Street Art in Melbourne: The Colourful Laneways of the CBD

Melbourne is in itself, one giant work of art. If you’re taking a journey to the city, do spend some time checking out the street art in Melbourne. This guide will tell you where to head to for the best urban art in the city. Read on to find out more.

hosier lane art

Street art in Melbourne’s ever-changing Hosier Lane.

Melbourne is very much an arty destination, dripping with culture. The city is essentially a living, breathing canvas, with constantly changing art lining its streets, laneways and walls.

This is certainly a drawcard for visitors, as exploring Melbourne’s street art is a cheap and easy way to get a feel for the city.

Even as a local, the ever-changing art scene means that you’ll constantly be delighted.

You can walk down streets you’ve never stepped foot in before and be pleasantly surprised.

Conversely, laneways you may enter frequently hold just as much chance of offering something new.

street art in melbourne

A thoroughly modern take on Rodin’s Thinker.

I personally think some of the city’s best art lies in its outer suburbs, but that’s a different post altogether. My neighbourhood guide to Melbourne highlights some places outside the city centre, which you can head to for fantastic and colourful murals.

For now, let’s focus on the street art in Melbourne’s CBD (Central Business District), which is both interesting and varied.

Here are some of the best known laneways, and some others that are worth taking a gander at, if you’re in the vicinity.

I’ve named the artists of specific works where possible (i.e., if I actually know who they are) and have included some options to stop for a coffee break, or a tipple.

Walking around, looking at art is thirsty work, after all!

Find the laneways and small streets full of colourful art, below!


Read more: How to Spend a Week in Melbourne

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The Most Interesting Street Art in Melbourne’s CBD

little bourke street art

The Little Bourke Street art precinct.

Little Bourke Street

Right down the end of Little Bourke Street, directly opposite Southern Cross Station is a collection of murals by some renowned street artists.

Unlike much of the other street art we’ll cover in this post, these are standalone works that make you feel like you’re walking through a gallery, not a random laneway in a big, thriving city.

street art in melbourne adnate

Adnate’s beautiful portrait of a young First Nations boy.

Smug, Adnate, Sofles, Fintan Magee, Rone and Dvate all have works in this part of the city and it’s well worth coming to check it out.

I particularly like the works painted on an old substation – it really brightens up what is generally a rather drab end of town.

Grab a coffee at: Nearby Higher Ground. Getting a table can be difficult on the weekend, but they do have an outdoor coffee cart.

blender lane melbourne

blender lane melbourne

blender lane melbourne

Blender Lane

Blender Lane is a stone’s throw from Queen Victoria Market, so you can go check out this laneway after grabbing a bite to eat there.

This litle laneway was once home to Blender Studios, an institution firmly entrenched in the Melbourne street art scene, helping to produce some of Australia’s finest artists.

The studios may be located in West Melbourne now, but their legacy lives on. There’s stencils, tags, murals and even (bizarre) sculpture to be found here.

street art gallagher pl

Mike Makatron and Conrad Bizjak’s mural depicts Melbourne, overtaken by jungle growth.

street art gallagher pl

street art gallagher pl

Gallagher Place

On a small laneway off Bourke Street, artists Mike Makatron and Conrad Bizjak have painted a Melbourne, reclaimed by nature.

Green vines sweep over recognisable urban structures, such as Town Hall and a tram.

It’s highly reminiscent of the scene in Jumanji (1995, not the crap new one) where the jungle erupts within the old Parrish residence.

I like it.

Grab a coffee at: Kinship & Co.

coromandel place

Al Stark’s work in Coromandel place.

Coromandel Place

Coromandel Place is another favourite of mine and one that few others seem to make the journey to.

It was only recently revitalised in the last couple of years, with works by Al Stark and Ghostpatrol.

coromandel place

Ghostpatrol’s mural.

coromandel place

Secret art by renowned artist Rone.

Local’s tip: Fancy checking out some secret street art in Melbourne? There’s a really cool alleyway near this laneway, featuring works by renowned street artist Rone. Have a little explore of the area and see if you can find it!

Grab a coffee or drink: At the brightly coloured Oli & Levi.

Mike Makatron street art in Melbourne

Mike Makatron’s beautiful piece of art, a jungle in an urban jungle.

Mike Makatron street art in Melbourne

Looking down the laneway.

Meyers Place

This laneway was a pilot place for the city’s ‘Green Your Laneways’ project, which I would say is a roaring success.

Standing under Mike Makatron’s bright mural ‘Jungle Funk’ will certainly make you feel like you’re right in the thick of it… and it sure is a jungle out there.

Mcilwraith Pl

Beautifully vibrant.

This laneway is right up in the theatre end of town, so it’s easy to check out after seeing a play – particularly at the Princess Theatre, which is currently showing Harry Potter and the Cursed Child!

Don’t miss the art on nearby Mcilwraith Place, either!

Grab a coffee or drink: At Lane’s Edge or Loop Roof.

mike makatron street art in melbourne

More art by Mike Makatron.

Mornane Place

You’ll find some truly obscure street art in this little laneway, with a few pieces of brightly coloured artwork.

It’s well worth popping into if you’re in the area.

presgrave place

Presgrave Place differs somewhat from traditional Melbourne art laneways.

Presgrave Place

This laneway’s art deviates slightly from the norm, but this is not an unusual case in Melbourne.

Rather than painted murals, the street is lined with kitschy, framed murals, with some weird rat sculptures hanging from the ceiling.

presgrave place

Framed art in Presgrave Place.

howey place arcade

Howey Place, a place of history.

It’s the ideal laneway for those who like to take a slower approach to their art. It’s like taking in the walls of a museum… a grimy, outdoor museum that smells ever so slightly of urine.

The laneway leading into Presgrave, Howey Place, is also a piece of Melbourne history.

Formerly known as “Coles Walk”, the glass archway is all that remains of famed bookshop Coles Book Arcade.

Grab a coffee or drink: At Bar Americano… if you can get in. It seats only 10 patrons at a time, making it one of Melbourne’s smallest bars.

adnate street art in melbourne

Another of Adnate’s beautiful murals.

Tattersalls Lane

Acting as a transition zone between the north of the CBD and Chinatown, this is one of Melbourne’s oldest laneways.

It’s the kind of lane you can wander down, take in some art and spend some time bumming around in, with its proliferation of eateries and bars.

A brightly coloured laneway within a laneway.

Make sure you look up, so you don’t miss the work of Melbourne street artist Adnate.

Grab a drink: At Section 8 Bar or Ferdydurke (so much fun to say out loud). Alternatively, grab some dumplings from Shanghai Dumpling House.

Rankins Lane

Rankins Lane is off Little Bourke Street and features a few nice pieces of art.

It’s best known for being home to two of the best cafes in Melbourne, but definitely consider checking out the art, while you’re there.

Grab a coffee: Brother Baba Budan and Manchester Press.

cyndi lauper

Beautiful art in Strachan Lane.

Strachan Lane

There are still some cool pieces of work in Strachan Lane, but the fun police swooped in and removed the most daring of all.

In 2017, Archibald artist Vincent Fantauzzo painted a 3D checkerboard mural on the floor of this lane, to promote quality street art.

strachan lane

Unfortunately, it was quickly removed by the council when it was deemed to be unsafe.

A pity, indeed.

Drewery Lane, another alternative take on street art.

Drewery Lane

Here’s another lane that deviates slightly from the norm and an example of Melbourne’s street art that’s on the quirkier side of things.

Drewery Lane is covered in a mosaic of handmade tiles, honouring the nearby Legacy House, who look after the loved ones of those who have lost their lives in protecting the country.

drewery lane

Around a thousand pieces line the laneway.

drewery lane mosaics

The ‘Mosaic Man’ Sankar Nadeson holds workshops helping families, friends and widows of war veterans to make tiles that are then attached to the wall in the lane.

The project started in 2015 and now boasts over 1000 tiles.

Healing through art. It’s a powerful thing.

Grab a coffee: at Little Rogue.

Lushsux’s famous take on the Kardashians. Appropriate, I think.

baby guerilla

Baby Guerilla has pieces all over the city.

Sniders Lane

Up from Drewery Lane is Sniders Lane, featuring some cool murals of its own.

It’s famously the location of the two topless Kardashians, a 9 metre tall mural painted by Lushsux.

union lane

Union Lane is as you can see, a popular space for graffiti.

union lane

Don’t spray over the galah!

Union Lane

Union Lane is another alleyway that feels like an ever-changing canvas, lined with colourful bits of graffiti and the odd mural.

It’s just off Bourke Street, not far at all from the mall.

I highly advise holding your nose while strolling down the street. Judging from the smell, it moonlights as a late night toilet for men, as well as a canvas for street artists.

heesco beany lane

Heesco’s beautiful work.

beany lane art

Beany Lane is small but underrated.

Beaney Lane

This is one of the smaller laneways featuring street art in Melbourne, but there are some cool, colourful murals to check out, such as this one by Heesco. The street artist hails from Mongolia and has painted a model of the same background.

There’s a few good pieces of graffiti on the lane too, such as works by Bailer.

Grab a drink: at the Whiskey Den.

higson lane

Julian Assange staring out from Higson Lane.

Higson Lane

This laneway runs right alongside popular restaurant Chin Chin and previously featured an impressive mural by Heesco, of some of the world’s top (male) chefs. Ben Shewry, Joan Roca, Massimo Bottura, Daniel Humm and Heston Blumenthal had all made an appearance.

However, now you’ll find a portrait of notorious Australian journalist Julian Assange, along with other portraits by artist Lushsux, who paints pop-culture figures.

That’s the thing about Melbourne street art – blink and you’ll miss it. It’s always changing.

Grab a coffee or drink: At Chin Chin, if you can get a table.

acdc lane

Rock on.

AC/DC Lane

Once known by the far more boring title of Corporation Lane, this alleyway was renamed AC/DC Lane by Melbourne’s City Council in 2004. Although the famous Aussie band hail from Perth, they had many strong ties to Melbourne.

So, the entire lane is a homage to rock band ‘Accadacca’, as we call them in Australia.

acdc lane melbourne

Bright and cheerful.

straker acdc

Love the work by Straker, with his trademark neon glow.

acdc sign

It features a pretty funky street sign (which was stolen several times before securely fastened in place) and a statue tribute to the late, enigmatic frontman of the band, Bon Scott.

Grab a drink: At Cherry Bar and soak up a bit of rock and roll while you’re at it.

duckboard place

Your Majesty.

Duckboard Place

Duckboard is just down from AC/DC Lane and is a bit quieter than many of the other laneways in the area.

It’s got some pretty powerful examples of street art and is home to a towering mural by Fintan Magee, one of my favourites in the city.

duckboard place

This is one of my favourite pieces of street art ever, by n2o.

fintan magee

Fintan Magee’s amazing work.

Look out for works by Melbourne artist Tinky while you’re in the area.

croft alley

Heading on through Croft Alley, to get to the eponymous bar at the end.

Croft Alley

Croft Alley is best known as being the entry point to a themed bar in the area, but there’s a lot of colourful and fun murals lining its walls.

You’ll find it in a laneway off Chinatown. It’s pretty dead by day, but livens up at night when the bar opens.

Grab a drink: At the Croft Institute.

guildford lane

Guildford Lane

Another recipient of the ‘Green Your Laneways’ project, Guildford Lane has been greened up in a very literal sense – filled with plants and lined with cafes.

Mike Makatron has painted a fantastic mural on the door of an old electric substation and there are a few more fascinating works to take in.

Grab a coffee: At Brick Lane or the Cat Cafe!

caledonian lane

Got it!

caledonian lane

There’s a few cool pieces down this laneway.

Caledonian Lane

Caledonian Lane is a tiny, blink and you miss it kind of place.

You probably won’t find a great amount of tourists here, but you may find a few interesting pieces of street art.

straker centre place

Another work by Straker.

lisa king melbourne

This amazing work by the very talented Lisa King isn’t in Centre Place, but is nearby.

Centre Place

This is an easy place to explore, just up from Flinders Street Station.

There’s some great examples of street art, along with plenty of bars and cafes to choose from.

Look out for social enterprise ‘The Soup Place’. Patrons can pay for a meal, take a post it and put it in a giant bowl.

Anyone who is hungry and looking for food is able to grab the post-it and take it to the counter, buying themselves a hot dinner without making a scene out of it.

Grab a drink: at Hell’s Kitchen and people watch the street below.

degraves street

Degraves Street

Degraves is full of shops and cafés, but does have a few really cool examples of street art, such as this bright mural.

Grab a coffee: Just about anywhere! Degraves is full of cool eateries and everyone tends to sit on outside tables, Euro-style.

hosier lane melbourne

Truth.

Hosier Lane

If you’re new to street art in Melbourne and the city itself, you may still have heard of Hosier Lane.

It’s one of the main tourist attractions in Melbourne, being a laneway that the council have opened to street artists and its close proximity to Flinders Street Station (about 2 mins!).

It’s a “blink and you’ll miss it” type of laneway, with works getting painted over, sometimes mere days after they’ve appeared.

hosier lane melbourne

This photo is from two years ago so this piece almost certainly no longer exists.

Adnate’s work in Hosier Lane is untouchable, at least.

Unfortunately, in many cases, great works of art are covered with tags, but you will occasionally see stand out pieces there.

At the very least, this has resulted in an ever-changing canvas within the city and is one of the delights of the laneway – you never quite know what you’ll find there.

Plus, don’t forget to look up and take in the powerful mural by Adnate, of an Aboriginal boy.

Grab a coffee: at Good2Go Coffee, one of the smallest coffee shops in Melbourne.

rutledge lane

Rutledge Lane, lined with garbage bins.

Rutledge Lane

If you’re in Hosier, it’s pretty easy to access Rutledge Lane as well. Make sure you hold your nose, as it’s lined with delightful smelling garbage bins.

Phew! That is a lot to go through.

Street Art Tours

If you want to learn more about the street art in Melbourne, there are plenty of tours running that will take you through many of the laneways mentioned.

I highly recommend jumping on a Hidden Secrets tour if you’re after a mix of history, art, culture and food. I’ve taken one of their tours and they are excellent.

Of course, you can always just self-tour the street art in Melbourne. Take in as much as you fancy seeing and pop into any cafes or bars that take your fancy along the way!

I hope this guide to the street art in Melbourne has proved helpful. It truly is one of the most colourful and interesting cities in Australia and surely, the world!

Staying in the city for a few days? Look for accommodation here.

Book a tour of Melbourne’s laneways here

Have you seen Melbourne’s street art? What are your thoughts on it?

Looking for more Melbourne content? Check out this list of unique things to do in Melbourne and best weekend trips. You can check out the rest of my content on the city here.

rone melbourne

More of Rone’s secret art. It’s nice.

Other posts about art in Australia

Visit an architecturally pleasing Housemuseum in Melbourne.
Here are some rather bizarre facts about Melbourne.
Read up about Perth’s best and worst art.
Visit Northampton in WA, which is full of fibre-glass sheep.
Check out the two silo art trails in Victoria and a town full of world-class street art.

Feeling inspired to get out and explore the street art in Melbourne? Pin this post!

The city really does feel like a living and breathing canvas at times. Here's an extensive guide to the street art in Melbourne's CBD, complete with map. Find out the laneways worth visiting, learn about the artists behind the works and discover which are generally free from tourists. Included are suggestions for where to grab a drink or a coffee nearby. #Melbourne / Things to do in Melbourne / Melbourne attractions / What to do in Melbourne / #VisitMelbourne / #VisitVictoria /

LC

LC can often be found nursing a cup of green tea, with her head in a book. She is a writer, video editor and professional cheese eater. Her life's aspiration is to one day live on a farm in Tasmania with 11 dogs, a Shetland pony and several pygmy goats. Follow along on Facebook or sign up to the monthly newsletter.

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Alyse - October 8, 2019

Epic guide!!!! Such awesome pictures. I also have the “jungle in the urban jungle” shot, but I’d stumbled across it then later couldn’t remember exactly where it was. Now I know 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

Reply
    LC - October 8, 2019

    Oh good, I’m glad you can give a name to the place! So much lovely art and interesting history in the “Paris-end of town”. 🙂

    Reply
Chocoviv - October 14, 2019

Loving the art!

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