With its rich multicultural history, Footscray offers some of the most authentic ethnic cuisines in Melbourne.
Footscray is well known for its Vietnamese, Ethiopian, Chinese and Indian restaurants, with many eateries sourcing ingredients straight from the local markets.
Start your journey to become a Footscray foodie by trying Vietnamese rare beef pho, Chinese pork and prawn dumplings, Indian vegetarian biryani and Ethiopian lamb tibs. Wet your taste buds with a refreshing cane juice or bubble cup, and round it all off with a perky espresso.
Restaurateurs love showing off their food so don’t be shy to ask them what makes their food so special.
Download the Footscray Food Guide and plot your own gastronomical adventure.
There is no better place to shop for affordable fresh food than in Footscray. You are spoilt for choice with two great markets.
The Footscray Market is a large bustling indoor market with a wide selection of fresh produce, seafood and general goods. You’ll also find an exotic range of produce including lotus flowers, pigs’ ears and cassava root. Open Tuesday-Saturday.
The Little Saigon Market provides an energizing Asian market shopping experience. There’s a huge range of produce with some stalls offering tasting plates of freshly cut fruit. It is a great place for exotic items, fresh meat and fish along with a wide variety of cheap fruit and veg. It is very popular with the local Vietnamese population. Open 7 days.
Footscray’s most popular event, East Meets West Lunar New Year Festival is a colourful street festival that celebrates the Vietnamese and Chinese New Year. For over twelve hours, central Footscray buzzes with cultural performances, demonstrations, traditional lion dances, hawker food and carnival rides.
Featuring a selection of the best rising international and Australian indie acts, St Jerome’s Laneway Festival is Melbourne’s premier music festival for discerning music lovers. The festival maintains the feel of the original intimate laneway experience while showing off the picturesque Maribyrnong River, port and city views.
Part of the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival, Feasting in Footscray plates up the best of Footscray in a range of special events that cover Footscray’s local speciality cuisines including Ethiopian, Vietnamese and Chinese. The festival features the famous Rickshaw Run, a fast and furious five course dash around Footscray’s Vietnamese restaurants, markets and hawker food.
Plus there are events to celebrate Indigenous Australians, new Australians, our gay and lesbian community and our local artists.
Footscray has gained a reputation as one of inner Melbourne’s premier arts destinations, with an increasing number of artists joining a thriving arts community.
Footscray Community Arts Centre is well known for its exhibitions, theatre performances, film nights and art classes. The centre is housed in a heritage-listed bluestone building and sits on the banks of the Maribyrnong River.
The Colour Box Studio is a creative, volunteer-run hub that showcases the work of the local creative community. The studio transforms into a new enterprise each month – gallery, workshop space, pop up shop – check out their website for the latest incarnation.
Footscray is home to a number of small, non-profit art spaces, providing a platform for experimentation and discussion for emerging artists. Check out Trocadero Art Space; Five Walls Projects; Bruce Artist Run Initiative and Knight Street Art Space.
Many prominent arts institutions call Footscray home, including the Women’s Circus, Snuff Puppets, Big Fish, Big West Festival, Barkly Arts Centre and Western Edge Youth Arts.
Parks and Gardens
With rolling parklands, formal gardens and bike paths meandering along the Maribyrnong River, Footscray offers the perfect opportunity to get out and about.
Footscray Park, beside Victoria University on Ballarat Road, offers a historic Edwardian Garden, sports fields, walking paths, free barbeques and picnic areas.
Newell’s Paddock Wetland Reserve provides a watery oasis for dozens of native bird and frog species and is considered an important inner city conservation park. About sixty different bird species have been sighted in the reserve, including cormorants, herons, ibis, falcons and a pair of swans. Newell’s Paddock is accessible via walking and bike paths and sits between Ballarat Road and the Maribyrnong River.
Footscray is only 6 kilometres from the CBD and is one of Melbourne’s major network hubs. Catch a train on the Sydenham, Sunbury, Williamstown or Werribee lines. Footscray has its own tram which runs from Moonee Ponds to Footscray via Highpoint Shopping Centre, and dozens of buses run throughout Footscray. Check the PTV journey planner to find your route.
For a scenic cycling route, follow the Maribyrnong River Trail from Victoria University’s Footscray Park campus, past the Edwardian gardens, Newell’s Paddock Wetland Reserve, the Heavenly Queen Temple, Footscray Community Arts Centre, the refurbished Footscray wharf and the home of Lonely Planet. The Maribyrnong River Trail provides great views of the Port of Melbourne in action from across the river. Keep your eyes out for wildlife –a variety of birds fish in these waters. You may even spot an adventurous seal.
If you are cycling to or from the city, the Westgate punt crosses the river from outside Scienceworks in Spotswood and lands across the Yarra at Westgate Park in Fisherman’s Bend.