Acland Street is a street in the Melbourne suburb of St Kilda, which enjoys great popularity as a recreational area, mainly due to its many restaurants and its proximity to the entertainment areas along St Kilda beach
Acland Street runs on a north-west to south-east axis between Fitzroy and Barkly Streets. It was one of the first streets laid out when St Kilda was surveyed in 1842.
The north-west end of the street is largely residential, and features many fine houses from the late 19th century, some of them converted to flats or other uses, such as the Linden Gallery, and earlier, Acland Street Gallery, which was at number 18, and closed in 1990. The south-east end of the street, between Carlisle and Barkly Streets, is a commercial strip. The section of Acland Street between Barkly Street and Carlisle Street is a tram zone where route 96 terminates.
Acland Street is named for Sir Thomas Dyke Acland, who owned the schooner Lady of St Kilda between 1834 and 1840. The street was named by James Ross Lawrence, who had been master of the vessel until 1842.
Lawrence was the buyer of the first block at the first sale of Crown lands in St Kilda, which took place on 7 December 1842. The block was bounded by three unmade roads, one of which he named Acland Street after Thomas Acland, who had been his employer until 1840 but who had never been to Port Phillip District. The other two roads became Fitzroy Street and The Esplanade. (A plaque at the junction of Acland and Fitzroy Streets marks the site of the block.)
In the 1930s and 1940s this part of St Kilda was one of the centres of Melbourne's Jewish community, and Acland Street featured a number of shops and restaurants catering to the Jewish community. In the 1960s, Balberyszski bookshop moved into the centre and stayed till the 1990s. The 1950s Scheherezade cafe was formed and lingered until 2008. However the centre of the Jewish community has slowly moved eastwards to Caulfield and Acland Street lost its distinctive Jewish ambience. Some of the few great cake shops still remaining in the street date from that era.
The junction of Acland and Barkly Streets is known as the Village Belle, after the Village Belle Hotel, one of the oldest in Melbourne, which stands on Barkly Street at the end of Acland Street. Near the junction of Carlisle Street and Acland Street is Luna Park, one of Australia's best-known amusement parks, which attracts large crowds during the summer. Almost next door is one of Melbourne's oldest theatres, The Palais. Also on Acland Street is the St Kilda Army and Navy Club, which has recently been renovated and become a popular gambling venue.
Today Acland Street has many restaurants offering a variety of cuisines, including Vietnamese, Indian, Italian and Malaysian. A large McDonald's now stands on the corner of Acland and Carlisle Streets. In 2016 Acland Street was closed between Belford and Barkly Streets to through vehicular traffic with the tram stop rebuilt with two side platforms.