Best Shopping in Melbourne: Malls, Outlets, Arcades & Thrift | The Invisible Tourist

If shopping were an Olympic sport, I would have been awarded numerous gold medals throughout the years.” ~ Alyse.

Seeing as you’re here, you’re probably asking yourself where to go shopping in Melbourne? Having visited at least a dozen times over the years, I’ve become quite acquainted with Australia’s capital of culture and know exactly where to find what I’m after. Sometimes in Melbourne I discover items easily that I have a hard time getting my hands on back home in Sydney!

I can confirm the rumours you’ve probably heard are true: Melbourne truly is a shopper’s paradise. Although, this paradise may seem a little overwhelming to navigate at first if you aren’t sure where to start or what to expect at each shopping destination. This is where my fictitious gold medals come in handy because I’ve racked up many Melbourne shopping tips over the years that I’m happy to share with you.

To help you make the most of your Melbourne shopping experience, I’ve teamed up with AccorHotels to bring you this complete guide to shopping in Victoria’s capital city. No need to scour the internet because here all the bases are covered!

With hotels dotted throughout the city, staying in the CBD will allow you to be within reach of many shopping hotspots. This means you’ll always have a room nearby to offload your purchases then continue on your way. Handy, right?

If you want to know where to go shopping in Melbourne for your own souvenirs, including the best malls, arcades, outlets, boutiques, markets, thrift stores and even cheap shopping, read on for more!

 This guide to the best shopping in Melbourne will cover:

  • Shopping malls in Melbourne city & beyond
  • Outlet shopping in Melbourne
  • Arcades for shopping in Melbourne
  • Thrift stores, markets & cheap shopping in Melbourne
  • Specialty stores that deserve a mention
  • Exclusive Melbourne shopping tips
Where to Go Shopping in Melbourne: Guide to the Best Malls, Outlets, Arcades & Thrift | The Invisible Tourist
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Complete guide to where to go shopping in Melbourne

During my younger years, I was quite the shopaholic! I would usually buy cheap clothes and buy them often. As I’ve grown older, my approach to shopping has changed as I now have a more sustainable mindset (as I do with travel). Instead of shopping frequently now, I prefer to purchase pieces for my wardrobe that are higher quality, meaning they last longer, look better and I don’t need to purchase as often.

In saying that, with many years of shopping experience under my belt I know exactly where the best shopping spots in Melbourne are to suit all budgets.

For each of the categories in my article below, I’ll outline what you can expect at each shopping destination, their respective addresses and any extra tips for visiting. As Australia’s fashion capital, souvenir shopping is one of the best things to do in Melbourne!

NOTE: While all care has been taken to ensure accuracy of the below information, a lot of things have changed in dear old Melbourne since early 2020. Please double check opening/closing times etc directly with the places you wish to visit.

Shopping malls in Melbourne City & beyond

As mentioned in my personal Melbourne itinerary, much of the best shopping in Melbourne can be found on “The Grid” – in the central business district (CBD). You may notice many of the historic buildings have references to Queen Victoria, the state’s namesake. While there’s a huge concentration of stores in Melbourne city, you’ll also reap major rewards if you venture out into the suburbs, too!

Chadstone the Fashion Capital

1341 Dandenong Road, Chadstone
Have you even been shopping in Melbourne if you haven’t visited Chaddy? As the largest shopping mall in the entire Southern Hemisphere, Chadstone Shopping Centre is an absolute must for anyone wishing to shop up a storm.

It’s arguably the best shopping centre in Melbourne and is my personal favourite place to shop. Despite the name, there’s more than fashion to be found.

The high-end luxury fashion stores are very popular with international tourists, as are the mid-range fashion stores. No worries if you’re after some more affordable options as well because it’s all there. If you work up an appetite from all the walking, there are an almost endless number of food options to satisfy your hunger as well.

One of Chadtsone’s greatest assets is the FREE tourist bus that takes you the 20-minute drive from the city’s Federation Square directly to the mall. It’s definitely worth taking advantage of because an Uber or taxi back to the city from Chadstone will set you back around AUD 30 – 40 depending on the time of day.

Shopping in Melbourne: Chadstone The Fashion Capital | The Invisible Tourist

TIP: Make sure you book your spot on the free bus a day or so in advance if you can, as you’d imagine the bus is quite popular so it’s easy to miss out! Take a of screenshot the reservation on your phone to show the bus driver before you board.

NOTE: If you get the free bus from the city before or at 9am, note that most of the stores at Chadstone don’t open until 10am. You can use this time to grab some breakfast or plan which stores you want to visit first thing.

A handful of stores allow Duty Free for tourists, too. More about duty free shopping in Melbourne towards the end of this guide.

Bourke Street Mall

231 Victoria Road, Melbourne
Perhaps one of the city’s most famous areas and the main shopping street in Melbourne, Bourke Street Mall is an unmissable destination for visitors.

Located between Swanston and Elizabeth Streets, this section of Bourke Street is pedestrian friendly (meaning no cars) but you’ll need to keep an eye out for trams that occasionally run through the mall.

With stunning architecture lining the street, Bourke Street Mall is a picturesque shopping destination. It’s great for exploring major department stores like David Jones, Myer and Target, as well as other Australian and international retailers.

On the corner of Elizabeth Street is where you’ll find Australia’s first and largest H&M store, located within the grand old GPO Building.

Melbourne Emporium

267 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne
The Melbourne Emporium is probably my favourite place to go shopping within Melbourne city. Its quirky interior and great eateries keep things interesting! There are over 220 retail stores, many fitting into the mid-range to high-end fashion and accessories bracket.

While on a smaller scale, Melbourne Emporium features many of the stores you’ll find at Chadstone if you don’t have time to make the journey out there during your trip.

The District Docklands

440 Docklands Drive, Docklands
Previously Harbour Town Docklands, The District is a good place to shop if you’re after Australian souvenirs, some international high street brands and kids toys.

Although it’s located off Melbourne’s grid, it’s very easy to get to on Tram 86 from the CBD, taking around 20mins. Tram 86 is within the Free Tram Zone so there’s no need to tap on and off with your Myki card.

Collins Street

Cnr Collins Street & Exhibition Streets, Melbourne
One of the nicest Melbourne shopping spots, Collins Street has a lovely old-world charm kinda vibe. Its tree-lined footpaths feature some of the city’s most iconic Victorian architecture, earning the eastern side the nickname “Paris End” since the 1950’s.

Now known for flagship luxury designer stores, don’t be surprised if you see a queue of people patiently waiting outside some of them (especially at Gucci and Louis Vuitton).

The place to be seen shopping for luxury designer goods, on Collins Street you’ll find boutiques for Dior, Omega, Gucci, Botega Venetta, Dolce & Gabbana, Ralph Lauren, Max Mara, Mont Blanc, Bvlgari, Hermès and more. Chanel is located just around the corner in Russell Street.

TIP: Australia is one of the cheaper places in the world to purchase luxury designer goods and visitors know it! Begin shopping around opening time to avoid having to queue to get into these stores later in the afternoon.

The “Paris End” of Collins Street

Collins 234 Boutique Place

234 Collins Street, Melbourne
Yep, another shopping spot on Collins Street! Collins 234 Boutique Place is home to a massive Dymocks bookstore, which are quite rare to find these days!

It also features a Dymocks stationery & giftware store where you’ll find gifts even for the most discerning person. There’s also a small selection of fashion retailers such as Saba, Mollini & Indigo.

St Collins Lane

260 Collins Street, Melbourne
Because Collins Street itself isn’t enough! St Collins Lane is one of Melbourne’s smaller shopping malls but don’t let that deter you. Featuring a decent range of retailers specialising in shoes and talented jewellers, you’ll also find mid-range fashion stores such as Reiss, Review, Lacoste, Kookai, Cue, Rodd & Gunn and Furla.

READ MORE: Do’s & Don’ts in Melbourne to Avoid Looking Like a Tourist

Crown Casino Retail Complex

Crown Towers, 8 Whiteman Street, Melbourne
If you prefer to shop late into the night, head to the retail complex at Crown Casino. The opening hours are some of the best in Melbourne, with stores trading until 9pm. Some even extend their hours until midnight for a last-minute shopping fix!

The complex features high-end luxury brands such as Paspaley, Rolex, Prada, Bvlgari, Omega and Salvatore Ferragamo. There are some mid-range retail options, too such as Guess, Mimco, Peter Alexander, G-Star, Witchery and Politix.

For any casino lovers in your life, pick up some branded Crown merchandise in the dedicated Crown Casino Gift Store.

Melbourne Central

Cnr La Trobe & Swanston Streets, Melbourne
Accessible through the Melbourne Emporium, Melbourne Central mall features some quirky, lesser-known stores if you’re into that type of thing.

It’s the place to shop if you’re in the market for cheap to mid-range fashion and footwear, underwear and stationery. There’s even a Hoyts cinema and Strike Bowling alley if shopping gets a little too much to bear!

Melbourne Central is easily accessible from the Melbourne Emporium

Southgate

Riverside Quay, 3 Southgate Avenue, Southbank
Although it doesn’t look like much from the outside, there are some interesting retailers within Southgate. Downies Coins & Collectables is where you can find some of the rarest Australian souvenirs in the form of historical coins, old banknotes, stamps and bullion – what perfect gifts! There’s also stationery, books and homeware stores within the complex.

The Strand

250 Elizabeth Street, Melbourne
This colourful rainbow shopping mall is a hard one to miss due to its prominent location beside the Melbourne Emporium and H&M GPO buildings.

If trendy fashion and lifestyle retailers are your thing, here you’ll find a small selection of stores among the likes of Rag & Bone, Acne Studios, Cos, Desigual and Onitsuka Tiger. The ever-popular Dinosaur Designs jewellery is here, too!

Westfield Doncaster

619 Doncaster Road, Doncaster
Needing no real introduction, Westfield Doncaster is what you’ve come to expect from the Westfield behemoth brand. If you aren’t familiar with Westfield Doncaster, it’s basically a smaller version of Chadstone Shopping Centre. 

Armadale High Street

Between Glenferrie Road & Orrong Road, Armadale
Perhaps you’re planning a wedding? Armadale high street is perfect for anything bridal related! From gowns and formal wear to invitations and accessories, it’s a must visit to buy all the goodies needed for your big day.

Armadale High Street is also home to a selection of art galleries, antiques and unique collectible items.

To get there from Melbourne city, catch Tram 6 in the Glen Iris direction from Swanston Street. The journey is about 20 minutes and you’ll need to tap on and off with your Myki card.

Outlet shopping in Melbourne

Do you love sales? These factory outlets showcase some of the best discount shopping in Melbourne. You’ll always find a bargain and unlike other cities, you don’t need to journey far!

Spencer Street Outlet Centre

Level 1, 202 Spencer Street, Docklands (next to Southern Cross Station)
Spencer Street Outlets are the only factory outlets on The Grid. It’s great for heavily discounted shoes, homewares, luggage and sports apparel.

Some noteworthy stores include TK Maxx, and Chemist Warehouse for fragrance, toiletries and beauty.

It’s also fairly decent for mid-range fashion labels such as Forever New, Cue and Portmans. Additionally, Spencer Street Outlets also features stationery stores, handbags and an UGG Shop.

TIP: Not shopping related, but when you’re here don’t forget to check out the view down Bourke Street to capture an iconic Melbourne tram photo!

DFO South Wharf

20 Convention Centre Place, South Wharf
Also known simply as DFO Melbourne, DFO Southwharf is the largest factory outlet centre within a stone’s throw from Melbourne CBD.

It’s perfect if you’re on the hunt for homewares, luggage, fashion & footwear, electronics, jewellery and toys.

This is my favourite of all the outlet centres in Melbourne, purely because of the huge variety. Be prepared to spend the better part of a day here if you want to see everything!

The massive DFO South Wharf

DFO Essendon

100 Bulla Rd, Essendon Fields 
Smaller than its sibling in South Wharf, DFO Frankston has many of the same stores. If you had to choose between the two, South Wharf would be the way to go.

Compared to DFO South Wharf, there are about 60 fewer stores at DFO Essendon compared to DFO South Wharf. DFO South Wharf also has a larger variety of discounted goods.

It may be worth popping in to DFO Essendon if you’re nearby and couldn’t find what you were after at DFO South Wharf, but no need to feel bad if you don’t get the time!

Arcades to go shopping in Melbourne

The Royal Arcade

335 Bourke Street Mall, Melbourne
Opened in 1870, The Royal Arcade is Melbourne’s first arcade and the oldest surviving arcade in Australia – how cool is that?

As such a special piece of Melbourne’s cultural heritage, The Royal Arcade is listed on the Victorian Heritage Register. As with the Block Arcade, the Golden Mile Heritage Walk also guides visitors through here.

At the southern end of the arcade hangs the huge Gaunt’s Clock. Two mythical figures on either side – Gog and Magog – have been striking the clock’s chimes every hour since 1892 to alert visitors to the time. Today, a number of jewellers occupy the Renaissance Revival-style stores.

Timeless beauty at the Royal Arcade

The Block Arcade

282 Collins Street, Melbourne
Gorgeous mosaic flooring? Check. Glass-domed ceilings? Check. High-end boutiques and chocolatiers? Check. Ornate cornices and plasterwork? Check. You’d be forgiven for thinking you were in Paris or Milan with the breathtaking details adorning The Block Arcade!

This stunning Victorian-era shopping arcade dates back to 1892 and is a beautiful place to metaphorically step back in time. It’s best for boutique fashion, vintage jewellery, unique art and gift shops.

Melbourne’s Golden Mile Heritage Walk runs right through this amazing piece of architecture so even if you prefer to window shop, it’s one of the must-see Melbourne shopping spots!

Stunning Block Arcade

The Walk Arcade

309 – 325 Bourke Street, Melbourne
This small arcade connects Little Collins Street to Bourke Street Mall. It’s where you’ll find some smaller retailers selling jewellery, accessories, gifts and homewares.

It’s also the place to go if you’re hunting down popular Australian opals, duty free. Word on the street is the arcade will come under redevelopment in the future, so at least take a quick “Walk through the Walk” before it’s gone!

Thrift stores, markets & cheap shopping in Melbourne

Sure, there’s many of luxury stores to indulge in around Melbourne. But not everything has to have the luxury price tag to go with it! Below are some of the city’s best second-hand thrift stores, markets and more to grab yourself a bargain.

Chapel Street

Cnr Chapel & High Streets, Prahan
Chapel Street is internationally recognised as home to the best thrift stores in Melbourne. The area is great for quirky little boutiques, second-hand luxury designer shops, bargain thrift stores and antique shopping.

While the street itself stretches from St Kilda in the southern suburbs to South Yarra, much of the action happens around where High Street intersects it in Prahan.

The most popular thrift stores in Melbourne are Chapel Street Bazaar, Eurotrash and Treasures of Prahan. Eurotrash and Treasures of Prahan stock authentic designer goods, some in vintage styles and others more recent. Many of the items available even include the original dust bags and packaging.

TIP: Do your research online beforehand to scout out approximate prices and how to determine the authenticity of your favourite luxury items so you know you’re getting a good deal.

READ MORE: 9 Incredible UNESCO Sites in Australia & New Zealand for Your Bucket List

Moving on, I can’t recommend Chapel Street Bazaar highly enough. It’s like stepping into a gigantic time capsule; the collection is seriously impressive!

The owner was kind enough to allow me permission to take photos within the store to showcase a selection of what’s available. This is definitely THE place to shop for unique, nostalgic gifts or if you need a costume for a fancy dress party.

There really is truth in the saying, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”

Shopping in Melbourne: Chapel Street Bazaar | The Invisible Tourist
Chapel Street Bazaar Highlights: 1) Vintage watches, some from WWII era ~ 2) Antiques & homewares from decades gone ~ 3) Post-WWII kitchen items ~ 4) Records, 60’s airline & other memorabilia ~ 5) Huge selection of vintage fashion & costumes ~ 6) Chapel Street Bazaar storefront

Queen Victoria Market

Cnr Queen & Therry Streets, Melbourne
Drum roll, please… Would you believe Queen Victoria Market has been operating since 1878? Boasting around seven hectares of stalls, it’s the largest open-air market in the entire Southern Hemisphere (sensing a theme, here?) so it’s one of the top places to see in Melbourne!

There’s a huge range of fresh food and Australian produce as well as a great mixture of clothing and accessories. Small, guided tours are available to point out special icons throughout the markets and to sample the delicious food!

From Melbourne city centre, it’s easy to catch a tram up to Queen Victoria Market. Trams 19, 57, 58 and 59 will stop right outside the market and depart frequently.

TIP: Beware, much of the fresh produce and specialty stands close at 2pm weekdays.

Arts Centre Melbourne Sunday Markets

St Kilda Road, Melbourne
If you venture south of Flinders Street Station and over Princes Bridge you’ll come across these pop-up markets along St Kilda road.

Over 80 local artisans have been carefully selected to showcase their unique hand-crafted items, making these markets perfect for picking up some authentic souvenirs or gifts!

Browse the range of beautiful items on display including art, fashion, jewellery, bags, beauty, food, homewares, stationery and even stuff for the kids. You can’t miss it on your way to or from the National Gallery of Victoria.

NOTE: Weather permitting, there is also live music from 12pm – 3pm.

Specialty stores that deserve a mention

Obviously if I were to list all the specialty stores to go shopping in Melbourne, this article would be much longer than it is already! Below are two of my personal favourite specialty stores that I make sure to visit on each trip and I know my regular readers will find interesting (plus a duty-free option!)

NGV Gift Store

180 St Kilda Road, Melbourne
If you’re an art lover like me, this isn’t one to miss! The NGV gift store is loaded with an impressive range of unique souvenirs and gifts. During major exhibitions you can pick up quality related merchandise such as small homewares, jewellery, bags and accessories.

I also love the extensive range of art-related books and have picked up quite a few over the years. Just make sure you leave enough room in your suitcase!

Daiso

Midtown Plaza, 204-246 Bourke Street, Melbourne
Tucked away beside the Telstra store is an escalator down to a huge hidden Daiso! For my readers who love Japan as much as I do, here’s where you’ll be able to get your fix on many different kinds of Japanese goodies.

I love stocking up on all kinds of varieties of items from Japan here.

As well as a massive range of food items from Japan, the store is full of useful items for around the home you didn’t know you needed!

Daiso Melbourne

READ MORE: What to Expect on a Hot Air Balloon Ride in Sydney

Lotte Duty Free

185 Swanston Street, Melbourne
Dedicated specifically to duty free shopping, Lotte has a large range of electronics, fragrances, liquor, cosmetics and more. Show up with your passport to grab yourself a bargain or two.

Exclusive Melbourne shopping tips

  • Stay in a hotel located on Melbourne’s Grid, preferably nearby central Bourke Street Mall. This makes it easy to free up your hands by dropping off bags in your room if they get too heavy. Save yourself the trouble of being weighed down with multiple bags!
  • If you’re a keen shopper and know you’ll be stocking up on a lot of clothing at the outlets, it’s a good idea to bring an empty wheeled suitcase along. This will allow someplace to put all your shopping bags and wheel it around easily. 
  • In addition to the above point, remember if you don’t have a spare empty suitcase to bring along with you there’s always stores to buy them at a discounted price.
  • Re-energise at the many diverse food halls within the shopping malls. If you love authentic Japanese food, pay a visit to Gyoza Gyoza at the Melbourne Emporium for a snack during your shopping trip. They have the nicest gyoza outside of Japan I’ve had and their ice cream options are incredible!
  • If you’re an international visitor, a small handful of stores allow duty free shopping, especially at the outlet centres. Tullamarine Airport has duty free shopping, too. Simply ask and show your passport at the checkouts to receive a discount.

Concluding the best places to go shopping in Melbourne

Covering all the bases from shopping malls to factory outlets, historic arcades to thrift stores and more, I’m quite confident in saying this guide to shopping in Melbourne could be one of the most comprehensive out there! I’ve made sure to include various types stores to suit all budgets and hopefully you’ll agree this guide will help you better plan your Melbourne shopping trip.

Sending a huge thanks to AccorHotels for making this article possible! 

Now you know all Melbourne shopping spots, where will you start? If you have visited Melbourne previously, did you know about all these places to go shopping? Did you learn some new ones? Let me know in the comments below!

Remember to take a look at my detailed 5 days in Melbourne itinerary, especially suited to first time visitors for things to do, where to stay, activities to book in advance, great places to eat and much more.

If you’re after more ideas for visiting Australia and New Zealand, be sure to take a look at all my helpful articles for Oceania travel. Don’t forget to share or save this guide so you can easily refer back to it later! I’d also love if you could come and join me on Facebook, PinterestInstagram and TikTok for more travel planning inspiration!

Until next time,

The Invisible Tourist


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Where to Go Shopping in Melbourne: Guide to the Best Malls, Outlets, Arcades & Thrift | The Invisible Tourist

This guide to shopping in Melbourne was kindly sponsored by AccorHotels. All opinions and research for this article are my own. As always, I only recommend a product or service that I genuinely love and use myself!


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