Laneways: the Lifeblood of Melbourne

If the Bourke Street Mall is the heart of Melbourne, then the laneways and arcades are the arteries and veins that carry lifeblood throughout the city.

Melbourne’s laneways are synonymous with the city’s reputation for arts and culture. From random characteristic street art to mysterious local drinking holes (bars), there is so much to discover at every turn.

Melbourne laneways first captured the attention of Aussies and tourists alike in the 2006 Lose Yourself in Melbourne“. A surprising facelift has revived the laneways from their former glory into a modern-day street art gallery.

There are many laneway tours on offer in Melbourne, the Hidden Secrets tour being one of the most popular. However it’s just as easy and cheaper on the hip-pocket to do a self-guided walking tour. Here are some of my favourite hotspots to check out:

Hosier Lane

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From Federation Square, head northeast along Flinders Street and turn left at Hosier Lane. On the corner you’ll find MoVida bar de Tapas, which is something of an institution in the Melbourne dining scene. Hosier Lane is a much celebrated landmark of sophisticated and often controversial urban street art. On weekends graffiti artists can often be found here, fabricating their masterpieces.

Degraves Street


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Just off Flinders Lane is Degraves Street, the centre of Melbourne’s cafe culture. Stop here for a coffee or some breakfast and watch people eating, drinking, shopping, socialising and generally going about their daily business. Degraves Street also has a collection of cute little boutique shops and handicraft stores.

Centre Place


Centre Place is near Degraves Street and also features a gathering of quaint little cafes, most smaller than a shipping container. People pack out the street sipping coffee or take a squat on a box seat. Be sure to try the soup place!

Union Lane


Just off the Bourke Street Mall, Union Lane is a little unusual and features some of the city’s best street art. Nearly every brick is covered in giant murals of graffiti art. Union Lane is an ever changing canvas, graffiti artists are constantly re-using this canvas, updating the artwork with something new.

Block Arcade & Block Place


From Centre Place, cross over Collins Street and turn left before entering the exquisite 19th century Block Arcade. With mosaic floors and fascinating shops to explore; admire the beauty in the architecture or pick a table at Block Place and grab a bite to eat.

Niagara Lane


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Niagara Lane is lined with a group of beautiful red brick 1880s warehouses. The lane was named in the 1860s after the Niagara Hotel in Lonsdale Street. There are no cafes or graffiti down this laneway, the beauty is in its history.

Melbourne is constantly evolving with new things to discover every day. New shops, designer boutiques, restaurants, galleries, places to stay and things to see and do. If you visit again in a year’s time, there will be a whole lot more to discover!

All photographs in this article are my own, photographed and edited solely by me.

What secrets can you share about Melbourne?

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3 Responses to Laneways: the Lifeblood of Melbourne

  1. Graeme October 29, 2013 at 10:01 pm #

    Great Photos!

  2. The Travel Junkie April 21, 2014 at 3:12 pm #

    fantastic photos and love this post!


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