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18 Places You Need To See If You’re Only In Melbourne For A Weekend

With so much to see and do in Melbourne, here's how to make the most of your time.

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1. The Abbotsford Convent

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Start your weekend northside with a stroll around the beautiful Abbotsford Convent, perched on the Yarra River just outside of the city. The 11 historic buildings and gardens are home to events, festivals, workshops, classes, markets, gigs, and theatre. In summer, there's even a super-cool outdoor cinema.

2. The Convent Bakery

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Pop into the Convent Bakery on your wander around the Convent and try to leave without picking up a Nutella doughnut or buttery croissant – we dare you! All the bread is baked on-site in the same wood-fired masonry ovens used by the nuns in 1901. They also roast their own fair-trade organic coffee, so grab a takeaway latte and enjoy it outside on the lawn under the steepled, Gothic architecture.

3. The Farm Café

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The Farm Café is a cute-as-a-button extension of the Collingwood Children's Farm. In fact, you may find chickens pecking around your feet as you eat your breakfast! The menu is rustic, seasonal, and takes the paddock-to-plate movement to a whole new level.

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4. The Collingwood Children's Farm

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Now that you've got a decent amount of caffeine flowing through your veins, go meet the animals at this fairytale farm! There are pigs, goats, ducks, geese, chickens, cows, rabbits, and more. Entry is cheap for both adults and children, and you can participate in daily activities like cow milking, chook feeding, and guinea pig cuddling. A massive peacock is often parading around and there is also a farmers market on the second Saturday of every month.

5. Victoria Street, Richmond

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Follow the bike path down the river and climb up a steep flight of steps to find yourself around the corner from Victoria Street in Richmond. Known as Melbourne's Little Saigon, it's a bustling, fragrant street full of Vietnamese bakeries, Asian supermarkets, traditional fishmongers, butchers, and discount clothes shops. If you're feeling peckish again, follow your nose to a steaming bowl of the legendary Vietnamese soup, Phở.

6. The MCG

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Jump on a train at the top of Victoria Street or continue to stretch your legs and walk to Jolimont Station. Stroll down to "The G", formally known as Melbourne Cricket Ground, and check out some of the bronze statues of our local sporting heroes. The MCG just happens to be the 10th-largest sporting stadium in the world and it's definitely worth a look-see while you're in town – pop into the National Sports Museum, which is informative and interactive.

7. The NGV

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Beyond the famous water wall façade and wishing well moat at the entrance, the National Gallery of Victoria houses major blockbuster exhibitions as well a permanent collection that includes a Rembrandt, a Bonnard, and a Tiepolo. It's worth a visit for the architecture alone, and through the main foyer, you'll find a great hall with the world's largest stained glass ceiling. Take a moment to lie down on your back and gaze up – it's practically compulsory.

8. Flinders Street Station

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Of course, you knew you'd wind up here... right? The word 'iconic' doesn't even begin to cut it when it comes to describing Australia's oldest railway station. Ask any Melbournian to meet you under the clocks and they'll know exactly where to go. An an urban legendstates that back in the early 1900s the architecture plans for Mumbai railway station and Flinders Street railway station were switched, and that's why Flinders Street has an East-Indian influenced design. However, this has never been proven.

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9. Degraves Street

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Degraves Street runs between Flinders Street and Flinders Lane, and is partly responsible for the reputation Melbourne has for boasting the world's best and most bohemian laneways. It leads into Centre Place where you can pop into one of many cool eateries or bars like Jungle Juice or Hell's Kitchen and do a spot of people-watching with a cool drink in hand.

10. Hosier Lane

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Now that you've whetted your appetite for laneways, wander up to Hosier Lane, which is one of Melbourne's most famous hubs for street art and hipster cred. From stencils and paste-ups, to murals and installations, you'll find everything you could possibly imagine to feast your eyes on here.

11. Movida Bar de Tapas

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You might have to jostle for elbow room at this outrageously popular tapas bar, but it's all part of the experience, and Movida is the epicentre of laneway dining in Melbourne. The restaurant in Hosier Lane is the original, and arguably the best – if it's fit to bursting, try your luck at some of the city's other culinary heroes – Chin Chin, Supernormal, Cumulus Inc., and Cookie.

12. Siglo Bar

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Top your day off with a nightcap at Siglo, the ultimate late-night bar. Perched above Melbourne Supper Club, this rooftop watering hole is elegant yet easy-going, with sweeping views of Spring Street and Parliament House. There's a refined sit-down menu, a handpicked wine menu, and even a selection of Cuban heavyweight cigars.

13. Hash Speciality Coffee

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Start your second morning in Melbourne at Hash Specialty Coffee down Hardware Lane in the city. You can't go past their Insta-worthy hot chocolate that comes complete with a cloud of fairy floss and a science beaker of molten chocolate. The brunch menu is also edgy and exciting, with dishes like Eggs Benedict with pulled pork, and sautéed mushrooms with black truffle.

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14. Queen Victoria Market

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Wander down to Queen Victoria Market and spend a few hours browsing through the hundreds of stalls. There's everything from fresh produce and artisan cheeses to new shoes and vintage frocks, plus homewares and souvenirs galore. The market is open five days a week, but Sunday is when the carnival atmosphere reigns. Pick up a few goodies from the delis and grocers to put together a makeshift picnic.

15. The Royal Botanic Gardens

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Discover the rare and beautiful plants at the Royal Botanic Gardens and lie down under a shady tree for a nice midday siesta. Kids will love the Ian Potter Foundation Children's Garden, while adults will love the the refined atmosphere of the kiosk and beer garden at the Jardin Tan. Pop into the Shrine of Remembrance to honour all Australians who lost their lives in WWII.

16. Chapel Street

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Head to Chapel Street for some serious shopping. Bursting with high-end labels and designer threads, the entire strip is dedicated to Melbourne's love of style. For casual staples, One Day At A Time is the best, while Chapel St Bazaar offers vintage treasures, and Gorman is always on-trend.

17. Mr Miyagi

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Have lunch at Mr Miyagi, an experimental Japanese walk-in restaurant with a cheeky sense of humour and hand-painted erotic comics in the loos. The menu is full of laugh-out-loud puns and the service is always friendly. Plus, where else can you get a Jap-Mex-inspired taco? In summer they even have Frosé – basically sorbet made from rosé wine – on tap.

18. The Astor Theatre

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Round off your weekend with a trip to the Astor, a cinema in the grand old style of yesteryear. A beloved Melbourne institution, the Astor frequently shows double bills of classic films and retro hits, and is home to an adorable black-and-white cat called Duke. It's been open since 1936, and Melbournians still adore it.

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