Originally a seaside resort in Melbourne's early years due to its close proximity to the city centre, St Kilda has developed into a trendy and cosmopolitan suburb.
St Kilda is famous for its food, entertainment and nightlife. Acland Street is a bustling shopping precinct famous for its cafes, continental cake shops, fashion and second-hand shops. Nearby Fitzroy Street is renowned for its restaurants, hotels and bars.
The most famous attraction on St Kilda's beach is the St Kilda Pier. This landmark was originally constructed in 1853 and the iconic kiosk on the pier built in 1904. The kiosk was destroyed by fire in 2003 but was rebuilt soon after and features a viewing deck which offers panoramic views over the bay. At the end of the pier is a breakwater which was constructed for the 1956 Olympic Games to provide a safe harbour for yachts. Visitors can walk part of the way on top of the breakwater or descend to a boardwalk at sea level. Around 100 penguins have made this rocky breakwater their home. Near the entrance to the pier are the St Kilda Sea Baths, with the current complex having been built in the 1990s.
A network for boardwalks and paths line St Kilda's scenic foreshore, making it ideal for bicycle riding, inline skating, jogging and walking. At the southern end of St Kilda, the coastal pathway passes beside the St Kilda Marina which was built in 1969 and features waterfront restaurants and a public boardwalk.
The St Kilda Town Hall is an impressive landmark, built in 1890 at the junction of St Kilda Road and Carlisle Street. It has formal gardens at its entrance and is used by the local council.
St Kilda is home to a number of elegant gardens and reserves. There are the 6½ hectare heritage-listed Botanical Gardens just east of Barkly Street and the O'Donnell Gardens with its towering palm streets located right next to Luna Park. Much of St Kilda's coastline is also lined with gardens, stretching from the formal Catani Gardens along Beaconsfield Parade southwards to open expanses of lawn fronting the golden sands of St Kilda's beaches.
St Kilda is good base for exploring all that Melbourne has to offer. The city centre is just a short tram trip away, while the surrounding beachside suburbs of Middle Park, Albert Park and Elwood are within easy reach. St Kilda is also adjacent to Albert Park Lake which is surrounded by sporting facilities, parkland, a network of walking and bicycle tracks, and is home to the annual Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix.