EPIC STREET ART IN MELBOURNE GUIDE +MAP
If you are looking for Street Art in Melbourne, you have come to the right place. Melbourne’s street art scene is world-class; the laneways of Melbourne’s CBD are listed on every guidebook written about the city.
While all of Australia’s major cities now feature street art, much of it is mural art, the laneways of inner-city Melbourne Lanes display pretty much every style of street art you can think of. The diversity of this work makes Melbourne a special place for those who enjoy this style of art. If you love art, Melbourne is a city you will really enjoy visiting.
On our regular visits, we spend several days wandering checking out the latest murals and graffiti walls to see what’s changed. Today we are sharing our favourites. We took these images over the last few years; some may no longer be in place. We feel like the scene in Melbourne changes more quickly than in other cities in Australia.
The CBD Graffiti Laneways
The trademark of the Melbourne street scene is the CBD’s laneways. You can easily walk them all in a couple of hours, and it’s a great early morning activity before people and sunlight add challenges to getting the perfect photo.
You might wonder if street art is legal in Melbourne? Well, the answer is, sometimes. There are quite a few legal walls and alleys, and the city also allows building owners to engage artists to paint on their property with a permit. Having said that, there is still plenty of illegal street art across the city, and for most people, it’s hard to tell which is which.
Melbourne Street Art Map – City Laneways
We think the best way to find street art is to wander the back lanes and alleys of any city; however, sometimes, you don’t have time to explore aimlessly. This map will help you find some of the best street art in the CBD that we have discovered in just half a day.
Let’s start at ground central, Hosier Lane, where you can pick up a great coffee at Good 2 Go coffee, a social enterprise cafe for young homeless locals. While you are there, pay it forward and leave a coffee or soup for someone who really needs it.
If following a map seems too much like hard work, I can highly recommend these three street art tours. I have done them all and learned something new every time.
Along with getting to the best street art quickly, you will learn more about the styles of work, the artists themselves, and the history of the Melbourne street art scene.
Hosier Lane and Rutledge Lane
The best-known laneway in the city, Hosier Lane, is the one you have likely seen on travel ads for Melbourne. Graffiti has been a feature of the laneway here since the 1990s. The cobblestone surface of the lane adds to the atmosphere.
In 2013 “All Your Walls”, an event in partnership with the NGV, saw 100 artists repaint both this and adjoining Rutledge lane over one weekend.
In 2020, the laneway was ‘vandalized‘ by a group of masked people who covered the lane in coloured paint. While many people complained, others saw this as a fresh start. Every time you come here, you will discover recent work and likely your favourite piece from last time gone.
Make your way back to Flinders Lane and turn right. Head two blocks to Higson Lane. The next three lanes are adjacent to each other.
This lane has hosted some really iconic pieces, including the Julian Assange Mural by Lushsux and the great Melbourne Chefs mural by Heesco (best known perhaps these days for his silo art).
This photo was taken in August 2021 and I have not visited since the pandemic, but we got one of our local writers to check it out! Plenty to see, so well worth stopping by.
Just a stone’s throw from Hosier Lane, the City of Melbourne renamed a previous uninspired Corporation Lane to AC/DC Lane in 2004 as a tribute to the legendary Australian rock band.
The most permanent piece is a 3m sculpture of Bon Scott created by Mike Makatron in 2018.
It is on the corner of the lane near Cherry Bar. Also in the lane are several murals of Malcolm Young, including two large ones by Lushsux, the other in Duckboard Place.
Stencil art, paste-ups and tags share space with some fabulous large scale murals in this lane next to AC DC Lane. It’s here you will find the Melbourne mural by Steen Jones and a 3 story high Fintan Magee mural.
There is also a bunch of cool paste-ups and plenty of small ground level gems. This child by N20_Jo is a favourite.
You may have heard that Banksy visited Melbourne in 2003 and left behind some work. Well, Duckboard Place is where you might find one last remaining piece: a small work of a parachuting mouse! One of the last remaining rodents from the large number he painted on that visit. I have decided not to share a pic so you can discover it yourself.
Personally, I think these last 2 lanes are home to some of Melbourne’s urban art.
Walk along Exhibition Street, stopping to take a peek down Strachan Lane.
As you pass – right on the corner is a huge Adnate mural. Continue along Exhibition St until you reach Little Collins Street turn right, and you will find your next laneway.
It is impossible to miss Mike Makatron’s Jungle Funk – a tropical jungle mural at the Bourke Street end of Meyers Place. It resulted from the Melbourne City Council’s Green Your Laneways program in 2018 that saw 5 alleys across the city bought to life. Makatron has painted another green mural in Gallagher Place.
Pop into Loop Rooftop Bar for a drink for a break in their lovely roof garden – or note it and come back later.
After viewing Jungle Funk, you will be at the corner of Bourke Street. Cross and walk down Liverpool Street. Turn right, and two corners on the right is your next stop.
Another lane is named for famous Australian musician, Chrissy Amphlett. Lead singer with the Divinyls, Amphlett, who passed away in 2013, is remembered here by her outfit of choice, an old school tunic, and her much loved four-legged friends painted by Peter Gouldthorpe.
Now turn around and go back the way you came down Little Bourke Street for 380m and then turn right into Corrs Lane
This installation in Corrs Lane is part of Flash Forward, a project that involves over 80 creators to enliven 40 of Melbourne’s historic laneways with brand new installations.
Natty Solo’s work reused discarded plastic dolls houses savaged from landfills to highlight the “idealisation of suburban life, throw-away society and the ecological impact of aspirational toys.”
From here cross over and head down Payne Place, which leads you to Croft Alley.
The graffiti street that people love to pose for a selfie in. A very active narrow winding lane – predominantly tags but you never know what you will find here.
The alley runs off Little Bourke Street and is home to the popular bar Croft Institute where you can get your drink served in a beaker!
Head back out the way you entered and make your way to the corner, then two blocks along Russell Street to Little Collins again. Two blocks down, you will find Russell Place – stroll the length of the lane to find Baby Gorilla’s Princes high on the way. At 24m tall, it’s unlikely you will miss it.
Another “Green Your Laneway” participant with planting along the lane and this Aboringal mural at the end of the laneway several years ago
There is also an eyecatching pink abstract mural by Al Stark on the sidewall of the Uniting Church’s office.
Continue along Little Collins to Howey Place – an arcade that leads to our next stop.
This is one you need to know about to discover, it’s hidden away, and we almost missed it. You enter off Little Collins Street and make your way along Howey Lane, which looks more like an arcade; at the end is one of the city’s best-hidden lanes.
Presgrave Place features small-scale works in a gallery style arrangement in quirky frames feature on Presgrave Place. Above tiny sculptures hang from a wire above.
Make your way back the way you came and cross Little Collins Street. Union Lane should be right in front of you.
A narrow lane filled with graffiti-style work, plenty of tags and a great background for taking your selfie. Spray painting is the order of the day here and art changes almost daily.
Make your way to the end of Union Lane to Bourke Street Mall and cross the road to find Postal Lane to Little Bourke Street, then turn right until you reach Caledonian Lane.
Home of the St Jerome’s Laneway Festival, Caledonian Lane has more recently become home to some pretty epic gaming themed murals.
Double back to Little Bourke Street and head two blocks along to Tattersalls Lane.
Tattersalls Lane and Stevenson Lane
We first discovered Tattersalls Lane while hunting down cheap dumplings, and then the next night, our bar tour took us to Section 8. Be sure to pop in and check out the art inside the bar! Stevenson Lane provides more of the same.
Both times what caught my eye was the huge Adnate mural of a woman with some feathers.
From here make your way out onto Lonsdale Street, cross the road and two blocks along you will find Drewey Lane and off that Sniders Lane.
Melbourne street art meets war memorial – Drewery Lane features a mosaic work known as the Melbourne Legacy Centenary of Anzac Street Art mural. Created by Sankar Nadeson, this work on the wall of Legacy House is made up of pieces produced working with the community. Kids and families with ties to the defence forces are a special part of this work. Don’t miss it.
Along with these beautiful mosaics, there is also a huge new work by Jaz Mishap that we have seen on Instagram.
The topless mural of Kim Kardashian and model Em Ratajkowski by Lushsux is a major attraction here. When it first appeared back in 2016, people thought it wouldn’t last long, but it was still there on my last visit four years later, and I think it still is.
Walk to the end of Drewey Lane to Little Lonsdale Stree, turn left and head down to Elizabeth Street. You have about a 10-minute (750m) walk from here to Blender Lane.
Blender Lane and Blender Studios
Just off Franklin street, Blender lane is a popular spot and a great place to see new work.
Blender Studios calls itself the home of street art in Melbourne. More than twenty local street artists work out of this venue. You can visit the studios, buy works, or sign up for one of the workshops, from beginner to advanced skills. These are offered online too!
Check out the Google street view of Blender Lane.
At this point feel free to make a detour to Queen Victoria Market (closed Monday and Wednesday).
From Blender Lane to our next stop is a 13-minute walk. It’s also about 13 minutes on the No 86 tram so while it won’t save you any time if your feet are tired jump on the tram, it’s free!
Upper West Side Arts Precinct
On our last visit, we were thrilled to see the large-scale murals from some of our favourite artists, including Smug, Adnate, Rone, Fintan Magee, and Dvate. Even if you don’t do the complete walk, this one is very close to Swanson Street Station.
This is more like the street art we are used to seeing in other Australian cities, and we think some of Melbourne’s best in the CBD.
From here, you can give your legs a bit of a rest and jump on a tram (11, 12, 48 or 109) down Collins Street to the stop after the Elizabeth Street intersection. From Collins Street walkthrough Centreway Arcade to Flinders Lane, turn left, and on the side wall of local institution, Brunetti’s is your next wall.
Lisa King, an artist whose work we first discovered in Adelaide, has painted a gigantic mural of a woman in a white dress on the wall of popular cafe Brunetti. This is a new work and we don’t yet have a photo but drop by and check it out, while you are there get a pastry from Brunetti.
Degraves Street and Centre Place
We ended our walk here because cafes and bars line this laneway, making it a good place to reward yourself for your long walk! If you are staying nearby, pop back early one morning before the shops open and you will find more art on the shutters.
Now off you go – get walking and find the best art, choose your favourite local artist and let us know if you find something we missed so we can look for it next time.
If you want to continue searching for street art and graffiti across Melbourne, check out these inner suburbs. You could easily spend half a day in each exploring not just the art but also the bars, cafes and local markets. We have created some Google maps to help you and provided links.
Want to keep up to date with the street art world in Melbourne? I suggest you follow these accounts on Instagram. As a Sydneysider who visits often, we use these as a way to see what’s going on and what to look out for on our next visit.