Get your head around Melbourne’s eclectic precincts and fringe suburbs and dive in to uncover little-known places for cheap, filling lunches; coffee worth boasting about; underground art; subterranean dens and bars high on the rooftops; green spaces; fancy places; and some good yarns along the way. Find a pocket of Melbourne for whatever mood you’re in.

CITY PRECINCTS… Just when you think you’ve got Melbourne figured out, you’ll uncover one more pocket of the CBD with a particular vibe that makes it feel so right to lose another three hours or so. While fairly compact in size, Melbourne’s CBD is split into distinct areas, each with its own fortes and flavours. Bourke Street Mall offers no-strings-attached retail therapy, Chinatown is all dumplings and heritage, Collins Street knows how posh you really are, Flinders quarter squeezes your creative juices, and the sports precinct’s fever is contagious. The alleys and laneways, conventional and vertical, make their own rules, and encourage you to break them.

CITY FRINGE… Jump on a tram and take yourself to a part of the city that you’re not familiar with for a day of discovery and the kind of revelations that make you update all your social media accounts. Melbourne’s inner suburbs are concentrated pockets of the best bits of the city. Every survival guide needs to contain information about where to go for the best celebrity-chef dining experiences, boutique bar drinking, underground art discovering, hybrid cafe lounging, local designer discovering and beach baking. Decide which cuisine you’re seeking, and whether it’s breakfast or bars, shopping or streetscapes, and find yourself a new favourite place.