Guide to Melbourne’s best markets

Markets are the true heart & soul of Melbourne. For many people, Saturday mornings mean market shopping day, where they stock up on groceries, have a favourite cup of coffee and chat with friendly vendors who often share some recipes or cooking tricks. During the week, markets are a great lunch-time stop.

For tourists, a visit to a market means getting a look into the Melbourne lifestyle as well as a taste of the local produce. Market cafes are wonderful spots for people-watching.

Queen Victoria Market

The largest market in Melbourne as well as in Australia. Officially opened on 20 March 1878 although the site housed various markets prior to that date. It’s located in the CBD, which makes it easy and convenient to access by everyone.

Vic Market, as it is called by many, is divided into sections: deli, fruit & vegetables, meat & fish hall and general merchandise.

The deli section is the most interesting. It offers everything from French cheese, local wine, Polish sausages and Greek olives to kangaroo & crocodile meat. If you’re after souvenirs from Australia there are several stalls selling relatively cheap things in bulk (i.e. 12 koala keychain plushies for $24).

Twice a year, on Wednesday evenings, the Night Market takes over. The summer edition happening from mid-November until April, and winter - from early June till the end of August. Very popular mid-week activity amongst locals who indulge in the street food and enjoy musical performances.

Guided tours of the market (with food samples that make for a light lunch) are available for $69 per person. For more details and bookings go to qvm.com.au/tours.

Queen Victoria Market
Corner of Elizabeth and Victoria Streets

Website
http://qvm.com.au/

Hours:
Tuesday 6am - 2pm
Thursday 6am - 2pm
Friday 6am - 5pm
Saturday 6am - 3pm
Sunday 9am - 4pm


South Melbourne Market

Operating for over 150 years it is the oldest continuing market in Melbourne.

The building houses a huge variety of fresh food (butchers, fishmongers, deli shops, fruit & vegetables) as well as clothing, homewares and services. There is also a small food court and a very interesting space called SO:ME, featuring local designers.

Freshly shucked oysters for $1 a piece are a huge hit and always attract crowds. As are Padre coffee, Agathé Pâtisserie and Atypic Chocolate that made the entire market hall smell incredibly good.

During summer, from early January until the end of February, there is a Night Market every Thursday night. Also every year, one weekend in March is devoted to Mussel Festival - a big seafood party that takes over the Cecil Street along the market.

Guided tours of the market (with food samples) are available once a month for $10 per person. For more details and bookings go to southmelbournemarket.com.au/explore-the-market/tours/.

South Melbourne Market
Corner of Coventry and Cecil Streets

Website
https://southmelbournemarket.com.au/

Hours:
Wednesday 8am - 4pm
Friday 8am - 5pm
Saturday 8am - 4pm
Sunday 8am - 4pm


Prahran Market

A Melbourne institution located just outside of the city centre. Prahran Market offers a big choice of fresh produce - from meat & seafood to fruit, vegetables and deli shops. If you get hungry wandering around, there are many dining options available as well as some of the best coffee in town at the Market Lane Coffee.

Prahran Market often hosts foodie events and invites famous chefs to provide shoppers with cooking demonstrations and workshops.

Guided tours of the market are available for free twice a month, bookings required. More details on prahranmarket.com.au/melbourne-market/tours/.

Prahran Market
163 Commercial Road

Website
https://www.prahranmarket.com.au/

Hours:
Tuesday 7am - 5pm
Thursday 7am - 5pm
Friday 7am - 5pm
Saturday 7am - 5pm
Sunday 10am - 4pm


The Fitzroy Mills Market

The newest market in town housed in a graffiti-covered car park - a site of a family-owned old mill.

The market focuses on providing locals with the best local produce directly from the source. There are free-range eggs, cheeses, raw chocolate, vegan pasta, organic fruit & vegetables, wines as well as permanent coffee container operated by Industry Beans.

The shopping experience is complemented by live music.

The Fitzroy Mills Market
75 Rose Street

Website
https://www.thefitzroymills.com/

Hours:
Saturdays 9am - 2pm


Gourmand Guide’s tip for the frugal market shopper

Visit markets 1 hour before closing time for the best prices. Many stalls have special bargain bags filled with vegetables and fruit for under $5 and butchers & fishmongers sell trays of meat and fish for under $10.