I love driving up from my town (Vero Beach) just to spend the day shopping, browsing, or enjoying Melbourne’s tasty restaurants. The historic part of town, East New Haven has a funky vibe and great shopping. While this is my area of expertise in Melbourne, I visit enough to know quite a lot about this fun Florida City. Hopefully this guide will help you plan what to see, do, and where to eat when you are visiting Melbourne.
Geography first. Melbourne, Florida is a huge city that begins near I-95 on the west. It crosses the Indian River (Intracoastal Waterway) to the beachfront areas which include Satellite Beach, Melbourne Beach, Indialantic, and Indian Harbour Beach. Just wait until you see how many cool things to see an do there are in Melbourne, Florida. You’re going to love visiting Melbourne.
What to See in Melbourne
Melbourne has beautiful beaches that should not be missed. Quaint beach and surf shops line the street running parallel to the ocean where you can buy amenities such as swimsuits, sand toys, floats, sunscreen, and the occasional hermit crab. Longboard House is the store you must visitor the best surf and beach gear around.
Murals are abundant in the Eau Gallie District. My favorite one can be found beside Joan’s Perfect Pie shop, with square heads representing celebrities, athletes, and famous people. It is colorful, whimsical, and just plain fun! The Eau Gallie area is also where you will find Melbourne’s premier art destination (a whopping seven art galleries) with privately owned boutique shopping and cafes.
Patrick Air Force Base is situated on the island side as well, along the Banana River in Brevard County.
If you are looking for entertainment when visiting Melbourne, there is dog racing at Club 52 Melbourne Greyhound Park and cultural events and concerts at The King Center. This incredible music venue is 100,000 square feet in size, has over 2,000 seats, an art gallery, and hosts several activities weekly. It is a great place to see a somewhat intimate concert. My favorites thus far have been Kenny Loggins, Ringo Starr, Atlanta Rhythm Section, and Hall & Oates.
What to Do in Melbourne
One of the advantages of having a wonderful coastal Florida climate is that there are awesome options for outdoor adventures. This is a major attraction when visiting Melbourne. Some of these outdoor hotspots include Ponce De Leon Landing, Coconut Point, Turkey Creek, and Barrier Island Sanctuaries, and the Sebastian State Park Inlet. Between the five areas, there is boating, SUP, fishing, kayaking, birdwatching, cycling, hiking, and more. Surfing is extremely popular in Melbourne and many world-famous competitions are held here.
Shopping is divine in Melbourne, especially two areas in particular. First, downtown East New Haven features several streets of restaurants and shops. Among some of my favorites are Coastal Cloth Baby & Co, Glitter Alley, Meehan’s Office & Art Supplies, Sendala’s, Tallulah 9, and Cottonways. Grab a French pastry from Jacqueline’s Bakery & Cafe or an artisan crafted beer from Hell ‘n Blazes Brewing Company.
The second shopping area to check out is The Avenue Viera. This outdoor entertainment complex has premier retail shops (Bath & Body Works, Charming Charlie, and World Market), restaurants (Melting Pot, Bonefish Grill, and Panera), as well as an AMC Theatre and a huge Books A Million.
Families will especially love the Andretti Thrill Park. You’ll find rides, an arcade, laser tag, bowling, go-carts, a ropes course, mini-golf, and paddle boats at this entertainment complex.
You can also discover Florida’s Space Coast just a few minutes north of Melbourne.
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Where to Eat
Melbourne is seriously a foodies town. When I tell you that I drive an hour to get there often for a meal, that should speak volumes for how tasty the restaurants are. A few of my favorites are:
- Meg O’Malley’s (Irish favorites, beer, Parliament Bean Soup, Cheese & Ale Crock)
- Matt’s Casbah (flatbreads, beer, sushi, live music)
- Mustard’s Last Stand (best hotdogs ever, Island Fries)
- The Beachside Cafe (Reubens, sandwiches, fries)
- Melting Pot (cheese fondue, chocolate fondue, wine, craft cocktails)
- The Burger Place (burgers, fries)
- Backwater (Breakfast dishes: Bennys, Omelets, Juice)
- Coaster’s Pub and Biergarten (sandwiches, soup, beer)
- KeKe’s Breakfast Cafe (amazing breakfast!)
- Shells Seafood Restaurant (seafood, family restaurant)
- Squid Lips Overwater Grill (seafood, jambalaya, margaritas)
- Grimaldi Candies (chocolate dipped potato chips)
Experience Melbourne and Fall in Love
I hope you will find visiting Melbourne, Florida triumphant in both culture and opportunities. I really love it there! You may want to consider making Melbourne your Florida vacation destination with much less traffic and cheaper prices than some Florida coastal towns. Safe travels!
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