The Melbourne CBD is part of the Traditional lands of the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung peoples. They have cared for and protected it since time immemorial.

The Melbourne CBD, including the Hoddle Grid, is the heart of Melbourne and the cultural, social and economic capital of Victoria. Laid out in 1837, it encompasses the area from the Birrarung Yarra River to Victoria Street, and Spencer Street to Spring Street. The CBD is the centre of the highest density of jobs and activity in Victoria, where pre-COVID pandemic, over 900,000 people came to work and visit every day.

The Postcode 3000 program began in 1992 and aimed to produce 3000 apartments in the central city before the end of the decade. The program, coordinated by the City of Melbourne and supported by the State Government at the time, included initiatives specifically designed to encourage residential development in the central city.

The Melbourne CBD is now home to the largest population of our municipality, with a significant proportion of residents born overseas, mostly in China, east and south-east Asia. Many of the Melbourne CBD’s residents are local and international students (39% attending a tertiary education institution), with 80 per cent of the residential population under the age of 35.

It is home to Melbourne’s famed laneways, arcades and café culture, a distinct blend of contemporary and Victorian architecture and a diversity of events, shopping, dining, and nightlife. It is a truly mixed use area with a number of different character areas within it, including the Little Bourke Street Chinatown precinct.

Many of Melbourne’s most iconic landmarks are located here, including the State Library of Victoria, the Queen Victoria Market and Federation Square, Melbourne’s major public square and cultural events space, situated opposite Flinders Street Station, the centre of Melbourne’s public transport network.

CBD Neighbourhood map

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Quick facts

Data is sourced from 2016 Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Census of Population and Housing, SGS Population Forecasts, and 2020 Census of Land and Employment (CLUE). To learn more about the ABS Census of Population and Housing, including definitions, visit: Guide to Census data.

Council services, facilities and spaces

At the City Library we provide loans of books and other material to approximately 7,100 members. We run programs for children, teenagers and adults and have a social worker based at the library. With an array of best-selling books, access to wi-fi, and a bespoke Make*It Space, the Elizabeth St Pop-up Library recently opened opposite the Queen Victoria Market. We also have a pop-up library at 240 Lt Collins St and a Children’s pop-up library at Federation Square.

The City of Melbourne also manages the Melbourne Town Hall, Multicultural Hub and Drill Hall which have bookable spaces for community use.

The Couch International Student Centre has reopened at 69 Bourke St in partnership with Salvation Army Melbourne Project 614 to align with the City of Melbourne’s support for international students. The Couch is open Mondays to Thursdays (excluding public holidays), from 6pm to 8.30pm and hosts a series of events and activities. International students can have a hot meal on site every night The Couch is open and once a week they can access up to ten free frozen vegetarian meals to take home.

Frontyard Youth Services is a specialist youth service located in Melbourne’s CBD. It aims to support young people to meet their physical, emotional and social needs and to develop pathways out of homelessness. Many of the services at Frontyard work with young people across Greater Melbourne and throughout Victoria.

The City of Melbourne also provides a Regional Assessment Service which provides in-home assessment services for older people requiring home supports to continue ageing in place.

The Melbourne Men’s Shed was established with funding from the City of Melbourne and the State Government. The Melbourne Men’s Shed is located at level one of the Federation Square car park and offers woodworking facilities and workshops, cooking classes and walking groups. Despite the name, the Men’s Shed is inclusive to men and women of all ages, backgrounds and abilities.

A new social housing apartment complex adjoining the Queen Victoria Market has opened, as part of the further development at the Munro site. The new complex which includes 48 one- and two-bedroom apartments was opened in early December 2021. The project was built in a collaboration between the state government, the City of Melbourne and Housing Choices Victoria. The City of Melbourne provided the land for the project, while Housing Choices Victoria will both own and manage the complex.

In the Melbourne CBD, we manage and maintain many public spaces including Batman Park, Cohen Place Plaza, Customs Square, Eight Hour Reserve, Enterprize Park, La Trobe and Exhibition Street Reserve, Merritts Place Reserve, Northbank and Royal Society.

The final components of the new Market Street Park have now been completed. More than 1000 square metres of road was discontinued in order to create the new park that now features wide bluestone paths to accommodate more pedestrians, new seating, space for programmed events, and improved pedestrian access to public transport. The park also features new tree plantings from a variety of species, and water sensitive urban design to reduce stormwater runoff. New bike lanes and parking have also been created.

We support the creative sector through venues we manage and operate. In 2021-22 we will support exhibitions at City Gallery, exhibitions at Dirty Dozen and Capsule and support an artist in residence at Shop 5 Little Collins Street. ArtPlay and SIGNAL provides creative opportunities for children and youth. We will also deliver Town Hall Grand Organ concerts and Federation Bells performances every day.

We operate Visitor Information Centres in Bourke Street, Town Hall and at Queen Victoria Market.

With funding from the MCRF, car parking on Queen Street near Queen Victoria Market has been transformed into a welcoming green space and activation area known as the Market Square Pop Up. Work to create the green space is now complete. The activation area, within the market car park, will see Testing Grounds relocate later this year.

The Melbourne City Baths has approximately 1300 members and 200,000 visits annually. The venue offers a gym, group fitness, swimming pool, swimming lessons, squash, facility hire and Mikvah Bathhouse. The YMCA operates the facility on behalf of the City of Melbourne.

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