Federation Square Melbourne, one of the most iconic public gathering spots in Melbourne, consists of world-class art galleries, exhibitions, a diverse range of food and drink options, and events. Over time, this place has earned massive fame. People all over the world visit this place for thrill and excitement. If you want to experience beautiful artworks and do some fun activities, Federation Square is the place for you.
Coming from a background of controversies and criticism, Federation Square showed the world what success resembles. You can stroll around, eat, sing, dance, and do everything you prefer. It hosts a series of events and occasions for its admirers. A trip to Federation Square is worth your money. If you plan to go there, here are the pieces of information you should know beforehand.
History of Federation Square
Today’s world-renowned Federation Square was not the same a few years back. The story of an almost bamboo grass field turning into people’s gathering place is undoubtedly worth reading. At present, this place fascinates a group of people. On the contrary, it disgusts another group of people. Whatever the situation is, it is the center of Melbourne at present, and people all over the world gather there to pass their day.
The iconic Federation Square was built in 2002, almost 20 years back. Earlier, it was a swampy open place considered a public settlement place. The Kulin and Aboriginal people lived there for years. Later, the Melbournian’s used this place as a haunting morgue to keep the unknown dead bodies. It was also once known as a stinking fish market. It was a brutalist office, pathetic rail yards, and whatnot. One by one, in a sequence, people used this place in every possible way.
However, in 1996, the Victorian Government hosted an international design competition to develop this place into a world-class civic spot. They planned the space as big enough to hold at least 15,000 people. Finally, the construction began in 1998. And the budget was about 450 million US dollars.
They raised this money from the victorian government, commonwealth government, private sectors, and many more. Throughout time it faced controversy and criticism for its design. In 2009, it received the 5th ugliest building in the world title from virtual tourists. Not to exclude, people sent hate mail for its outlook.
However, many locals and tourists around the world accepted it when it came into existence. They loved and appreciated the place. Till now, more than 100 million tourists have visited this place. Now, people all over the world gather here to enjoy their day and night.
Design of Federation Square
3.8 hectares in size, Fed Square was built on top of the city’s most heavily trafficked railway with steel and masonry. It is made up of a series of interlocking and cascading spaces which open at all angles into the city and create unexpected connections and vistas.
The design of the place was heavily influenced by the idea of “Federation”, which can be clearly understood from its name. It brings contrasting parts together and forms a coherent whole. By 2003, just after a year of completion, Federation Square received about five awards for its architectural and design excellence.
The deck under Federation Square is one of the largest expanses of railway decking ever built in Australia. Its structural work was only possible during breaks in the train timetable in the early hours of the morning, hence it took twelve months to complete.
Supported by over 3,000 tonnes of steel beams, 1.4 kilometers of concrete ‘crash walls’ and over 4,000 vibration-absorbing springs and rubber padding panels, the deck flawlessly absorbs a city’s worth of noise and vibrations while supporting some of the most sensitive uses imaginable, like galleries, cinemas, and radio and television studios.
Fed Square’s complex patterns are identical both on a smaller scale and when viewed as a whole. This look was inspired by fractals. Sandstone, zinc and glass were used to form triangular pinwheel grids and thus creating five single triangles to make up a larger triangular ‘panel’.
Again, the five panels were joined to form a larger mega triangular panel. This is why the exterior design of Fed Square looks the same no matter from which distance it is viewed
What tips do you need to visit Federation Square?
Federation Square is a place filled with fun and excitement. If you know how to lighten up your trip, you will create great memories. But are you going to be a newbie out there? If yes, you need to take care of a few things.
Here’s a list of helpful tips to make your visit to Federation Square worthwhile.
- Federation Square is open 24/7 for its guests with no required entry fee. However, the shops, cafes, and galleries around it maintain specific rules and timings. Be aware of that.
- This place is famous for continuous series of events taking place. So, search first and attend the event you prefer to.
- The change in Melbourne’s weather is inevitable. If you plan to go there, brace yourself beforehand. Keep your raincoats, boots, and every necessary accessory with you.
- In summer, Melbourne’s weather gets sunny. So, remember to put on sunscreen and wear your sunglasses. If the event is in the open theatre, carrying an umbrella with you can be a good deal.
- Remember to treat your eyes to the sights of Winter Garden and Village if you visit this place in winter.
- There’s a chance of coming across scams. Whenever you buy pieces of Aboriginal artwork, always ask for paperwork or authenticity. Avoid grabbing any unethical art.
- Are you a food lover? If yes, the good news is Federation Square is full of delicious foods. Hang around the cafes, restaurants, and bars to taste delicious foods and beers.
- As a book reader, you can spend your leisure reading books. The Atrium in Federation square holds a large book fair every Saturday. You can grab the new books and enjoy your day.
- You can have a blast by becoming a part of Melbourne’s festivals. Melbourne city is always colorful with cultural and communal celebrations. Not to forget, they host sports events too. Irrespective of the time and year of your visit, you can be a part of their festivals anyway.
Do not forget to be a part of the Aboriginal walking tour. Federation square has a background, history, and origin. You will learn more about these on this tour. And you can be a part of this journey from Wednesday to Saturday.
Best time to visit Federation Square
Federation Square is a round-the-year celebration destination because of the uninterrupted events hosted almost all 365 days of the year. And this makes it a place worth visiting anytime. However, regarding the best time to go to Federation Square, you have some options to consider.
Heat is something not everyone can bear. And we shouldn’t deal with it anyway because sunrays are toxic for us. Since Federation Square is an open theatre, you can avoid going there in Summer. Going there in Chilly and pleasant weather will add to your enjoyment.
You can choose to go there in March-May, and September-November as the weather remains around 75°F/24°C then. On the contrary, if you are a summer and crowd lover, feel free to go between December and February. Usually, tourists from all over the world rush to Federation Square at this time. You can be a part of the summer cultural festivals and events during this busiest time.
As a winter lover, June, July, and August are the best times to visit this place. The weather remains cool and gloomy during this time. The exciting part is that you can enjoy the Christmas events and mesmerizing lighting.
So, you have all the options according to your preference. The choice is all yours.
How to reach Federation Square?
Federation Square exists on the Corner of Flinders and Swanston Street in Melbourne, Victoria, 3000. And as you already know, it is open 24/7 round the year with a free entry advantage. To reach this exciting destination, you can hop on a car, shuttle or taxi. It takes about 19 minutes to get into Federation Square from Melbourne Airport. You will cover a distance of approximately 23 kilometers.
If you take a bus, it departs after 10 minutes, and you will get down at the bus terminal. From there, you have to walk to Federation Square or ride a train. And if you want to save time and extra exhaustion, you can choose a Taxi and get to your desired destination directly.
Things to Do in Federation Square
Federation Square is well known for hosting a series of events. You will always discover something or the other going around in every nook and corner. During your trip to Federation Square, you should enjoy it at your best. And what can you do and where can you go to enjoy your time? Well, here is a short guide for you.
ACMI stands for Australian Centre for Moving Image where you can navigate the universe of film, video games, TV and art. If you are a film, TV, and game lover, don’t hesitate to go there. It hosts the Screen World Exhibition to telecast fascinating movies. However, the films are not up to date. They screen classic old movies cherished by the audience. At the Melbourne Film Festival and White Night, they chose to showcase the big part of the movie.
ACMI hosts exhibitions, cinemas, an incredible gift shop, and a new destination dining experience, all with a free entry. Its interactive exhibition, The Story of the Moving Image remains open all around the year. On arrival, you have to collect The Lens, a handheld device that lets you explore, collect and discover a universe of new films, video games, TV shows and art to watch, play and experience.
- Location: Flinders St, Melbourne VIC 3000, Australia
- Number: +61 3 8663 2200
The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia is a spectacular showcase consisting of over 20 galleries housed within a landmark architectural complex. It is the world’s first major gallery dedicated exclusively to Australian art. So, this place is a must-visit for Australian arts admirers. It presents the history of Australian art from the Colonial period to contemporary art.
It is at the backside of Fed Square. As the prime gallery dedicated to Australian artists, it has 25,000 artwork collections. There are permanent exhibitions in the Ian center. They display some of the local masterpieces along with indigenous works from all over the country. There are temporary exhibitions too. You can enjoy them for free.NGV Australia is a completely new approach that encourages people from all over the globe to enjoy the world of art.
- Location: Ground, Federation Square, Flinders St & Russell St, Melbourne VIC 3000, Australia.
- Number: +61 3 8662 1543
3. Be a part of the events
No matter what time of the year you visit Federation Square, you will always find something or the other going on. The events in Melbourne and Federation Square will never disappoint you. Make sure to be a part of those.
The diversified food and wine celebrations, International Comedy celebrations, and many more festivals catch the tourist’s attention. As an event space, Federation Square celebrates many cultural and communal festivals.
For sports lovers, Federation Square hosts many sports events throughout the year, both local and international. The Olympics, Australia opens, and AFL grand finale are some of the notable sports events. The good news is that it telecasts this program on a screen for free.
As stated in the tips above, foods in Fed Square are a must-try. It is full of exclusive cafes, restaurants, and bars. Ian Potter and ACMI own their cafes. Besides, the Transport Hotel remains crowded on weekends. You can dine at the rooftop bar at night or enjoy a contemporary day-to-night food and wine bar experience at Hero with the famous Melbourne chef Karen Martini.
In Federation Square, you will have the taste of imported cuisines bought from all over the world. Their foods specialize in Japanese, Chinese, Italian, Home-style, and many more. Melbourne people go gaga over food, and you will find varieties of delicious foods out there. Later on, we will give you an idea about food centers where you can gulp yummy foods.
- Location: Time Out, 2 Swanston St, Melbourne VIC 3000, Australia
- Mobile: +61 3 9671 3855
If you admire books, Melbourne Federation Square must be heaven for you. This city is full of literature vibes. They have book shops and book markets. They also host book fairs. You can participate in the enormous book fair of the week in Atrium.
It takes place every Saturday where you will come across a sequence of new books. Make sure to read some for a new thrill. You will also stumble upon sellers who sell second-hand books too. If you find the books fun, you can keep them. The atmosphere there is great for people to enjoy the books with live music.
The BMW edge of Federation Square gives a beautiful view of the Yarra River. It is one of the latest glass-made amphitheaters. You can enjoy many more eye-catching scenarios from there. You can also go to the Yarra building for such beautiful scenes. You will find it connected to the riverside terrace and some stairways to walk
Best Places to Eat in Federation Square
As stated above, Federation square is well known for its events, museums, and galleries. However, its specialty is not limited to these only. The sparkling part about this place is that it has lots of delicious food corners for food lovers. You can enjoy the unique cuisines, secret recipes, beers, and wines there. These dining places are vibrant and exclusive. Here are some of the to-explore dining places of Federation Square.
If you are a Japanese food lover, this is your destination. They serve all kinds of Japanese foods and drinks. Ramen, Donburi, and Izakaya are some of their famous dishes. Besides, they serve Japanese wine, beer, and shakes. You must try their gluten free, vegetarian options and – of course – their delicious sushi. They also offer the customers express delivery service.
You will find it in Main Square. The opening times are 11:30 am to 9:30 pm on Sunday and Monday. And it opens at 11:30 from Tuesday to Saturday and closes at 10 pm. They offer a covid-safe environment, and you have to register prior to dining.
Riverland Bar and Cafe is an iconic Melbourne bar and cafe. It is one of Melbourne’s original iconic waterfront venues.You can call it almost all in one cafe. It has manifold dishes, drinks, and desserts to offer you.
Located on the banks of Yarra River, this Riverland Bar and cafe is a lively dining place with fresh beers, wines, delicious BBQs, and many more. Riverland is famous for the pure classic flavored Popsicle ice cream made from local fresh products. It opens at 11 am every day and closes late at night.
If you are looking for a destination that has a bit of something for everyone, Transport Public Bar is the place for you. This place is known for serving various delicious foods and drinks. Also, the ambiance is vibrant. You can watch live music performances while enjoying your food.
It is a public bar with a relaxed, friendly and welcoming environment. The bar is easily distinguishable for the complete glass wall window that can be seen from the Main Square. It remains open from 11 am to late at night daily.
You can already guess from the name that it’s an Italian meal destination, can’t you? Their home-style Pizzas, Risottos, and Zuppas are a mouthful of heaven to savor. Located at the top of Federation Square, II Pom Italian serves some delicious Italian cuisine featuring plenty of outdoor seating.
Their lattes, drinks, lunch, and dinner is worth your money. Standing on the Upper Square, Pom Italian remains open from noon to late at night.
Shopping in Federation Square
One thing we never miss on any trip is going shopping. People can forget absolutely anything and everything but spending money on trips is a must. And fortunately, Federation Square has tons of shops to stroll around. If you are a shopaholic, you can buy souvenirs, accessories, and many more items from the shops there. Here is a list of the famous Federation Square Shops to satisfy your shopping hunger.
You can find several varieties of collectibles in this shop. Among them, mentionable ones are movies, merchandise, and movie-related books. You will find games, accessories, and unique gift items in the ACMI shop. You will find it in the Australian Centre from 10 am to 5 pm throughout the week.
Situated at the Ian Potter Centre, the NGV design store remains open at the same time as the ACMI shop. There are design and photography books at this store. You can buy NGV products, home tools, and accessories from there. You will find both Australian and International arts in this shop.
This 24/7 open shop at Swanston St Forecourt is a convenience store. You will find daily necessities, newspapers, and magazines at this shop. To add, their hot foods and snack items will satisfy you for sure.
As you can guess from the name, you can buy authentic Koorie-made art and objects from this shop. This shop deals with the 60-thousand-old Aboriginal Arts and Culture. Buying anything from this shop means you became helpful to the Aboriginal Artists. It remains open from 10 am to 5 pm from Saturday to Friday.
You will find so many major cultural attractions at every nook and corner of Federation Square. You can discover retail shopping and dine at the best restaurants and bars of the city. So, what are you waiting for? Plan your trip and make some lifelong memories at Federation Square, Melbourne.