Spread out over 7 hectares, this is the largest open air market in the southern hemisphere. This is obviously one of Melbourne's best loved institutions. And although it is definetly friendly and clean, it is also boisterous and alive with energy. This is one of those places that makes a city special, and it's definitely worth visiting even if you have no intention of buying anything.
If you are shopping here's the layout: 50% of the market is food and you'll find that in the market sheds between Queen and Elizabeth streets. Between Peel and Queen there are still more food stands, but most of this area is clothing, souvenirs, etc. You will find good bargains back here. And if you're looking for food you're in the right place, a lot of free samples too!
As far as when to visit you'll find Saturday morning busy with food shoppers. Sunday busier with shoe and clothing shoppers. But you can buy both any day that the market's open. During the summer on Wednesday nights the place comes alive with live bands, street performers, and al fresco dining!
You can also take a foodies tour, heritage tour, or enroll in cooking classes at the market. I haven't done any of these but you can check them out at www.qvm.com.au.
Market hours are: Tue & Thurs 6am-2pm; Fri 6am-6pm; Sat 6am-3pm; Sun 9am-4pm; During the summer it's also open Wed 5:30pm-10pm (27 Nov-19 Feb)