Best Suburb to Live in Melbourne?

Hey guys!

My friends and I are looking to move to Melbourne early next year and was wondering which places are good to live in. We're all mid 20s and have an artist background.

A few have suggested Prahran for its artistic atmosphere, but I'd like more recommendations- preferably close to the city or at least somewhere with good public transport. Any help and advice would be appreciated!

Big thanks!

Thank you very much for the many recommendations. I do apologize for the lack of info. Ideally looking for a 3br 2 ba with 1-2 car spaces . Personally I would love to move to Sydney but it is too expensive and neither friends really want to move there. One is already a bit uncertain because of the whole covid situation. Our budget is $700/w and we've seen some houses/apartments that looked nice but just wanting to know more a bit about the suburbs. Most of the houses we've found were in Footscray, Maidstone and Yarraville area. With some in Kensington and Brunswick.


  • +27

    Brunswick, anywhere along Sydney Road.

    • +17

      Is that sarcasm? I can’t imagine anywhere worse, and I live near there!

      • +1

        Try Footscary Footscray if you think it can't get worse! or even Scumshine.

        • +1

          Haha I’ll give you that! I just can’t imagine living on Sydney Road, it’s aptly named because it’s noisy, crowded and I haven’t seen that many places to live between all the businesses?

    • +9

      No real artist could afford to live in Brunswick these days. It's packed with trust fund babies, posers, yummy mummies and real estate developers. It was gentrified more then a decade ago and all the artists/hipsters were priced out.
      Same happened with Northcote/Thornbury/etc.
      Footscray/Yarraville is rough, but that makes it more affordable then comparable inner suburbs, but it's quickly going the same way as Brunkswick (I'll will be gentrified in ~5 years).
      Reservoir if you want something remotely affordable.

      AVOID the SE suburbs (car dependent suburban hell, people only live there for the schools/churches) and Richmond (junkie/heroin dealer central).

      I came down in 2010 and never looked back. Best of luck!

      • +4

        Can't agree about Richmond or Yarraville. Both amazing suburbs, having lived in both a small northern pocket of richmond is a bit dodgey but near Swan St especially East of Church is fantastic.

        Yarraville is very expensive and higly gentrified now, an amazing spot to live especially if close to the village.
        Reservoir is highly average, feels like south east suburb suburbia and traffic is horrendous with all the northern growth.

        I think the best spot would be Fitzroy North/ Carlton area for convnience and plenty going on all the time.

        I suppose it comes down to personal opinion…

      • +2

        Long opinion piece of places to avoid, no advice on where to live.

        • Reservoir if you want something remotely affordable.

        • +1

          Long opinion piece of places to avoid also helps in deciding where to live so it is much appreciated!

      • +1

        "AVOID the SE suburbs (car dependent suburban hell, people only live there for the schools/churches) and Richmond (junkie/heroin dealer central)"

        Lol ok… The whole train line, parks and beaches and low crime rate really didn't influence my decision to live there but your right about Richmond.

        • Lol ok… The whole train line, parks and beaches

          On that train line you need to live like Frankston to be affordable.

          Think it was more in reference to the Pakenham or Lilydale Line. Problem is when you live in that big transport black hold between those lines.

  • +18

    Move to Cranbourne

    • +4

      If you like a 50k hike to get to the city

      • Plus it’s a melting pot of suburban life

        • Can I get a print-out of Oyster smiling?

    • cranniiieeee

    • -1

      Name checks out for a Cranbourne resident.

      Don't move to anywhere in Casey.

  • +5

    Caroline Springs will get your heart pumping

    • +2

      Super under-rated suburb - the lakes, shopping, restaurants etc

      Has a lot to offer for those who dont have loads of $$$

      • +10

        Until you decide to get out in the morning rush or got back from Taylors road.
        but it's quite ok suburb for a family, but definitely not for the artistic type.

      • +3

        Also plenty of murders to keep you on your toes.

        • +14

          That's only on Friday and Saturday nights though.

          On other days, it's a bit safer.

      • I thought it is more pricey over there these days?

        • +1

          everywhere is pricey these days

      • +1

        Car jackings, home invasions, its got the lot!

    • what is the commute into the CBD?

      • +6

        3 quick shivs

      • +1

        Drive 30min without traffic
        Train 45min

        As the other OP said it isnt super hipster but price wise it is a good space.

        This is assuming you aren't a multi millionar

  • +17

    Thornbury/ Northcote are pretty neat

    • and Westgarth, Fairfield.

      • But don't get too close to Heidelbourg

  • +28

    Fitzroy sounds like what you're after

    • yep - I lived in Fitz-a-roy 1985-88 and loved it - a choice of stroll to Brunswick St or Smith St for shopping or cafes

      while I was there - Mario's cafe first opened in Brunswick St, and my housemate/fellow uni student in 1988 wasn't a cook so would always say 'ah - let's go to Mario's!' - breakfast, lunch or dinner

      which we did - until one day I added up my expenses and realised I was spending about $400 a week - so hmmm.

    • +1

      Fitzroy costs a minimum of $300 per room per week. No artist (ie "living on Newstart") can afford that, they only get $290 to cover all their living expenses.

  • +16

    Richmond or Fitzroy if you can afford it.

    • +5

      Preston is the inner north sweet spot for comparatively affordable rental now. Plenty to do there, on the hipster front line, quick tram access to Thornbury, Northcote, Fitzroy, Collingwood.

    • I'm in north Melbourne near QVM and it's cheap as here for rents, perfect location between Brunswick and the city without being too close to either and Errol St has bunch of great pubs and places to eat. Walking distance to Aldi, Coles, or IGA and near Flagstaff I think it's perfect.

  • +25

    I think Sunshine. Right near the station

    • +31

      Don't forget to wear lots of jewelry and walk around alone at night

      • +18

        And yell "What you lookin at?" as you pass each mailbox.

    • +4

      Dandenong, near the station - a friendly, vibrant, vivid area with no shortage of characters - including those brought in by Vanstone.

  • +20

    Yarraville is perfect for the arty farty type

    • Agreed. Great spot.

  • +50

    Forget Brunswick. That was the spot 5-10 years ago, now it's all units and townhouses with no soul. Most of the artist types moved out years ago and now it's mostly populated by office workers in their late 20s.

    Footscray is Brunswick 10-15 years ago. Quicker to get into the city. Just as many ethnic and hipster cafes and restaurants. Rent is half the price.

    Prahran doesn't really have an artist atmosphere, yo-pros, gym junkies and trust-fund babies is the vibe.

    • +10

      got to agree with Prahran - the suburbs is a flog fest of rich people

    • -12

      Footscray is an absolute toilet. I mean so is Brunswick, but Brunswick is one of those self cleaning public toilets that seals you in, Footscray is one with chunks of shit on the seat, pissed soaked toilet paper, and blue overhead lights.

      • +7

        Exactly… artists paradise

      • +8

        Haha whenever I talk to a native Melburnian they have the same reaction. It’s not that bad, I think maybe your buttholes just pucker up at the sight of someone with dark skin.

        I moved from Toorak 7 months ago and I prefer it in Footscray, better food options, people aren’t rude, no towering apartment building monstrosities, traffic isn’t bumper to bumper everywhere.

        • I can only think of one spot on Toorak where traffic is ever bumper to bumper, and that's on the roundabout going to Cremorne. And I can only think of two tall apartment buildings, both on Toorak Rd. The majority of housing in Toorak is houses on big blocks. I think you're confused about what and where Toorak is.

          • +7

            @DisabledUser100949: Nobody on OzBargain is living on the big block Toorak streets lol.

            • -8

              @Cheaplikethebird: Yeah that's not true. But good to see that youre completely ignoring getting called on your bullshit and trying to change the topic. I'd wager you never lived in Toorak and just said it for effect.

            • @Cheaplikethebird: Unless you’re a car investor

          • -1

            @DisabledUser100949: @burnertoasty I agree with you that Toorak has hardly any bumper to bumper traffic and hardly any high rise towers.
            After reading further the guy is actually in South Yarra, which is not Toorak.
            They are back pedalliing on their incorrect point

    • +3

      Further to my original comment, sure there are better suburbs for nightlife like Brunswick, Fitzroy, Carlton, Northcote and Chapel St (ew) but hear this - you can rent a place in Footscray and save enough money to cover all your Ubers and horse tranquilliser and you won’t have to spend your comedowns in a mould infested terrace house that hasn’t been renovated in 20 years because kids will still pay top dollar to live there.

      • Footscray has great bars these days, I’d rate the nightlife highly (we unfortunately live Southside).

        • such as?

  • +7

    thornbury/northcote area, you've got the 86 tram and the mernda train line. high street has lots of great bars and restaurants to hang out at

    • Yeah a lot of friends in creative industries have ended up in Northcote. Rental market is competitive though.

  • +7

    Melbourne, lots of public transport or you could walk. Well, you didn't give a budget!

    • +1

      Not a bad idea!

      Rental price in CBD is at all-time low and the supply is at an all-time high. Lots of desperate landlords.
      If you have no rental history, getting your application approved in high demand area could be troublesome.

      • +1

        Price in Melbourne CBD is incredibly low. Units are less expensive than they are in all the inner suburbs (Prahran, Richmond, Fitzroy etc. as above).

        My rent dropped over 35% since pre-COVID. Worth noting though that they will probably partially (or maybe fully?) recover over the next few years as students and migrants return.

    • +4

      Stayed in an Airbnb in West Melbourne near Spencer St this week (coming for the Melbourne meetup) and it's very convenient, being in walking distance to CBD, Docklands, and Southern Cross station.

      • bugger if i knew you were going i would have attended.

  • +1

    Budget and house or unit, number of bedrooms etc

    • Sorry for the lack of info! Just edited my post. Budget is $700p/w , 3br 2ba, 1-2 car, not fussed with house or units but prefer a house if we can get one close to CBD

      • Basically if you want a house in a safe but interesting part of inner Melbourne, then your choices are between Kensington/Fairfield if you want outdoor space, or North Melbourne/Carlton for super close townhouses

  • -3

    heard springvale's nice

    • +1

      Springvale is actually great, amazing food and restaurants cheap and fresh groceries and produce. IKEA, cinema's Kmart, bowling alley. Pool hall, Close to Monash university, Glen Waverley and close enough to the freeway. It's gentrified alot.

    • +4

      You miss typed Frankghanistan

      • You mistyped Dandefghanistan.

  • +15

    You should probably put in a budget. Plus why you're moving. Is there a job you've secured, where is it?

    Mid-20s artists would tend to congregate and enjoy areas like Brunswick and Fitzroy which are north of the CBD and very urban hipster. Prahran and Richmond are south of the CBD and are similar, though Richmond is more of a mulicultural place (mostly Vietnamese) and Prahran has a large LGBTQ population. Thornbury and Northcote are north as well and have a hipster vibe.

    All of these options are close to the city and have been heavily gentrified. There are still small pockets that are affordable and long term residents that aren't wealthy, but on the whole these are considered expensive places to live now. Rents are really high.

    If budget is a concern you'll be looking at the outer suburbs. Rule of thumb, it's cheaper the farther out you are and the most expensive suburbs are South, South-East and Eastern. North and West tends to be cheaper, though there are pockets that are on par with the South and East (Essendon, for example).

    If you are going to commute to the CBD, then you need to pick a suburb with a train line. Not every suburb has one.

    • Thank you for this! Just edited my post. Reason for moving would mainly be that there's a lot more theatre gigs in Melbourne and as much as I'd like to move to Sydney it is very expensive for us. We don't really have secured jobs there yet but hoping there might be some openings when we get there!

  • +3

    Footscray, a melting pot of cultures and foods

    • +5

      funny bcuz 15 years ago it was literally the getto now it is a million dollar area with 'culture'

      • +2

        Cheap, means students and artists can afford rent. Then people want that vibe, and move into area, gentrification occurs pushing up rents and thus students and artist go further afield.

        There is also friction of an area that contributes to it's vibrancy imo.

        Culture and community is what it has.

        I loved living in Footscray but alas by the time we saved a deposit it wasn't in our price range.

    • -1

      Great area to get shot and mugged.

      • And the place to buy drugs.

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