Melbourne’s central business district—its rectangular network of streets, laneways, alleys, and labyrinthine passages seemingly woven and stitched together—is one of the world’s largest city grids.
City surveyor Robert Hoddle mapped out the city’s wide, main streets in 1837 with a grand vision of tree-lined, European boulevards and simple geometry. But it was the city’s rich trade history during the Gold Rush that literally paved Melbourne’s iconic maze of laneways—originally set up for the cabinet-makers, jewelers, farriers, and fabric merchants to cart their wagons of goods through. These lanes are grimy, industrial shortcuts no longer—for Melburnians, they are the destination.
Hardware Lane – yet another lane packed with amazing cafes and stores. For those who don’t know, Melbourne is somewhat famous for several things – one of those things is astonishingly good coffee-culture, the other is the cobblestone lanes, discover candlelit speakeasies, jazz bars, and quirky rooftop bars peering down at the city. In Melbourne’s center you’ll find the lion’s share of critically acclaimed restaurants and hip bars hiding behind discreet doorways, and perhaps even catch a gourmet food truck setting up shop in an adjacent enclave. The CBD’s creative pulse is laced through its lanes—especially palpable around Flinders Lane. Contemporary art galleries and fashion houses hide behind peeling terraces, beside luxurious Japanese basement bath houses, opulent boutiques, writers’ studios, cutting-edge design workshops, and laneway walls adorned with vivid street art and esoteric murals. Hosier Lane, which runs past famed Spanish eatery Movida, features some of the most sophisticated graffiti art with several Banksy-adorned walls
There’s something about street art . The grunginess? The authentic feel to it? Perhaps, it’s the subliminally political chants that underlie much of the paint-clad walls.