Sydney is the pretty girl in high school. She gets by on her looks because she can. Though sometimes her popularity can go to her head and she may forget that there are more important things than… who has the most unique Opera House.
Melbourne, on the other hand, is the chick who reads Proust.
But it's not as black or white, or Quinn and Daria if you will (and you will if you're a Melbournian at heart).
Melbourne's popular too – especially with those nerds at the Economist Intelligence Unit who keep awarding Melbourne the most liveable city.
A healthy, educated people make for a city built to meet their needs. In Melbourne, there are no lock out laws, there's more of a high street culture and less of a mass exodus to the suburban mall. There are a surfeit of outdoor adventure stores and a passion for sport that has itself become a cliche. There's an apartment building with David Bowie's face built into it and seemingly more warehouse conversions than hipsters to house. And they put eggplant in laksa.
But just because Sydney's pretty doesn't mean she's dumb. She just has a better backdrop. Opera literally on the harbour, outdoor cinema from Mrs Macquarie's Chair. She has Vivid in answer to Melbourne's White Night, and better beaches that lure even those with the sweetest of teeth from St Kilda's Acland Street cake shops.
Sydney's attractions are obvious because they are stunning and there is little question that the weather is better. But Melbourne, best discovered and explored, is worth the effort too, deconstructed coffee aside.
So who comes out on top? Let's just say Canberra.