With cost of living pressures, 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! Scroll through this list for some inspiration and discover some of the best free things to do in Melbourne right now.
1. See these pop-up installations by Rone
Head to the forecourt at Arts Centre Melbourne or venture to Flinders Street Station and see some pop-up installations from artist Rone. These mesmerising spaces will give you a taste of Rone’s style for free.
2. Admire the Temple of Boom at NGV
Lose yourself in a world of colour at this vivid recreation of the Parthenon. Find it in the Grollo Equiset Garden at NGV. More info here.
3. Have a browse at Summer Night Market
Head to Queen Vic Market for a night of summer fun. Entry is free, and there’s live music and entertainment. You will need money for food and drink, but if you’re happy to just soak in the atmosphere, it’s a great place to be. Summer Night Market will run on Wednesday nights, from now until March 15. More info here.
4. Check out MPavilion
See this fascinating piece of architecture in Queen Victoria Gardens, and experience some free events, including talks, workshops, performances, pilates and more. MPavilion is on from now until April 6. More info here.
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. Take a free guided walking tour at the Royal Botanic Gardens
See the Melbourne Gardens for free with the help of an expert. Go on a daily walking tour, led by a passionate guide, and learn all about the plant diversity of the gardens. Take in gorgeous views while you’re there. This tour lasts 1.5 hours. Learn more here.
7. Explore Royal Botanic Gardens with Flora and the Baron
See Melbourne Gardens in a whole new light by taking this free audio tour. More info here.
8. Hang out at Fed Square
There’s always something exciting happening at Fed Square, like free festivals, film screenings and music performances. And even if there’s nothing on, it’s still a great place to sit down, relax and people-watch. Check out their website here to see what’s coming up.
9. 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.
10. Be delighted by Tudor Village in Fitzroy Gardens
There’s 28 adorable little buildings to admire, including a scale model of Shakespeare’s home.
11. See a free exhibition at ACMI
Learn more about cinema, explore the limits of videogames, see a showcase of First Nations creatives and more at ACMI. Find out what’s on here.
12. Admire free exhibitions at NGV International
Enjoy a bit of art and culture by admiring some free exhibitions at NGV International. See more here.
13. Visit the Ian Potter Centre
See a free exhibition at the Ian Potter Centre in Fed Square. See more here.
14. Feel humbled by the Shrine of Remembrance
Pay your respects at Victoria’s national memorial.
15. Connect with Aboriginal culture at Koorie Heritage Trust
See free exhibitions and connect with the history, culture and community of the Koorie peoples.
16. Listen to live jazz at The Toff
Every Tuesday, The Toff comes alive for NOW.HERE.THIS. This special night is all about nurturning Melbourne’s local jazz scene. Listen and dance the night away, with DJs from 9pm and jazz from 11:30pm. Entry is free. Learn more here.
17. 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 50 minutes. You can also take a free tour of the historic gardens, which last for about 90 minutes. Free tours about the building’s architecture are also available. More details here.
18. 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.
19. 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.
20. Admire some incredible street art
Weave your way through the laneways of Melbourne and discover something incredible. Popular spots include Hosier Lane, Caledonian Lane and AC/DC Lane.
21. Have fun with live events at Sidney Myer Music Bowl
22. Enjoy a Summer of Play at Melbourne Museum
Head to the forecourt of Melbourne Museum and have a bit of free fun in their illuminated playscape. Ride on the illuminated swings and seesaws, play board games, and listen to DJs on select nights. This event is on until February 26. More info here.
23. Visit the Old Treasury Building
Visit the museum and wander around this 19th century building.
24. 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. See times here.
25. Check out Australian Music Vault
Celebrate Australia’s contemporary music scene in this free and immersive exhibition.
26. Visit the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art
Admire art for free in this contemporary art space in Southbank.
27. Explore Melbourne’s arcades
Go window shopping and admire the historic arcades of Melbourne.
28. Enjoy spectacular views of the city
Whether up close or far away, Melbourne’s skyline is always beautiful.
29. Play at a dog beach
Fun in the sun for you and your best friend!
30. Spot the St Kilda Penguins
See the colony of Little Penguins at dusk at the St Kilda Breakwater.
31. 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.
32. Visit the Victoria State Rose Garden
Be amazed by gorgeous, blooming roses in Werribee.
33. Explore Abbotsford Convent
Discover the rich history of the multi-arts precinct on a self-guided walking tour, enjoy a picnic on the grounds and more.
34. 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! See more here.
35. Watch the planes take off at Melbourne Airport
Just park your car and enjoy the view!
36. See the iconic Brighton Bathing Boxes
Bright, colourful, and best of all, free!
37. Stroll along Alfred Nicholas Memorial Gardens
See the famous boathouse and ornamental lake in these gorgeous gardens in Sherbrooke.
38. Check out the rockpools at Rickett’s Point Marine Sanctuary
See if you can spot anything interesting in these cool rockpools.
39. Go stargazing
From observatories to parks, both Melbourne and Victoria have some lovely places for you to go stargazing.
40. Walk into the Merri Creek Labyrinth
Visit this Labyrinth in Clifton Hill and check out the Wishing Tree nearby.
41. Conquer the 1000 steps walk
The Kokoda Memorial Trail, or 1000 steps, is one of Melbourne’s most popular walking trails.
42. Admire the Dandenong Ranges Botanic Garden
This breath-taking garden boasts 15 thousand rhododendrons, 12 thousand azaleas, 3 thousand camellias and 250 thousand daffodils.
43. Take in the views from Arthur’s Seat
When the weather’s right, the view is truly spectacular.
44. Be dwarfed by redwood trees
See the towering trees in the Otways.
45. Visit any national park
Go on an adventure in any national park, in Melbourne and beyond!