South Melbourne Market is a wonderful place to take your kids for a market experience. It's especially good if you find the Queen Victoria Market a bit daunting, as SMM is a bit smaller, and all in all a bit cosier and friendlier. My earliest memories of the market was a primary school trip to the market (at which time I spoke very little english) to buy fresh vegetables to cook a giant pot of soup on a cold winter's day. A few more trendier shops have popped up here and there and the suburb has become a lot more upmarket since then, but the lovely atmosphere at the market has remained much the same.
The market is essentially divided into 3 sections. The fresh food, the non-consumables (like clothes, art supplies and kitchenware), and the eateries.
The fresh food section boast a wide selection of fresh produce, most notably the fresh seafood.
The fruits and vegetables are usually cheaper and better quality than the ones in the supermarket. There are also organic options. My kids learnt most of their first words by naming fruits and vegetables at greengrocers.
One of my favourite shop is Rita's Coffee and Nuts. They have everything from dried fruit (they have freeze dried mango and apple which can be hard to find, but often sell out quickly as a consequence!) and nuts, to coffee, turkish delight and chocolate. They also have a lot of grains etc in giant bags for purchase by weight. Rita is there most days and is very helpful.
The deli section is fabulous. Lots of cheeses, bagels, deli meats, yum!
The kitchen store there is full of great useful kitchen aids and treasures. Unfortunately for them Chef's Hat across the road from the market also carry a great range with competitive pricing.
These macarons in a deli/cake store looked fabulous!
Store 6 in the food area is another favourite. They have a cheap lunch, cheap okay coffee, and cool decorated cupcakes for the kids. They also have take home packs of food for quick heating like lasagnas, quiches and curries. So if you're tired from shopping all the fresh food, and ironically don't want to cook after, then you can always grab something here.
There is free parking on the roof top for market days, and there are usually plenty of parking.
Eat.Play.Shop. Recommends : coming here for fresh produce. Kids love markets and this is quite a children friendly one!
Give it a Miss : on wet and windy days as the roof top parking area can get quite wild and I wouldn't like to be up there with a pram full of kids and groceries.