Melbourne, the capital city of the State of Victoria, is one of Australia’s most cosmopolitan cities. St. Kilda, one of Melbourne’s oldest bayside suburbs is one of the main reasons why Melbourne got its cosmopolitan reputation.
Like many districts in big cities, St. Kilda has had a checkered history. In its early years, it was Melbourne’s first seaside resort. As the city grew and became one large metropolis, for many years, St. Kilda went into decline. The famed St. Kilda baths, where many famous Australian Olympic swimmers have trained, went out of fashion and many of the formerly fashionable shops and restaurants languished as Melbournians turned to newer venues.
Today, St. Kilda has undergone a revival and once again is the “in” place to go in Melbourne. Fitzroy and Acland Streets are the “hip” streets for the college and arts communities. As such, they are great places to go if you want to enjoy a cappuccino in a cafe that just oozes atmosphere or browse for books in an independent bookstore. If you’re looking for clothes, there are trendy boutiques and designer second hand clothes shops. The beautiful Victorian mansion on Acland Street that houses the Centre for Contemporary Arts is hard to miss. Be sure to go inside and see what’s on display there.
Beachside, St. Kilda is a lot like California’s legendary alternative beach, Venice. Take a stroll along the beach, joined by skaters and bike riders. Check out the Sunday Arts and Crafts Market on the esplanade for a great day of stimulating browsing and shopping.
St. Kilda is a great place for the whole family, too. The whole family will enjoy Luna Park, one of St. Kilda’s oldest and most beloved landmarks. After enjoying the rides, take a leisurely walk out onto the breakwater and keep an eye out for the fairy penguins that are so often seen frolicking in the water and on the rocks.
There’s plenty to do in St. Kilda at night, too. If you’re looking for entertainment, the lower Esplanade is the place to go. For a big night out, take in an international act at the Palais Theatre. For more local entertainment, try the Esplanade Hotel or one of the pubs in town. Finding entertainment at night is not going to be a problem in St Kilda: the problem will be in making your mind up about which place to go to.
If Melbourne is the most cosmopolitan city in Australia, then Carlisle Street is the most cosmopolitan street in town. English won’t be the only language you will hear on the streets and in the cafes here. In fact, it may not even be the language most spoken. Don’t worry, though, when you stop in for a bagel or a full lunch, you will be understood.
There are still many people who say that St. Kilda’s days of glory are gone. They are only just beginning. Be part of the action. Stay at a St. Kilda accommodation and get the most out of your visit to Melbourne. Whether you stay in one of the many backpackers resorts or in a magnificently restored Bed and Breakfast, you will love this part of the city.