Nestled within the southern part of Florida, Melbourne is the second largest municipality in Brevard County. Most of Melbourne is on the mainland, but a small part of it can be found on a barrier island near the Indian River Lagoon. The city houses several top-performing schools and recreational facilities and a business-friendly environment, making it very attractive to potential residents.
There are many reasons why people call Melbourne, Florida home. From its thriving art scene to its easy access to outdoor activities, Melbourne is a city that thrives year-round. In fact, Melbourne’s job growth has increased 12.0% in the past 10 years. Whether you are a new resident or a visitor, there are several attractions that are worth your time. First, let’s delve a bit into Melbourne’s rich history.
Melbourne’s Rich History
Before the city of Melbourne was founded, it is believed that Paleo-Indians used to live in the area where it now stands. The city itself was officially founded in 1867 by several former slaves who were freed following the conclusion of the Civil War. Some of these individuals include Captain Peter Wright, Balaam Allen, and the Wright Brothers. In those early days, the city was referred to as Cane Creek.
Among the early settlers was a man named Cornthwaite John Hector, who helped give the city its final name and was its first postmaster. Hector spent most of his life in Melbourne, Australia, and this Florida city was given the name Melbourne to honor him.
Population & Local Information
As of the 2021, according to the World Population Review the population of Melbourne is currently estimated to be around 83,881. It is the 31st largest city in Florida. In comparison to Tampa, in Hillsborough County, which is sitting at a population of 404,636 as of 2021, Melbourne’s population is steadily growing, as more people discover this little gem in Brevard County.
In fact, Melbourne is known as the “economic engine” of Brevard County and is regarded as one of the area’s most bustling cities. Brevard is home to a lot of well-regarded businesses and schools. According to Florida Today, downtown Melbourne is undergoing skyline shaping growth.
The estimated average household income for Melbourne is $65,812. Thanks to its proximity to the equator, Melbourne enjoys almost 250 sunny days throughout the year. Melbourne is host to a thriving art district and a wide variety of retail centers. It even hosted the official Olympic Torch Relay in 1996. Every April, Melbourne entertains its residents with an annual Melbourne Arts Festival – for free! Check out the Brevard County Events calendar, showcasing an array of entertainment for all to enjoy.
Brevard County Doesn’t Get Sinkholes
According to Florida Today:
Every property owner in the county can let out a big sigh of relief, because sinkholes are not among the disasters that will likely haunt our coastline. Yes, it’s true. Unlike Central Florida areas such as Apopka that have seen massive sinkholes form overnight, Brevard County’s geological makeup doesn’t allow for that kind of crazy quicksand.
Claim to Fame
Brevard County is home to both Jim Morrison of the Doors and the famous writer Zora Neale Hurston.
A Commuter’s Dream
Melbourne hosts several options for transportation, including bus transit via Space Coast Area Transit. In addition, Interstate 95 runs from north to south of Melbourne, making it an excellent asset for commuters. Other major roadways that go through Melbourne include the Beachline Expressway and US 192. Anyone who needs to fly out of state can visit the Orlando Melbourne International Airport. Yelp provides you with this handy list of the 10 best public transportation options in Melbourne.
Did you know that the Melbourne International Airport once served as Naval Air Station Melbourne in the 1940’s? Before it transitioned into becoming an airport, this facility was used to train new pilots during World War II.
Give Your Kids a First-Rate Education
Since Melbourne is part of Brevard County, the local schools are operated by Brevard Public Schools. Out of all the schools found in this district, the schools in Melbourne are considered some of the best schools offered in the county. Palm Bay Magnet High School serves as the primary high school for the city.
Regarding higher education, there are several top-performing colleges and universities in this city. Eastern Florida State College and the Florida Institute of Technology, are just two of the many schools stationed in Melbourne.
Melbourne’s first school was built in 1883, and now serves as an exhibit on the FIT campus after it was restored. Even more interesting, as the legend goes, and according to Florida Today, FIT was started with a 37-cent donation and its founder, Jerome Keuper formed this brilliant idea after a few rounds of drinks at the pub.
Our Favorite Ways to Beat the Heat or Soak up the Rays
Many people move into Melbourne every year so that they can get easy access to the city’s wide selection of attractions. There are quite a few ways to stay active or even chill out in Brevard County and there is something for everyone in the quaint, bustling city of Melbourne. It was hard deciding, but we’ve whittled it down to a list of our top 13 attractions.
Address: 8225 N Wickham Road, Melbourne, FL 32940
Phone: (321) 254-9453
The Brevard Zoo is home to over 900 animals representing 195 species from many different parts of the world, along with a variety of conservation programs. Kayaking, rhino encounters and jungle encounters are also available for an additional cost.
Address: 6901 US-192, Melbourne, FL 32904
Phone: (321) 723-2179
This is a must-see activity for any out-of-towners that visit! This 40-minute tour allows you to see wildlife along the St. John River. There are also night tours that can get you close to Florida’s unofficial state animal: The Alligator.
Address: 5800 Stadium Parkway #101, Melbourne, FL 32940
Phone: (321) 633-9200
Space Coast Stadium is the Spring Training Home of the MLB’s Washington Nationals and is home to the Brevard County Manatees (Class A Advanced Affiliate of the Atlanta Braves) from April to September.
Address: 1320 Highland Ave, Melbourne, FL 32935
Phone: (321) 254-9855
The museum is open Wednesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Guided tours are given at the top of the hour. You can also rent spaces within the house and on the lawn for special events such as weddings and baby showers.
5. Melbourne Beach Pier
Address: 509 Ocean Avenue, Melbourne Beach, FL
Phone: (321) 724-5860
Located inside of Ryckman Park, the pier was built in 1889 and is part of the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. It extends into the Indian River and is a great spot to unwind after a day at the beach.
Address: 630 S Wickham Road, Suite 105, West Melbourne, FL, 32904
Phone: (321) 327-2991
This is a great place to cool off during a hot summer day. Choose between four different zones to discover. Take your friends or your family and solve some mysteries like Sherlock.
Address: 3865 N Wickham Road, Melbourne, FL 32935
Phone: (321) 242-2219
The King Center is a six-story, 100,000 square foot facility that holds two different theatres. A variety of acts, from theater to dance to music, perform here.
Address: 2750 Lake Washington Road, Melbourne FL 32935
Phone: (321) 608-7480
Considered one of the best public golf courses in Central Florida, Mallards Landing is open to the public. You can easily book a tee-time online.
Address: 1100 N. Wickham Road, Melbourne, FL 32935
Phone: (321) 259-9800
Simulcast and live Greyhound racing can be found at Melbourne Greyhound Park. Their poker room also hosts tournaments year-round.
Address: 1601 Oak Street, Melbourne, FL 32901
Phone: (321) 727-1776
While the original Liberty Bell can be found in Philadelphia, this full-size replica was presented as a gift in 1976 by South Brevard Public Schools. American and Floridian historical artifacts can be found surrounding the Liberty Bell in the rotunda.
Address: 1433 South Babcock Street, Melbourne, FL 32935
Phone: (321) 759-6255
This antique mall offers pieces for every room of your apartment with over 100 dealers to shop from. You can also find jewelry, collectables, and vintage watches here. If you are not into retro, there are plenty of other shops in Brevard County for your retail therapy sessions.
Address: 3960 S. Babcock Street, Melbourne, FL 32901
Phone: (321) 956-6806
Choose from a variety of racetracks built for all ages. You can also enjoy mini golf, laser tag, batting cages, an arcade, and other indoor and outdoor activities.
13. Last but Not Least: The BEACH!
There are plenty of great beaches in Brevard County, but some of the best can be found in Melbourne. Juan Ponce de Léon Landing is a popular choice amongst locals for fishing and surfing. Everyone loves a good treasure hunt and Brevard County Beaches have plenty of loot. If you are looking for a little hiking adventure or just to get out and enjoy the fresh air, there are plenty of parks along the space coast.
If you’d like to move to Melbourne, consider reading about our Harvard Apartments community.