North Melbourne is one of the city's most dynamic and complex areas. Its residences are a mix of established and new housing with commercial, industrial, retail and community facilities scattered throughout. North Melbourne is bounded by the CityLink freeway to the west, Victoria Street to the south, O'Connell and Peel Streets to the east and Flemington Road to the north. Since the 1980s, North Melbourne has slowly become gentrified due to its proximity to the city centre.
Shopping strips such as Errol and Victoria streets are popular for their range of cafes, restaurants and boutiques. The old North Melbourne Town Hall, located on Queensberry Street, is the home of Arts House, Melbourne’s contemporary centre for performance and interactive artforms. Arts House also becomes the Melbourne Fringe Festival hub during the course of the festival.
The area also includes the historic Meat Market, a hub for creative arts and cultural productions, and the North Melbourne Recreation Centre, that has aquatic facilities, a gym and stadium complex. North Melbourne retains some of its public housing and has a strong migrant mix, with people arriving from African countries such as Somalia and Eritrea. It is also a relatively cheap area to live without sacrificing the convenience of commuting to work or school.