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Ahh St Kilda. Much loved Melbourne suburb by the bay. We Melburnians often first venture here as teenagers keen to discover the beach and cool vibes and then form a long running attachment to this quirky part of our city.
The area is wonderfully eclectic with a vibrant mix of people and activities. There are things to do in St Kilda for everyone both day and night.
Apart from the well loved attractions like St Kilda Beach and Luna Park you will also find some off the beaten track experiences that may not appear in the guidebooks.
Things to do in St Kilda guide
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Outside activities in St Kilda
Soak up the sun at St Kilda Beach
Of course! Most first time visitors to Melbourne venture outside of the city centre just for this beach. And it’s well worth the effort. It is a sandy beach with calm bayside waters suitable for swimmers of all ages.
Cafes and restaurants line the foreshore and you can stroll, ride, take a bike tour or rollerblade along the beachside path. On warm sunny days this beach is very busy until late into the night.
Stroll along St Kilda Pier
Take a stroll along the iconic St Kilda pier where post war migrant ships from Europe first docked. From here we welcomed thousands of new immigrants to our city.
Grab a coffee, breakfast or lunch at the pier’s kiosk and enjoy the view back to the city. The original 1903 kiosk was destroyed by fire in the early 2000s but has been lovingly restored thankfully as it is part of what makes St Kilda special
The pier is a wonderful spot to view the city of Melbourne, take a romantic stroll and view the local wildlife. You can often see seals and dolphins playing in the water and the area is home to a colony of over 1,000 fairy penguins. The best time to see the cute little waddlers is at dusk.
St Kilda Esplanade Market
Every Sunday the arts and crafts market along the St Kilda Esplanade is a popular place to shop for gifts and souvenirs. The market is open 10am – 4pm and can be found on the Esplanade between the Esplanade Hotel and Palais Theatre.
The fun fair at Luna Park has been entertaining Melbourne families for over a century and the open mouthed face entrance is an iconic part of St Kilda’s landscape. Boasting the world’s oldest continually operating wooden roller coaster and a beautiful carousel, the park has rides and attractions for adults and children of all ages.
Buy your ride tickets in advance to avoid the long lines. Luna Park is open on weekends, Victorian school holidays and every public holiday except Christmas Day. There’s a small $5 charge if you don’t plan to go on any rides – more ticket info.
Lawn Bowls at St Kilda Sports Club
• 66 Fitzroy Street, St Kilda
A very popular afternoon activity is a round of barefoot lawn bowls at the St Kilda Sports Club. Casual bowls is suitable for people of all ages and abilities and is lots of fun. After the match you can relax with a drink in the friendly bar.
You will find the club on the far corner of Albert Park.
Sailing from the Royal Melbourne Yacht Squadron
• Pier Rd, St Kilda
Learn to sail at one of the oldest sailing clubs in Australia. The club has courses for children as young as seven as well as adults. Sailing can be thirsty work so luckily there is a fantastic bar at the Yacht Club with wonderful views of Melbourne that you can access if you know a member too.
Where to eat in St Kilda
Baker di Chirico
• 149 Fitzroy Street, St Kilda
I would cross town for the baked goods from this little St Kilda bakery. The bread made here is some of the best in Melbourne and you will often find queues out the door. Baker di Chirico are also famous for their nougat.
Breakfast or brunch at Fitrovia
• 155 Fitzroy Street, St Kilda
In our opinion, Fitzrovia serves the best brunch in St Kilda. Yes they have the Melbourne breakfast classics – smashed avo and excellent coffee. But try the apple and rhubarb hotcakes or hot chilli jam scrambled eggs for a real treat. Bookings recommended if you want to brunch there on the weekend.
*Top pick* Seafood feasts at Claypots Seafood Bar
• 213 Barkly Street, St Kilda
One of my all time favourite Melbourne eateries, Claypots Seafood Bar is an institution and rightly so. In a casual and friendly environment you will eat some of the freshest and tastiest seafood imaginable. There is often live music in the bar next door and the whole experience makes for a great night out.
Cakes of Acland Street
Stroll down Acland Street and you can’t help but be tempted by the traditional East European cake shops. I love vanilla slice so my favourite shop is Le Bon Continental Cake Shop but you can’t go wrong with any of these cake shops. They all specialise in something different so look through the window and don’t even try to resist temptation.
Artisan gelato at 7 Apples
• 75 Acland Street, St Kilda
There’s no beach without ice-cream right? 7 Apples makes unique and delicious flavours like white peach with pecan praline and black sesame with Nutella swirls. I love my gelato and I give 7 Apples my seal of approval!
Wine + cheese at Milk the Cow
• 157 Fitzroy Street, St Kilda
If you are a cheese lover, this bar will become a quick favourite. The bar has over 150 varieties of local and imported cheeses with which to pair your favourite wine. Find out more – Milk the Cow
Stylish pub turned restaurant – Newmarket Hotel
• 34 Inkerman Street, St Kilda
Flavours from California and a grown up grunge vibe make for a great night eating tacos and drinking cocktails. Must try the soft shell crab tacos and the Hell Yeah cocktail. More info on their website.
Romantic dinner at Donovans
• 40 Jacka Boulevard, St Kilda
Donovans is a longstanding favourite restaurant. The restaurant sits looking over the sand and water and is designed to feel like a cosy beach home. The menu at Donovans has an emphasis on seafood and is constantly evolving.
Their chocolate fondant dessert is one of those dishes you don’t forget in a long while. Tip – enjoy champagne on the terrace as you watch the sun set over the bay to the west of Melbourne. Their children’s menu is great too.
Delicious pizza at Mr Wolf or iCarusi II
• 9-15 Inkerman Street, St Kilda | 231 Barkly Street, St Kilda
Who doesn’t love wood fired pizza? Karen Martini’s Mr Wolf serves amazing Roman style pizzas in a smart casual setting. The restaurant also caters for coeliacs and those avoiding gluten and has a wonderful children’s menu.
For a more rustic but equally delicious pizza and antipasto feast head to iCarusi. They are also famous for their dessert calzone or calzoncino.
Nightlife in St Kilda
Soak up the relaxed St Kilda vibes at the Prince Public Bar
• 29 Fitzroy Street, St Kilda
A great spot to start a night out or enjoy a lazy Sunday afternoon drink. There is usually free live music from local artists. You can also hear international acts upstairs in the Prince Bandroom – check their website for listings
Enjoy a concert at the Palais Theatre
• Lower Esplanade, St Kilda
The theatre itself is difficult to miss as you stroll along the St Kilda beach and Fitzroy Street. A wonderful example of art deco architecture, the Palais Theatre is a much loved Melbourne venue for many different types of concerts – from ballet to rock classics. Check their website for listings.
Epic Melbourne band and pub venue – The Espy (Esplanade Hotel)
• 11 Upper Esplanade, St Kilda
This most Melbourne of venues has recently reopened with swanky new bars and restaurants but the famous Gershwin band room remains intact. It has been said that if you haven’t had a drink at The Espy you haven’t been to Melbourne.
You can check what is on at the Espy here.
Indoor activities in St Kilda
St Kilda Sea Baths
• 10/18 Jacka Boulevard, St Kilda
Even in winter you can enjoy swimming in the sea water. The St Kilda Sea Baths has an indoor swimming pool using heated sea water from the bay. You can also use the hydrotherapy spa.
Jewish Museum of Australia
• 26 Alma Road, St Kilda
St Kilda is home to a large number of Orthodox Jews, many refugees from holocaust atrocities in World War II. The Jewish Museum of Australia tells the history of these people and the broader Jewish population in Australia.
The museum is open from 10am every day except Mondays and Saturdays. View the website for more details.
Classic films at the magnificent Astor Theatre
•corner Chapel Street and Dandenong Roads
The Astor is a much loved Melbourne institution. One of the last single screen cinemas in operation in Australia, the art deco theatre can hold over 1000 visitors and is famous for showing re runs of classic movies like The Wizard of Oz and Singin’ in the Rain.
Luxurious spa treatments at Aurora Spa – Prince Hotel
• 2 Acland Street, St Kilda
Massages, hand, feet and facial treatments are divine at Aurora Spa. It’s one of the best spas in Melbourne in my opinion. Try the Active Botanical Facial – your skin will never feel so fresh and clean.
Where to stay in St Kilda
There are several St Kilda hotels and serviced apartments to choose from and it’s a popular place to stay thanks to all the activities and fun things to do in the area. Here are our favourites
Best for music and nightlife – The Prince
Right in the heart of the action, The Prince has modern rooms each with a BOSE sound system so you can relive the tunes you heard the night before. The hotel is also home to luxurious Aurora Spa.
Best for art lovers – Tolarno Hotel
Just a short walk from the beach, the Tolarno Hotel is decorated with pieces from celebrated local artist Mirka Mora. This small and friendly hotel has several room sizes catering to overnight and longer stays.
Top pick – The Blackman
Just a short walk from the Fitzroy Street hustle and bustle, The Blackman is a stylish and modern boutique hotel offering on-site restaurants and a fitness centre. I love the decor and comfort at this hotel.
Favourite Melbourne boutique hotels
St Kilda is easy to get to from Melbourne’s CBD and surrounding suburbs. If you like staying at stylish boutique hotels, there are many to choose from in Melbourne. Here is a list of my favourites.
How to get to St Kilda
Taxis and Uber are common throughout Melbourne. Uber is significantly cheaper and easier to access at peak times.
Public transport – it is a 15 minute tram ride from Melbourne’s city centre to St Kilda. Catch a tram down St Kilda Road from stops outside Federation Square opposite Flinders Street Station.
You will need to use a Myki public transport card to use the tram.
Need more info about Melbourne and the surrounding area? Read my Melbourne city highlights guide, our guide to the best family activities in Melbourne, my picks of Melbourne’s boutique hotels and tips on visiting the Great Ocean Road
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links and as always all opinions are my own. Please review my disclosure page for more information on my affiliate policy.
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