What to Do in St Kilda (While You Can’t Go On The Pier)

CityDays' guide to what to do in St Kilda while the iconic pier is closed - or if you're looking for alternative things to do!

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As anybody who has heard of St Kilda knows, you can’t say “St. Kilda” without also thinking “penguins” - and where did you best spot them? Well, from the pier, of course. 

If you happen to be around St Kilda right now, you might be wondering what else you can do now everyone’s favourite bird-viewing platform is off-limits. Well, there’s good news: there’s still heaps to do in St Kilda - you’ve just got to know where to find it!

As for when the new St.Kilda pier will open, Parks Australia reckons it’ll be a good few months yet - around mid-2024 is when it’s projected to be completed.

So between now and then, if you want to know what to do in St Kilda (and even after it’s finished, tbh), read on! 

And just so you know, nobody pays us to be featured on this list. No affiliate links here! They’re just our recommendations to you so you can find the best things to do in Melbourne.

Uncover Secrets and Hidden Gems With a Treasure Hunt Around St Kilda

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Most Melburnians know St Kilda as something of a playground - an English backpacker’s paradise where noise, partying and fun is a part of the package. But fewer people realise just how varied St Kilda’s history is - and how it came to be as it is today.

Chameleon Lives is a combination of a treasure hunt and outdoor escape room that takes you around St Kilda’s lesser known spots and notable landmarks. Through solving riddles and following clues, you and your team will discover the rich history and eclectic culture that makes St Kilda unique. 

Follow in the footsteps of St Kilda’s history from an indigenous hunting ground to a Bohemian paradise, visit top-recommended pub and café stops along the way, and maybe even top the leaderboard! 

Visit Labassa Mansion

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Just a stone’s throw away from St Kilda in Caulfield, Labassa Mansion is a must-visit for anybody interested in Melbourne’s social and architectural history.

Over 700 people have called Labassa Mansion “home” over its 200+ year history; including a Canadian mogul named Alexander William Robertson, Australia’s first silent movie star, socialites, world war heroes, Jewish refugees and artists. 

This eclectic bunch of people all left their mark on the Mansion’s lavish Victorian-era design, and if you fancy having a sticky beak around its many rooms - you’re in luck. 

Labassa Mansion offers guided tours that reveal its fascinating stories and ornate interiors and also events throughout the year. In my opinion, a visit is worth it for the interiors alone – but if history is more your sort of thing than Pinterest worthy rooms, rest assured you’ll get your fill here.

Sign Up For Sh*t Pub Trivia Night at Freddie's

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I’m no know-it-all until someone suggests a pub quiz - and that’s especially true right here in St Kilda.

If laid back and enjoyable is your vibe, head over to Freddie’s on a Tuesday night. This place is a relaxed home-from-home pub where friendliness and a bit of obscure knowledge can take you further than you might expect.

With $150 bar tabs, a slab of Young Henrys Newtowner Pale Ale and bragging rights as prizes, you can do a lot worse than reveal your innermost knowledge of your guilty pleasure movies, music or whatever else you’re into.

PSST: If you’re not around on a Tuesday night, this place also has a pool table. If you’re by yourself, you’ll likely find a crowd here willing to take you on! 

Check Out Albert Park Grand Prix Circuit

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Whether you’re a true F1 fan or a Drive to Survive binger, there’s no getting away from the fact that St Kilda is remarkably close to one of the best tracks in the Formula One calendar.

This world-renowned racing circuit, which plays host to the Australian Grand Prix, offers an electrifying atmosphere even off-race days. Take a leisurely walk or cycle around the track to appreciate the scale of the circuit and maybe even catch a glimpse of teams testing when in season - and don’t forget, you’re either team Riccardo or Piastri around here if anybody asks!

Have a Stroll Around St Kilda Botanical Gardens

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I have a huge soft spot for Melbourne’s incredible Botanical Gardens but to be honest, what St Kilda lacks in scale it more than makes up for in its beauty and intimate feel.

Personally, I love just taking a walk around these gardens and seeing them in their glory - spring is obviously the best time to visit but, let’s be honest, as long as it’s dry it’s pleasant to be surrounded by nature so close to the CBD.

If appreciating flora and fauna great and small isn’t your idea of fun, then you should know that there’s a giant chessboard located within the grounds and also a playground if you have little ones with you. 

Go to The Jewish Museum of Australia

Although it’s only been open for forty-ish years, the Jewish Museum of Australia is home to a vast collection of Australian-Jewish artefacts that tell the history of Jewish Australians since the First Fleet arrived in 1788.

Through its compelling exhibitions and collections, the museum offers insights into the Jewish community's significant contributions to Australian society and the stories of individuals along the way. It's an enlightening experience that fosters understanding and appreciation of cultural diversity.

Visit The Great Wall of St Kilda

If you’re wondering what to do in St Kilda that’ll bring you a little closer to the locals, check out The Great Wall of St Kilda.

No, it’s not Melbourne’s answer to the historic landmark in China with a similar name. The Great Wall of St Kilda is the result of a community-driven project created back in 2009, led by Aussie artist Camille Monet. 

You’ll have noticed that art features quite a lot around Melbourne and St Kilda is no different - but this one has a unique twist; this quirky piece of street art gives you a fascinating insight into St Kilda’s past and present residents. 

Hundreds of mosaic tiles have been arranged to share the stories of local characters, their lives and the inclusive yet diverse culture to be found in St Kilda. If you get the chance, take a closer look - you’ll find flags, handprints and messages from residents (and there are lots of dog portraits too, if you’re pup lover). 

See The Sunset at Shakespeare Grove Viewing Platform

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Sunset in Melbourne is one of my all-time favourite places to be - and while there’s never really a bad spot to view it, some options leave others for dead.

And as it so happens, the latest addition to St Kilda’s sunset-viewing places vying for top spot is now actually my favourite; Shakespeare Grove Viewing platform. The new viewing platform cost $12 million bucks to build and become a part of St Kilda’s landscape, but luckily, it’s worth every cent. 

Overlooking the bay, this spot offers panoramic views of the sky's changing colours as the sun dips below the horizon. It's a peaceful setting that encapsulates the beauty of St Kilda's seaside charm, making it a must-visit for photographers and romantics alike - and there are benches here if it’s too windy to stand by the railings.

Visit the Sacred Ngargee Tree

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Before St Kilda was St Kilda, it was a vital area for the indigenous Aboriginal and First Nations peoples - both as a meeting point between local clans and as a spiritual place. 

At first glance, it can be easy to dismiss the area around the Ngaree tree as unused bushland - but don’t pass this place by - it’s home to a 500-year-old sacred gum tree that’s still used by local Elders to this day as a place to meet. 

Besides being awe-inspiring to look at (this red gum is massive!), it's worth visiting and taking a moment to reflect and appreciate the Indigenous history that surrounds you while you’re here. 

Take a minute to read the plaques that tell the story of the Bunurong people (part of the Kulin Nation) and appreciate the tree’s powerful symbolism that links St Kilda’s original custodians and deep historical roots. 

See some Art at Linden New Art Gallery

Like I said, Melbourne and art just go hand-in-hand, so if you’re a contemporary art lover wondering what to do in St Kilda, be sure not to pass this place up. 

Showcasing cutting-edge works from both established and emerging artists, Linden New Art Gallery is situated in a charming Victorian-era building. The gallery provides a dynamic platform that gives you the opportunity to see local talent and immerse yourself in thought-provoking exhibitions. 

A visit here is a deep dive into the creative pulse of St Kilda and the broader art scene - and it’s absolutely free to have a look around.

Give Stand Up Paddle Boarding a Go

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Take advantage of St Kilda's beautiful beachfront by trying your hand at stand-up paddleboarding. 

Whether you're a beginner or an experienced paddler, the calm waters of Port Phillip Bay provide the perfect setting for a fun and invigorating experience. Not only is it a great way to stay active, but it also offers a unique perspective on St Kilda's scenic coastline.

Get lessons in a group or by yourself (don’t worry, newbies can book their own session to get comfortable before setting off), or if you really want to “push the boat out” so to speak - give stand up paddle boarding yoga a go…

Find More Things to Do in Melbourne with CityDays

What to do in Melbourne

So there you have it! What to do in St Kilda while the iconic pier is being rebuilt.

Remember that no matter what you decide to do on your morning, arvo or evening out with your friends, family or partner, there’s nothing like teamwork to make the dream work.

That’s why we at CityDays create fun, interesting and challenging trails around the world to help you immerse yourself in a city’s culture, history and curios. 

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