MELBOURNE | Melbourne is one of the world’s best cities to visit for lovers of street art. In the Central Business District (“CBD”), and across several suburbs there’s an ever changing assortment of large murals, small scale pieces, and everything in between to discover.
One of my favourite things to do in this city is to wander around with my camera, looking for new pieces of street art, and seeing how many of my favourites still exist or have evolved over time.
Melbourne’s street art scene is diverse, and you can find art from local and international artists. The art draws upon a variety of themes from the social and political, to the historical and fun. Down laneways, on main streets, in full view on large buildings and hidden in unassuming spots, there’s fantastic street art everywhere in the Melbourne’s CBD.
In this Melbourne street art guide, I’ll tell you about some of my favourite spots in Melbourne’s CBD to find some of this city’s best street art. They’re listed alphabetically, and range from the popular and well known, to the more obscure.
While you’re checking out these areas, be sure to keep your eye out as you walk between spots. There’s street art everywhere in this city, and you’re sure to chance upon pieces in areas that you never expected.
Once named Commercial Lane, AC/DC Lane, where fabled Cherry Bar once was, is a homage to rock and roll. Unfortunately you won’t be seeing gigs down here any more, but the street art tends to have a live music, rock theme about it, a reminder of the laneway’s past. The lane is also home to Peruvian restaurant, Pastuso.
Once home to renowned art complex, The Blender Studios, Blender Lane is an important part of Melbourne’s street art history. The Blender Studios have since relocated to West Melbourne, and redevelopment of this part of town threatens the existence of the laneway as an organic, non-commodified art space. Hopefully it survives – definitely check it out.
Once home to St Jerome’s Laneway Festival, and several small, independent store owners, the character of Caledonian Lane was changed forever when, under controversial circumstances, the historic Lonsdale House was demolished and laneway widened to make way for a loading dock for what is now shopping centre, Emporium. Art still lines one half of the laneway, predominantly large scale advertisement murals painted by local artists. Still impressive pieces worth checking out, but it’s not the same.
Croft Alley can be a tricky one to find. It’s a laneway, off a laneway, off a laneway. A walk through it will reward you with some fantastic art. Unfortunately popular bar The Croft Institute can no longer be found here – it fell victim to pandemic related lockdowns in 2020.
Known more for its cafes and quaint ‘European’ feel than its art, Degraves Street and the little nooks and crannies that run off it, are well worth a visit for fans of street art. It’s where you’ll find ‘Rising Orb / Imagination Constellations’, originally painted in 2016 by NYC/Tulum based Aussie artist Vexta, and refreshed several times since. Grab some delicious gelato from Pidapipo while you’re there.
This laneway is most famous for its mosaic of handmade tiles on the rear wall of Legacy House. They were created by the families and friends of war veterans, in their honour. Sniders Lane, Drewery Place, and Drewery Alley all run off Drewery Lane, and are worth a peep in for lovers of street art. Visit five storey multi venue HER for a drink and feed, and a different perspective of the art from HER Rooftop.
This laneway can be found off Flinders Lane, and forms a U shaped street gallery, linking up with AC/DC Lane. Home to several great restaurants and bars, you’ll find street art sharing space with posters for upcoming gigs and exhibitions. Grab a feed at excellent modern Chinese restaurant Lee Ho Fook, or modern Indian at Tonka, if you’re hungry.
This charming Victorian-era laneway is home to some unique architecture, lots of plants, and boutique shops and cafes. It’s also where you’ll find several small scale murals and paste ups. Grab a doughnut from one of Melbourne’s best doughnut shops, Shortstop, while you’re there.
This laneway was one of the more forgotten ones off Flinders Lane, as far as street art is concerned, but now is home to several murals. Pop culture, and critiques of it, tend to dominate here, with works from artists like Lushsux on view.
Arguably the most popular spot for street art in Melbourne, Hosier Lane is famed for its hundreds of ever-changing murals, lining both sides of the vibrant, colourful, cobble stoned laneway. This laneway attracts local and international artists, whose pieces don’t last long before being covered by something new. Grab a bite to eat from Spanish restaurant Movida, or Mexican restaurant Tres a Cinco while you’re here.
As part of the City of Melbourne’s ‘Green Your Laneways’ campaign a few years ago, Meyers Place was covered in art and plants. The showcase mural, ‘Jungle Funk’, was pained by artist Mike Makatron. It’s a great laneway for food and drink, with Loop Rooftop, Pizza Pizza Pizza, and San Telmo just a few of the options available.
Not only is this laneway home to hidden laneway late night dining and wine bar Arlechin, it’s also where you’ll find an assortment of creative murals.
Directly off Howey Place, popular for its fashion boutiques, you’ll find Presgrave Place. Along one of the walls you’ll find an assortment of framed pieces of some of the city’s quirkiest art. Directly next to the wall is hole in the wall cocktail bar, Bar Americano.
Located just off Hosier Lane, this small laneway has its own feel. Its walls, windows and bins are covered in art and colour.
One of Melbourne’s oldest laneways, Tattersalls is home to several murals, including an impressive large scale mural from Aussie artist Adnate. Head to long running container bar Section 8, or Ferdydurke next door for an elevated view of the art.
This narrow Chinatown laneway always has something interesting to see. Known for its smaller scale pieces, you might not even notice some if you’re not paying attention. While here, grab a drink at the excellent Union Electric, home to one of Australia’s largest selections of gin.
Upper Westside Arts Precinct
The Upper West Side Street Art Precinct was created in December 2017, curated by Juddy Roller founder Shaun Hossack. It brought together six of Australia’s best street artists to transform what was, and still is, a rapidly changing part of Melbourne’s CBD, through art. The collaborating artists were Smug, Dvate, Adnate, Sofles, Fintan Magee and Rone, and you can still find all of their murals down the Spencer Street end of the city.
As you walk towards laneway container bar Whitehart, you can’t help but notice the artwork that lines the left hand side of Whitehart Lane. The art here is regularly changing, and spreads out into the unmarked side lanes that you pass before reaching the bar’s entrance.
Identified artists featured in the image gallery include:
Happy discoveries on your walk through Melbourne using my Melbourne street art guide. What are your favourites places for street art in Melbourne? Have you found any other pieces outside of these street art hotspots that you love?