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The first wave of Italian immigrants arrived in Melbourne in the mid-20th century and settled in the suburb of Carlton. One of the first things they did was open restaurants that served their favourite dishes, made just the way they were made back home. Toto’s Pizza House was the first pizzeria in Australia, and was followed by other cafés and restaurants on Carlton’s main thoroughfare of Lygon Street. The area is now firmly established as Australia’s “Little Italy” and has become a favourite haunt of foodies from all corners of the globe.
The stretch of Lygon Street between Victoria and Elgin streets, just north of Melbourne city centre, is where you’ll find all the most popular dining establishments. Start your day with an invigorating espresso, munch on a panino flavoured with garlic and fresh herbs at lunchtime, or wallow in nostalgia for the old country over a steaming bowl of pasta and a bottle of fruity red wine as darkness falls, leaving just enough room for a refreshing late-night gelato.
Every October the street is transformed by the Lygon Street Fiesta, a traditional Italian-style street festival which has been drawing the crowds since 1978. Other nearby entertainment options include the arthouse Cinema Nova and the legendary La Mama Theatre, while the Museo Italiano chronicles the legacy of the Italian community in Carlton and its impact on Australian life and culture.
Lygon Street also has a smattering of restaurants serving equally delicious non-Italian cuisine, including Indian and Thai, as well as an eclectic mix of fashion boutiques, bookshops and galleries – plenty to browse the hours away in this bohemian quarter of the city. It’s an easy walk from central Melbourne, but if you want to save your energy for a thorough exploration of your destination, jump on a tram. There is street parking nearby but it can be in high demand, so public transport is usually a safer bet.
Traveling is about so much more than just visiting a new place. It's all about the things you can do while you're there.
Before flying home, why not consider buying a Shore Excursion: Melbourne Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour? It's a fantastic way to remember your trip.
For a more complete guide to activities, head to our Lygon Street things to do page.
Great hotel with amazing location in the heart of the city. Well worth the stay. The staff are very good and accommodated our needs. The pool was a good time for a cool down after big days of shopping.
very convenient. Central to sothern Cross station and Spenser St outlet storea. room had a great view across to gardens and sky scrappers atnight. Breakfast was excellent value at $12.00. lobby area comfy and bag storage room very handy.
No nonsense hotel. Reasonably priced, close to downtown and to public transportation. Clean and well furnished rooms (coffee maker, iron, safe). A bit small but more than enough for a solo traveler. Friendly and helpful staff. I was there for 6 nights and very much enjoyed my stay.
Rooms are a really good size and comfy, staff are super friendly and helpful. If you’re an Expedia VIP member the VIP bonuses are great!
the location worked well for us as we could walk to our destinations during our stay.
Should have different menu for breakfast. Not every day 100% same. Think of those that stay more than 3 days.
Great location in the Docklands. Good value and staff were friendly.