Yarraville is one cool suburb

Lee Smith-Moir next to her fence alongside Cruickshank Park. (Joe Mastroianni). 213137_06

Benjamin Millar

Yarraville has been declared one of the planet’s “coolest neighbourhoods” in a global magazine’s annual list of the world’s top community and cultural hotspots.

Time Out magazine last week named Yarraville as the fifth coolest neighbourhood in the world, one of only two Australian suburbs to crack the top 40 ranking.

Yarraville was the only Melbourne suburb to make the 2020 list, keeping the spotlight shining on the western suburbs after Footscray’s breakthrough listing last year at number 13.

The “coolest neighbourhood” shortlist is based on nominations from almost 40,000 city-dwellers who take part on the annual Time Out Index survey.

The global network of Time Out editors and experts then weigh up the candidates to help make the final call on each city’s number one hotspot.

This year’s final listing was heavily shaped by the way each city and neighbourhood reacted to the impact of local lockdowns.

According to the Time Out ranking, 2020’s coolest neighbourhoods reflect areas where people and businesses have helped each other through the shared trials and tribulations of lockdown life.

“Right now, for us, the Melbourne neighbourhood that’s representing the best of what our wonderful city has to offer is Yarraville,” the listing states.

Time Out pointed to the sense of community spirit encapsulated in Yarraville local Lee Smith-Moir’s ‘happy signs’ placed around Cruickshank Park and rollerskater Belle Hadiwidjaja skating through the neighbourhood in rotating costumes to keep families entertained on their daily walks.

“Not only that, but for a relatively small suburb, the cross-section of food, drink and things to do here is pretty remarkable, ranging from landmark Art Deco cinema Sun Theatre to restaurants like the Indigenous-owned restaurant Mabu Mabu and tiny, contemporary Australian fine diner Navi,” it stated.

“With an epicurean edge and a perfect balance of residential and recreational, right now there’s no place like Yarraville.”

The global list was topped by Esquerra de l’Eixample in Barcelona, followed by Downtown in Los Angeles, Sham Shui Po in Hong Kong and Bedford-Stuyvesant in New York.