I'm pretty sure that if anyone were to tell you about Melbourne, they'd tell about its intricate web of laneways.
Unlike most modern big cities/metropolitans teeming with gigantic, boxy, often lifeless skyscrapers, Melbourne has a very low profile layout (literally, not figuratively - although some might argue that).
So if I were to bring you around Swanston Street (the main street) and tell you that it is smack bang the city centre, you wouldn't believe me. Because like the square that is Melbourne city, it consists mostly of two-storey shoplots.
Hence the laneways that Melbourne is famous for. They're the often unseen parts of pre-war shoplots. And part of the charm is discovering a little new cafe here, or an independent bookshop there.
They're hidden. And finding them is like winning a treasure hunt. But you wouldn't really want to tell anyone else about it, less it became overcrowded. You'll want to keep it your own little secret, one you can keep in your safe little "brag" pocket so that you could pull it out to impress the travelling friend, or a date.
Most laneways still carry remnants of the old. Like a sign someone forgotten or didn't bother to remove after the business is long gone.
Ladies' & Gentlemen's. How charming!