Southbank is the area that stretches along the southern bank of the Yarra River. It starts the moment you cross Princes Bridge, turn left and walk down the steps to the river. Southbank was once an old and neglected area, mostly industrial, which has recently been rejuvenated as the heartbeat of the central city area. This has been done by using the Yarra River as a central feature and by introducing entertainment facilities along the river bank. The main focal point is the Southgate Arts & Leisure Precinct, which is Melbourne's main entertainment precinct and which has upmarket shops and restaurants, trendy cafes, food courts and a five-star hotel. This area also is the home of the Arts Centre and its theatres, as well as the Hamer Hall (previously Melbourne Concert Hall). At Southgate, a huge emphasis is placed on outdoor eating and sidewalk entertainment. A market is held along the footways at the eastern end of the river bank on Sunday mornings.
You can catch a steamboat opposite the Southgate complex for a trip up the Yarra. An unusual attraction close to Southgate is the gorgeous St Johns Lutheran Church, which is more in the style of a modern chapel and which encourages a program of music and art. Further along the southern bank there is the Crown Entertainment Complex, which is also big on restaurants and shops (as well as gambling). Further on, there is the Melbourne Exhibition Centre. Southbank hotels are some of the best in the city and perfectly positioned as a base to explore Melbourne's delights.