Top 10 places to hang out in St Kilda
1. St Kilda Botanical Gardens
The relaxing surrounds of St Kilda’s Botanical Gardens are the perfect place to chill out on a sunny afternoon or let your thoughts wander as your feet do the same.
Since being established in the 1800s the heritage listed gardens have been a perennial favourite with locals as well as many different species of wildlife that call the gardens home.
Besides lying on its lush lawns, or relaxing alongside its ornamental pond, visitors can challenge one another to a game of chess on the giant chess board, or visit the glasshouses and the Eco-centre which facilitates lessons on sustainable living practice.
2. Palais Theatre
As one of Melbourne’s great theatres, the Palais is an icon of St Kilda that is synonymous with the energy and spirit of the bayside suburb.
It has enjoyed an interesting history. After burning to the ground in the 1920s, the theatre roared back into action and by the 1950s was the place to go the movies, with newsreels and variety performances accompanying the main feature.
Today, it is one of Melbourne’s cherished live music venues and is on the Victorian Heritage Register. While large for a theatre, the Palais only holds 2800 people so tickets tend to go in a flash. Keep a close eye on the gig guide and make sure to snap yourself up one when one of your favourite acts goes on the bill.
3. St Kilda Sea Baths
The St Kilda Sea Baths are an intrinsic part of St Kilda and a great place to get a sense of nineteenth century craze that surrounded St Kilda, when the baths and the promenade brought pleasure seekers down to the seaside playground in massive numbers.
Nowadays, it’s all a little more laid back. St Kilda may no longer be a holiday destination for Melbournians but nonetheless plenty come down to experience the pleasure that comes from swimming in sea water that has been heated to a soothing temperature. Combine a swim with brunch at the Sea Baths café, Beachcomber, for a truly relaxing Sunday morning.
4. Cacao Fine Chocolates and Patisserie
St Kilda has always been a much travelled to destination for those with a sickly-sweet sweet tooth. Numerous cake and patisserie stores have delighted visitors and the tradition continues with Cacao Fine Chocolates and Patisserie on Fitzroy Street. Here you can treat yourself with a chocolate bonbon, flaky croissant, French macaroon or their seductive signature hot chocolate.
5. The Prince of Wales Hotel
Another quintessential St Kilda watering hole whose laidback vibe caters to all-comers. Enjoy a cold beer and a game of pool downstairs, or catch some brilliant live music upstairs at the Prince Bandroom – which over the years has played host to such acts as Coldplay, Jack Johnson, Ben Harper and the Scissor Sisters. For those who seek their live music experiences with a touch of luxury thrown-in, this iconic venue now also includes a boutique hotel and five-star restaurant, Circa. Cheers indeed.
6. Esplanade Hotel
St Kilda’s Esplanade Hotel, better known as ‘The Espy’ is a Melbourne institution. On a sunny afternoon there few better places to be than in The Espy’s beer garden looking out over the shimmering bay. When the sun goes down, there are also few better places to see some great live music. The famously ornate Gershwin Room is a much celebrated venue for bringing music to life. Ask anyone and they will tell you – The Espy’s a treasure.
7. The George Hotel
A remarkable building that brings an avuncular presence to this most impulsive of Melbourne suburbs. Built in the Renaissance Revival style in 1880, the building only seems to get grander with age. You’ll find great music and food in the hotel and in the Melbourne Wine Room, located downstairs, there’s no shortage of great beers and wines.
8. St Kilda Bowling Club
A game of barefoot bowls while enjoying a few beers and a snag is a great way to relax with friends on a sunny afternoon. At the St Kilda Sports Club you can do just that at one of Melbourne’s most picturesque bowling greens. Established in 1885, this brilliant community asset has recently been restored to its full glory so it’s as popular as ever with locals looking to unwind and test their rolling skills.
9. St Kilda Beach
Melbourne’s most famous beach. On a sunny day, and even on a cloudy one, a trip down to St Kilda beach to walk out along the St Kilda Pier to the St Kilda Pavilion is both an absolute joy and a quintessential Melbourne activity.
When the heat of summer comes the beach pretty much becomes the centre of activity in Melbourne. In addition to the throngs of swimmers and sunbakers present on the sand and grassed areas, you’ll also find windsurfers, rollerbladers, beach volleyballers, jet-skiers, and water-skiers making the most of this fantastic beach.
10. St Kilda Esplanade Market
The St Kilda Esplanade Market is an iconic Melbourne arts and crafts market, which runs every Sunday. Set against the iconic backdrop of St Kilda Beach, this vibrant makers’ market features over 150 unique stalls of handcrafted artwork, wood products, jewellery, accessories and more. An inspiring weekly destination for Melbournians and tourists alike.