Soak up the atmosphere and bag yourself a bargain at this popular Melbourne institution.
Queen Victoria Market has been the number one open-air shopping destination in Melbourne for over 130 years. This historic market is built over an old cemetery and is one of the largest in the Southern Hemisphere, comprising more than 600 stalls.
The market, which is open every day except Monday and Wednesday, is famous for its fresh produce, including fruit and vegetables, seafood, meat and dairy products. If you shop here, you’ll be in good company – many of the city’s top chefs source their supplies from the local traders. Mornings are particularly busy, with early-bird shoppers hunting for the best value and freshest quality and stallholders competing good-naturedly for trade.
When the morning rush starts to subside, it’s a good time to wander round some of the other stalls. The market is a magnet for fashion-lovers, who enjoy hunting for pre-owned pieces or rummaging for bargains among the rails of vintage and modern clothes, designer items and hand-made accessories. This is a great place to find unusual gifts or souvenirs to take home, at prices that will help to make your pennies go further too.
During the summer months, the market stays open late into the evening, selling deliciously tempting street food from a huge variety of vendors. Make friends with the locals and enjoy the heady atmosphere and appetising smells of one of Melbourne’s favourite al-fresco eateries.
First-timers who find the vast market a bit overwhelming are well advised to take a guided tour. This will help to familiarise you with the layout and give you valuable insider tips for spotting the best bargains, while also discovering a little more about the market's fascinating history. Tours can be booked on the Queen Victoria Market website, where self-guided tour information can also be downloaded for those who prefer to create their own itinerary. The market is easily reached on foot or by tram to the main entrance on Elizabeth Street, and there is a car park in Franklin Street to the rear.