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Published November 23rd 2015
Essence of Melbourne
Queen Victoria Market, AKA the Queen Vic, Vic Market and QVM is one of our best known Melbourne icons. Generations of Melburnians have, and do, shop here, not to mention the thousands of tourists who find it an essential part of their Melbourne experience. At the market you'll find a stunning array of fresh produce, meats, fish, delicatessen items, clothes, souvenirs, manchester, arts and more.
There are a mega number of reviews of the market available on the net, so here I'm just looking at a few things that are good to know when shopping at the market. This is my experience, if you'd like to add your own, we'd love it if you'd leave a comment below.
I've found it good to go early, or late. If you go early it's easier to park and the crowds are usually less. If you go late (near closing) the crowds tend to have thinned a bit and you can sometimes scoop up end-of-day bargains, particularly in the food areas.
How long does it take to go through the market? I would say you can get through it in an hour if you go early and are by yourself. Add partners, kids and crowds, probably double that and more, so allow plenty of time according to whether you're looking for a leisurely shop or a quick hunt and gather.
Remember also the market is not open every day. Check the website before you head out.
Take a Shopping Jeep
This is probably only necessary if you are food shopping, however it can come in handy should you be considering a large number of other purchases. It's always amazed me that you can eat more than you can carry (over a week or two of course). A jeep makes food shopping a whole lot easier.
Your favourite stall may move about and be in different locations on different days. The website can help with trader details and I have also at times got a card from the stallholder so I know where I can find them on different market days.
This is a personal opinion but I avoid eating before going to the market. Then I can justify donuts, tastings and/or the wide variety of snacks and meals available in and around the market.
Consider a moment before buying the first thing you see that you want. I've done this many times and then found a cheaper, better or alternative product a little further along. If you follow this idea though, check what row you are in so you can come back if, at the end of the day, you've still got love at first sight for the original item.
Cash is King
Three good reasons to take along some cash: Not all vendors have EFTPOSeftpos;
You can score the odd discount by paying with cash rather than card;
You don't want to get out your card to pay $3 for that luscious box of strawberries.
The Queen Victoria Market has lots of special extra events and activities such as classes, concerts and night markets. You can see what's currently on offer here.
If you're looking for some guidance, there are a host of tours available, some that have a focus on the market itself and some where the market is a part of the tour. Having been built on a cemetery, it is included in the odd ghost tour as well.
Alternatively, see here for a copy of the market's self guided history tour.
The Queen Victoria Market is easily accessed via car and public transport. See their website for further information.