5 things to do in Melbourne city with kids. From the hole-in-the-wall eateries to the urban street art down every innocuous laneway, Melbourne city offers a fun and unique family holiday that is completely different from visiting other parts of the greater city. Whether you incorporate it as part of a great Australian family holiday or you simply plan a weekend escape, booking a serviced apartment or hotel in Melbourne CBD means you will be centrally located to tram or walk to the best the city has to offer. Here is the suitcases&strollers guide to five activities for kids in Melbourne’s city.
Try out yum cha with the kids
Melbourne is renowned for having some of the best dim sum in Australia and steaming dumplings are always a favourite with fussy eaters. Add to that the entertainment factor of being able to watch your food being pushed around on a trolley and letting the children pick their favourites and this is one meal that’s going to be a sure hit.
The best yum cha in Melbourne for kids is arguably at the classic institution of the Shark Fin group. While some of the newer restaurants around town might be more trendy, many of them do not use trolleys. Happily, the classic Shark Fin restaurants still use the old school trolley method. Their two restaurants – Shark Fin Inn and Shark Fin House – are both located in Little Bourke Street in the heart of Chinatown, so make for an easy lunch stop on your way elsewhere. Don’t forget to book in advance as they are very popular, especially on weekends.
Our tips: always put your kids at the seats on the table furthest away from the trolleys as they are extremely hot especially for unpredictable curious little hands. And don’t forget yum cha generally contains a lot of seafood – if your kids are allergic to shellfish this may not be an appropriate choice.
Watch the free fire show display at Crown Casino
This spectacular display along the Crown Casino foreshore is pretty awesome to show the kids.
If you stand further back across the river you will get to see all choreography of all 8 gas towers of the Gas Brigades shooting up huge fireballs into the night sky.
If you have older kids who are unlikely to be scared, get up closer to feel the adrenalin rush at the roar and heat of the flames.
The Crown fire display operates on the hour from varying times throughout the year – you can look up the times on their official website.
Meet the life-sized moving T Rex at Myer Melbourne
The iconic Myer department store is right in the heart of Melbourne’s CBD and their huge toy department is certainly a fun place to visit with kids.
While admittedly you may have a battle on your hands walking out of there without any purchases, it is well worth going to the fourth floor to see the free displays including a LEGO model of the MCG (Melbourne Cricket Ground), huge LEGO Cinderella statue and the scary moving tyrannosaurus rex.
At Christmas time a favourite tradition with the locals is to head to the Myer windows on Bourke Street Mall to see the free moving windows display that always tell a yuletide story for the kids.
Search for the many art installations around Melbourne city
Melbourne prides itself on celebrating modern art and there is plenty of it to see around the streets.
There are often temporary displays that are worth checking out – for instance, the giant baby at Federation Square was an interactive artwork commissioned from Felipe Reynolds and inspired by Michelangelo’s The Creation of Adam.
Or search around the city for the permanent installations such as Cow Up A Tree by John Kelly at Harbour Esplanade at the Docklands, Simon Perry’s The Public Purse in the Bourke Street Mall or Three Businessmen Who Brought Their Own Lunch on the corner of Swanston and Bourke Streets.
Visit Melbourne Museum with kids
A short walk out of Melbourne’s central business district is the much lauded Melbourne Museum which is a fantastic place to visit with kids.
As well as housing an IMAX Cinema, the Melbourne Museum has plenty of different offerings for kids of all ages. Dinosaur Walk is particularly popular with the little ones as you can walk amongst life-sized skeletons and do your own archaeological dinosaur bone dig.
If the weather is good, head outside to the nearby Carlton Gardens as there is a great free playground on Rathdowne Street.
This story was written with special thanks to Toga Hotels. Images: suitcases&strollers, Josie Withers Photography, Visions of Victoria