Southbank fronts the southern bank of the Yarra River, just opposite Melbourne's central business district, bounded by St Kilda Road in the east and Montague Street in the west.
Southbank has 2 kilometres of absolute Yarra River frontage which is lined by wide pedestrian promenades offering scenic views of the river and city skyline. At the suburb's eastern riverfront end is Princes Bridge which leads directly to Melbourne's CBD and was the site of Melbourne's first crossing of the Yarra River. Adjacent to the bridge is Arts Centre Melbourne which includes a concert hall and several theatres dominated by a distinctive white spire which soars into the sky. Heading westwards along Southbank Promenade is the multi-level Southgate shopping centre which features a host of retail outlets, restaurants and cafes that overlook the river. At Queensbridge Square is the historic Sandridge Bridge which was constructed in 1888 for the railway line linking the city with Port Melbourne and St Kilda, but was later redeveloped into a pedestrian bridge lined with public art sculptures. Further westwards the riverfront walkway is known as Yarra Promenade which is home to the Crown Entertainment Complex, featuring the acclaimed Crown Casino, the 5-star Crown Towers Hotel, scores of restaurants, and a large cinema complex. At Spencer Street is the Melbourne Exhibition Centre, often referred to by locals as "Jeff's Shed", which hosts a large number of exhibitions and events. The riverfront walkway extends westwards into the South Wharf precinct, past the lawns at the Melbourne Exhibition Centre, and onto the Melbourne Convention Centre where the Seafarers pedestrian bridge provides a link over the Yarra River to the World Trade Centre precinct of Docklands. Further west is the Charles Grimes Bridge at Montague Street and the pedestrian Webb Bridge which also provide gateways to Docklands.
Southbank is noted for its cultural facilities including Melbourne's leading contemporary art gallery, the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, located at the corner of Sturt Street and Grant Street next to the Malthouse Theatre. Outside the gallery is a street art sculpture known as "Vault", also nick-named the "Yellow Peril", which first stood in Melbourne's City Square in 1980. The National Gallery of Victoria, Australian Ballet Centre, Melbourne Recital Centre and Victorian College of the Arts, just to name a few, all have their home at Southbank.
One of Southbank's drawcards is the convenience of being just across the river from the heart of Melbourne and opposite some of Melbourne's best gardens and parklands to the east of St Kilda Road. It is also a modern high-density residential precinct with most people living in multi-level apartment buildings.
One of Melbourne's tallest buildings, the Eureka Tower, is located in Southbank. Australia's highest viewing platform is located on the 88th floor of this residential tower, providing stunning views of the city, bay and surroundings both day and night.