Keep that grand slam buzz going long after the winning serve in an epic match by hitting Melbourne’s cafes, boutiques, restaurants and bars.

Melbourne saves its best for the Australian Open, with an array of art, culture and music events adding to the atmosphere when the Grand Slam reaches the pointy end.

The city’s lauded laneway life is just a serve and volley from Melbourne Park, allowing you to load up on caffeine and bumper breakfasts at quaint cafes before a five-setter, shop for clothes and accessories to look the part at centre court, or wind down in a hidden bar afterwards. Warm summer nights are perfect for outdoor drinks with friends to dissect the day’s play, for catching a local band in a bar, or sampling the city’s best fare.

Some of Melbourne and Victoria’s most iconic sights are just a short trip out of town, so you can pair your sightings of tennis stars with a look at local legends and be back in the city in time for the next contest.

Make sure you ace your Australian Open experience and check out the following lists of recommendations.

Summertime bars

Soak up Melbourne’s summery atmosphere while enjoying drinks with friends at the city’s best outdoor bars. Perch over the Yarra River with a beer, teeter on milk crates and pallets with a cocktail, sit up amid the skyscrapers with a G&T, or loom large over city streets with a cold glass of local wine on balmy evenings that feel like they could go on forever. Watch the sun set on a great day of tennis and city sights at these five summertime bars.

Rooftop Bar

Take in panoramic views of the CBD skyline at Rooftop Bar, set seven storeys atop the popular Curtin House. – View More

Rooftop-bar

Naked in the Sky

Hit the rooftop of Fitzroy favourite Naked For Satan for authentic Basque country comfort food, complete with views of the distant Dandenong Ranges. – View More

Naked for Satan

Ponyfish Island

Clinging to a pylon beneath the pedestrian bridge over the Yarra to Southbank, you’ll find a pop-up oasis of beer, coffee and tasty toasties. – View More

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Section 8

So much more than two shipping containers in a car park, Section 8 is where Melburnians go for unpretentious drinks and delectable audio offerings. – View More

Section 8 Bar Tattersals Laneway

Bomba

Channel Spanish workers with a touch of Melbourne flair with authentic tapas atop the Bomba rooftop, where cocktails, cerveza and manzanilla flow. – View More

Bomba

Coffee

Like the merits of a serve-and-volley player versus the attributes of a baseline devotee, Melburnians are passionate about their preferred cafes and bean roasteries. Start your mornings in city laneways filled with the aroma of espresso, or venture into inner-city neighbourhoods to test the mettle of their offerings. Try some of the more scientific extraction methods, like syphon or clover, for a certain caffeine hit, or sit back and relax with a flat white and a finely crafted breakfast to prepare you for a day of tennis. Fill your cup at five of our favourites.

Proud Mary

Put your faith in Proud Mary and the fancy equipment for a smooth cup o’ Joe and a breakfast or lunch that will get you rolling, rolling, rolling. – View More

ProudMary

Seven Seeds

Peep at the mini coffee bean plantation to get greater pleasure from a flat white, extracted to high standards by a crack-team of coffee connoisseurs. – View More

Seven Seeds cafe

Brother Baba Budan

Have your caffeine and drink it too in a cafe named after a legendary coffee smuggler, where chairs hang high and the beans are roasted with pedigree. – View More

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Market Lane Coffee

Follow the aromas of espresso to Market Lane Coffee at the entrance to Prahran Market and leave your coffee order in the hands of the expert barista. – View More

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League of Honest Coffee

Become a member of the city’s finest League and savour the rewards of its commitment to the Padre ethos of doing coffee simply, and doing coffee well. – View More

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Breakfasts

Just as Novak Djokovic and the Williams sisters have a refined routine for the morning of a big match, so you should stock up on a big breakfast to prepare for a day courtside at Melbourne Park. Luckily for you, Melbourne is a city that values the first meal of the day. Melbourne’s best breakfast spots place as much emphasis on their coffee as what’s on the plate, so you’re sure to be equally well fed and caffeinated. Try innovative takes on old favourites or mouth-wateringly bold concoctions that will become new favourites. Try these five for guaranteed great starts to the day.

Manchester Press

Get in line to praise Manchester Press, the huge lucent space softened with old timbers and quirky junkyard installations where coffee reigns supreme. – View More

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Operator 25

Have your morning call answered with aplomb at Operator 25, purveyors of specialty coffee and open daily for breakfast, lunch and everything in between. – View More

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Bowery to Williamsburg

Give your day an all-American start on Oliver Lane, with bagels and lox, or a ‘schmear’, backed up by some true-blue, Melbourne-made Padre coffee. – View More

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Top Paddock

Find out why Top Paddock keeps reeling in the awards and enjoy an all-day breakfast that realises the vision of serving food from the paddock to your plate. – View More

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Cumulus Inc

This loft-inspired restaurant, hatted by The Age Good Food Guide gets going early, serving up seriously satisfying breakfasts every day of the week. – View More

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Shopping

You’ll be spoiled for choice in Melbourne’s shopping precincts, with options for lovers of sport, fashion, literature, music, art and design. Small, vibrant shopping strips boasting a colourful and diverse range of traders dot inner city neighbourhoods, while the city centre’s laneways and arcades are treasure troves just waiting to be discovered. Independent local designers and fashion’s best-known names happily co-exist with vintage emporia and jewellery ateliers, ensuring you’ll look the part when you take your seat at centre court.These five recommendations will fill your shopping basket in no time.

Night markets

Spend a balmy evening embracing twilight retail therapy, food from around the globe and live entertainment at Melbourne’s fabulous night markets. – View More

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Record stores

Visit an independent record store in Melbourne – find second hand bargains, obscure new releases and live in-store performances. – View More

Pure Pop Records

Bookshops

Melbourne boasts more bookshops per head than anywhere else in Australia. Browse independent retailers stocked to the rafters with lovely literature. – View More

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Emporium Melbourne

Be assured of the best of the best at Emporium Melbourne, the city’s cutting edge shopping mecca boasting a host of first-to-Australia stores. – View More

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Art and design

Discover the innovation and skill of local artists and designers at hole-in-the-wall galleries and designer boutiques scattered throughout the city. – View More

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Regional Vic

Victoria is a compact state, so when you find yourself with a break between matches or nervously anticipating the final, you can head off on a short drive from Melbourne. Within a matter of hours you’ll be devouring fresh local produce while watching dolphins frolic off the beaches of Mornington Peninsula, watching the waddling penguins on parade at Phillip Island, or sipping wines among the vines in Yarra Valley’s boutique wineries. Take a bit more time and refresh body and mind in Daylesford’s day spas or drive the iconic Great Ocean Road. Here’s five experiences to get you raring to go.

Yarra Valley wineries

Sip, sniff, and savour fine wines within the hallowed walls of historic Victorian viticultural institutions, or discover secret winery gems. – View More

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Daylesford spas

Experience total relaxation in Australia’s spa capital, with a large variety of treatments, bathhouses and mineral pools, just an hour from Melbourne. – View More

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Phillip Island Nature Park

Meet Phillip Island’s famous penguins and experience that electrifying moment as you spot the first one emerge from the sea and waddle along the beach. – View More

Phillip Island Nature Park

Great Ocean Road

Drive one of the world’s most iconic scenic touring routes, the Great Ocean Road, spanning 243 kilometres along the stunning coastline of Victoria and home to the magnificent 12 Apostles. – View More

12 Apostles, Great Ocean Road

Mornington Peninsula dolphin experiences

Spot dolphins from the shore, or join an organised expedition to swim with or cruise alongside Port Phillip Bay’s friendly bottlenose and common dolphins. – View More

Moonraker Dolphin Swim - Sorrento

Events/Arts

It’s hard to believe there can be more happening in Melbourne during the Australian Open than the top-tier tennis, but beyond Melbourne Park there are more theatre, exhibitions, concerts and festivals than you can whack a ball at. Take the opportunity to see a blockbuster stage show or a touring exhibition that coincides with your visit. Wander through free public galleries for a whirlwind tour of the local art scene, join a gallery opening, and keep your eye out for installations and exhibitions in the unlikeliest places. See our five picks to get you started.

Strictly Ballroom the Musical

Dance in the aisles in a kaleidoscope of colour and fun as Strictly Ballroom the Musical brings the adored ballroom dancing championships to Her Majesty’s Theatre. – View More

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The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier

Celebrate the unconventional and irreverent designs of the ground-breaking French couturier, Jean Paul Gaultier at an exclusive Australian exhibition. – View More

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SummerSalt Festival

Stumble across a free or low-cost outdoor art event around Southbank, with major venues being turned inside out to bring art to the great outdoors. – View More

Public galleries

Get a priceless opportunity to see some of Australia’s finest art collections for nothing at Melbourne’s public art galleries, or see visiting shows. – View More

CCP-Centre for Contemporary Photography

MPavilion

Stop in and discover a cultural surprise at the temporary, architect-designed pavilion in the Queen Victoria Gardens in the middle of the Southbank Arts Precinct. – View More

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After dark

Follow up a day of Grand Slam tennis action with a night full of fun and activity. Fortunately, Melbourne puts on a show when the lights go out. Special menus for midnight dining? Yes please! Rare vintages in a plush wine bar? You betcha. Table service to your private indoor railway carriage? Every night. Add a handful of rock n’ roll bars for late-night dancing and perhaps some spicy snacks and cocktails to recharge, and you might find yourself rushing to be courtside on time the next morning. Check out some of our picks.

Toff in Town

Claim a booth in a train carriage and use the buzzer to order Thai food and fine cocktails all night, leaving only to catch a band in the stage room. – View More

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The Melbourne Supper Club

You just know a place is good when waiters go there for knock-off drinks. This favourite combines one of the city’s longest wine lists with a rooftop bar. – View More

Interior of The Melbourne Supper Club

Boney

Catch local heroes in the upstairs bandroom, making the most of the filling meals and tasty snacks to power you through the infamous 2am live slot. – View More

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Mamasita

Late night snacks don’t need to end with next day remorse. Choose Mamasita and its all-night taqueria menu, designed to sate post-11pm snack attacks. – View More

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Chin Chin

Give a big night out a recharge in the early hours with a feast of spicy Thai flavours and neon cocktails at Chin Chin, open every day until late. – View More

Chin Chin restaurant on Flinders Lane

Best kept secrets

There’s nothing like having a bit of local knowledge up your sleeve when you’re visiting a new city, and Melbourne’s network of laneways and arcades are hives of untold gems just waiting to be discovered. With our tips for five of Melbourne’s best-kept secrets you can have a truly Melbourne experience and gather starting points for your own local discoveries. Enter an inconspicuous doorway for a fine wine experience, find an edible green space atop a carpark, stumble across some quirky jewellery and unlock a very unusual cabinet of curiosities. Discover the city’s secrets.

Pellegrini’s kitchen table

Pellegrini’s has had its charming nonno and nonna vibe for more than 50 years, and nabbing a spot at the bustling kitchen table is still a Melbourne rite of passage. – View More

Pellegrini's restaurant

Lui Bar

When a table at Vue de Monde is hard to come by, Lui Bar isn’t a bad second bet. The bartender holds the keys to the Vue cellar, the snacks are sublime and the views to die for. – View More

LuiBar

Shadow Electric

There’s something surreal about sitting in the courtyard of the old Abbotsford convent watching a cult classic film as the summer sun sets and the bats flap overhead. Surreal, and very Melbourne. – View More

ShadowElectric

Somewhere

It’s satisfyingly vague to reply that your stylish new pants came from, ‘somewhere’, doubly so when it’s the name of the store hidden above Royal Arcade, stocked with top local and international brands. – View More

Somewhere clothing store

Switch Board Cafe

Wander beyond the foyer of the neo-Gothic Manchester Unity Building to find a cafe in a storage cupboard and experience Switch Board’s unique charm as well as fabulous coffee. – View More

Neighbourhoods

It’s easy to get around Melbourne, which means it’s no trouble to make your way from Rod Laver Arena to explore the diverse inner-city neighbourhoods. Jump on a tram, take a train or stretch your legs and discover the distinct characters of the suburbs closest to the city. Whether it’s bohemian Fitzroy, beachy St Kilda, foody Richmond, or boutique Prahran you’ll need to give yourself plenty of time to unearth the best breakfasts and welcoming cafes, beguiling boutiques, top restaurants and buzzing bars. Here are five inner-city suburbs to explore between matches.

Fitzroy

Perch by the window in a Brunswick Street bar and celebrate the way that the more things change, the more they stay the same in this bohemian enclave. – View More

Brunswick-Street-Fitzroy

St Kilda

Prepare to play in St Kilda, where you can kick up your heels by the seashore, by the stage at live music venues or on the whirligigs at Luna Park. – View More

St.Kilda - Pier

Richmond

You won’t go hungry in Richmond, whether brunching in a cosy cafe, Greek feasts, Vietnamese treats or pizza slices after a gig at the Corner Hotel. – View More

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Prahran and Windsor

Capture the independent spirit of Prahran and Windsor as you journey down Chapel Street, a treasure-trove of vintage finds, eclectic eateries and boutiques. – View More

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Collingwood

Peel back the inner-city onion that is Collingwood and discover layers of local history, infamous characters, quirky creativity and effortless charm. – View More

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Outdoor spaces

Melbourne is part of the Garden State for a reason – green spaces, floral displays, sandy beaches and the banks of the river are a big part of daily life. The Royal Botanic Gardens are a stone’s throw from the tennis action at Melbourne Park, and a calm, verdant space for between-match meandering. Relax on the banks of the Yarra River as swans and rowing teams glide by, or spend a while soaking up the atmosphere from Federation Square. Here’s where to go for some wide open spaces.

Royal Botanic Gardens

Breathe deep and fill your lungs with the goodness of fresh air at Melbourne’s Botanic Gardens, or see the uniquely Aussie landscape in Cranbourne. – View More

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Federation Square

‘Fed Square’ is a public space buzzing with a daily program of events, restaurants and cafes and art. Grab a deckchair and watch the world go by. – View More

Federation Square

Melbourne Zoo

Experience a zoo visit like no other with up-close Wild Encounters tours, groove in summer to the ‘Zoo Twilights’ music performances, or just gush over new arrivals. – View More

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Fitzroy Gardens

Marvel at the tiny doorways of historic Captain Cook’s Cottage, the carved Fairies Tree, the model Tudor Village, and myriad fountains and statues. – View More

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Carlton Gardens

Laze around the water features in Carlton Gardens before summoning the energy to explore the adjacent Melbourne Museum and Royal Exhibition Building. – View More

Royal Exhibition Building in Autumn