From the laneway art scenes to the cafe culture and everything in between, I’ve curated a list of 13 cities like Melbourne that offer their own unique vibe.
So, whether you’re a seasoned traveller or just daydreaming about your next adventure, let’s uncover incredible cities that share Melbourne’s artsy city vibe with a dash of that laid-back charm.
But let me give you a quick taste of what you can expect before we dive into the nitty gritty.
Firstly, you’ve probably heard of Toronto, where the bustling multicultural streets and thriving arts scene echo Melbourne’s cosmopolitan vibe. Or Sydney, with its stunning beaches and vibrant culture that could give Melbourne a run for its money.
Then there’s Chicago, the Windy City, where a mix of jazz, blues, and a food scene to die for will remind you of Melbourne’s love for music and food. And don’t forget Berlin, a city of creativity and diversity, where the spirit of innovation and the gorgeous street art mimic Melbourne’s own.
But that’s just the beginning. Let’s dive in!
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12 Best Cities Like Melbourne
Did you know that Melbourne was once crowned the “World’s Most Liveable City” for seven years in a row? Most recently in 2023, Melbourne won the prize of most liveable in Australia and 3rd most liveable in the world.
Now, clearly, Melbourne is a tough competitor and is going to be hard to beat, but let’s do our best hey!
Here are the cities like Melbourne that give this incredible Aussie city a run for its money!
Cities like Melbourne in Australia & New Zealand
Starting off with cities like Melbourne in Australia and New Zealand that, surprise surprise, share many similarities!
Things to do: 8/10
Sydney, Australia’s glitzy, beachy city, feels like Melbourne’s vibrant sibling to me. And let me tell you it’s worth the visit!
It boasts the same multicultural flair but with its own distinct style. While Melbourne may have its iconic laneways, Sydney shines with its world-famous landmarks like the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge.
But let me tell you, the city’s stunning beaches, including Bondi, Manly, and Coogee are far superior to Melbourne’s coastal gems. Plus there are loads of day trips you can take to explore beyond the CBD!
And just like Melbourne’s thriving arts scene, Sydney has a vibrant cultural hub, from theatres to galleries.
So if you’re looking for a cosmopolitan city with a beachy twist, Sydney has Melbourne’s livability with a dash of seaside glamour.
But wait. Before you book your plane ticket to Sydney, let’s cover some of the cons.
Sydney is by far the most expensive city in Australia. All good things come with a cost right! Housing is limited with rentals coming with a huge price tag. The same goes for hotels and short-stay apartments. Anything close to the city centre or popular beaches will cost you a pretty penny. Even hostels are up there in cost.
The city is also notorious for its horrendous traffic, trust me it’s pretty awful and can make commuting a real pain in the a$$.
Looking for an epic experience you will never forget? How about taking a private helicopter tour of Sydney!!
Things to do: 7/10
Brisbane, the sun-soaked capital of Queensland, shares Melbourne’s love for outdoor living and a relaxed lifestyle.
Brisbane is my home town so I know it inside and out.
It’s a great city that has aspects of both Sydney and Melbourne but with a little less hustle and bustle.
With its subtropical climate, it’s no surprise that getting outside is a way of life here. Whilst I believe Brisbane has much superior weather it can come under debate, particularly with those who don’t like the heat and prefer to strut their stuff in trench coats and boots almost year-round.
Melbourne also comes with a lot of rain that can surprise you at any time, which I can’t stand. Brissy on the other hand often boasts blue skies and warm weather.
The popular South Bank mirrors Melbourne’s cultural diversity, offering a mix of dining, arts, and entertainment. Plus there is a man-made beach and pool right in the heart of South Bank. Pretty cool right?
While Melbourne may have its Yarra River, Brisbane boasts the beautiful Brisbane River, perfect for leisurely walks and picnics.
However, I find there are less things to do in Brisbane compared to Melbourne, plus the shopping scene in Melbourne is far superior.
There are also no beaches in Brisbane, instead, you need to drive at least an hour to reach the Gold Coast or Sunshine Coast.
See Brisbane from a birds-eye view with one of these incredible helicopter tours that won’t break the bank!
Things to do: 6/10
Adelaide, in South Australia, has a similar charm to Melbourne’s but with its unique character, at least in my experience.
Like Melbourne, it’s celebrated for its food and wine scene, with the Barossa Valley and Mclaren Vale nearby, a wine lover’s paradise.
Both cities share a passion for festivals, and Adelaide’s annual arts and music events rival Melbourne’s cultural calendar. And the beaches are super close to the city!
What sets Adelaide apart is its more relaxed pace and spacious city layout. If Melbourne’s love for gastronomy and cultural events speaks to your heart, Adelaide offers a slightly different, but equally wonderful, experience.
Adelaide has a Mediterranean climate with hot, dry summers and mild winters. While this climate is appealing to some, others may find the hot summers uncomfortable.
Quick tip, if you’re heading to Adelaide, make sure to hop over to Kangaroo Island, it is one of my favourite places in Australia.
Now onto some of the less favorable parts of Adelaide. Adelaide is smaller than Melbourne both in terms of population and geographical size.
Melbourne therefore comes with a wider range of dining, entertainment, and events which can make for a more interesting visit, particularly if you plan on a long stay.
Lastly, Adelaide’s public transport system, while functional, isn’t as extensive or efficient as Melbourne’s. Some areas in Adelaide can have limited access to public transport options.
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Check them out here: How to Travel Around Australia on a Budget – Ultimate Guide
Things to do: 7/10
Auckland and Melbourne are like two peas in a pod when it comes to their stunning natural landscapes.
Both cities offer an abundance of outdoor adventures. Auckland boasts numerous volcanos, stunning harbours, and rainforests for hiking and exploration.
Similarly, Melbourne is surrounded by picturesque coastal getaways and national parks, making it a haven for beach lovers and nature enthusiasts.
Moreover, they share a passion for sports. Auckland hosts the America’s Cup and has a thriving sailing culture, while Melbourne is known for its love of AFL and major sporting events.
Not to mention, culturally both Australia and New Zealand are very similar. Although our accents are a little different we share similar national values and ways of living.
Whilst Auckland is New Zealand’s largest city, its population is significantly smaller than Melbourne’s. The smaller population can influence the pace of life and the availability of certain amenities and services.
In general, I found Melbourne to also have a greater range of things to do with more events, festivals, and places to check out in the city.
Furthermore, Auckland’s public transport system is expanding and improving it is still less comprehensive and efficient compared to Melbourne’s.
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Cities like Melbourne in America & Canada
Moving on to cities like Melbourne in the US and Canada.
Just a quick word on visas in the US. If you are an international traveller or expat, visa and immigration processes in the United States can be a lot more complex and time-consuming compared to Australia.
5. San Francisco
Things to do: 9/10
San Francisco, often referred to as the “city by the bay,” has a vibe that strongly echoes Melbourne in my view.
Both cities share a profound love for innovation and creativity, which is obvious in the thriving tech industry in San Francisco and Melbourne’s reputation for pushing boundaries in technology and culture.
Just as Melbourne is renowned for its hidden laneways filled with street art and quirky shops, San Francisco’s neighborhoods, each offer a unique charm and similar exploration experience.
Whether it’s the bohemian spirit of Haight-Ashbury or the tech epicentre of Silicon Valley, San Francisco’s diversity mirrors Melbourne’s own.
Now onto some of the cons of San Francisco compared to Melbourne.
San Fran consistently ranks as one of the most expensive states in the United States. Plus there is a real housing crisis affecting both locals and visitors with a lack of affordable options leading to issues of homelessness and gentrification.
Personally, I also didn’t feel as safe in San Fran compared to Melbourne. There is a large homeless population that also leads to additional crime.
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Things to do: 8/10
Chicago, affectionately known as the Windy City, feels like a lively counterpart to Melbourne.
Both cities have a rich appreciation for music, with Chicago’s blues and jazz scenes mirroring Melbourne’s deep love for live music and artistic expression.
The culinary delights of Chicago, including its famous deep-dish pizza and iconic hot dogs, rival Melbourne’s diverse food scene, which showcases flavours from around the world.
And just as Melbourne enjoys a friendly rivalry with Sydney, Chicago has its own spirited competition with the bustling New York City, adding to its vibrant and energetic spirit.
Chicago however, experiences extreme weather conditions, with cold and snowy winters and hot and humid summers. The weather is challenging for those like me who prefer milder and more consistent climates. We Aussies can be pretty soft when it comes to weather!
Some areas of Chicago have higher crime rates compared to Melbourne. Violent crime, in particular, can be a concern in certain neighbourhoods so if you are a solo female traveller like me, you will likely feel safer in Melbourne.
And just a word on healthcare. This applies to all cities in the US not just Chicago. Healthcare costs can be very high, especially for those without comprehensive health insurance coverage.
Australia’s healthcare system on the other hand is one of the best in the world, providing much more affordable and even free healthcare for residents.
Things to do: 7/10
Next up we have Vancouver, often dubbed the Canadian Melbourne due to its remarkable focus on sustainability, natural beauty, and outdoor activities.
With its stunning natural surroundings, including snow-capped mountains and the pristine Pacific Ocean, Vancouver offers a similar appreciation for nature and outdoor living as Melbourne does.
Both cities prioritize green living and sustainability initiatives, reflected in their eco-friendly policies and environmentally conscious communities.
Vancouver’s blend of diverse cultures, with a strong Asian influence, and a thriving arts scene reminiscent of Melbourne’s multicultural vibe, creates a sense of cosmopolitan charm that visitors and residents alike find captivating.
But no surprises here, Vancouver consistently ranks as one of the most expensive cities in Canada.
Vancouver is also known for its rainy and cloudy climate, especially during the fall and winter months. The lack of sunshine and persistent rain can be a major downside for some people.
Things to do: 8/10
Toronto, Canada’s largest city, has a cosmopolitan atmosphere that aligns beautifully with Melbourne’s multicultural identity.
Both cities are known for their thriving arts and food scenes, with Toronto offering diverse international cuisines much like Melbourne.
The wide range of dining options in both cities is a reflection of their diverse populations, and you can find everything from traditional dishes to innovative fusion cuisines.
Additionally, Toronto’s waterfront and the Toronto Islands provide a touch of nature and serenity similar to Melbourne’s bay and nearby beaches.
I find Toronto’s rich history, diverse neighbourhoods, and cultural festivals make it a city brimming with vibrancy and life, mirroring Melbourne’s own cultural richness.
Toronto however, experiences cold and snowy winters, which can be pretty harsh for those of us used to Aussie winters.
Although not as expensive as Vancouver, Toronto is also considered more expensive to live in and visit compared to Melbourne both in terms of housing and general living expenses.
Things to do: 8/10
Next, we have Austin, the capital of Texas. Austin stands out as a city that shares Melbourne’s creative and innovative spirit.
Known for its vibrant live music scene, tech startups, and quirky culture, Austin mirrors Melbourne’s reputation for pushing boundaries and embracing diversity.
Both cities offer a unique blend of tradition and modernity, making them stand out in their respective countries.
Austin is often called the “Live Music Capital of the World” and is known for its thriving music scene, with numerous live music venues and festivals.
Sorry Melbourne, that’s a point to Austin.
Whether you’re exploring the historic streets of Austin or Melbourne’s hidden gems, you’ll find an atmosphere of creativity and innovation that sets these cities apart.
Both cities offer outdoor activities, but Melbourne’s proximity to diverse natural landscapes like the Great Ocean Road, the Grampians, and the Yarra Valley wine region makes it a more favourable spot for outdoor adventure junkies.
Austin’s most popular outdoor attractions include Barton Springs and hiking trails, not quite the same variety as Melbourne.
Let’s talk food. Personally, I am not a fan of food in America full stop. I find Australian food is full of fresh ingredients with a fantastic range of cuisines and diet-friendly meals.
Think fresh seafood, Aussie steaks paired with flavourful salads, and smashed avo toast perhaps with some vegemite if you’re game.
Austin has more of a growing food scene with its own specialties, such as barbecue and Tex-Mex but I don’t think it offers the same diversity of international cuisines and fresh food dining as Melbourne.
Plus I find a lot of American food to be heavily processed which doesn’t make me feel at my best.
Things to do: 7/10
Seattle, located in the picturesque Pacific Northwest, offers a similar mix of natural beauty and urban culture to Melbourne.
Both cities have a deep appreciation for the great outdoors, with Seattle’s proximity to mountains, lush forests, and the sparkling waters of the Puget Sound reminding me of Melbourne’s love for coastal living and nearby natural attractions.
Seattle’s thriving arts scene, which includes world-renowned institutions like the Seattle Art Museum and the Pacific Northwest Ballet, aligns with Melbourne’s cultural richness.
Additionally, Seattle’s food diversity and farm-to-table dining experiences echo Melbourne’s commitment to gastronomy and culinary innovation.
Let’s talk weather. Seattle is known for its rainy and overcast weather, especially during the fall and winter months. The lack of sunshine and persistent rain is a key drawback.
Although Seattle offers a wide range of outdoor activities, including hiking, skiing, and water sports, these activities are often dependent on the weather.
The region can experience long periods of rain, which can mean you’re stuck inside.
Cities like Melbourne in Europe
To finish up, if you’re looking for the best cities like Melbourne in Europe, here are my top picks.
Let’s get stuck in, shall we?
Things to do: 6
First up we have, Glasgow, Scotland. Whilst these 2 cities might seem worlds apart, they do share some interesting similarities that make them fantastic visits in their own unique ways.
For starters, Glasgow’s artistic heritage and Melbourne’s thriving art, music, and theatre scenes provide residents and visitors with a constant dose of creativity and entertainment.
In addition to the arts, education is a strong suit for both cities. Glasgow boasts esteemed universities and institutions, drawing students and researchers from around the globe.
Melbourne, too, is renowned for its world-class education institutions, making it a sought-after destination for students.
What’s perhaps even more striking is the warm and welcoming atmosphere that permeates both Glasgow and Melbourne. Whether you’re a local or a newcomer, you’ll find that people in these cities are known for their friendliness and open-mindedness.
It’s this sense of community and inclusivity that adds an extra layer of charm to these two cosmopolitan hubs.
So, whether you’re strolling through Glasgow’s lively streets or exploring Melbourne’s diverse neighbourhoods, you’ll feel right at home in both places.
Let’s now unpack the negatives. Glasgow is known for its often unpredictable and rainy weather, which can be a drawback for those who prefer more consistent and milder climates, such as Melbourne’s.
Additionally, Melbourne’s extensive public transport system provides easier mobility within the city, whereas Glasgow has a slightly less developed public transportation network, which impacts your convenience.
Melbourne’s diverse culinary scene also trumps Glasgow, making it a more attractive destination for food enthusiasts seeking international variety.
Things to do: 8/10
Berlin and Melbourne are like those cool cousins you have in different parts of the world. They both have this artsy, creative vibe that’s hard to ignore.
In Berlin, you’ve got edgy street art, an underground techno scene, and a never-ending lineup of cultural events. Melbourne, on the other hand, rocks its own artsy scene with street art laneways, indie music gigs, and a thriving coffee culture.
Plus, they’re both known for their welcoming and diverse communities. So, whether you’re sipping a flat white in Melbourne’s hipster district or enjoying a craft beer in Berlin’s lively neighbourhoods, you’ll feel that free-spirited, creative energy that makes both cities pretty darn awesome.
Here’s the but’s coming. Berlin’s weather can be quite harsh during the winter months, with cold temperatures and limited sunlight. Not so appealing right?
Additionally, Berlin has a reputation for bureaucracy and complex admin processes, which can be frustrating for newcomers and expats dealing with paperwork and visas.
Finally in terms of cost of living, while Melbourne is considered expensive, Berlin has also seen rising prices in recent years, particularly in housing.
Safety: 9 /10
Things to do: 7 /10
Livability: 8 /10
Last but by no means least is Copenhagen, Denmark. Copenhagen and Melbourne have some striking similarities that can’t be ignored, despite being located on opposite ends of the world.
Both cities prioritize sustainability, with Melbourne renowned for its green initiatives and Copenhagen celebrated for its commitment to biking and environmental consciousness.
They also exude a relaxed and inviting atmosphere, making them welcoming places for residents and visitors alike.
Additionally, the culinary scene in both cities is a point of pride. Copenhagen’s New Nordic cuisine and Melbourne’s diverse culinary offerings ensure that food enthusiasts have a lot to explore.
So, whether you’re pedalling through Copenhagen’s charming streets or strolling along Melbourne’s vibrant laneways, you’ll encounter an eco-conscious and warm-hearted spirit that defines these two dynamic cities.
But, here come the buts.
Copenhagen experiences long, harsh winters with shorter daylight hours, which to be honest, can be a little depressing.
Danish is the primary language in Copenhagen, and while many residents speak English, language barriers can be a drawback for newcomers.
Plus, Copenhagen is known for its extremely high cost of living, with expensive housing, dining, and everyday expenses. Although travelling on a budget is possible, I would still aim to save plenty of cash before you head on your trip!
FAQs: Top Places Like Melbourne
Moving onto some commonly asked questions about places like Melbourne!
What city is Melbourne most similar to?
Melbourne’s unique blend of culture, diversity, and lifestyle makes it quite distinct, but since you asked, cities like Toronto, Berlin, and Austin share some features in terms of cultural diversity, art scenes, and an emphasis on quality of life.
What city has a similar climate to Melbourne?
Cities like San Francisco, Austin, and Auckland share a somewhat similar climate with Melbourne, featuring mild winters, pleasant summers, and seasonal rainfall.
Does Melbourne have a European vibe?
Melbourne does have a cosmopolitan and multicultural atmosphere, but it’s distinct from a typical European city.
While it embraces European influences in its architecture, cuisine, and lifestyle, it maintains its unique Aussie identity and character.
Final Thoughts: Best Cities Like Melbourne
So, we’ve gone on a whirlwind tour, checking out some awesome cities like Melbourne that share similar magic.
From Toronto’s diversity to Berlin’s artsy vibes, and San Francisco’s climate, you’ve got quite a few options if you’re looking for cool places like Melbourne.
Each city has its own quirks, but they all have a dash of that special something that makes Melbourne so lovable.
So whether you’re into arts, coffee culture, or outdoor adventures, there’s a city out there with your name on it.
Cheers to exploring and finding your own piece of “Melbourneness” wherever you roam!