Things to do in Melbourne Guide

With a city of over 4 million people, there’s always a sense of something going on in Melbourne. Over the years I’ve tried to keep myself occupied with activities, festivals and exploring every nook and cranny of the place. If you’ve got a free evening, or weekend here’s a list of some things to consider getting up to:

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Gelato Messina, Fitzroy

Eating 

  • Join the queues at Lune croissanterie for a taste of Melbourne’s best croissants (Elwood, Fitzroy)
  • More queues await (but always worth it) for a bowl at hot ramen at Hakata Gensuke
  • Dive into samples at the eclectic and always surprising Gelato Messina (Richmond, Fitzroy and Windsor)
  • Arguably Melbourne’s best and cheapest sushi train at Sushi Hotaru (CBD)
  • Get your hands on an egg wrap at Bing Boy (Various)
  • Don’t burn your tongue as you bite into a hot jam donut (CBD, Various)
  • Be perplexed with a South Melbourne dim sum (CBD, Various)
  • Meet upcoming chef talent at the Angliss Restaurant, the training centre for the William Angliss Institute.
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Lui Bar, Melbourne

Drinking

  • Experience the icon of Naked for Satan and their enviable view of the city (Fitzroy)
  • Put on your number ones and head up the elevator for a cocktail with Melbourne’s best view, 55 floors up at the Lui Bar (CBD)
  • Pick your side of East or West at Berlin Bar. Go Fridays or Saturdays for some bonus magic (CBD)
  • Revolver Upstairs for well… you’ll find out (Prahran)
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SEA Life Melbourne Aquarium, Melbourne

Fun & games

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Royal Botanic Gardens, Cranbourne

Take a chill pill

  • Royal Botanic Gardens – there’s two to pick from, the Cranbourne one is well worth the drive (South Yarra, Cranbourne)
  • Let your worries float away as you relax in a futuristic water pod at the Gravity Flotation Centre (Armadale, Northcote)
  • Finish a chapter at some of Melbourne’s libraries. Docklands and the state library and worth of a snap (Various)
  • Just as zen but completely more traditional, is the Onsen Ma Japanese Bathhouse (CBD)
  • There’s usually something happening at either of Federation Square of Birraraung Marr. If not a walk along the Yarra River is always pleasant. Along Southbank, you’ll bump into some buskers on busier afternoons (CBD, Southbank)
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Rose Street Market, Fitzroy

Shopping a storm

  • Bag some deals at DFO Direct Factory Outlets in (Southbank, CBD, Essendon, others)
  • Shop the best of Melbourne’s art and design at the Rose St Artist’s market (Fitzroy) Cashless and open every Saturday and Sunday, 11am to 5pm.
  • Find food, souvenirs and artisan products at the Queen Victoria Market. Or alternatively whatever market is closest to you. (CBD, Prahran, South Melbourne, St Kilda)
  • Buy everything for the house at IKEA (Richmond), or everything for everything at Costco (Docklands)
  • Store and cabinet of curiosities, Wunderkammer never fails to surprise (CBD)
  • Uncover some hidden treasures at Chapel Street Bazaar (Prahran)
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Royal Arcade, Melbourne CBD

Being a tourist

  • Pay your respects at the Shrine of Remembrance, and then look down Swanston Street for a perfect angle for a city shot (South Yarra)
  • Do a local beer tour and tasting over at Carlton Brewhouse (Abbotsford)
  • The Block Arcade features wonderful classical architecture as well as dainty cakes at the Hopetoun tea rooms (CBD)
  • Snap the gates to Chinatown on Little Bourke Street (CBD)
  • Melbourne Free Walking Tours (CBD)
  • Explore the laneways of Melbourne (CBD) with local street art, Hozier Lane is a good start (CBD)
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Sofitel Toilets, Melbourne CBD

Views

  • Ride the City Circle tram and see many of Melbourne’s biggest landmarks (CBD)
  • Eureka Skydeck 88 (Southbank) and if you must, the Melbourne Star Observation Wheel (Docklands)
  • Wake the crack of town for the best sights of the city from the sky with ballooning and scenic flights (Various)
  • Alternatively, the toilets with the best view are on level 35 of the Sofitel (publicly accessible) (CBD)
  • Or just be part of the shot at immersive art gallery ArtVo (Docklands)
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Street Art, Bourke Street

Arts & culture

  • Over 70,000 works await you at the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV). Mostly free outside of special exhibitions. Also see the Ian Potter Centre (CBD)
  • Melbourne Museum (Carlton), Immigration Museum (CBD)
  • Get immersed in film, television and digital culture at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image. A free exhibition with plenty of interactivity for all the family (CBD)
  • The darker side of history can be found at Old Melbourne Gaol (CBD)
  • Contemporary arts await at ACCA (Southbank)

Shows

  • Check out the listings on Halftix and get a great deal on a last minute show (CBD)
  • Big a bargain show at tixatsix to enjoy some of Melbourne’s top talent at the Melbourne Art Centre (CBD)
  • Join the audience for the taping of The Project (South Yarra) or even Family Feud (South Melbourne)
  • Have a laugh at some of the many comedy venues such as The Comics Lounge (Various)
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Pixel Alley, Fizroy

Evening fun

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Fairfield Park Boathouse, Fairfield

Getting out and about

  • Take a stroll up Swanston Street to make it to leafy Lygon St. Melbourne’s Little Italy with Brunetti serving up the prettiest cabinets this side of town. Readings Bookshop was named Best International Bookshop and Cinema Nova offers arthouse and contemporary film (Carlton)
  • Head along to one of Victoria’s many lawn bowls clubs (also known as barefoot bowling) (Various)
  • Take the pace down with some relaxing time at the Abbotsford Convent featuring Australia’s largest multi-arts precinct and a very friendly Lentil as Anything. The kids will love Collingwood Children’s Farm (Abbotsford)
  • Scale new heights climbing at Hardrock or another of the many venues (CBD, Various)

Outdoors

  • Go for a swim at St Kilda, Brighton or another one of Melbourne’s fantastic beaches (Various)
  • Get off the beaten track and meet the roos over at the Wildlife Sanctuary at La Trobe University (Bundoora)
  • Rent a rowboat at the Fairfield Park Boathouse. Whilst there finish up with putting a hole-in-one at the Yarra Bend mini-golf (Fairfield)
  • Day walks around Melbourne
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Werribee Zoo, Werribee

For the family

  • Take the 55 tram to Melbourne Zoo, or drive yourself to some of the other zoos in Victoria (Parkville)
  • Put the ice skates on at the O’Brien Group Arena (Docklands)
  • Have a picnic at Carlton Gardens, Catani Gardens, Albert Park or anywhere with a sunny park (Various)
  • Dates but forever a childhood icon, check out Luna Park (St Kilda) or venture a little further our for the Adventure Park for a nice swim (Geelong)
  • Watch the circus, or even join it yourself with classes at Circus Oz (Collingwood)
  • BounceINC Trampoline Parks (Various)
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Great Ocean Road, Princetown

Day Excursions

  • The Great Ocean Road – enough said!
  • Day hikes and panoramas at Grampians National Park
  • Philip Island (be sure to be there evenings for the fairy penguins
  • Drive or even take a train to hike the 1000 steps, also known as the Kokoda Track Memorial walk
  • See some snow at Mt Buller
  • Royal Botanical Gardens Victoria
  • Mornington Peninsula
  • Dandenongs & the Yarra Valley
  • Sovereign hill at Ballarat… if you have to
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MCG, Richmond

Some seasonal items:

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St Kilda Beach, St Kilda

Calendar of events

  • January: Australian Open, Midsumma Festival, Chinese New Year, Laneway Festival
  • February: St Kilda Festival
  • March: Moomba Festival, Grand Prix
  • April: International Comedy Festival, ANZAC Day
  • July: International Film Festival, Melbourne Open House
  • September: AFL Grand Final, Royal Melbourne Show, Fringe Festival
  • November: Melbourne Festival, Spring Racing Carnival, Good Food Month

How many of the list have you done? Feel free to message if you have any suggestions!

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