With over 600 traders, the Vic Market is the largest open-air market in the southern hemisphere and attracts thousands of shoppers. It's where Melburnians sniff out fresh produce among the booming cries of spruiking fishmongers and fruit-and-veg vendors. The wonderful deli hall (with art-deco features) is lined with everything from soft cheeses, wines and Polish sausages to Greek dips, truffle oil and kangaroo biltong.
Saturday morning is particularly buzzing, with marketgoers breakfasting to the sounds and shows of buskers. Clothing and knickknack stalls dominate on Sunday; they're big on variety, but don’t come looking for style. (If you’re in the market for sheepskin moccasins or cheap T-shirts, you’ll be in luck.)
On Wednesday evenings from mid-November to the end of February, the Summer Night Market takes over. It’s a lively social event featuring hawker-style food stalls, bars, and music and dance performances. There's also a Winter Night Market each Wednesday evening from June to August.
The market has been here for more than 130 years; before that, from 1837 to 1854, was the old Melbourne Cemetery (remarkably, around 9000 bodies remain buried here, from underneath Shed F to the car park leading to Franklin St). There's a small memorial on the corner of Queen and Therry Sts.
Major restoration and redevelopment works are planned for the market, which are likely to run for several years. By late 2017 the fruit and vegetable traders should have moved into a striking new glass pavilion on Queen St.
Various tours are run from the market, including heritage, cultural and foodie tours; check the website for details.