The best time to visit Lygon Street with its Italian restaurants, cult cinema and bookshops is late at night.

If you want to go out, and stay out, in Melbourne start the night at Lygon Street. Jimmy Watson’s bar has the most fantastic wine by the glass, this side of the city. Students and academics from the nearby university have dined here forever, and it’s unfussy – just try a South Australian red and find a table. Jimmy Watson’s is at the far end of Lygon Street, the furthest from the city. It’s within walking distance, or take a cheap cab. Start the walk here and you’ll be ready for dinner by the time you’ve left Jimmy’s  behind you.

Follow your nose back to the skyscrapers beyond, and you’ll soon come to Readings bookstore, which is open late. This is handpicked reading for discerning goddesses, and they also have a neat line in book jacket T-shirts, diaries, and other bibliophile accessories. Readings has won so many awards it buckles at the knees; you’ll always find something for the plane trip home here.

Opposite, you’ll find the ‘other’ bookshop – Borders, which is vast, also open very late, and laden with import magazines, notebooks, candles and other ephemera alongside the mass of bestsellers. Ricochet between these two and you’ll never be bored.

Nova cinema has the best indie and alternative cult films from around the world, and it lies upstairs from Borders. Nova is everyone’s favourite Melbourne cinema for so many reasons. But should you eat first?

Maybe. It’s your call – you can eat bar food and order good cocktails at the Nova bar, right inside the cinema. But Lygon Street is justifiably famous for its Italian restaurants so get ready to stroll. Just walk up the street and waiters will come at you with menus. If you’re one of those people who dislike booking, you’ll be in heaven. If one pasta palace can’t serve you, the next one will, and the standard is pretty high across the board as business is so competitive.

Carbonara, marinara, bolognaise – it’s a-classic. And Lygon Street never really changes.

For specialist coffee and chocolate don’t miss Koko, though. And duck down the side streets off Lygon for the best serious-cake cafes.

Lygon Street is always buzzy and busy from 8pm through 11pm and that’s why we love it. What better way to kill your jet lag in Melbourne, or to keep the holiday going, once other parts of town shut down? There’s something a little 1970s about Lygon Street, and long may it continue.

About Holiday Goddess Editors

Holiday Goddess. Travel for Less.