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Melbourne is famous for its laneways. They’re all over the city; you’ll stumble on many alleys and lanes with the world-famous Melbourne street art, amazing murals, cute corners and tucked away cafes. Some even have secret bars built into them.
You might have seen some of the Melbourne laneways on a city walking tour, but it’s likely you haven’t seen the most famous streets yet, as well as some of the hidden gems!
This article will not only give you a self-guided CBD tour of all the best Melbourne laneways and street art, but also some spots around the city where you can see more amazing pieces of artwork.
You might also be interested in my Melbourne 3 day itinerary.
Self-guided Melbourne street art and laneways tour
Start your day or later morning with coffee or brunch on Hardware Lane at one of the Melbourne staples such as Hardware Societe, White Mojo or Hash Coffee.
Walk south-east on Hardware Lane and take in all the coffee shops, independent stores and laneways off this pedestrianised area. Walk towards the corner of Elizabeth Street and Bourke Street.
From Elizabeth street, starting at the Royal Arcade, you can follow this route.
This Melbourne arcade was the first arcade in the city and is still the longest standing arcade in Australia. The Victorian Royal Arcade building began construction in 1869. The renaissance style has been restored over the years but it still remains a popular tourist attraction and the home to many local and independent retailers in Melbourne.
Cross Little Collins Street into Block Arcade
As you cross over Little Collins Street, peer into Clyde Way. This laneway is on the same side of the road as the Royal Arcade you just left. In this alleyway is one of the tucked away bars squeezed into this small laneway space - Chuckle Park Bar. It’s an awesome place for a drink and shows how diverse the lanway usage is in Melbourne.
Another of the famous Melbourne arcades. The Melbourne Block Arcade was built in 1892 and the architect took inspiration from the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele in Milan. The interior is richly decorated and is home to the largest mosaic floor in the southern hemisphere. This arcade is famous for its luxury shops and tea rooms - make sure to try a cake from the Hopetoun Tea Rooms here!
Come out of Block Arcade onto Collins Street
Cross over into Centre Place
Full of bustling cafes, restaurants and street food stalls, Centre Place, Melbourne is possibly the most famous laneway in Melbourne. The best place for pictures is from the top of the steps just as you come in off Collins Street.
Walk straight through Centre Place onto Flinders Lane
Along Flinders Lane, stop at Hosier Lane
Hosier Lane graffiti and street art is possibly the most famous of all Melbourne street art. It changes almost daily with new artwork and you will often see artists at work creating a new piece. Walk all the way down Hosier Lane and back up to take it all in. Also take a peek down Rutledge Lane which is just off Hosier Lane.
Continue along Flinders Lane to Higson Lane
All the way along Flinders Lane you’ll see lots of alleyways with street art and graffiti, head down and explore as many as you like. Also be sure to stop at Higson lane if you’re a Star Wars or Elton John fan as there is a large Elton John and Yoda street art mural.
Continue along Flinders Lane to ACDC Lane
ACDC Lane in Melbourne is another must-see laneway. And yes, ACDC Lane is it’s real name! Here you can see rock music artwork, even some 3D artwork attached to the side of the buildings. The artwork here is often changing too so make sure to snap some photos and take it all in!
Turn left onto Duckboard Place
At the bottom of ACDC Lane turn left onto Duckboard Place to see the famous ‘Melbourne’ artwork piece. You’ll need to stand quite far back if you want to fit the whole thing in a photo.
Also look up to the left and see the hundreds of pairs of shoes hanging from the electricity cables above! You can look all the way around Duckboard Place to get back to Flinders Lane.
This is the end of the self-guided tour from Elizabeth Street to Exhibition Street. However if you want to see more, I suggest turning left onto Exhibition Street and walking up a couple of blocks to Bourke Street and Chinatown. Here you will also find these great laneways full of Melbourne street art:
Meyers Place - a huge green fantasy style jungle artwork which is the size of the whole building. Also check out the Loop rooftop bar down this laneway.
Tattersall Lane - full of authentic Melbourne street art and also home to the awesome Section 8 laneway bar
Croft Alley - lots of raw and authentic artwork tucked down this alleyway in Chinatown. Make sure to walk around the corner to see it all
Flinders Court - more authentic Melbourne street art which changes regularly
Presgrave Place - full of street art but also an awesome wall covered in empty picture frames.
Union Lane - this laneway joins Bourke Street mall and Little Collins Street behind the Royal Arcade where you started. This laneway is often seen as the starter lane for new artists so sometimes it’s just full of tags but sometimes you’ll find a gem down here!
Melbourne street art further afield
Johnston Street - Fitzroy
This is one in my neighbourhood. Fitzroy is full of street art tucked down alleyways and on street corners but you’ll find something on almost every corner of Johnston Street. Explore a bit further into the residential area and you’ll discover entire buildings painted as an old-era map or rainbows and cat art!
Rose Street, Fitzroy
Rose Street hosts the artists’ market so of course there has to be plenty of street art in this area! Check out the market and the street art in the surrounding streets.
Home to this huge mural by Adnate on the site of a residential building, Collingwood is also full of street art tucked away in residential areas.
Where is your favourite street art?
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