Discovering downtown Melbourne, Florida, on the Space Coast

Discovering Melbourne was a surprise benefit of helping my aunt move in Florida. So was a glass of wine and conversation with her on a hotel balcony overlooking Melbourne Beach to celebrate accomplishing our goals. We deserved a toast!

The week-long trip started with outdoor dining on a breezy summer evening and a fresh salad with fried goat cheese and a ginger dressing – lovely start after an eight-hour drive. I happened upon Matt’s Casbah across the street from Hotel Melby after checking in.  I keep having a fantasy of sketching outside in a downtown café while traveling and here I was – doing just that. I sketched Hotel Melby from my table as I sipped a cocktail and waited on my salad – not a great sketch, but literally living a fantasy.

Two of the seven nights were in a hotel on the beach, but saved a lot of money by spending most of my week at the new Hotel Melby in downtown Melbourne. Both Hotel Melby stays included fun views, spacious rooms with high ceilings and (as a Hilton Gold member) continental breakfast on the rooftop – a charming way to start the mornings. For night owls, the rooftop is a popular bar with a breeze and a view. My room’s waterfront view included a view of the Melbourne Harbor and frequent trains going through downtown. The sound of a train whistle brought me to the window every time, delighting my inner five-year-old.

Early morning walks in downtown Melbourne, FL, can take you to vibrant murals, window shopping (so budget friendly before the stores open at 10 a.m.!), a waterfront promenade where manatees may swim by, a yacht harbor and public parks (where you can find benches under oaks or with a water view, a dock, shore birds out for a stroll, even a yoga class). My aunt and I enjoyed a Sunday brunch with a water view and 99 cent mimosas at The Chart House near the Melbourne Harbor.

My three favorite downtown shops were all in a row and conveniently right within a block of Hotel Melby – in the 700 block of E. New Haven Avenue.

My three favorite downtown shops were all in a row and conveniently right within a block of Hotel Melby – in the 700 block of E. New Haven Avenue.

My favorite shop has to be Let’s Plant It! – described as an interactive plant store (and you know I love interacting with plants). It is a clever tropical plant store with several potting benches where you can fill a planter or terrarium with your plant selections. The staff is happy to help and, bless them, patient as Mike and I browsed the entire shop via FaceTime. He was speaking in Latin plant names as I handed off plants to go home with me, including a dwarf zizi, a string of hearts, and a philodendron with huge Swiss-cheese holes in each leaf. I returned after he reviewed a photo that I had texted him and implored that I “must go back” for one more plant.

Beside it was Karen & Friends Bead and Craft Boutique. The owner does metalwork and design and cuts some of the stone beads. The store is large and includes many pieces of affordable, unique jewelry as well as beads and supplies. I bought three pair of earrings plus supplies to make earrings and necklaces at home.

The third is the Molly Mutt II thrift shop, raising funds for a local humane society. I walked out with a stack of 25 cent cooking magazines, but could see that every future visit could hold unique treasures.

I must admit, as much as I love a morning walk on the beach and listening to the ocean from a balcony, I was excited to return downtown for one night more before returning home. Hotel Melby is my new go-to for future visits with my aunt on the Space Coast.

Note: This was a non-hosted trip in June 2021.