Your guide to the best art galleries in Melbourne

Melbourne for Art Lovers

National Gallery of Victoria

Melbourne is often referred to as the cultural capital of Australia and as you wander the streets it’s easy to see why.

This vibrant city is bursting at the seams with art and creativity. This is, after all, the city that gave birth to the famed Heidelberg School of Australian impressionism.  It is home to more than 100 galleries, ranging from large public institutions to quirky little galleries andartist-runn spaces.

Here are some of Melbourne’s most colourful and intriguing spots for art lovers:

The National Gallery of Victoria

National Gallery of Victoria

This is the largest and most visited art gallery in Australia. It’s also the oldest – established back in 1861. It has an enormous, encyclopedic art collection that includes Australian aboriginal art and artefacts as well as works by some of the great masters including Manet, Degas, Picasso, Monet, Pissarro, Renoir, Turner and Rothko.

There are also some well known Australian artists featured, including John Glover, Charles Blackman, Hugh Ramsay, Sidney Nolan and Fred Williams.

Gertrude Contemporary

Located in the funky hipster suburb of Fitzroy, this contemporary gallery was opened in 1985 and focuses on new and modern art. The exhibitions are changing regularly and the huge front room has great natural light – the ideal viewing space for the artwork.

RMIT Gallery

A youthful and energetic university study gallery, RMIT is located within Storey Hall on the edge of the CBD. It presents art by local and international artists and features everything from craft to design to fine art and much more.

Australian Centre for Contemporary Art

Australian Centre for Contemporary Art

The ACCA is one of the prime contemporary art spaces in Melbourne, offering a great selection of thought provoking art by up and coming artists. Every time you visit, there will be something new and different on display. The Centre is also the rehearsal space of the dance company Chunky move and a set construction facility for Playbox Theatre Company.

Shops and Galleries of Flinders Lane

Flinders Lane is a great spot for art lovers – this street is lined with a fascinating selection of art galleries. You’ll find Mailbox Art Space, Craft Victoria, Arc One, Flinders Lane Gallery and Anna Schwartz. If you are looking to shop for a one of a kind art piece that you can bring home as a souvenir of your time in Melbourne, this is a great place to peruse.

It goes without saying there are so many more, and some temporary exhibitions which cannot be missed.  We at I Heart Melbourne Tours loved the recent Banksy exhibition at Fed Sq. The David Bowie exhibition at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) was a real hit with locals and visitors alike.  Special mention must go to our own personal favourite painting and perhaps the most famous in the city  – Chloe.  If paintings could talk, she would have some amazing stories to tell!

Looking for more insight on what to see and do during your trip to Melbourne? Check out our Melbourne City Tour for an insider’s glimpse into the city.  We just  being your private tour guide for the day!