Turns out there are plenty of things to do in Brunswick, Melbourne. The Inner North suburbs, along with neighbouring Brunswick East, Carlton, Northcote and Thornbury, all portray a good sense of community.
Expect to find communal gardens, thrift shops, bulk buying, whole food stores meditation classes and lots of fly posting for local events. On the surface – Brunswick in particular – they appear a little shabby, but in all of these areas gentrification is knocking at the door.
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3 THINGS YOU REALLY CANNOT MISS:
CERES | I absolutely love the intention of CERES (the Centre for Education and Research in Environmental Strategies) and the huge 10 acre scale they’ve achieved. The wait list for an individual plot on this communal garden is apparently lengthy! There’s a cool café and deli shop, selling organic produce grown on site. CERES also host loads of workshops if you’re looking for things to do in Brunswick.
POPE JOAN | an awesome brunch and dinner spot in Brunswick East. I was determined to visit because a very good friend is having her wedding reception here when I will be in the UK. Pope Joan has been around for a while and I can see why with their seasonal and local menu.
MELBOURNE MUSEUM | is a brilliant modern building containing dinosaur and regional history exhibits. The best bit is the stuffed animal room – which sounds morbid, but they have created the display in such a unique and educational way. There’s also a cool outdoor landscape section. We went specially for the Jurassic World visiting exhibition which was also amazing!
3 THINGS WORTH A SNOOP:
WELCOME TO THORNBURY | presents one really solid reason to visit Thornbury, which despite having blips of interest is realistically quite far out for most non-residents. This recently opened permanent open-air food truck and bar complex attracts crowds of 20-somethings and young families. The perfect spot for a few Sunday afternoon drinks.
Also check out: The Thornbury Local is a great little bar.
BRUNSWICK | in my mind is like Kingsland Road in Dalston, London. Alternative, artsy, grungy – and full of charity shops and chicken shops! Its main thoroughfare Sydney Road is interesting for a stroll to find things to do in Brunswick. It has little pockets of activity to check out, but nothing that significant happening to the outsider’s eye.
Also check out: The Brunswick Green is lovely and cosy inside, with tonnes of seating areas for groups of all sizes and an outdoor patio through the back.
PRINCES PARK | at the bottom of Brunswick’s Sydney Road – as you walk towards Princes Hill and technically in the suburb of Carlton North – is a lovely open green park space with a tennis club. It’s a bonus to have this as an option of things to do in Brunswick: which is such an urban area.
Also check out: the interesting and whimsical old Melbourne General Cemetery, also in Carlton North to the east of Princes Park.
3 THINGS TO STEER CLEAR:
MELBOURNE ZOO | we were lucky enough to borrow friends’ family pass to the zoo. This saved us a lot of money, but also reminded us zoos are a fun place to bring kids – and not so interesting if you’re just two adults!
NORTHCOTE PLAZA SHOPPING CENTRE | after two weeks in Sydney and a trip along the Great Ocean Road we arrived in Thornbury on a stinking hot summer’s day. Hoping to just chill outdoors we sought out the nearest park – which happened to be the parched grass of Northcote/ Thornbury’s dated local shopping centre.
BATMAN | randomly two friends who were visiting from Sydney really wanted to check out the Batman Night Market. What I don’t think they realised (I we should have pointed out!) was that it’s pretty far out. This is a great event for locals but not worth trekking to.
1 THING I WISH I’D DONE:
CINEMA NOVA | in Carlton is a long-running arthouse movie theatre that we kept intending to go to, but never made it. It has in-cinema dining and a terrace cocktail bar to make more of an evening of your trip to the cinema. Monday is their discount day with evening sessions for just $9.
AND KNOW THIS: Before it became known as ‘Little Italy’ after World War II, Lygon Street in Carlton was actually the centre of Jewish life in Melbourne. Melbourne’s first Italian eateries were located in the boarding houses of Carlton in the 1950s. Here Italian migrants started cooking home-style meals for their friends and then for the growing Italian community. This is the suburb to come if you want pizza!