Choosing where to stay in Melbourne is often overwhelming for first-time visitors. As the second-largest city and one of the best travel destinations in Australia, Melbourne covers a large area.
Each area offers different attractions and atmosphere. From the historic centre and central business district to the surrounding suburbs, the city has something for travellers of all ages and interests.
Melbourne is often considered a hip city. It has a vibrant downtown and many trendy districts located near the waterfront. It’s also known for its coffee culture, shopping, and an eclectic mixture of attractions.
Whether you want to party, explore historic sites, or shop until you drop, at least one of the neighbourhoods should satisfy your needs.
Not sure where to search? Start looking for accommodations with this guide to the best places to stay in Melbourne.
Where to stay in Melbourne: A complete guide to the best neighbourhoods and areas for travellers
Most first-time visitors simply choose to stay in the central downtown area of Melbourne. It’s the heart of the city and home to several important landmarks.
It’s not the only part of the city to visit. In fact, the city is divided into hundreds of suburbs.
Melbourne covers most of the coastline around Port Phillip Bay, extending into the hinterlands and surrounding valley. It grew from the Victorian gold rush and has become a major metropolitan city. As you walk the urban streets, you’ll pass original street art, numerous theatres, and live music.
It’s also one of the most liveable and pedestrian-friendly cities in Australia. Getting around is easy, allowing you to explore multiple parts of Melbourne no matter where you stay.
The best areas to stay in Melbourne for travellers include:
- Melbourne CBD
- St. Kilda
- South Melbourne
✔ Best area to stay in Melbourne for first-time visitors and sightseeing
Melbourne Central Business District (CBD) is the largest and most visited part of the city. It’s the top choice for those that have just one day in Melbourne to see all the sites, as many of the main landmarks are found within it.
Melbourne CBD contains a little bit of everything. You can take a cruise along the river, explore Chinatown, and shop at the historic Queen Victoria Market within a single afternoon.
It’s a tradition to start your journey around Melbourne under the clocks at Flinders Street Station. From there, you can explore the coffee shops, historic buildings, and cultural sites that fill Melbourne CBD.
The city centre contains a grid of streets, making it easy to navigate. You can also hop on the City Circle tram. It’s a free ride that takes you past some of the top attractions. Ride the tram to Melbourne Aquarium, Princess Theatre, and the National Gallery of Victoria.
A highlight of a trip to the CBD is shopping at Queen Victoria Market. For over 140 years, the inner-city market has attracted shoppers seeking fresh produce and local goods. You’ll find over 600 small stalls spread across seven hectares.
Recommended hotels in Melbourne CBD
As the historic centre of the city and the main business district, this area has some of the best hotels in Melbourne. Staying in this area also comes with a higher price tag. If you plan on exploring other parts of the city, try finding a hotel near one of the metro stations.
- QT Melbourne: This five-star hotel is a five-minute walk from one of the biggest shopping districts in the city. It also offers spacious rooms with stylish décor and an onsite restaurant. It’s one of the most luxurious places to stay and quickly runs out of vacancies during busy seasons.
- The Langham Melbourne: You’ll find this boutique hotel on the banks of the Yarra River. It has a swimming pool, marble staircases, fountains, and chandeliers, creating the impression of a five-star hotel. It’s really a mid-range option with surprisingly elegant furnishings.
- Novotel Melbourne South Wharf: This affordable hotel is in the historic South Wharf Promenade. It’s a four-star option with comfortable rooms and surrounded by bars, restaurants, and shops. It also offers its own onsite restaurant, bar, and fitness centre.
- Crown Towers Hotel: Located in the Southbank neighbourhood of the CBD, this five-star hotel is in a high-rise building with amazing views. Most of the rooms feature floor-to-ceiling windows, giving you a clear view of the city or the bay.
✔ Most recommended area to stay in Melbourne for families and beach goers
St. Kilda is an interesting district with an eclectic mixture of smaller neighbourhoods. While it’s historically home to Melbourne’s red-light district, it’s now one of the best parts of the city for families. It’s right near the beach and a short trip from the central business district.
Located in the south-eastern part of Melbourne, St. Kilda has access to the beachside attractions and activities. You can spend your day on the sand or in the water before exploring the cocktail clubs and lounges in the evening.
St. Kilda is one of the older districts, containing many historic buildings and several famous theatres. This neighbourhood also holds numerous festivals throughout the year, including various outdoor celebrations with live music and parades.
It’s a friendly, festive place to stay with lots of options for food and drinks. The seaside area contains rows of bars and seafood restaurants. Further from the beach, you’ll find family restaurants, fast food chains, and bars.
While people tend to come to St. Kilda for the beach, families should enjoy a trip to Luna Park. It’s a historic amusement park, it opened in 1912, and it contains authentic rides and attractions of the era.
Recommended hotels in St. Kilda
Some of the best hotels in St. Kilda are found near the beach. You may even find accommodations with views of the bay. This historic suburb also has hotels for every budget, from affordable business hotels to luxury seaside resorts.
- Crest on Park: This clean, comfortable hotel is a short walk from the sea baths and the beach. It’s a great location with a heated swimming pool, spa, and steam rooms. The hotel even offers fitness classes if you plan on staying in shape while dining out each day.
- The Prince Hotel: A boutique-style hotel, this place has balconies that overlook Fitzroy Street and the bay. It’s a convenient location, as it’s a short distance from Fitzroy and the central business district. When you get back to the hotel at night, enjoy dinner at the onsite restaurant.
- Kimberley Gardens Hotel: This hotel also offers apartments and villas, but the hotel rooms provide the best value. You get a private balcony or open courtyard, depending on the floor. It also has full spa facilities and an indoor swimming pool.
- Tolarno Hotel: The stylish façade, lobby, and rooms help this boutique-style hotel stand out. It features original artwork from local college students, giving it more of a bohemian vibe. It’s also a short walk from the beachfront.
✔ Top-rated part of Melbourne to stay in for nightlife and boutique shopping
The colourful Fitzroy neighbourhood is home to artists, hipsters, and college students. Naturally, it contains many bookstores, boutique shops, small galleries, and cafes. It’s also the best part of the city to visit for nightlife and entertainment. The diverse neighbourhood has a wide selection of clubs, bars, and restaurants to suit any taste.
Most of the district revolves around busy Brunswick Street, containing an endless selection of affordable restaurants and cafes. It’s also where you’ll find some of the art galleries and bookshops.
Walk around the corner to Johnston Street and you’ll come across a thriving Spanish quarter. Many tapas bars and flamenco restaurants have popped up in recent years.
If you’re visiting during the weekend, make sure you take a trip to the artists’ market on Rose Street. Located in a large warehouse, the market is packed with vendors selling handmade fashion and street food.
As with most of the neighbourhoods, Fitzroy isn’t too far from the central part of the city. You can still visit everything on your Melbourne itinerary while staying in this entertaining district.
Recommended hotels in Fitzroy
Fitzroy has dozens of hostels and several apartments while the selection of hotels is limited. Depending on the season, you can still find a few locations with private rooms and baths. Keep in mind that hotels near Brunswick Street may become a little noisy on the weekends.
- Coppersmith Hotel: As with most accommodations in Fitzroy, this place has modern décor and its own bar. Each room also comes with its own Nespresso machine, so you can enjoy a shot of espresso without leaving your room. The rooms are a little small, but the variety of amenities compensate for the size.
- Clarendon Hotel Melbourne: An 11-minute walk from Crown Casino, this comfortable hotel is a popular choice for those staying in Fitzroy. It’s near the Eureka Tower and the National Gallery. You’ll also find numerous cafes and coffee houses in the surrounding blocks.
- Serviced Apartments Melbourne – Teri: While this next option offers serviced apartments, it also has hotel rooms. The rooms have balconies and spacious living areas with modern furnishings and décor. The location also provides quick access to award-winning cafes and restaurants in the area.
✔ Best neighbourhood to stay in Melbourne for budget travellers and historic pubs
South Melbourne is one of the oldest districts. Primarily a working-class part of the city, it contains numerous pubs and markets. While many of the top things to see & do in Melbourne are found in the CBD, this south-central district is a short trip away.
Located between Port Phillip Bay and the Yarra River, South Melbourne has a mixture of residential streets with modern homes and older neighbourhoods with Victorian-era estates. It’s also one of the more affordable parts of the city, attracting budget-conscious travellers and backpackers.
The diverse South Melbourne region offers some of the best views of the downtown skyline. From the port area, you can look north and see the skyscrapers and hotels near the waterfront.
If you visit this area, travel to the South Melbourne Market. It’s not as large compared to Queen Victoria Market, but it’s older. Located in a large covered building, the market has close to 150 stalls.
The local vendors sell a wide variety of street food, produce, meat, and handmade goods. During the day, you’ll also often find live music and entertainment on the streets around the market.
Recommended hotels in South Melbourne
South Melbourne offers a good selection of hotels, with several options near Yarra River. The hotels located closer to the river or bay tend to cost more while the accommodations in the heart of South Melbourne offer budget prices.
- Tyrian Serviced Apartments Fitzroy: While technically located in Fitzroy, this hotel is a few steps from the border of South Melbourne, giving you convenient access to both neighbourhoods. As with other options in Fitzroy, it has serviced apartments and hotel rooms. You’ll get a fully equipped kitchen and spacious rooms with floor-to-ceiling windows.
- Melbourne Metropole Central: This next hotel also borders Fitzroy and South Melbourne. It’s a short trip from the central business district and provides a wide selection of hotel rooms and apartments. The onsite restaurant serves breakfast and dinner daily. Enjoy imported beers and a large offering of wines.
- Quest Royal Gardens: Staying at this hotel is more like staying at a resort. The spacious grounds include pools, gardens, and various recreational facilities. You also get a room with separate living and dining areas.