Queen Victoria Market, one of Melbourne’s most famous and adored locations among locals and visitors alike, has stood proudly at the top of the city’s CBD for almost 150 years. The market is a hive of activity that personifies everything Melbourne is known for, from its people to its culture and food. Every Melbournian has a personal affinity with this lively site, which offers fresh items as well as speciality vendors, coffee and cuisine alternatives.
With Veriu’s new boutique apartments Veriu Queen Victoria Market just around the block, we thought it would be a good idea to put up a Local Guide to this renowned location. So browse around and discover what all the hoopla is about.
A historic landmark spanning two city blocks, it’s a vibrant and bustling inner-city market with over 600 small companies selling everything from Australian fruit and vegetables to local and foreign gourmet cuisine, apparel, and souvenirs.
Queen Victoria Market History
For 150 years, the renowned Queen Victoria Market has been a key element of Melbourne’s life.
The ground it now occupies was once the site of Melbourne’s first official cemetery, which was created in 1837 on the corner of Victoria, Peel, Franklin, and Queen streets. The planning for the new Melbourne General Cemetery in Carlton began in 1852, and the old cemetery was closed in 1854. The Melbourne Town Council was awarded the eastern triangle plot for use as a market in March 1859. 1
The wholesale Meat Market, built in 1869, is the oldest surviving market structure. Under legislation passed in 1877, permission was granted to take over another piece of the cemetery site, and the “Queen Victoria Market” was opened in March 1878.
The market swiftly developed in response to Melbourne’s rising population. The G, H, I, and J sheds were erected first, followed by the Meat & Fish Market in the mid-1880s.
Melbourne’s population skyrocketed during the gold rush of the 1850s and has since continued to increase. People from all over the world have settled in Melbourne, bringing with them new cultural influences and cuisines. To accommodate changing tastes, the variety of fruits and vegetables cultivated in Victoria and Australia continues to expand.
This is most visible in the diverse choice of foods offered in Queen Victoria Market, which shows the impact of our city’s diverse cultures.
In addition to its original position as a food market, subsequent expansion at Queen Victoria resulted in the construction of a huge non-food market offering a variety of commodities such as apparel, shoes, and arts and crafts.
All of these developments represent the Queen Victoria Market’s social relevance as a record of change and continuity in market activity over a long period of time, such that the Market has become a site for both leisure and connectedness in addition to being an important retail location.
Special Events with the Queen Victoria Night Market
There are usually a variety of unique events going on at Queen Victoria Market. The Winter and Summer Night Markets are two of Melbourne’s largest events, with thousands of people crowding through the halls to explore local food trucks and drink merchants. The lines can be long, but the locals don’t seem to complain, and it’s a terrific environment.
In addition to the night markets, there are seasonal Book Markets, Craft Fairs, the Rockabilly Retro Market, and the String Bean Alley Christmas Night Market. The Melbourne Food and Wine Festival and Melbourne Music Week frequently include activities on the market grounds, and there has even been a vintage Holden automobile show.
If you want to learn more about Queen Victoria Market, there are numerous guided tours available, including the Ultimate Foodie’s Tour, the Sustainable Shopping Tour, and the Seafood Lover’s Tour.
Market Sustainability at Queen Victoria
Since May 2019, Queen Victoria Market has been proudly free of plastic bags and straws. Victoria’s statewide ban on single-use plastics goes into force on Wednesday, February 1, 2023, and our vendors will no longer supply:
- Disposable cutlery
- Disposable plates
- Food and beverage containers made of expanded polystyrene
- Sticks of cotton bud
By 2027, the Market is on track to meet its ambitious environmental goal of creating zero carbon and sending zero trash to landfill. According to the most recent accessible data from the 2020/2021 fiscal year, Queen Victoria Market has:
achieved the aim of recycling 80% of Market waste (up from 65% in 2019/2020).
In comparison to the previous fiscal year, the volume of garbage going to landfill was reduced by 848 tonnes.
Yarra Valley Water’s waste-to-energy facility handled 685 tonnes of organic waste (fruit, vegetables, and coffee grounds). This generated 165,770kWh of energy, which is enough to power 19,796 homes for one day.
Implementing sustainable practices at Queen Victoria Market is a difficult operation: the Market encompasses seven hectares, with nearly 600 vendors, and is the southern hemisphere’s largest open-air market.
In addition to ensuring that the famous city attraction remains an appealing place to come, the Market has made a long-term commitment to decrease its environmental effect via a variety of initiatives:
- Every year, the Market recycles about 700 tonnes of cardboard and polystyrene.
- Butcher and fisher offcuts are converted into pet food at an offsite facility, with about 560 tonnes of meat and fish waste recycled each year.
- More than 530kg of coffee grounds are sent off-site with the fruit and vegetable garbage each month and turned from waste to electricity.
- Smaller amounts of food waste are converted on-site into nutrient-rich fertiliser, which is subsequently utilised on potted trees and plants throughout the Market.
- Customers may replenish their water bottles at the Market’s six fountains.
Single-use plastic bags and straws are no longer permitted.
Night Market food sellers are required to use biodegradable plates, cutlery, and straws.
At Queen Victoria Market events, balloons are not permitted.
Customers at the market may take advantage of sustainable shopping trips.
Queen Victoria Market is also happy to have participated in Earth Hour 2023 by turning out all lights in the historic Meat & Fish Hall for an hour beginning at 8.30 p.m. on Saturday, March 25, 2023.
Some Queen Victoria Market Insider Tips
Here are a few tips to help you make the most of your market day:
Arrive early to avoid missing out on the greatest product of the day before it sells out.
Arrive Late: The finest prices will be found towards the conclusion of the day when booths are attempting to sell the last of their products. Vendors sometimes offer fantastic prices, and you may walk away with platters of fresh seafood or a basket of mangoes for less than ten dollars.
Accept Cash: Some booths may give you a discount if you pay in cash.
Reusable Bags: Help the earth by bringing a few extra reusable bags.
Plan ahead of time: Queen Victoria Market is enormous. It’s enjoyable to roam, but if you’re short on time, it’s better to come in with a strategy. Check out the QVM Map to make sure you’re prepared.
do a Tour: Before making any purchases, do a lap around the numerous stalls and sellers. You may compare the quality and costs of fresh food from different vendors, discover your new favourite cheese store, or discover the greatest doughnuts you’ve ever tasted.
Queen Victoria Market Hours | What time does the Queen Victoria Market open?
Queen Victoria Market Hours
- Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays 6am-3pm
- Saturday and Sunday 6am-4pm
- Monday and Wednesday are closed.
- Night Markets from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. (seasonal)
Keep an eye on their business hours because they frequently extend their hours during important events and public holidays.
Queen Victoria Market Parking
With 1000+ parking places available for consumers in both the existing Undercover Car Park and Open Air Car Park, shopping at Queen Vic Market has never been easier. Both parking lots are accessible from Queen Street.
The Undercover Car Park is open seven days a week, 24 hours a day. Accessible parking is provided, and there are 12 electric vehicle (EV) parking and charging stations on level B2 with Schneider type 2 EV chargers (BYO charging cable). The maximum vehicle height for this parking lot is 2.2 metres.
The available Air Car Park is available daily from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. The Open Air Car Park is open from 4.30pm to 11pm for special event parking.
There is accessible parking for those with impairments, and there is no maximum height for entry into this parking lot.
Download the QVM Parking app from the App Store or Google Play for quick and easy parking and payment.