With the New Year comes new beginnings, and with the summer in full swing, there’s plenty happening around Melbourne to get the year off to a brilliant start. If your resolution was to have more fun, see more shows, try delicious food and do more things, then our January 2024 guide is perfect for you. There’s so many exciting things to do in Melbourne this January, so let’s get started.
1. Visit the Melbourne museum dedicated to poop (from Jan 17)
Japan’s surprise sensation, Unko Museum, is appearing in Melbourne for a limited time only, and it’s a truly memorable day out. Unko Museum is the only international museum dedicated to poop, but don’t hold your nose – the focus here is all about kawaii exhibits and photo-friendly moments, making it a fun and family-friendly day out. Get your tickets to Unko Museum here.
2. Embrace the warmer nights at the Summer Night Market (Jan 3, 10, 17, 24, 31)
The iconic Summer Night Market is back at Queen Vic Market. Sip on cocktails, go market browsing, and try food from over 125 stalls, shops and bars. It runs on Wednesday nights, from now until March 13, meaning there are five chances to visit in January 2024. Learn more here.
3. Hear the untold stories of an icon at Princess Diana: Accredited Access
The life of the people’s princess is examined in incredible new detail at Princess Diana: Accredited Access, bringing never-before-heard stories to life. Diana’s trusted relationship with her royal photographer, Anwar Hussein, allows us behind the camera to experience life as the most iconic royal of all. You can find your tickets here.
Enjoy the summer nights by watching festive favourites and new releases at Moonlight Cinema, back for another sunny season of movie magic. Find it on the lush Central Lawn at Royal Botanic Gardens.
5. Experience the magic of a Candlelight Concert
These enchanting candlelit performances have taken place at venues like The Athenaeum, Collingwood Town Hall, and Fitzroy Town Hall, as well as special events in Fed Square. With more venues being added to the growing list, it feels like there’s a Candlelight concert around every corner as the global phenomenon enters another year. Here are some of our favourite programmes on offer in January 2024:
🕯 Candlelight: Mozart’s Requiem (Jan 5)
🕯 Candlelight: Best of Joe Hisaishi and More (Jan 12)
🕯 Candlelight: Best of Pink Floyd (Jan 12)
🕯 Candlelight: Best of Hans Zimmer and more (Jan 13)
🕯 Candlelight: A Tribute to Taylor Swift (Jan 20)
🕯 Candlelight Jazz: Best of Frank Sinatra & more (Jan 25)
6. Have a blast at this Latin Summer Festival (Jan 12-14)
Back for an eleventh year, you’ll celebrate Latin American culture over one fantastic weekend at Vida Melbourne Latin Festival. Find it at Tom’s Block in Kings Domain over the weekend of January 12-14, where you’ll dance to exciting music, savour delicious food, try fun workshops and more. The best part? General admission is completely free!
7. Experience ten nights of free entry to NGV at Triennial EXTRA (Jan 19-28)
Offering free entry after-hours across ten nights in January, Triennial EXTRA gives you a little bit more from your Triennial experience. Expect free music & DJs, talks and performances, and plenty of art and design, with the exact lineup changing every night. See more here.
8. Wander amongst artefacts from the Titanic at Melbourne Museum Lates (Jan 11 & 18)
The most extensive Titanic exhibition in the world is currently in Melbourne, and one of the best ways to see it is at the after-hours viewings Museum Lates, taking place twice this month. You’ll see over 200 artefacts recovered from the wreck site in an experience which sends you back to the fateful night in 1912 when Titanic sunk on her maiden voyage. The display also features recreated ship interiors, including the Grand Staircase, First Class Parlour Suite and Verandah Café.
9. Try all the amazing things at Midsumma Festival (Jan 21)
This fabulous summer festival is stacked with over 200 events for you to try. Major events like Midsumma Carnival and Midsumma Pride March will make a return, and there will also be plenty of new shows, parties, exhibitions and events for you to check out. It starts on January 21, and you can find more info here.
From the Control Room to the Science Lab, the Mirror Maze to the Ball Pit, Chaos Lab is a fun experience for all kids who want to play, explore and create. Having recently celebrated a whole year in Melbourne, the science-themed playground has enchanted thousands so far, and tickets are available for select dates in January 2024.
11. Listen to live music at Sidney Myer Music Bowl
The January 2024 lineup for the Bowl is looking pretty stacked, with recent breakout star Noah Kahan and former One Direction member Louis Tomlinson amongst a stellar lineup, which also includes R&B crooner Brent Faiyaz and more. See the contemporary music programme here.
12. Check out the cultural offerings at MPavilion
MPavilion is back in Melbourne for another incredible season, and things are in full swing during the summer months. Enjoy cultural events, talks, performances, installations and more. See their full program here.
13. Play an Among Us-style game near Queen Vic Market
Immerse yourself in a space-themed adventure at Saboteurs. Round up your crew, complete tasks inside the converted shipping containers, and keep an eye out for the imposter. Saboteurs is open daily from 8am to 10pm at Testing Grounds, and if you played a lot of Among Us during the lockdowns, you’ll find it much to your liking.
14. Walk with the dinosaurs at Dinos Alive (from Jan 3)
Finally opening the doors on January 3, this experience invites you into the world of the giants who walked the Earth millions of years ago. Life-sized animated replicas of more than 80 dinosaurs have filled a Melbourne venue, and aside from being jaw-droppingly impressive, Dinos Alive will teach you a few things about the Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous periods. Entry tickets are available here.
15. Feel mesmerised by the work of First Peoples artists at The Lume
The world’s largest permanent immersive digital art and cultural venue is currently playing home to Connection, which celebrates the work of First Peoples artists. Step into the 3,000 square metre gallery space, and feel blown away by swirling digital projections. A perfect escape from the heat of an Australian summer, if you ask us.
The viral sensation that you may have seen on TikTok is back in Melbourne for a new gaming experience. The concept is simple: it’s Mario Kart, but with the sound turned off. Instead, the instantly-recognisable music comes courtesy of a live band that responds to what’s happening on screen, to create a novelty that we’re low-key obsesssed with. It takes place at The Retreat Hotel in Brunswick on January 6, and you can see more here.
17. Head to ACMI for a blockbuster summer season of films
Cool down indoors and enjoy some excellent films at ACMI. See the best films of 2023, ranging from blockbuster hits like Barbie and Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse to critically-acclaimed flicks such as Past Lives and Aftersun, in Best of 2023 in Cinema, which runs from now until January 17. Meanwhile, check out Kid’s Flicks with Feelings for a more family-centric day out at ACMI, featuring a trio of Studio Ghibli classics: Laputa: Castle in the Sky, My Neighbour Totoro, and Grave of the Fireflies. It runs from January 8-18.
18. Find something wonderful at a craft fair in Queen Vic Market (Jan 27)
At CRFT*WRK, you’ll discover locally-made goods from independent creators at Queen Vic Market. Find art, ceramics, jewellery, homewares and more on Saturday, January 27 from 9am to 4pm; markets will run every Saturday thereafter.
19. See an outdoor movie with The Sunset Cinema
Formerly known as Barefoot Cinema, this outdoor cinema experience is back for summer with two sun-soaked runs around Melbourne. Catch films such as Dirty Dancing, Wonka, and The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes in Mount Martha this January, before it moves on to St Kilda in February for more movie magic.
20. Take a glimpse into a LEGO future at Melbourne Museum’s RELICS: A New World Rises (until Jan 28)
This quirky museum exhibition imagines a post-human world where the LEGO figurines have risen up to take residence inside familiar objects; for instance, a futuristic space port inside gaming machines, or a grandfather clock turned into a time machine. Wacky and wonderful in equal measure, RELICS: A New World Rises leaves the museum on January 28, so this month is your final chance to check it out.
21. Show off your swing at Pixar Putt
The beloved mini-golf sensation, Pixar Putt, is back in Melbourne for the summer holidays. This open-air experience is made up of interactive putt-putt holes, inspired by the stories and characters from some of Pixar’s most iconic films. Find it at the Skyline Terrace in Fed Square from now until January 29.
22. Check out the action at the Australian Open
The Australian Open is back from January 8 to 28 with some of the world’s biggest tennis stars descending on the city. Thrilling matches are guaranteed, and there are extra brilliant events such as First Nations Day on January 17 and Pride Day on January 25 to make the most of your AO experience.
Arbory has transformed into a beautiful Mexican-inspired hangout spot, complete with cocktails, sunbeds and an infinity pool to keep you cool. Few places are as idyllic to be this summer in Melbourne.
24. See Shakespeare Under the Stars
Shakespeare Under The Stars is back at Royal Botanic Gardens with a production of the all-time classic, A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Sprawl out on Southern Cross Lawn and laugh till you cry, from now until February 17.
25. Dance the day away at So Frenchy So Chic (Jan 14)
It’s the time of year when Melbourne comes over a little bit Parisian, as So Frenchy So Chic is coming back to Werribee Park for a day of French music and delicious bites. Find your sense of joie de vivre on Sunday, January 14.
26. Spend a day at the Portarlington Mussel Festival (Jan 13)
Whisk yourself away to the coast this summer for the Portarlington Mussel Festival. Every January, 30,000 people journey to this seaside town to celebrate and try their delicious mussels. On top of the famous seafood, there will be market stalls, wine tastings, exhibitions, cooking demonstrations and entertainment. In 2024, it’s all happening on Saturday, January 13.
Escape to Blue Lotus Water Garden, and delight your senses with dreamy water lilies, lotus flowers, scenic trails and calm lakes. Really, it’s like stepping into a Monet painting. This garden paradise is open from now until April 14, and by their own estimation, they’ve had the best growing season in years – so 2024 is definitely the year to make a pilgrimage here.