Albert Park is a really pretty suburb, located a stones throw (aka a short 5-10 minute drive) from Melbourne’s CBD. It offers an idealistic lifestyle for it’s residents and frequent visitors (guilty!) thanks to being so close to the beach and it’s authentic small village atmosphere. With wide leafy streets, it’s home to some of the most gorgeous, renovated Edwardian and Victorian era terrace houses in all of Melbourne. The community has many great chapters of history, and is very friendly and welcoming.
The suburb is best known for ‘Albert Park and Albert Park Lake’, popular for the wonderful range of fun activities like cycling, dog walking, sailing and rowing, as well as it’s sporting ovals, playgrounds, restaurants and walking track. However I should note that only the north eastern part of the park and lake is actually in the suburb, the rest is in the neighbouring suburbs of South Melbourne, Melbourne, Middle Park and St Kilda.
Before I jump into sharing my 6 Reasons to visit Albert Park, I’d love to firstly express how much fun I’ve had this summer teaming up with Port Phillip Council, to help promote their awesome #exploreportphillip campaign. In case you missed my first two instalments, be sure to read my St Kilda post and Port Melbourne post, and then of course… read on for my Albert Park tips below!
6 Reasons to visit Albert Park
Melbourne Travel Guide
Gasworks Arts Park
Gasworks Arts Park is a slice of creativity in the heart of Albert Park. It’s home to the Priscilla Jones Cafe, which has a great menu of breakfast and brunch options including smashed avo and tasty toasties. Settle in and enjoy a meal with a cuppa at one of their pretty white tables, or grab some takeaway and walk around the park enjoying the fresh open spaces, children’s swings, dog play area, or peak into one of their multiple sculpture studios to see some local artists in action.
The precinct is well known for producing a range of visual and performing arts programs, with two gallery spaces and a theatre on site. The Gasworks Theatre is a black box performance space which has just wrapped up it’s hosting as the south side hub for Midsumma Festival, as a destination for high quality theatre, provocative art and fun nights out with friends. I visited last week to view their gallery showings – Beyond the Binary and Love Box – both free exhibitions which were fantastic to browse, taking me back to my days when I studied various artists when completing my Bachelor of Arts. We are so fortunate to have access to such a terrific range of art and design here in Melbourne, and Gasworks Arts Park should spring to the top of your list if you are also a lover of creativity.
The Gasworks’ 2018 season continues with a very diverse program of events including festivals, performances, a circus showdown, kids shows, developing artists initiatives and visual arts. Be sure to browse their online brochure for all the details of upcoming happenings or check out their website here.
The Cafe Lifestyle
Albert Park is adorned with some fabulous cafes, most of which are very affordable and offer a vast selection for anyones taste buds (or those with dietary needs). I’ve already mentioned the Priscilla Jones Cafe above, but read on for a few more of my top picks.
Grab a seat with friends in the courtyard (or a booth) at The Guilty Moose, for their all-day brekky. Their menu listings could be described as a little quirky, however the serving sizes are plentiful and the staff very friendly. Or park yourself at an alfresco table on the corner of Dundas & Faussett (ironically) for an insta-worthy brunch. Top menu picks for me include their Pad Thai and Smoothies, but be sure to shout out in the comments at the bottom of this post if you’ve tried any of their other delights?
Also check out Albert Park Deli for a great lunch or cheese platter. Offering eat-in and take home options, they serve up fresh pasta, lasagne, pizza, pies, as well as fabulous rows of salads and other hot foods you’ll find in their glass display.
Activities on and around the Lake
Albert Park and Lake is home to some great playgrounds, boat watching, walking tracks, barbeques and picnic areas. It’s the perfect place for jogging, cycling or taking a long walk in the fresh air with strollers or dogs.
Did you know you can learn to sail at Albert Park Yacht Club? They are an accredited Discover Sailing Training Centre and bookings are now open for their new sailing courses for adults and juniors, which commence next month.
It is also home to a number of festivals, fundraisers and concerts throughout the year, including Polo in the City and the Muscular Dystrophy Australia Run For Strength, a fun run which is all about getting together with friends, family and your pooches, having a great day full of laughter and good times, whilst supporting a great cause!
Who doesn’t love a great date night every now and then? And Albert Park is the new hot spot for you and your bae’s (or besties) evening out. One of my all time favourite restaurants in Melbourne is D.O.C. on Victoria Ave. They are the kings of authentic wood fired pizza and have a great wine list and cocktail selections.
Up the street is the newly opened Scarpetta, which is another restaurant specialising in Italian cuisine. My idea of the perfect foodie night out is margarita pizza, traditional lasagne and an Aperol Spritz (or 3) and these guys nail this combo 10/10.
If you’re not as big a fan of Italian fare as me, then you could head to Kamel, especially if you’re looking to try something a little bit different. It’s an intimate restaurant with a long mezze selection of dishes, serving Middle Eastern and North African share plates. It rates very highly in the online reviews too, which is always a great sign!
I am in love with the high street style shopping in Albert Park. The gorgeous one-of-a-kind boutiques and speciality stores are housed in the beautiful, century old buildings and have so much character, I just want to buy one of everything!
The Country Road store on Victoria Ave is my favourite in Melbourne and some of my other go-to retailers are Lilly & Lolly (who specialise in high quality linen and furniture for kids), Seed, Husk and the Avenue Bookstore (I’m a bit of a book worm in my limited spare time).
Coffee x Architecture
Along with the buzzing cafe and coffee scene in Albert Park, you’ll also have picked up on my reference to the incredible architecture scattered throughout the suburb. One building in particular (located just across the road from Dundas & Faussett) is the Biltmore Building, which is listed on the Victorian Heritage Database.
Built as the Albert Park Coffee Palace (I think I need to know more about this Coffee Palace movement), Biltmore construction started in 1887 to designs by architect Walter Scott Law, and was completed in 1889 by architects Frederick de Garis and Son. This grand, 40-room building was one of a number of coffee houses constructed across Melbourne in the 1880s as part of the temperance movement, to provide an alcohol-free alternative to the public house. Check out the photo I took of the building below, but do yourself a favour and grab a coffee and sit and just stare at it in all it’s real-life glory. What a fascinating and amazing story makes up the many chapters of Melbourne history.
This post is proudly brought to you by the City of Port Phillip.
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