50 Things To Do In St Kilda, Melbourne: A Local’s Guide!

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St Kilda is a popular residential suburb in the south of Melbourne, where an active beachfront lifestyle meets the convenience and thrill of city living.

Having initially moved to Melbourne on a Working Holiday Visa, I was instantly drawn to St Kilda as a backpacker, and 3 years later I’m still living here!

The thing I love the most about living in St Kilda is that you simply never get bored – it’s a constant buzzing hive of activity. From festivals to adventure sports, pop-up events to notable dining, it’s all conveniently right on your doorstep. In fact, there is so much to see and do in St Kilda within walking distance, I actually ended up getting rid of my car because I simply never used it.

During the day, backpackers, families and young professionals converge on the esplanade against a backdrop of yachts and kite surfers. At night, St Kilda becomes electric with a mix of fantastic restaurants, cool bars and music events that keep revellers entertained into the early hours.

Only 6 miles away from the central business district (CBD) and with good transport links, St Kilda is a great place to base yourself during a visit to Melbourne.

In fact, unlike most cities across the world where the centre of town is the place to be, for Melbourne, it’s actually not. When visiting Melbourne it is best to base yourself in the inner suburbs (such as St Kilda, Fitzroy, Brunswick or South Melbourne) to really get an authentic feel of the lifestyle Melbourne is so famous for.

Any visitor to Melbourne who does not decide to stay in St Kilda, should at least go out their way to visit this lovely seaside suburb for a day trip.

And on that note, here are my recommendations of the top 50 attractions and things do in St Kilda, Melbourne from the perspective of a local!

*This post may contain affiliate links meaning should you purchase a product via this link, I’ll earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. See my privacy and disclosure policy for more.*

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ultimate list of 50 things to do in St Kilda
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1. See the Fairy Penguins

little penguins
Image by Lennart Nacke via Unsplash

You simply can’t come to St Kilda and not visit the very cute fairy penguins (or sometimes known as ‘little penguins’).

These fluffy residents live hidden in the rocks at the end of St Kilda Pier. Make sure you head down for the adorably named ‘penguin parade’ as the sun sets to see them returning home after a hard days fishing. 

Who knew the city-dwelling locals could be so cute!? 

2. Walk through rain but keep dry at the Rain Room

Yep – you read that right. In St Kilda you can walk under rainfall and not get wet. Though unfortunately it’s not some weird natural phenomenon.

This spectacle occurs at the very cool indoor installation by Random International, located at the Jackalope Hotel, just off Fitzroy Street. As you walk, sensors stop the water falling above your head so you are able to experience the peaceful atmosphere of being under rainfall but stay comfortable and dry.

If you love immersive art, then this one is definitely for you.

3. Play barefoot lawn bowls 

Before I moved to Australia I thought lawn bowls were just for retired people. How wrong I was!

Getting a group together and playing barefoot lawn bowls is a really common, cheap and super fun activity to do on a nice day in Melbourne. The club often has some of the cheapest beer around and there’s load of laughs to be had.

The bowls club is located on Fitzroy street, right near the St Kilda station tram stop and towards Albert Lake Park.

4. Skydive over the beach

If you’re feeling wildly adventurous, you can experience a 60 second adrenaline-fuelled free-fall, right above St Kilda beach.

Enjoy 360 degree coastal and city views (if you can even look at them!) as you drop 15,000ft in tandem with a highly experienced skydiving instructor.

It’s the closest skydiving experience you can get to Melbourne’s CBD and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make your trip to St Kilda one to remember!

5. Joy ride at Luna Park

historic theme park luna park in melbourne
Image credit: Canva

Luna Park is a heritage listed theme park located just off the foreshore near Acland Street. It has the world’s second oldest roller-coaster and brims with dream-like, Victorian era charm. Step into the open mouth of the entrance and be taken into another world!

Even if you’re not a fan of rides, there are loads of games and attractions to join in or simply admire.

Luna Park is a historic local icon that can’t be missed, even just for a photo from the outside!

6. Splash at St Kilda Seabaths

Another historic icon are the St Kilda Seabaths – a salt water pool, spa and food and entertainment complex right on the beachfront. 

It was first opened in 1860 at a time when swimming in the sea was generally not considered acceptable. It has since undergone various transformations over the years, but it still remains a popular place to visit, especially when it’s not quite warm enough to paddle in the sea.

7. Admire magical bioluminescence

You don’t need to go jet off to the pristine beaches of Thailand or jungle-clad shores of Puerto Rico to see one of the world’s most stunning natural phenomenons. Believe it or not, you can admire the bright blue bioluminescent algae sparkling on the shores right here in St Kilda, Melbourne.

Unfortunately when bioluminescence will appear in the sea in St Kilda cannot be predicted, however the most common time to find it is August – January.

Keep an eye on local Facebook groups and social media to find out when this magical occurrence happens! If you can, it would be a great idea to hire a kayak or go for a swim in it.

8. Picnic at Catani Gardens

With a line of stunningly high palm trees and extremely well manicured grass, Catani Gardens located just behind the beach, is the perfect spot to go for a picnic.

Grab some supplies from the shops on Fitzroy street and walk 5 minutes down the road to the park – and afterwards meander over to the beach.

9. Cycle along the foreshore to Brighton

brighton beach boxes in melbourne with pink clouds
Image credit: Canva

Running all along the beachfront of St Kilda is a truly fantastic bike path. I’d really recommend a cycle ride from St Kilda to Brighton to admire the colourful beach boxes. It’s an enjoyable flat 12km return ride. Alternatively you can join a bayside bike tour with refreshments.

The foreshore is always bustling with people running, taking their family out on a walk and simply enjoying the beachfront lifestyle.

If you don’t have your own bicycle and a tour doesn’t appeal you can hire electric cruising bikes from St Kilda Road or use the red public share bikes dotted all around the town.

10. Zen out with yoga in the park (or beach)

There are multiple yoga studios in St Kilda such as Grassroots Yoga, and during the spring or summer, many of them organise yoga classes on the beach or in the St Kilda botanical gardens.

Occasionally you can also catch free sessions organised by social meet up groups. Have a look on meetup.com, and Time Out Melbourne to see if there are any upcoming events.

11. Kitesurf at the beach

You’ll see them out on the water pretty much all day every day, come rain or shine – how about seeing what it’s all about?

Kite Republic located on St Kilda West Beach, offer kiteboard and hydrofoil hire and lessons for individuals and small groups. Become a wind addict in only a day with Melbourne’s original kiteboarding school!

12. Catch a fishing charter

If you enjoy fishing (or even just hanging out on a boat!), St Kilda is a great place to catch a chartered fishing vessel for the day. Fishing Charters Melbourne set off from St Kilda Marina and will provide everything you need tailored to your requirements, including rods, bait and even a BBQ lunch.

Alternatively if you have your own gear, a popular place to fish is off of St Kilda Pier. I’ve done it before with my partner and caught multiple pinkies (baby snapper) that I subsequently released so they could grow into adults. You can also catch bream, salmon and flathead.

13. Visit the Jewish Museum 

St Kilda has a strong Jewish community and so it makes sense that just opposite the beautiful synagogue of the St Kilda Hebrew Congregation, you can find a museum celebrating over 200 years of Jewish contributions to Australian life.

Check out the exhibitions, galleries and short courses on the Jewish Museum of Australia website.

14. Watch a movie at the Open Air Cinema

November – December every year, American Express host an outdoor cinema on the beach in St Kilda.

With fully-stocked bars, freshly cooked food and comfortable seating with luxury add on’s – warm evenings and open air movies is what summer in Melbourne is all about.

15. Browse the Esplanade Market

Since the 70s, St Kilda’s esplanade has been transformed into an arts and crafts market every Sunday 10am – 4pm, come rain or shine (but COVID restriction dependent).

Selling everything from handmade beauty products, homewares, jewellery to crafts, each item is lovingly handmade by local small businesses. 

If you’re a tourist, it’s an especially ideal place to get some one-of-a-kind souvenirs and support local entrepreneurs. 

16. Indulge in great coffee

being served coffee at best melbourne coffee shops
Image credit: Canva

Melburnians are well known for being coffee snobs. And if there’s one place you’re guaranteed to find good coffee in St Kilda, it would have to be near Acland or Fitzroy street.

You’ll probably be spoilt for choice about where to go, but you can’t go wrong with Fitzrovia, Prophecy Espresso or Miss Jacksons.

17. Watch a show at the Palais

For big name comedy acts, music and live shows, look no further than the gorgeous historic Palais Theatre on St Kilda promenade and next to Luna Park. 

Built in the 1920s, the Palais was part of a turn-of-the century entertainment district, and even to this day it’s still an integral part of Melbourne’s nightlife. You may well find some of your favourite bands and artists performing here, it’s well worth taking a look at their website.

18. Dance all night at the Vineyard

With frequent DJ’s (including on Sunday nights), good value drinks and a large outdoor seating area only a few hundred metres from the beach, the Vineyard is a really fun way to enjoy St Kilda’s nightlife. 

In fact, if you really want to get to know St Kilda’s famous nightlife and meet some people, there’s a St Kilda nightlife tour!

19. Walk, run or cycle around Albert Park

Albert Park Lake is located within 2.25 square kilometres of parkland with various sports ovals, clubs and facilities. Although it’s technically in the suburb of Albert Park, it’s right beside St Kilda and an easy walk there.

A lap of the lake on the 4.7km walking track is an enjoyable way to stretch the legs and enjoy some fresh air whilst admiring the swans and rowers out on the water.

If you’re into fishing, there are also some dedicated lure fishing sections – apparently has some of the best fish in Melbourne!

20. Party at St Kilda Music Festival

st kilda festival 1
Image credit: Johan Mouchet via Unsplash

The biggest free event in the St Kilda’s calendar each year would have to be St Kilda Music Festival. In fact, it’s the biggest free music event in the whole of Australia! 

Held in February in the height of Melbourne’s glorious summer (COVID restriction dependent), the beaches and parks transform into epic stages that flood with people coming to see some of the best local and national talent. 

There’s always such good vibes at St Kilda Festival and an event I’d absolutely recommend going out of your way to join.

21. Experience the St Kilda Short Film Festival

Australia’s oldest running short-film festival showcases the best of emerging Australian film making talent. During the festival, usually held in June, there are a number of special screenings and events held in venues across the suburb.

See the St Kilda Film Festival website for more.

22. Visit the Botanical Gardens 

One of the most beautiful open spaces in St Kilda has to be the wonderful botanical gardens located just off Blessington Street. 

When you look at the perfectly manicured flowerbeds overflowing with colour, the romantic rotunda surrounded by blooming roses, fantastic trees and ornamental pond, it’s hard to believe that this was once the site of a rubbish dump.  

The St Kilda botanical gardens is the perfect place to walk around or have a picnic. Make sure you don’t miss the little tropical greenhouse with its pretty butterflies and a little stream flowing through it.

23. Enjoy a fresh fish dinner at Claypots Seafood Bar

Claypots on Barkly Street was one of the first restaurants I visited when I moved to St Kilda and it set my standards for dining in the rest of the area very high indeed!

With a cute, dimly lit whiskey-come-cocktail bar to one side and a fantastic fresh seafood restaurant to the other, Claypots is a great way to start – and even end the night.

You can choose something from their menu or pick out the fish you’d like from their large counter and watch the chefs cook it in their open air kitchen. Eating here is a really enjoyable experience you won’t forget any time soon.

24. Watch the sunset on the beach

st kilda sunset
Image credit: Joy Saha via Unsplash

As simple as this sounds, watching the sun set on the beach is a popular activity to do in the summer. There is a great atmosphere with people playing music and watching the kitesurfers and yachts returning to the harbour.

Just remember that you are technically not allowed to drink alcohol in public in Australia. In the summer, there are may be local laws officers patrolling to remind people.

25. See a movie at an old school cinema

The Astor is a really cool independent cinema that has not fallen into the hands of a big and ugly cinema chain.

Complete with original 1930s features (including the last large screen of its kind) you simply need to walk through the doors to be transported to the days when going to the cinema was an event in itself.

26. Go on a helicopter tour

A 30 minute scenic helicopter ride over St Kilda and Port Phillip Bay is a utterly memorable experience to have in Melbourne! 

Your pilot will point out all the points of interest such as the F1 racing track, the cruise ships docked at St Pier, Luna Park and of course the beaches of St Kilda.

27. Grab fish and chips at the Espy

One of St Kilda’s most famous and long-standing venues is Hotel Esplanade. As well as an awesome back room for gigs and comedy, the main bar serves great fish and chips beside the seaside.

If that doesn’t take your fancy, upstairs is home to Mya Tiger serving killer Chinese food and cocktails.   

28. Have the best massage in Melbourne

Nourish Spa and Skin Clinic was voted as the ‘best massage in Melbourne’ by Time Out Magazine not only in 2018 but in 2019 too. 

An urban retreat located in the self confessed ‘Paris end’ of Fitzroy street, a treatment at Nourish is the ultimate indulgence if you’re looking for a bit of ‘me time’.

29. Go on a sunset paddle board or kayak

paddle boarding at sunset with silhouette figures
Image credit: Krzysztof Kowalik via Unsplash

So much about the lifestyle in St Kilda is orientated around the sea, and why not when it’s right on your doorstep! Although St Kilda Beach isn’t the most beautiful beach in the world, the bay is great for adventure water sports due to the wind, or on calm days when it’s sheltered, taking it a little easier with a paddle.

Going on a group paddleboard lesson, or simply hiring a paddleboard or a kayak for a sunrise or sunset dip is a really enjoyable way to take in the St Kilda lifestyle.

30. Eat famous treats at Monarch Cakes

With pretty cream-stuffed cakes and delicious-looking pastries brimming in the window-front, you won’t be able to walk past this old-fashioned cake shop without at least sticking your head inside (and coming away with bags of cakes you never intended to buy!).

Walking into this 80 year old shop on Acland Street is like being transported to Eastern Europe. And it’s no surprise. The original owner was a Polish migrant, bringing her famous recipes and cute patisserie style with her to Australia.

There’s one thing you absolutely can’t miss tasting at Monarch Cakes: Polish Baked Cheese Cake, still made to this day from its special 100 year old recipe.

31. Learn Aboriginal history at the Ngargee Tree

By the corner of Fitzroy and Queens street is one of Melbourne’s oldest living residents – a red gum tree estimated to be nearly 500 years old. 

The sacred tree has been a meeting place for the indigenous people of Australia for centuries and is still used to this day. It has important cultural significance and was once an initiation place for males and for women, a place to learn about birthing.

32. Indulge in fine french food at Bistro Voliere

For a little bit of France in Melbourne, simply step into Bistro Voliere, a wonderful little restaurant and wine bar located on Fitzroy street.

Feast on their beautifully curated a-la-carte menu with a side of fresh crusty french bread and a glass of vino, or make up your own charcuterie board from a fresh selection of melt-in-the-mouth cheeses and meats on display.

With a French chef, staff and elegant street side tables, you could easily forget that you’re in Australia at all.

33. Go on a Treasure Hunt

If you’re looking for something rather unique to do in St Kilda, how about going on a treasure hunt with metal detectors?

You’ll start on St Kilda Beach where you’ll get acquainted with the equipment and then undergo your first treasure hunt. Afterwards you’ll head to Albert Park seeking old coins and relics. You’re guaranteed to not come away empty handed!

34. Join the Pride March 

pride march
Image credit: Mercedes Mehling via Unsplash

Every year in March St Kilda celebrates LGBTQI+ arts and culture with Victoria’s biggest pride event – Midsumma Festival. Taking over Fitzroy Street in a wash of colour, music and fun, the event ends at Catani Gardens with live music and DJs.

Tens of thousands of people from all over Melbourne and Victoria head to St Kilda to take part in the joy-filled festival to celebrate the LGBTQI+ community. So dress up in something colourful, cover yourself in glitter and join in the festivities!

35. Catch a band at the Prince of Wales

Melbourne is famous for it’s music scene and St Kilda is a popular place to catch a big name band in a small venue. The Prince of Wales is one such place. 

The event space upstairs is a little grimy but it’s an intimate institution that plays some really big names in international and Australian music.

Downstairs, the Prince of Wales has a newly renovated bar and restaurant to enjoy some food or drinks before you go to an event.

36. Attend a French cultural event at Eildon Mansion

Eildon Mansion on Grey Street is the largest renaissance style house in Melbourne, developed at a time when St Kilda was regarded one of the most prestigious suburbs in Melbourne. It is now owned by Alliance Française who purchased it in 2006, and after renovations, opened it up for French classes, events, galleries and more!

Check out the Alliance Française what’s on page to join a French-themed event at the mansion, open to absolutely anyone interested in French culture!

37. Join a hop on/off sightseeing bus

Yes it’s touristy, but if you want to explore the best of what Melbourne has to offer, including a intro into St Kilda, then a big red hop on/off bus may be the most convenient way to see the area.

The blue line will take visitors on a southern loop of Melbourne, including stops at St Kilda Marina, Luna Park, and the Skate Park. Get your tickets here.

38. Check out the op shops

If digging around charity shops/thrift shops is your kind of thing then the Salvation Army stores on Carlisle Street should be on your radar.

With one building brimming with racks of second hand clothes, accessories, furniture and records and next door full of brick-a-brack and books, you can spend hours here digging around. I certainly do!

39. Attend the Grand Prix

grand prix st kilda melbourne
Image by Daniel Pelaez Duque via Unsplash

One of the most famous sporting events in the car racing calendar is the Melbourne Grand Prix, held annually on the Albert Park track around the lake.

This huge event sees people from all around the world flock to St Kilda/Albert Park and the CBD to catch a slice of the action.

Despite being a pretty noisy event for us residents, there is such a buzz (literally!) in St Kilda during the event. The Grand Prix is just one of many reasons why Melbourne is nicknamed the sporting capital of Australia!

40. Let imaginations run wild at the adventure playground

If you have young kids, there is a hidden community play park located behind Eildon Mansion and tucked within a housing estate that is well worth visiting to let them let off some steam.

The St Kilda Adventure Playground is a quirky and super cool artsy park with treehouses, trampolines, climbing frames, a pirate ship, a huge elephant and so many secret nooks and crannies for children to explore! There are also BBQ facilities and toilets, so you can pretty much spend all day there.

41. Hang out at the skate park

If skating or riding is your jam then you should absolutely check out the St Kilda Skate Park located in the Marina Reserve off Marina parade. This new generation park has a mixture of bowl sizes for all abilities. It can however get pretty busy during the day with kids, so it’s best to go first thing or in the evening to catch it at its quietest.

42. Check out the Veg Out community gardens

These allotments are rented out to locals to grow their own produce but they are well worth a wander around for the quirky sculptures and the tranquil haven it offers in the middle of the city.

Sometimes there are community concerts and events held here, and a refreshment stall set up at the counter for visitors to kick back and stay a little longer.

43. Admire Christ Church St Kilda

This stunning 160 year old sandstone gothic church will certainly interest architecture lovers. Although only open for services, the church is just as stunning and grand from the inside as it looks on the outside.

Christ Church is an integral part of the community and serves free dinners weekly to those in need and hosts an array of community events.

44. Eat asian fusion at Supernormal Canteen

For experimental Asian cuisine in a comfortable but stylish setting, it has to be Supernormal on Fitzroy Street. The staff are often from a fine dining background and are extremely knowledgeable and attentive.

Go for the chefs selection from the tasting menu, items straight from the grill, or even better, the $75 banquet meal if you feel like really splashing out.

45. Enjoy a pint at an Irish pub

If you’re from a place like me where a pub is basically an extension of your living room, you’ll want to head somewhere welcoming for a pint, and nowhere is more friendly than an Irish Pub!

The Fifth Provence on Fitzroy Street is the areas go-to Irish haunt serving a menu of Irish classics and beers on tap (yes, of course there’s Guinness!). In the winter it’s a good place to go for a cheap and cheerful roast lunch but beware it can get really rowdy on St Patrick’s day and days with big sporting events.

46. Be immersed in theatre at the National Theatre

Whether it’s ballet, comedy, a musical or a pantomime, the National Theatre on Carlisle Street is a wonderful historic venue bringing world-class entertainment to the small suburb of St Kilda. Check out what’s on at this 780 seat strong venue here.

47. Visit the art galleries

art gallery
Image by Pauline Loroy via Unsplash

St Kilda is popular with creatives attracted by the sea breeze and laid back lifestyle. There are many art galleries in St Kilda that you can visit to show your support for local talent such as Pumpkin Lane Art Gallery, home of street artist Jaromir Krejcik who gains inspiration from nature and street grunge.

There’s also the Jackman Gallery on Inkerman Street, a large contemporary space with outdoor garden representing a selection of established painters, sculptors and photographers.

48. Walk around Alma Park

St Kilda has an abundance of wonderful parks and green spaces, no doubt a hang over from the Victorian era. In addition to the lovely Botanical Gardens and Catani Gardens, pretty Alma Park has something for everyone; palm tree-lined walkways, overflowing herbaceous borders, a playpark for kids and nearby sporting ovals.

To the west side, there is a distinct European character and to the west, an indigenous feel with an abundance of native plants and trees.

49. Join a beach clean event

Whether a resident, long-term visitor or a tourist, a clean beach is for everyone!

If you want to start your day with a good deed to prevent litter washing into the sea, the 3182 Beach Patrol group on Facebook hold regular voluntary beach clean events to tidy up St Kilda and nearby beaches. It’s a great social event to make a small difference for the planet.

50. Attend a walking tour

Every day at 11am departing from the Luna Park main entrance, is a free (well, tip-based) walking tour of the highlights of St Kilda. In 2.5 hours you’ll check out the penguin colonies, St Kilda Pier, Luna Park as well as learn about the area’s history, from its past as a Victorian seaside town to mafia shoot outs!

No matter where you are in the world, a walking tour is the perfect way to get your bearings and learn some cool things about the area you’re visiting!

Or if you want to do more than walking around, check out this St Kilda Super Tour including a visit to the botanical gardens, the pier, Acland Street and more!

I hope you found this insiders guide of the best things to do in St Kilda useful and feel inspired to visit this seaside suburb on a visit to Melbourne, or even move here like me!

Have you every been to St Kilda? Have you done any of the things on this list? Let me know in the comments below, I’d love to hear from you!

*This post may contain affiliate links meaning should you purchase a product via this link, I’ll earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. These are still products or experiences I use or believe in regardless. See my privacy and disclosure policy for more.*

Heading to Australia soon? Don’t forget these essentials!

Flights: compare and search using Skyscanner

Accommodation: hotels to hostels, glamping to apartments I always use Booking.com

Tours: to search and compare the best group tours and activities worldwide (with up to 20% off), use Viator

Visa: don’t forget to check the entry requirements for Australia on the government website for the passport you are travelling with

Inspiration: Lonely Planet’s guide to Australia or for your next trip, how about Lonely Planet’s Guide to the World?

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7 thoughts on “50 Things To Do In St Kilda, Melbourne: A Local’s Guide!”

  1. Oh this has brought back so many amazing memories from my year living in St Kilda on a WHV! It was one of the best years of my life. I loved how many things there were to do like you say. The music festival and Pride got the whole town grooving! Love it! Such a great list with many things I clearly missed but I will go back one day when I can!

  2. I loved seeing the fairy penguins out in rocky breakwater years ago. Following that up with some cake at Monarch was a great evening. Now, I can see there is way more to do in St. Kilda.

  3. I’d like to watch a movie at The Astor. I love old movies, and there’s not many places to watch them nowadays. Also don’t think I’d be able to leave St Kilda without seeing fluffy penguins!! My friend lives in Melbourne and in the St Kilda area, so now I’m definitely going to have to visit. I can see why she likes it so much too

  4. St Kilda sounds like such a lovely place! I didn’t have to read much further than ‘fairy penguins’ to fall in love with it! Yoga on the beach sounds magical too and I love the colourful beach huts at Brighton. Thanks for the great guide!

  5. Wow St Kilda seems like such a lovely place to live and there is so much to do! I can see why you decided to make it your home 😊
    The fairy penguins melted my heart! So cute!!

  6. My daughter lived in St Kilda for 3 years before moving to the Peninsula. I enjoy visiting her there and getting to know this inner city suburb. My daughter often says how much she misses St Kilda. Great post.


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