First published on 10 Jan 2011. Updated on 12 Nov 2013.
Avoid the droves in Chadstone or Melbourne Central with a good ol’ crafty market. Thread Den’s massive North Melbourne Market, which runs on the last Sunday of every month, houses fabulous vintage fabric stalls among other unique goodies. Craft Hatch Market in the CBD’s fine café-cum-gallery 1000 £ Bend is quarterly, with Etsy-style delights including a large range of handcrafted stationery and buttons. Hungry? Get your grocery shopping out of the way and grab dumplings and dim sum at the South Melbourne Market. Make sure you check out the new section for emerging fashion designers, SOME Space. Once you’re finished in the market you can duck around the corner to Chez Dre for a coffee and a cake.
Don’t let the rain dampen your desire to outfit your house with retro furniture and kitsch curios. The Lost and Found Market in Collingwood is a one-stop shop for the adventurous interior designer. Where else can you find a 1970s love seat and a 1940s picnic set in the one warehouse? This Melbourne vintage institution is open daily and a second location has opened in Brunswick East. For those on the other side of the Yarra, there’s the Chapel St Bazaar, home to over 70 stalls filled with retro knick-knacks.
To spice up a dull day inside, sneak in a game of pool at Red Triangle. The cavernous venue is open until 2am every day. You can play pool, snooker or billiards on their full-sized tables and there’s also a selection of board games for those who are cue-challenged. Red Triangle is unlicensed, but it’s famous for its outrageously good milkshakes in flavours like Jam Donut or Snickers. From its no-nonsense website to its beat-up leather couches, this venue is about as authentically old-school as it gets.
When all you want to do is stay inside and play video games, do it in style at Mana Bar, Melbourne’s new videogame cocktail bar. Mana Bar has tonnes of games for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Wii systems that you can play on several screens throughout the venue. There’s also a themed cocktail menu full of curious concoctions like Princess Peach, Elixir of Fortitude and Angel Island. The bar hosts regular events (like ‘Geek Trivia’) and theme nights. Open six nights a week.
The cosy Booktalk Café in Richmond is perfect for a toddle around their wide selection of new and second-hand books with a pit stop for a healthy meal. Alternatively, don your specs and head down to Mr. Tulk (attached to the State Library of Victoria), for some fantastic flatbread sandwiches that you can munch while you curl into a booth with your own book or one of the kooky volumes from the café. If you’re around Flinders Lane, seek refuge and a warm drink at the Journal Café, attached to City Library. This place is always busy so be prepared to wait or get friendly with a cute stranger and share a table.
Movies are traditional rainy-day fare, but for a twist, head to the Coburg Drive-in. Open since 1965, this well-loved venue is a little dilapidated, which makes it perfect for a scary movie night, because bunching up in the car while rain hammers the roof only increases the spookiness. Monday nights are ‘Mad Mondays’ with $8 tickets for adults, $6.50 for concession and maximum $20 per carload.
Yoga and Dinner at The Loft
Attend The Loft’s yoga night at the CBD’s Hare Krishna centre on Wednesday or Friday, and you can have a yoga class followed by dinner at Gopal’s Vegetarian Restaurant. The sessions are cheap as chips, the food is scrumptious and it’s a fantastic way to switch on your mind and body after the drudge of a rainy day.
Beat the weather with some indoor gardening in the CBD. The level 2 link bridge in Melbourne Central has been transformed into a garden escape for inner-city shoppers and residents. With its wall-to-ceiling windows, grassy corners and multitudes of garden beds, the Community Kitchen Garden cheats the outdoors. Pick up a recipe, attend a workshop, forage for some veggies or simply curl up on the grass.
Go past the first floor
Melbourne has some truly gorgeous buildings just waiting to be discovered and like the arcades, serve as a quick (and undercover) walkway. On a rainy day, scan the list of tenants or jump in a lift and go for a wander. Go beyond the first floor where you’ll find antique jewellers, local artists and vintage clothing boutiques. Go exploring in the Nicholas Building (21-47 Swanston St, Melbourne), Curtin House (252 Swanston St, Melbourne) or the Manchester Unity Building (220 Collins St, Melbourne).
Get all Blades of Glory and head to the rink
Who says you have to head somewhere warm when it’s raining – why not rug up and go ice skating instead? Icehouse is also a ‘safe’ place you can be as daggy as you like and revisit your adolescent almost every night of the week - albeit on skates - without judgment. Dress to the nines for Glam Night every Wednesday or dig out your fluro ensemble for 80s Countdown every Friday.