See a new side of Melbourne

01 Apr 2014

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Melbourne is full of metropolitan appeal, with all the shops, dining and entertainment one could expect from a big city.

While Melbourne's main attractions are fantastic to discover, why not head underneath the surface and experience a hidden side that only locals know well?

Here is a guide to a few of Melbourne's fantastic, lesser-known attractions that will allow you to see a whole new side of the city, even if you've visited before. When it comes to Australian escapes, checking out these spots in Melbourne will make your getaway even more enjoyable.

Melbourne's laneways and arcades

Sometimes when visiting a city, it's easy to stick to the main centres and shopping malls. However heading off the beaten path in Melbourne will allow you to discover some truly unique neighbourhoods and allow you to get a taste of the streets as locals know them. The best way to explore these is on foot, so make sure you pack your walking shoes.

Try the Block Arcade, which is a 19th-century creation with mosaic tiles, carved stone and a glass canopy. There are wonderful boutique stores, cafes and restaurants. In particular, the Hopetoun Tea Rooms are a must-visit for the delectable cakes, while Haigh's Chocolates serves up other delicious treats.

Once you've strolled through the arcade and shopped til your heart's content, it's time to wander the lanes and get a taste of the street art. The city has approved areas for street art that includes paste-ups, murals, stencils and more. This has had a great impact livening up the city and providing an outlet for expression with some beautiful works of art now adorning the city.

To see some of the best of what Melbourne has to offer up in terms of street art, check out 122 Palmerston Street in Carlton, Centre Place between Collins Street and Flinders Lane, 21 Degraves Street, Caledonain Lane off Little Bourke Street and Hosier and Rutledge Lane, opposite Federation Square. There are plenty more locations, however, so keep your eyes peeled wherever you go.

Chinatown

Melbourne's Chinatown is a bustling centre full of plenty of attractions and of course, many tasty delicacies.

To find this district, head along Little Bourke Street from Spring Street to Swanston Street, and all the wonderful lanes and destinations in between. Amongst the hanging lanterns and glittering signs, try a taste of the restaurants selling Chinese fare, including dumplings and duck - and plenty more. The Shanghai Dumpling Restaurant and the Shark Fin Inn are two to try.

Head to the Chinese Museum and Chinatown Visitor Centre to learn a bit more about the history and heritage behind Melbourne's Chinatown, as well as more general information on the history of Chinese people in Australia.

The Greek Precinct

Another distinct cultural destination, the Greek Precinct is full of delicious delights with a Greek twist, including cakes, coffee and souvlaki. There are plenty of shops selling Greek jewellery, books, music and more, so set aside plenty of time to explore.

Dine at one of the cafes and restaurants and peruse the shops for fascinating trinkets - but make sure to get a dose of heritage too. You can do that at the Hellenic Museum, which is found at 280 William Street. This delves into the cultural traditions of ancient and modern Greece and showcases exhibits ranging from antiquities to contemporary arts.

Australian adventures can be just as exciting and fulfilling as holidays overseas - so enjoy a trip to the magical city of Melbourne where you can discover a whole new treasure trove of sights and sounds.