2 Days in Melbourne Itinerary – An Alternative City Guide

2 Days in Melbourne Itinerary Cover Image

Melbourne is not only famous for hosting the Australian Open tennis tournament. It is also considered Australia’s coffee capital thanks to the number of relaxing cafes and bars in the city. If you are short on time or on a weekend trip, our guest blogger Campbell has got the perfect 2 days in Melbourne itinerary for you.

Let’s keep it simple guys, Melbourne is incredible. It is the kind of city you can live for a lifetime and still find things you haven’t seen, places you haven’t been to and people you have yet to meet. It is a cultural Mecca, a backpacker’s dream and a weekend break paradise. Melbourne offers more fun and free things to do than any other city I have visited. Trying to fit it all into a 2-day weekend break is an impossible task. However, we have tried nonetheless. Here is the best of 2 day Melbourne itinerary you can find. Pack your walking shoes and get ready to fall in love.

Here is a quick overview of the two day Melbourne itinerary. You can find a map with all the main sights and things to see in Melbourne in two days at the end of the post.

Two Days in Melbourne
Day one in Melbourne
– Morning – Victoria Market and the Botanical Gardens of Melbourne
– Afternoon – National Gallery of Melbourne and Melbourne Arts Center (or a free walking tour)
– Evening – Happy Hour Drinks and Rooftop Bars
Day two in Melbourne
– Morning – Brunch and Street Art in the CBD
– Afternoon – Public Library of Victoria for Architecture Lovers
– Evening – Themed Bars
The 2 Day Melbourne Itinerary on a Map

Did you know that Melbourne was once the Capital of the country we now know as Australia? And that Melbourne was voted the “Most livable city in the world” not once, not twice, but a whopping seven times?

Skyline of Melbourne - an amazing place to visit on a weekend

Day one in Melbourne

Morning – Victoria Market and the Botanical Gardens of Melbourne

Let’s start the day off nice and easy. You have just arrived into the urban jungle and are excited to explore. But, first thing first is some of Melbourne’s famous cuisine. Head to the Victoria Market just north of the CBD and soak up the local vibes in this huge, open air market.

To get there, simply jump on the 57 tram from Melbourne Central and ride it north through the Free Tram Zone. Don’t worry about a travel card as all travel inside this zone is FREE! Yet another reason to love Melbourne.

After browsing the food stalls, arts and crafts and getting some of the gourmet coffee that Melbourne is ever so famous for, it’s time to jump back on the tram to the Botanical Gardens. The gardens are located just south of Flinders Street Station. If you do not have a travel card, get off at Flinders Street. From here, you can walk 10 minutes to reach the Shrine of Remembrance right next to the Botanical Gardens.

shrine of remembrance in Melbourne
The Shrine of Remembrance next to the Botanical Gardens

It is easy to find yourself wandering the garden for hours and hours. With the sun shining and birds chirping, it is an incredibly peaceful place. The best things to see in the Botanical Gardens of Melbourne are the Temple of the Winds and the Guilfoyle’s Volcano. Don’t hang around too long however. There are still plenty of other activities planned for the day.

If you have a bit more time in Melbourne and you are fascinated about botanical gardens, make sure to head out to Mount Dandenong to visit the Dandenong Botanic Garden. They are also one of the best places to see the cherry blossoms in Melbourne.

Melbourne itinerary - the botanical gardens are one of the top sights in Melbourne
You’ll feel like world’s away from the big city life inside the gardens.

Afternoon – National Gallery of Melbourne and Melbourne Arts Center (or a free walking tour)

Once you have had your fill at the Botanical Gardens, head back towards Flinders Street and cross St Kilda Road to the National Gallery. There are a few cafes dotted around between the buildings on this street if you didn’t have time for lunch yet. Alternatively, you can grab some food inside the gallery itself.

The National Gallery of Victoria was founded in 1861 and is the oldest, largest and busiest art museum in Australia. There is always a buzz around the center, with a constantly changing array of exhibitions and shows. Check out what is happening at the National Gallery of Victoria during your visit to plan your day.

If you aren’t too much into art, you can use the afternoon to join a free walking tour. The tour will also cover the main places of the city center and give you a quick dive into the history and the best things to see in Melbourne.

With the Gallery closing (or after the free walking tour), it is time to admire your first Melbourne sunset. Beside the National Gallery, you will find the Melbourne Arts Centre. The one with the miniature Eiffel Tower on its roof, one of the main sights of Melbourne. Walk towards that building and head left around the back of it to find the perfect sunset spot. Here you will find a small patch of grass to sit on and an undisturbed view of Melbourne’s skyline. Perfection.

sunset over melbourne sidney myers music bowl

Evening – Happy Hour Drinks and Rooftop Bars

With the sun set on your first day in Melbourne, it is time to see the city really come to life. Melbourne’s party scene is famous throughout the world, mostly for its fun, quirky and sometimes bizarre bars and nightclubs. Rooftop bars, themed bars, cocktail bars and even hidden bars, Melbourne has it all!

rooftop bars melbourne should be visited even if you only have two days
The views from the rooftop bars in the heart of Melbourne are incredible!

Unfortunately, Melbourne is also famous for its, sometimes eye-watering, living costs and the majority of the nightlife is no exception to this. Lucky for you guys, we are true budgeteers and managed to find the best deals for drinks and food around town.

For your first night of your 2 days in Melbourne, it is time to chow down and party in our favorite bar in town. Catch the tram north to Melbourne Central Shopping Centre and head up to the third floor to the Asian Beer Café. It’s time for Happy Hour! Here you will find one of Melbourne’s best happy hour deals for both food and drinks. Kick back, enjoy the awesome music and quirky décor, and get ready for a night to remember.

Once your belly is full and you have made the most of Happy Hour, it is time for another one of Melbourne’s hidden secrets: rooftop bars. With over 20 to choose from, there will definitely be one that is the perfect fit for you! We recommend checking out three of the more central bars: Goldilocks, Rooftop Bar and (my favorite) the Diagon Alley themed bar above Imperial Hotel.

Soak up the ambience as the locals drink, laugh and celebrate. Another great day in one of the most livable cities in the world. Don’t stay up too late, however, you will have another full day to explore Melbourne tomorrow!

Still looking for an accomodation option in Melbourne? Check out this post for the best hostels in Melbourne.

Day two in Melbourne

Morning – Brunch and Street Art in the CBD

Up fresh and early, ready to start the day, I hope! If not and you are nursing a hangover, then not to worry as we have the perfect fix for you. Sitting in North Richmond is the perfect Aussie brunch experience, 8 Murray St. An old bungalow in the Richmond suburbs is now one of the area’s most thriving local brunch café. Sit in the back garden, beneath the apricot trees, inside the old living room or on the front porch. Here you can admire the peaceful suburban neighborhood. We highly recommend the Acai Bowl. Made with local picked apricot jam, homemade peanut and tahini butters and handmade cacao chocolate. The coffees are also perfect for perking you up for the day ahead.

2 days in Melbourne - brunch at 8 murray street sign
Kickstart your day with some healthy breakfast.

Once you are ready, it is time to check out one of Melbourne’s most famous defining features. The beautiful CBD street art. Did you know Melbourne was once known as the Stencil Art capital of the world? Either join a paid tour, or walk around the CBD yourself. And see some of the best street art we have ever seen. You can see some of Melbourne’s best artwork in less than an hour with this self-guided Melbourne Graffiti Tour.

Graffiti in the CBD of Melbourne
Some of the graffiti in the CBD of Melbourne – and our author Campbell with his girfriend Gemma

Afternoon – Public Library of Victoria for Architecture Lovers

Your graffiti tour will finish up in Centre Place. The perfect spot for a bite to eat and a quick coffee. The narrow alleyways around here are filled with cute and quirky coffee shops, as well as some pretty special happy hour prices. So keep your eyes peeled. If you bring a reusable coffee cup, some places will even give you a discount, so cut out that waste and save some dollars while you are at it.

Heading north from Centre Place on the tram (once again inside the free tram zone), the next stop is  the Public Library of Victoria, where you can see some very special architecture. The La Trobe Reading Room inside the library is one of Melbourne’s most iconic pieces of architecture, with its domed roof and beautiful lighting. The peace and quiet the library brings is the perfect spot to reflect on your two days in Melbourne.

La trobe room victoria library - a must on every Melbourne itinerary
La Trobe Room at Victoria Library

Evening – Themed Bars

With the sun set once again over the beautiful city of Melbourne, the pink sky finished dancing on the water and the dusk light sitting heavy upon the city, it is time for your last activity in the city: a themed bar crawl. One of our favorite parts of Melbourne is not only the fact that it has one of the highest ratios of entertainment venues per capita in the world, but just how quirky these venues turn out to be. Spread throughout the city are Melbourne’s famous themed bars, each of which unique, and each offering a fantastic night out.

In the heart of the CBD sits Berlin Bar, a watering hole themed around mid-21st century Berlin, and the contrast of the east and west sides of the city. When you approach the front door to the bar, knock loudly and wait for the sliding hatch to open at eye level. A voice will call through asking “east or west?”, and you will have a decision to make. Once admitted you will arrive at your chosen side. Either the lavishly decorated western side, with hanging chandeliers and crystal glasses representing the capitalist West Berlin, or the bunk bed filled, simple and non-materialistic eastern side, representing the socialist East Berlin. Not to worry if you regret your decision. Unlike the city on which it is modelled, you are free to change sides!

Alternative tour of Melbourne - Berline bar - themed bar
The menu at Berlin Bar

Unfortunately, this is the end of your alternative two days in Melbourne itinerary. However, I do not doubt for a second that you will be back for more. The atmosphere around the city, the buzz of the café, shops and markets and the smiles from the locals always have travelers coming back to the city. It is a city that, for many backpackers, is simply impossible to leave. It is a honey trap of opportunity and life that every visitor to Australia simply must experience.

Are you traveling around Australia? Check out this post on the things to do in Jervis Bay in New South Wales – home to the world’s whitest beach.

The 2 Day Melbourne Itinerary on a Map

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The best themed bars and rooftop bars in Melbourne #Australia - a walking tour of the graffitis in the CDB and other things to do for art lovers #Melbourne #travel
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2 Days in Melbourne Itinerary – An Alternative City Guide

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