Brunswick’s most renowned brunch spots.
  • A Minor Place: This converted cottage may look small and slightly hidden in the back streets of Brunswick, but don’t let that stop you from entering to taste its delectable menu and excellent coffee.
  • Lux Foundry: Located within one of Brunswick’s beautiful heritage-listed brickwork buildings, this unique café boasts a classically Melbourne menu and premium Proud Mary coffee.
  • Juanita Peaches: Got a craving for fried chicken? What about delectable donuts? Juanita Peaches serves it all within its cosy interiors.
  • Los Hermanos Mexican Taqueria: Authentic Mexican street food, a lively bar, and an always-on party atmosphere, this Brunswick staple is a must-visit for every taco and margarita lover.

For those seeking a taste of the local arts scene, Brunswick offers a myriad of unique and magical art galleries. Beinart Gallery features accomplished international figurative artists in the New Contemporary world. Here, you can explore the renowned works of Shaun Tan, Olga Esther, Victor Castillo and Emma Black, among plenty of exhibitions that are sure to feed your inner artist.

Prefer to get a little more involved with your creativity? At That Paper Joint, you'll discover an artist's gallery that doubles as an interactive creative hub. This distinctive venue is dedicated to the principles of recycling, reinventing, and reimagining through the medium of collage. They offer engaging cut-and-paste workshops, private events, and art exhibitions specifically catering to artists who are actively involved in the sustainable creative sphere.

To round off your visit to one of the best northern suburbs in Melbourne, be sure to explore the key tourist attractions in Brunswick. Witness the grandeur of Brunswick Town Hall, a stunning heritage-listed building that stands as a testament to the area's rich history. Take a leisurely stroll through one of the nearby parks, where lush greenery and tranquil spots provide the perfect escape from the urban buzz.

Fitzroy Gardens Conservatory

Fitzroy: Gardens, Cafés, and Artisans

Next on your itinerary is Fitzroy, Melbourne’s famous neighbourhood revered for its leafy streets, charming cafés, and thriving creative community. Once an industrial hub, Fitzroy underwent a remarkable transformation in the 20th century. It evolved from a working-class suburb into Melbourne's bohemian epicentre. Abandoned factories became art studios and live music venues, infusing the streets with a creative and eclectic atmosphere. Fitzroy's artistic spirit lives on in its vibrant street art, showcasing the local community's talent and expression.

Things To Do in Fitzroy

Begin your exploration at the iconic Fitzroy Gardens, a serene oasis in the heart of the city. Meander through the picturesque pathways, designed to transport you to a world of tranquillity. Marvel at the vibrant flowers, manicured lawns, and intricate landscapes that create an idyllic setting for a leisurely stroll. This is the perfect way to start your Fitzroy adventures.

We know you’ll be feeling peckish soon, and luckily, Fitzroy has a plethora of goodies on offer. From heavily-smelling bakeries to sun-soaked al fresco bars,there’s no shortage of must-visit eateries here:

  • Lune Croissanterie: Flaky pastries and expertly crafted brews await at this award-winning Fitzroy establishment.
  • Sir Charles: Step into this expansive, light-filled space and take your pick of moreish delicacies as you enjoy a coffee roasted on-site.
  • Bentwood: In true Fitzroy style, you’ll feel the charm of this furniture warehouse-turned-eclectic all-day diner from the moment you walk in the door.
  • Bar Liberty: Take a seat in the sunlit courtyard as you peruse the extensive wine list and indulge in the incredibly moreish sourdough flatbread at Bar Liberty.
  • Ichi Ni Nana Izakaya: This sprawling, airy and vibrant restaurant serves up just about every Japanese delicacy you could hope for, from exquisite sushi and gyoza to classic Japanese cocktails and craft beers.

Immerse yourself in the artistic soul of Fitzroy at the Rose St. Artists' Market, a haven for local artisans and craftsmen. Discover unique handmade treasures, from intricate jewelry to fine art pieces. Engage with the artists themselves, gaining insight into their creative processes and the stories behind their creations. It's a place where creativity and community intersect, leaving you with cherished mementos of your time in Fitzroy Melbourne.

Brunetti Classico Carlton café

Carlton: Cultural Landmarks and Italian Delights

From Fitzroy, make your way to the vibrant neighbourhood of Carlton, where history, culture, and culinary delights await. Originally named "Old Carlton," the neighbourhood was established in the mid-19th century and remains rich in heritage. From the first Federal Parliament hosted at the iconic Royal Exhibition Building to Lygon Street’s culinary mecca shaped by a proud Italian heritage, there’s no shortage of cultural delights to explore in Carlton.

Things To Do in Carlton

Start your Carlton adventure at the expansive Carlton Gardens, a UNESCO World Heritage site that invites tranquillity and exploration. Take a moment to appreciate the stunning Victorian-era architecture of the Royal Exhibition Building and lose yourself amidst the lush greenery of these meticulously manicured gardens.

Next, immerse yourself in Melbourne's rich history and culture at the unmissable Melbourne Museum, located close by within the Carlton Gardens precinct. Explore the exhibits that showcase the natural history, indigenous culture, and contemporary art of the region. From awe-inspiring dinosaur skeletons to thought-provoking contemporary installations, there’s something for every curious mind. Hot tip: if you're travelling with little ones, this awe-inspiring museum promises to be the treat of a lifetime for them!

Finally, no visit to Carlton would be complete without indulging in the culinary delights of Lygon Street, affectionately known as Melbourne's 'Little Italy'. Discover the true essence of Italian cuisine as you stroll down this iconic dining strip. From mouth watering pizzas to hearty pasta dishes, the tantalising aromas and warm hospitality will transport you to the streets of Italy itself. Savour each bite as you embrace the culinary traditions that have made Melbourne a gastronomic haven.

Brunetti Classico is one Carlton classic that needs to go to the top of your must-visit eatery list. Established in 1985, this family-run Italian café and Pasticceria is brimming with some of Lygon Street’s most delectable pizzas, pastas, and artisanal desserts. Not to mention their gelato bar, which may require a second visit reserved solely for flavour-tasting.

For more fabulous Italian hotspots, check out our recent guide to the best restaurants on Lygon Street to plan your Carlton foodie adventure.

Stay Close to the Vibrant Northern Suburbs of Melbourne

As the day draws to a close, make your way back to the comfort and convenience of Crowne Plaza Melbourne. Let the luxury of our riverfront location and the cosy yet refined ambience of our hotel envelop you in a sense of relaxation and rejuvenation. Our attentive staff are always on hand to ensure that your stay is nothing short of exceptional, with plush beds, exquisite dining options, and a range of amenities right at your doorstep.

Book your stay with us to experience the best of both the CBD and the exciting northern suburbs of Melbourne. From inspiring art galleries to culinary adventures and cultural landmarks, these locales are sure to captivate your heart and leave you with unforgettable memories.

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