Shopping at markets is a great way to dive into a culture when you're traveling. Not only can you find locally-made art, jewelry, clothes, and food when you're at the market, you can also learn about the surrounding city's customs and what makes it unique. Melbourne has an abundance of markets scattered throughout the city that sell a variety of Australian-made products and one-of-a-kind treasures. Whether you're on the hunt for unusual food or thrifty clothing items, you're bound to find something your friends and family would appreciate, or the perfect souvenir to remember the city by.
While some markets in the city are open every day, others pop up once a week or month. Most of these accept card, but it’s usually up to the individual stalls. Here are the top eight markets that are open year-round in Melbourne.
Queen Victoria Market
Queen Victoria Market (or "Queen Vic" as the locals would say) first opened its doors over 140 years ago. The largest open-air market in the Southern Hemisphere, it’s a historical landmark in Melbourne. Queen Vic hosts over 600 traders, all selling various souvenirs, Australian-made products, and international food. Start by sifting through the stalls that sell clothes, hats, and rugs to bring home. Then taste your way through the meat and dairy produce halls before making your way to the fruit and vegetable stands.
If it’s open, you should 110 percent line up to try a hot jam doughnut from American Doughnut Kitchen. Oh, and if you see a cronnoli in the window of M and G Caiafa, definitely order it. The market is open until 3 p.m. on Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday, and until 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday—but in the summer and winter, head to Queen Vic after 5 p.m. on any given Wednesday for the weekly Night Market.
South Melbourne Market
South Melbourne Market is another city landmark that opened in 1867. It’s smaller than Queen Vic, making it a more comfortable place to meet locals and discover Australian treasures, such as Clement Coffee. You're in for some seriously out-of-this-world coffee at this tiny roaster.
You can embark on a food tour here as there are a bunch of delicious stalls and shops worth a visit, including Cannoleria, Market Borek, and Mama Tran Dumplings. Want to learn how to whip up hand-made tortelloni or nasi campur? South Melbourne Market also hosts a cooking school, where certified chefs can teach you how to make all kinds of cuisines ranging from Mediterranean to Vietnamese.
The Night Market opens on Wednesdays in the month of January; here you can try international food and listen to live music. South Melbourne Market is a 15-minute tram ride from Melbourne CBD toward St. Kilda. It’s open Wednesday to Sunday until 4 p.m.
St Kilda Esplanade Market
St Kilda is located right on the beach, just a 20-minute tram ride out of the city center. While it’s an excellent neighborhood for riding roller coasters and participating in brunch, it’s a prime spot for shopping, particularly on Sundays. When you enter the St Kilda Esplanade Market, you'll find a long row of stalls and tents selling Australian-made arts and crafts: jewelry, clothing, paintings, homeware, and more. Plus, there are a few food stalls to help you refuel after all that shopping. It's open every Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Prahran Market has transformed into an epic food market in Melbourne since it first opened in 1891. Here you’ll find a massive assortment of local and quality produce, seafood, meat, and dairy.
The market is continually introducing new traders and strives to create a welcoming atmosphere for visitors to grab a bite to eat. It’s the type of food market where you’ll want to sample everything. Don't know where to start? Mr. Bratwurst, Mr. Hoodle, and The Falafel Man will certainly satisfy your belly. Throughout the year, Prahran Market also hosts different events such as grilled cheese competitions, master classes, demos, tastings, and live music on the weekends.
If you plan to visit, catch the Sandringham train from Flinders Street Station and get off at Prahran Station. The market is a short walk from there. It’s open until 5 p.m. every Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, and until 3 p.m. on Sundays.
The Rose Street Artists’ Market
The Rose Street Artists’ Market is in the cool Melbourne neighborhood of Fitzroy. It’s an indoor and outdoor market featuring the “best of handmade." Every Saturday and Sunday, a large group of local designers and artists gather here to set up stalls with their arts and crafts, so you’re bound to find unique items and meet creative Melburnians.
While you’re in Fitzroy, stop by the Fitzroy Mills Market. It’s a small, wholesome organic food market that’s open on Saturdays from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. Here you’ll find cold-pressed juices, organic chocolate, fresh-made jam, and gluten-free bread. Fitzroy Mills is not only an excellent opportunity to support the community, it's also a chance to meet farmers from Victoria and learn what makes their products unique.
Shopping at the Camberwell Market is like a treasure hunt. You’ll find heaps of stands full of quirky knickknacks, vintage clothes, vinyl records, and delicate antiques. Camberwell Market is open every Sunday from 7:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. and asks for one gold coin (one Australian dollar) upon entry. You can get there by taking the train from Flinders Street Station to Camberwell Station. The market is in the car park at the station.
Kensington Market is a family-friendly Melbourne market. It has about 70 stalls filled with boutique products such as candles, jewelry, stuffed animals, clothes, and flower pots. While you’re shopping, try a meat pie from Gourmet Pies or a flat white from Coffee On Cue. The market is held at Kensington Town Hall every third Sunday of the month from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. It’s a 20-minute tram ride out of the city center, toward Flemington.