Blake Walsh

20 Best Things to Do in St. Kilda, Victoria

  • Published 2022/08/10

St Kilda, a southern suburb in the folds of Melbourne, is famous for its delicious food, fun entertainment options, and exquisite nightlife.

This trendy and cosmopolitan hub stretches between the sandy ends of Albert Park and Elwood.

Visitors will thoroughly enjoy lazing at the beach, admiring the views from the pier, and relaxing in the lush gardens.

From the bustling Acland Street to the fantastic Luna Park, St Kilda is quite an unexpected yet worthwhile tourist destination.

These are the best things to do in Luna Park, Australia:

Have Loads of Fun at Luna Park

Entryway of Luna Park

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An amusement park adjacent to Port Phillip Bay, Luna Park is St Kilda’s ultimate landmark.

Having been around for over 100 years, it is an integral part of the city’s history and culture.

It is an enjoyable blend of heritage-listed attractions and adventurous rides, inviting people of all ages to relax and have fun.

People riding the rollercoaster in Luna Park

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Visitors enter Luna Park through the giant mouth of a moon face called Mr. Moon, the park’s most photographed attraction.

A handful of function rooms and venues for parties, engagements, weddings, and Christmas events are available for hire.

This amusement park lets you access a world full of popping colors, carnival flair, and historic and thrilling rides.

A ride in Luna Park

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Try the Craft Beers at The Local Taphouse

Interior of The Local Taphouse

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St Kilda is quite well-known for The Local Taphouse, an award-winning pub located on Carlisle Street.

It was established in 2008 and has been serving quality brews ever since.

Over the years, the pub has received awards and titles like “Best Beer Bar in Australia” and “People’s Choice Best Pub in Melbourne.”

Exterior of The Local Taphouse

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It is jointly owned by Steve Jeffares, Guy Greenstone, and Justin Joiner, who aim to brew more and better beers than Carlton and VB.

The Local Taphouse started with 20 taps and boasts the ambiance of a tavern.

Good food, fantastic service, and quality craft beers—that’s what The Local Taphouse is all about.

Plate of burger and fries in The Local Taphouse

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Spend a Day at the Famous St Kilda Beach

People at St. Kilda Beach

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Roughly six kilometers from the Melbourne city center is its most famous beach, St Kilda Beach.

This sandy paradise extends roughly 2,300 feet, between the St Kilda Harbour and St Kilda Marina.

You will see a happy swarm of walkers, rollerblades, and joggers on the beach, while windsurfers, swimmers, and kite surfers can be seen having fun in the sparkling waters.

Aerial view of St Kilda Beach

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Among the beach’s famous landmarks are the iconic St Kilda Pier and St Kilda Breakwater, home to a little penguin colony.

The beach offers several places to grab refreshments, from good bars to quaint cafes.

St Kilda Beach is a bustling tourist destination with sparkling waters, sandy beaches, and an energetic atmosphere.

Sunset over St Kilda Beach pier

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Grab a Drink at Freddie Wimpoles

The Wimpole family has been at the forefront of beer crafting in St Kilda for almost 80 years, thanks to Freddie Wimpoles.

This hunter lodge-style bar is established over the old George Hotel site.

It is named after Fredrick Wimpoles, who purchased the site and became mayor of St Kilda and director of the Melbourne Co-operative Brewing Company in the late 19th century.

Freddie Wimpoles is characterized by dark timbers, antler chandeliers, and a wall tiled entirely with beer cans.

The bar is complete with 12 beer taps, an extensive selection of brews, and more than 150 spirits.

A beer garden, Foxtel, sports facilities, and live music are just some of Freddie Wimpoles’s many features.

Catch a Live Music Performance at The Espy

Exterior of Hotel Esplanade

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Established in 1878, Hotel Esplanade is a popular hotel better known as The Espy.

It is located at the foot of St Kilda Pier and has been one of Melbourne’s hottest gig venues since Gershwin Room was transformed into a live-music stage.

The Espy underwent a huge renovation in 2018, which saw the opening of the fifth level for the guests, along with upgraded sound and lighting quality in the Gershwin Room.

There are three stages in this “New Espy,” as well as two restaurants and 12 bars.

Get ready to enjoy some fantastic gigs and grilled performances in this vintage hotel, where you can also munch on delicious pizzas and charcoal-grilled meats.

Enjoy the Views from St Kilda Pier

Beautiful sunset over St Kilda Pier

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If you want to admire picturesque views of St Kilda, then St Kilda Pier is just the right place for you.

First built in 1853, it was meant to be a private timber jetty and was transformed into a public pier in 1855 after being destroyed.

It underwent many transformations until it finally reached its current design—that of 1944 feet pier studded with stone groins.

Sign of St Kilda Pier

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The pier houses many things, including the St Kilda Pavilion, the Marina of the Royal Melbourne Yacht Squadron, and a small colony of fairy penguins.

St Kilda Pier is always full of people who are always cycling, rollerblading, fishing, or just strolling around, enjoying the tranquillity of the place.

You can enjoy some snacks at the kiosks, count the lovely penguins, or simply take in the relaxing atmosphere.

People walking along St Kilda Pier

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Shop for Locally Crafted Goods at Kilda Esplanade Market

Vendors at St Kilda Esplanade Sunday Market

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The iconic St Kilda Esplanade Market is beautifully located just on the beachside.

Reaching the market is relatively easy, as it is just a 12-to-15-minute ride from the city by tram.

This Sunday market has been operating since 1970, offering a fine range of arts, crafts, and amazing creations by over 140 artists and craftspeople.

People shopping at Kilda Esplanade Market

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Shoppers can browse through a selection of beautiful handmade products, including original paintings, clothing, candles, hats, fine jewelry, and olive oil.

The St Kilda Esplanade Market also has a “foodie zone” where you can fill your stomach after filling up your shopping bags.

Savor Mouth-Watering Seafood Dishes at Claypots

Way before Melbourne was filled with seafood shops and bars, Renan Goksin opened Claypots in St Kilda.

The restaurant was established with the vision of promoting the area’s excellent seafood.

It opened its doors in 1998 and climbed the ladder of fame pretty quickly, opening branches in different venues, including Evening Star and Barbarossa.

The restaurant proudly serves the best and freshest seafood dishes, while the bar provides a versatile and fantastic range of alcoholic drinks.

Besides the delicious food, Claypots is also loved for its relaxing atmosphere.

It is not just a restaurant and bar but also a cozy confluence point.

Make sure that you pay a visit to Barkly Street, where this seafood paradise is located.

Explore St Kilda’s Vibrant Acland Street

The road of Acland Street

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There are hundreds of reasons why you should visit St Kilda’s Acland Street.

It’s St Kilda’s cosmopolitan center and was one of the first streets formed in 1842, when St Kilda was refurbished.

The street’s northwest end is dotted with residential buildings, many of them 19th-century works of architecture.

Exterior of Acland cake shop at Acland Street

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Half of them are used as flats, while the rest have been dedicated for other uses, such as the Linden Gallery.

As for the southeast end, it is a fabulous commercial strip lined with clothing and homeware stores, art and gift shops, and excellent cafes and restaurants.

If you visit Acland Street, you will agree that this place is the heart and soul of St Kilda!

Street design at Acland Street

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Dig into Cheesecake and Chocolate Kugelhopf at Monarch Cakes

Acland Street is tightly packed with fantastic stores and eateries, one of them being Monarch Cakes.

The cake shop was established in 1934 and is famous for its delicious Polish desserts.

They ensure that the ingredients that go into the cakes are always in their most natural form; it’s no wonder the taste of their recipes has remained unchanged after all this time!

Monarch Cakes is also quite the historic establishment, as it tells the story of the Jewish migrants who settled in St Kilda in the 1930s, when fascism took root in Europe.

This bakery has made cheesecake and chocolate kugelhopf a popular combination.

Monarch Cakes is so well-known that it is deemed one of Melbourne’s must-visit places.

Have a Satisfying Meal at Cicciolina

Located along the famous Acland Street, Cicciolina is a bar and restaurant that primarily serves Italian and Mediterranean cuisines.

It is also vegetarian-friendly, along with having vegan and gluten-free options.

The restaurant has thought everything through, as the bar area is separate from the main restaurant area, and both of these areas provide excellent service.

Diners often return to the restaurant for their tuna tartare, sardine pasta, linguine vongole, and spaghetti Bolognese.

A fantastic selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages will greet you at the bar if you wish to consume some with the fantastic dishes.

Cicciolina is truly one of St Kilda’s culinary gems.

Catch a Show at the Palais Theatre

Exterior of the Palais Theatre

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Originally called Palais Pictures, the Palais Theatre is one of St Kilda’s oldest and most famous attractions.

It is one of the only early 20th-century picture palaces that still function correctly to date.

The Palais Theatre was designed by Henry Eli White in 1927, replacing the earlier, same-name cinema, which was unfortunately destroyed in a fire.

It can hold more or less 3,000 people at a time, making it the largest seated theater in the whole of Australia.

Night view of the Palais Theatre

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The theater has been included in the Victorian Heritage Register and the Music Victoria Hall of Fame.

The Palais Theatre stands at the forefront of St Kilda’s entertainment scene, with more than 100 events conducted yearly.

You can find this attraction along Lower Esplanade.

Admire the Flora around St Kilda Botanical Gardens

The waters of St. Kilda Botanical Gardens

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St Kilda Botanical Gardens, located on Herbert Street, has long been one of the city’s most-loved wedding destinations, and it’s not hard to understand why.

It has been around since 1861 and is one of the city’s most iconic attractions.

The garden entrance is lined with breezy palm trees, which open up to spacious lawn areas and a couple of amazing locations for holding wedding ceremonies.

A gazebo at St Kilda Botanical Gardens

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Some of them are the beautiful rose garden, the rotunda, and the pergola.

St Kilda Botanical Gardens also comprises a beautiful ornamental pond, conservatory, and the Port Philip EcoCentre.

Pathway at St Kilda Botanical Gardens

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Visit the Galleries at the Jewish Museum of Australia

Exterior of the Jewish Museum of Australia

Joyofmuseums, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Established in 1977, the Jewish Museum of Australia aims to discover and promote Jewish history in Australia.

The museum’s collection includes artifacts significant to Jewish rituals, religion, history, culture, society, and the arts.

It houses over 20,000 items, comprising over 9,000 pieces from Rabbi Lubofski’s early collection.

There are several galleries within this museum, such as the Gross Gallery, the Loti Smorgon Gallery, and the Zelman Cowen Gallery of Australian Jewish History.

You can find the Jewish Museum of Australia on Alma Road.

Spend an Afternoon at Catani Gardens

Paved pathway of Catani Gardens

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The world-famous St Kilda shoreline is situated near the heritage-listed Catani Gardens.

This attraction is named after Carlo Catani, the Italian-born civil engineer who designed them.

Set behind a beach and home to a row of tall palm trees and well-maintained grass, Catani Gardens is the ideal location for a picnic.

Gazebo on the grounds of Catani Gardens

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Both tourists and residents appreciate the gardens’ amenities and features, which include BBQ sites, seats, walking trails, playgrounds, public restrooms, shade trees, drinking fountains, waterfront views, and more.

Catani Gardens is an excellent place to rest and unwind after a long day or an exciting excursion.

Enjoy a Movie at Barefoot Cinema

Barefoot Cinema is a beautiful outdoor theater located within St Kilda Botanical Gardens.

The cinema offers far more than just movies, and one of the highlights of all programs is their fantastic food and beverage options.

The movie starts when the sun begins to set over the water in St Kilda.

Enjoy a refreshing beverage from the Barefoot Bar, fill up on delectable food from the food truck, and load up on sweets from the Candy Bar.

Barefoot Cinema offers tourists one of the most unique and memorable experiences in St Kilda.

Take a Dip at St Kilda Sea Baths

Exterior of St Kilda Sea Baths

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Situated along Jacka Boulevard, St Kilda Sea Baths is a special location to visit and a vital component of Melbourne’s culture.

It was established in 1860, when swimming in the water was widely frowned upon.

Even though it has changed over the years, it continues to be a well-liked destination.

The pool in St Kilda Sea Baths

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It is conveniently located on St Kilda Beach, home to some of the city’s top restaurants, cafés, pubs, bike, kite, and stand-up paddle boarding facilities.

St Kilda Sea Baths, a saltwater pool, spa, and dining and entertainment complex located directly on the shore, are another significant asset.

Rest and Re-Energize at Quest St Kilda Bayside

For short or extended visits, Quest St Kilda Bayside’s deluxe apartment guestrooms provide visitors with a calm and pleasant St Kilda lodging experience.

There are 56 serviced apartments at this hotel, comprising studios and one- and two-bedroom apartments.

The serviced flats, equipped with kitchens and laundry rooms, are the ideal substitute for a standard hotel room.

Families, coworkers, or bigger groups searching for a getaway can choose the one and two-bedroom apartments.

Quest St Kilda Bayside is located near attractions such as the Acland and Fitzroy Streets retail districts, St Kilda Beach, and plenty of others.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Kick Back and Relax at Albert Park

Albert Park

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The beautiful Albert Park is located in the City of Port Phillip, just a few minutes from St Kilda.

Its vast premises include 2.25 square kilometers of parkland and a five-kilometer walking track around Albert Lake.

The park comprises the Albert Park Public Golf Course, the Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit, sporting facilities, and several relaxing spaces.

Aerial view of Albert Park

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Albert Park was part of Yarra River Delta until 1864, before being transformed into the park that stands today.

It has always been a favorite among locals, not only as the ultimate recreation spot but also for its excellent sports facilities.

With its peaceful atmosphere, this well-loved attraction is best described as a natural paradise in the middle of urbanization.

Final Thoughts

A trendy residential neighborhood in Melbourne’s south, St Kilda combines the convenience and excitement of city living with an active coastal lifestyle.

Since St Kilda is such a popular location among locals and tourists, there’s never a dull moment here.

Festivals, extreme sports, pop-up events, and renowned restaurants are all easily available just outside your door.

This list of the best things to do in St Kilda, Australia will help you plan a holiday at this well-loved tourist destination.

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