After the stress of Christmas shopping, our wallets are looking a little empty at the moment. But, just because we’re short on cash doesn’t mean we have nothing to do. There’s heaps of free things to do in Melbourne and the surrounding areas right now. Check out exhibitions, see spectacular gardens, listen to music and more! Here’s 50 free things for you to do in Melbourne this summer.
1. Visit NGV for Summer Sundays
Head into The NGV Garden on Sundays to enjoy music, food and drinks every week. Check it out every Sunday this January, from 10am to 6pm.
2. Play in the pink pond at NGV
You don’t have to wait for Sunday for this one. Cool down this summer any day in the week, by splashing in the pink pond. Find it in the Grollo Equiset Garden from 10am to 5pm.
3. Have a browse at Queen Vic Market
There’s heaps of stalls to discover.
4. Check out MPavilion
See this fascinating piece of architecture in Queen Victoria Gardens, and experience some free events, including talks, workshops, performances, installations and more.
5. See The Conservatory at Fitzroy Gardens
Be amazed by spectacular floral displays when you step into The Conservatory. The display changes five times a year, so there’s always something new to take your breath away.
6. Enjoy art by Seeing the Invisible
At this augmented reality exhibition in Royal Botanic Gardens, you’ll enjoy 13 immersive pieces by artists like Ai Weiwei and Refik Anadol.
7. Explore the gardens with Flora and the Baron
See the gardens in a whole new light by taking this free audio tour.
8. Play at a dog beach
Fun in the sun for you and your best friend!
9. Hang out at Fed Square
There’s heaps of free things happening at Fed Square this summer, including live music, a silo art trail and an inflatable installation.
10. Explore the State Library of Victoria
Be amazed by the beautiful Reading Room, check out any free exhibitions and take a tour of this iconic building.
11. Be delighted by Tudor Village in Fitzroy Gardens
There’s 28 adorable little buildings to admire, including a scale model of Shakespeare’s home.
12. See a free exhibition at ACMI
Learn more about cinema and the history of the moving image at ACMI.
13. XPlore Melbourne
Go on an augmented reality treasure hunt and discover street art, music and more. At the end, you’ll have a chance to win some cool prizes. Your journey begins by clicking here.
14. Visit the Ian Potter Centre
See a free exhibition at the Ian Potter Centre in Fed Square.
15. Feel humbled by the Shrine of Remembrance
Pay your respects at Victoria’s national memorial.
16. Connect with Aboriginal culture at Koorie Heritage Trust
See free exhibitions and connect with the history, culture and community of the Koorie peoples.
17. Attend a free event at The Wheeler Centre
The Wheeler Centre covers just about everything in terms of talks and events. Topics include literature, politics, ethics, sports, public affairs, art and more. During the pandemic, they’ve also set up digital events, so you can listen at home for free.
18. Take a tour of Parliament House
During non-sitting weeks, from Monday to Friday, there are free public tours of Parliament House that last for about 45 minutes.
19. Run along the Tan
Get your heart racing along Melbourne’s most popular running track, the Tan Track. It loops around the Royal Botanic Gardens and Kings’ Domain, so you’ll have plenty of lovely scenery to admire as you move.
20. Visit Melbourne General Cemetery
At this historic cemetery, you’ll find the graves of some historic past Prime Ministers, famous explorers, and even a monument in honour of Elvis Presley.
21. Laugh out loud with some of Spleen’s comedy shows
Visit Spleen on Bourke Street every Monday for a free comedy show. Past acts include Wil Anderson, Charlie Pickering and Josh Thomas.
22. Live events at Sidney Myer Music Bowl
During summer, you’ll find some free concerts at Sidney Myer Music Bowl, including Share The Spirit on Australia Day.
23. Listen to free concerts from Melbourne Symphony Orchestra
Be moved by majestic symphonies when Melbourne Symphony Orchestra do what they do best. This summer, they’re running some free summer concerts at Sidney Myer Music Bowl, as well as Wyndham Park and Iwaki Auditorium.
24. Visit the Old Treasury Building
Visit the museum and wander around this 19th century building.
25. See the Gas Brigades Fire Show at Crown
Walk along the Yarra Promenade and feel both startled and amazed by great balls of fire as they burst into the sky.
26. Feel super cute at MC Mart
Frolic in this kawaii art installation by Lauren Carney at Melbourne Central.
27. Check out Australian Music Vault
Celebrate Australia’s contemporary music scene in this free and immersive exhibition.
28. Have a picnic
Pack up your picnic baskets and lounge around some of these pleasant picnic spots.
29. Rest in some tranquil green spaces
Soak in the sunshine and admire the greenery.
30. Visit the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art
Admire art for free in this contemporary art space in Southbank.
31. Explore Melbourne’s arcades
Go window shopping and admire the historic arcades of Melbourne.
32. Enjoy spectacular views of the city
Whether up close or far away, Melbourne’s skyline is always beautiful.
33. Wander along St Kilda Beach
Stroll down the foreshore, watch the boats go by, take in the hustle and bustle of the nearby cafes and debate a visit to Luna Park.
34. Spot the St Kilda Penguins
See the colony of Little Penguins at dusk at the St Kilda Breakwater.
35. Get a little green at CERES Community Environment Park
Visit this free park in Brunswick East, stroll through the gardens, play in the play space, visit the organic grocery and more.
36. Visit the Victoria State Rose Garden
Be amazed by gorgeous, blooming roses in Werribee.
37. Explore Abbotsford Convent
Discover the rich history of the multi-arts precinct on a self-guided walking tour.
38. Visit The Old Cheese Factory
Take a walk along the grounds of the Old Cheese Factory in Berwick.
39. See the gardens and sculptures at Heide Museum of Modern Art
Although the museum itself costs money, entry to the beautiful gardens and sculpture park is completely free!
40. Watch the planes take off at Melbourne Airport
Just park your car and enjoy the view!
41. See the iconic Brighton Bathing Boxes
Bright, colourful, and best of all, free!
42. Stroll along Alfred Nicholas Memorial Gardens
See the famous boathouse and ornamental lake in these gorgeous gardens in Sherbrooke.
43. Check out the rockpools at Rickett’s Point
See if you can spot anything interesting in these cool rockpools.
44. Splash around at Booran Reserve
This isn’t your ordinary playground. This award-winning park in Glen Huntly boasts a water play feature that’s perfect for summer days, with water jets and a surface splash pad.
45. Walk into the Merri Creek Labyrinth
Visit this Labyrinth in Clifton Hill and check out the Wishing Tree nearby.
46. Conquer the 1000 steps walk
The Kokoda Memorial Trail, or 1000 steps, is one of Melbourne’s most popular walking trails.
47. Admire the Dandenong Ranges Botanic Garden
This breath-taking garden boasts 15 thousand rhododendrons, 12 thousand azaleas, 3 thousand camellias and 250 thousand daffodils.
48. Take in the views from Arthur’s Seat
When the weather’s right, the view is truly spectacular.
49. Be dwarfed by redwood trees
This Warbuton forest is a bit of a drive from Melbourne, but well worth it.
50. Visit any national park
Go on an adventure in any national park, in Melbourne and beyond!