Located in the heart of downtown Melbourne, Collins Street encapsulates the city’s reputation for quaint trams, sophisticated locals, fine dining and elegant architecture.
The street has long been the financial center of Melbourne and has continually attracted many of the city’s biggest and most flamboyant names in business, medicine and the media. The buildings that have housed these names blend architectural styles, from Victorian-era and art deco, to the postmodern. Join one of the walking Melbourne Architours and be expertly guided though some of Australia’s most beautiful buildings. Check the Melbourne Architours website for schedules and prices.
On the corner of Swanston and Collins streets, stop to admire the stately center of the city’s civic and cultural life, Melbourne Town Hall. Opened in 1870, the building was designed by Joseph Reed, the local architect responsible for the State Library of Victoria and the Royal Exhibition Building. Just a short walk east are three of Melbourne’s most historic places of worship, Collins Street Baptist Church, the Presbyterian Scots’ Church and St. Michael’s Uniting Church.
The upper end of Collins Street, between Swanston and Exhibition streets, is known affectionately as the “Paris End” due to the number of high-end clothing stores, five-star hotels and private clubs. Shop for big names such as Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Ralph Lauren and Bulgari, or simply people-watch from a table at one of the numerous cafés. For an indulgent old-world experience, take afternoon tea at the Hopetoun Tearooms. Here you will enjoy meticulously crafted cakes and treats served in a beautifully decorated room.
Collins Street is an essential part of any trip to downtown Melbourne. The city’s premier street can keep you occupied for hours, but even a casual stroll along its length is rewarding. Trams run the length of Collins Street and are the best way to get to the area as car parking is expensive and limited.