For those doing internships in Australia looking to get to know local culture, these 10 spaces are worth a visit. Melbourne didn’t land its reputation as the cultural capital of Australia for nothing. This colorful and youthful city is peppered with a diverse selection of restaurants, live music venues, museums, unique book and vintage stores and enough coffee shops to keep you awake for a year.
1. The Astor Theater
A truly historic Melbourne establishment, the stunning Astor Theater is a special treat for anyone who can appreciate a good movie in a beautiful space. The art deco cinema has maintained much of its original 1930s charm and can even project film in the 70-milimeter format. The theater shows old remastered classics, cult flicks, and also newer releases.
2. Collingwood Children’s Farm
This farm is located in the former convent, now cultural center, called Abbotsford Convent. The space is truly unique, filled with wildflowers and a variety of farm animals. Stop by The Farm Cafe for breakfast or lunch. The whole experience is a little slice of country life in the middle of the city.
3. Shadow Electric
This beloved outdoor movie theater and music venue is the perfect place to enjoy either a good movie or a live band on a balmy summer evening. Before heading to the space, check out the nearby Twilight Market to scour the handmade and vintage treasures.
4. National Gallery of Victoria
The National Gallery of Victoria happens to be Australia’s oldest public art museum, founded back in the 1860s before Australia was a commonwealth. Beautiful pieces from the best artists all over the world are featured in the museum, which owns over 70,000 works. If interns are in town during winter, try to make it to the museum’s famous Melbourne Winter Masterpieces.
5. The Toff in Town
A stunning late night dining space and boutique live performance venue, The Toff in Town is elegant and multifaceted. Perhaps, the Toff in Town’s most memorable feature is the old train carriage placed in the middle of one of the dining areas.
6. Gertrude Contemporary
Formerly a textile factory, this relatively young gallery plays an important role in Australia’s contemporary art scene, displaying up to 20 exhibitions a year by local and international artists.
Make sure to reserve an entire afternoon for browsing through Metropolis, a vibrant independent bookstore that specializes in books on art and culture. It’s definitely the best place to pick up an anthology of tattoo art, a book dedicated to Japanese food can labels, and everything in between.
8. Cherry Bar
This Melbourne institution has once and again proved its loyalty to the local, live musicians that make the city the great. The venue’s atmosphere may be uncouth, but Cherry Bar maintains a genuine respect and reverence for the art of live music.
9. La Mama
La Mama is the best place in the country to see independent, contemporary theater. This gutsy performance space is meant to be a playwright’s theater where new works can shine. La Mama is modeled after New York’s off-off Broadway scene and is the first theater of its kind in Australia.
10. Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (ACCA)
A premiere space to see contemporary art, ACCA knows how to push artistic boundaries. Moreover, the space itself is a work of art, designed by renowned architect Wood Marsh.
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