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Photo by Christine Amorose

Christine’s Melbourne

Welcome back city-lovers to another Wednesday edition of I Heart My City! This week’s insider tour is from American expat Christine Amorose who works and lives in Melbourne, Australia. Here are Christine’s tips on the best places to eat, drink, and play in a city recently named the most livable in the world.

Melbourne is My City

The first place I take a visitor from out of town is to happy hour at The Stokehouse: sip a glass of bubbly while watching the sun set over the bay.

When I crave a good local craft beer I always go to The Local Taphouse.

To escape the madness of city life, I read a book under a tree in the Royal Botanic Gardens.

If I want to feel like being an informed citizen, I go to a panel or lecture at The Wheeler Centre.

For complete quiet, I can hide away under the dome in the State Library of Victoria.

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Photo by Christine Amorose

If you come to my city, get your picture taken in front of the constantly changing street art of Hosier Lane or ACDC Lane.

If you have to order one thing off the menu from Monarch Cake Shop it has to be the cherry crumble.

Queen Vic Market is my one-stop shop for great local produce, kangaroo filets, and organic wine. And just about anything else you need!

Locals know to skip Lonely Planet recommended restaurants and check out Cheap Eats recommended restaurants instead (look for the sticker in the window!).

When I’m feeling cash-strapped I go wandering and read a book under a tree at Fitzroy Gardens.

For a huge splurge I go shopping on Chapel Street.

Photo ops in my city include the giant smiling face of Luna Park and the best vantage point is the St Kilda triangle.

If my city were a celebrity it’d be Cate Blanchett: elegant, stylish, and always better than you remember!

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Photo by Christine Amorose

The most random thing about my city is the tiny penguins that live in the St. Kilda breakwater, and come out at dusk.

My city has the most gorgeously athletic men—have you seen those AFL players?!

My city has the most stylishly layered women—you have to be when you can get all four seasons in one day!

In my city, an active day outdoors involves doing the 1000 Steps at Ferntree Gully and hiking in the Dandenongs.

My city’s best museum is the National Gallery of Victoria—but there are heaps of amazing independent galleries throughout the city!

My favorite jogging/walking route is along the bay at sunset, from St. Kilda to Elwood.

For a night of dancing, go to onesixone. Or, for live music, check out The Espy.

Maccas (Australian slang for McDonalds) is the spot for late-night eats.

To find out what’s going on at night and on the weekends, read The Thousands or Broadsheet.

You can tell a lot about my city from the weather: there can be all four seasons in one day. You have to be flexible and laid-back to go with that!

You can tell if someone is from my city if they’re a coffee snob. No filter or drip coffee here!

In the spring you should smell the roses at St. Kilda Botanic Gardens.

In the summer you should have Sunday brunch at the Portsea Hotel.

In the fall you should try kiteboarding in St. Kilda Bay.

In the winter you should go to an AFL game at the MCG.

A hidden gem in my city is a walk along the Yarra, ending with a wonderful riverside meal at Kanteen.

For a great breakfast joint try The St. Kilda Galleon Cafe…the Bloody Marys are to die for!

Don’t miss the International Comedy Festival in April.

Just outside my city, you can visit the gorgeous wineries of Yarra Valley.

The best way to see my city is on the City Circle tram.

If my city were a pet it would be an extremely cultured Siamese cat.

If I didn’t live in a city, I’d live in one of the coastal towns in Mornington Peninsula or along the Great Ocean Road.

The best book about my city can be found in Readings: the best independent bookstore in Melbourne.

When I think about my city, the song that comes to mind is The Chase by Illy.

If you have kids, you won’t want to miss a daytrip to see the penguins on Phillip Island.

The Moomba Festival could only happen in my city.

My city should be featured on your cover or website because it’s the most livable city in the world—and worth visiting!

For more Melbourne tips from Christine, follow her on Twitter @camorose. And tell us about your favorite places in Melbourne in the comments section below.

Want to see your city on Intelligent Travel? Copy and paste our list of fill-in-the-blank questions into an e-mail, fill in your answers, and send your responses (with any photos, videos or links) to

[Australia Guide]