Seven reasons why Melbourne’s Inner West is Best

Seven reasons why Melbourne’s Inner West is Best

Even in not-so-big cities like Melbourne, the same thing still happens. If you live in one geographical compass direction – like Melbourne’s Inner West – chances are you will never bother to visit the other three quarters. I know that’s certainly true of my life in East London.

In Melbourne we lived in the North then the East for five months and had to make a real point to visit the Inner West suburbs of Footscray, Yarraville, Spotswood and Williamstown. Which is a shame – as in many ways, West is Best! The highlights in these vibrant areas feel more sprawling but definitely are worth exploring.

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3 THINGS YOU REALLY CANNOT MISS:

YARRAVILLE | I really fell in love with pretty Yarraville. On the surface it’s no more than one main cross-roads of pavement cafes, delis, gift shops and its jewel – the Sun Theatre. This is the famous cinema that Quentin Tarantino showed up at for the launch of Hateful 8, as it screens 70mm film.

WILLIAMSTOWN | has an English feel, due to its colonial history. It was initially considered alongside Melbourne and Geelong as a potential capital for the new colony at Port Philip. Williamstown is a great city beach alternative to St. Kilda, attracting a local family rather than trashy tourist crowd.

Also check out: a stroll along Gem Pier for stunning views back over Melbourne’s CBD skyline.

RUDIMENTARY | great hipster coffee shop. Enjoy the gorgeous outdoor garden and growing boxes surrounding this cleverly converted shopping container cafe. The heavy duty back doors can open on to a pretty patio; floor to ceiling windows have been fitted down the side. This would be my local if I lived here!

Also check out: if you’re after a caffeine hit in neighbouring Yarraville, try Wee Jeanie or The Corner Shop (also does great food and serves alcohol).

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3 THINGS WORTH A SNOOP:

TWO BIRDS | our intention had been to do a brewery tour of Melbourne’s Inner West having seen a map in local mag Froth. We lost the map and couldn’t find any breweries! Except this joint in Spotswood. It felt pretty out of the way but was worth the detour if you like beers and seeing the huge vats first hand. I imagine Two Birds could be fun in the evening.

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FOOTSCRAY MARKET | is probably the most well known location in Footscray. For starts, its huge signage is very prominent as soon as you step off at the train station. This would be an incredibly cheap place to do your weekly shop – hawkers selling all sorts of fresh fruits and veggies tout their wares. It’s a predominantly Vietnamese market so has some cool exotic (and weird!) stuff too.

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SLICE GIRLS WEST | I think this brand (also in the CBD) probably gets a bit more hype for its pizzas than it deserves, but I really liked this newer venue in Melbourne’s Inner West. We stopped for an early lunch and were the only customers. The thin crust pizza was good value for its size versus the $12 price tag ($10 on Tuesdays).

Also check out: Back Alley Sally’s – the huge bar upstairs – wasn’t open however looks like a really fun destination that Footscray is lucky to have!

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3 THINGS TO STEER CLEAR:

FOOTSCRAY COMMUNITY ARTS CENTRE | I couldn’t really tell what was going on here. There was a cosy little cafe, which seemed well equipped for kids to play outside. Probably best to come specifically for a festival – they host Laneways here – or an exhibition.

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POINT GELLIBRAND COASTAL HERITAGE PARK | this is the headland walk between Williamstown Esplanade/ beach and the city-facing yacht club and Gem Pier. Don’t attempt it on a hot day! It’s a pretty exposed section of headland with not a whole lot to see.

LIVE FISH | interesting, but a bit sad. Along with Footscray Market there is also colourful Little Saigon Market and other specialist shops. Some of the shops sell definitely fresh fish – as most of the little suckers are still alive! Except for some not so happy ones floating on the surface….

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1 THING I WISH I’D DONE:

ETHIOPIAN FOOD | we went to Footscray so we could check out the much raved about Ethiopian food scene for dinner. Typically, we ended up grazing all day – including on Slice Girls West pizza – and just couldn’t fit in any more food! Cafe Lalibela comes highly recommended. Next time.

AND KNOW THIS: Footscray in Melbourne’s Inner West is in fact named after Foots Cray – which sits within the Borough of Bexley – on the River Cray in South East London.

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