It’s the last month of autumn, and just because the days are getting shorter and chillier, doesn’t mean that there’s nothing to do. Melbourne is full of wonderful things to do in May. Discover some awesome festivals, see cool exhibitions, try some delicious food, watch a show and more! Here are some of our top recommendations on where to go, what to see and what to look forward to in Melbourne this month.
1. Get nice and cosy with the Raclette Igloo Experience
On a rooftop at Fed Square, you’ll feel transported to the French Alps thanks to the Raclette Igloo Experience. Nestle inside an igloo, and warm up with melted cheese, cured meats, mulled wine and more. It will run from Thursday May 18 to Sunday June 11.
2. Check out the Starry Sky exhibition at Met Art World
Visit Met Art World in Port Melbourne and feel transported to another world, with their immersive Starry Sky exhibition. Journey through mazes, enter a digital tunnel, see plenty of twinkling lights and more.
3. Do the time warp at The Rocky Horror Show
The Rocky Horror Show is hitting Melbourne’s Athenaeum Theatre for its 50th anniversary tour. Whether you’re a long-time fan or a ‘virgin’, you’ll have fun when Frank N Further, The Narrator, Brad, Janet and more come to town. The show will run in Melbourne from May 18.
4. Find freebies, discounts and more at Shop the City
Need to treat yourself? Explore the streets, laneways and shopping precincts of Melbourne and discover giveaways, discounts and unique offers at Shop the City. This event will run from Friday May 5 to Sunday May 7.
5. Celebrate Mother’s Day
Go out and celebrate the mother figure in your life with high tea, candle-making, painting and more. See our list of recommendations here.
6. Discover a floral paradise at Art of Bloom
The National Gallery of Victoria Women’s Association (NGVWA) is bringing a spectacular floral display to the Great Hall of NGV. See over 20 of Australia’s leading floral artists and creatives put together a stunning array of blooms. Art of Bloom will kick off with a Gala Cocktail Party on Wednesday May 3, and the creations will stay on display until May 5.
7. Feast on bottomless brunch at Victoria by Farmer’s Daughters
Welcome the colder months with a comforting bottomless brunch at Victoria by Farmer’s Daughters in Fed Square. Expect a seasonal menu of autumn and winter warmers, paired with bottomless Starward whisky cocktails. This new offering, known as Winter Saturday Sessions, will run every Saturday from May 13 until July 29.
8. Sip your way through the Grampians Grape Escape
Head to Halls Gap for a weekend of food, wine and music. Explore over 100 stalls, take part in masterclasses, see cooking demonstrations and more. Grampians Grape Escape will run from May 5 to 7. See more here.
9. Take your taste buds on a trip at the Hawker 88 Night Market
Immerse yourself in the sights, sounds, smells and tastes of Asia at Queen Victoria Market. This night market is running on Wednesdays and will end on May 10.
10. Take a drive to the Rocky Road Festival
Yarra Valley Chocolaterie, Great Ocean Road Chocolaterie and the Mornington Peninsula Chocolaterie are dedicating the month to an old favourite — Rocky Road. There’s 31 flavours on offer, plus tasting sessions and more treats at the Rocky Road Festival.
11. Explore the Melbourne Writers Festival
Celebrate the written word with storytellers, journalists, actors and more at Melbourne Writers Festival. Check it out from May 4 to 7. See the program here.
12. Celebrate the season with the Autumn Harvest Festival at Queen Vic Market
Visit Queen Vic Market and have some autumn fun with food trucks, fresh produce, workshops, live music and roving entertainment. The little ones will have a great time with a mini animal farm and free autumn-themed cooking workshops. Autumn Harvest Festival will take place on Saturday May 6 and Sunday May 7. Find more details here.
13. Find yourself ‘falling slowly’ in love with Once the musical
Acclaimed Broadway musical, Once, is coming to Melbourne’s Comedy Theatre. Based on the film of the same name, Once is the only Broadway show with music to have won an Academy Award, Grammy Award, Olivier Award and Tony Award. The show will run from May 6 to June 4.
14. Explore free art at Melbourne Now
Discover the work of over 200 Victorian artists and creatives at Melbourne Now. This free exhibition is on display at the Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia at Fed Square from now until August 20.
15. Feel awed by the ACMI exhibition, Goddess: Power, Glamour, Rebellion
ACMI is paying tribute to formidable women on screen with their blockbuster exhibition, Goddess. See large-scale projections, never-before-seen costumes, cinematic treasures and more. There will also be events and interactive experiences, like curator tours and live music nights. Goddess is running in Melbourne from now until October 1.
16. Enjoy a feast at The Real Greek Chef pop-up in Crown
Chef Giannis Kalyvas has come to Melbourne for a three-week-long pop-up in the Evergreen dining space at Crown. Enjoy a family-style menu of shared plates, with delicious dishes like as Lamb Kontosouvli and Stuffed Calamari. Find The Real Greek Chef pop-up from now until May 21. More info here.
17. Go to Alexandra Gardens for The Long Walk
In 2004, former AFL player Michael Long walked all the way from Melbourne to Parliament House in Canberra to raise awareness about Indigenous issues. This year, head to Alexandra Gardens and listen to live music from Indigenous artists, try some free sport and art activations, fuel up with food trucks and Walk To The G as part of the traditional Dreamtime match between Essendon and Richmond.
The Long Walk will take place on Saturday May 20, from 12pm to 5:30pm. Find more info here.
18. Celebrate Buddha’s Day and Multicultural Festival
Head to Fed Square this month for the 27th anniversary of Buddha’s Day and Multicultural Festival. This year, expect a digitally animated Bodhi Tree mural, an LED Lotus Flower Sanctuary, performances, activities and more.
This festival will run from May 19 to 21. Learn more here.
19. Have fun at Korea Festival in Fed Square
Korea Festival is coming back to Melbourne for the first time since 2019. This free festival will have plenty of food to try, performances to see and activities to keep you occupied. It will take place on Saturday May 13.
20. Find a sense of magic in Fantastic Beasts: The Wonder of Nature at Melbourne Museum
An enchanting new exhibition is coming to Melbourne Museum, all the way from the Natural History Museum in London and Warner Bros. Themed Entertainment. Grab your wand and get ready for Fantastic Beasts: The Wonder of Nature. This remarkable exhibition combines science, nature and fantasy, connecting the animals that roam our planet with the magical creatures from the Harry Potter and the Fantastic Beasts film series. It opens to the public on Friday May 19.
21. Feel mesmerised by the work of Monet and more at The Lume
Go on a journey across France in this multisensory experience, with vibrant projections and sounds immersing you in the world of French Impressionism. Take a picture on Monet’s Bridge over a Pond, dance with Degas’ ballerinas, plunge yourself into a world of waterlilies, and much, much more. On select days, you can also do a tranquil yoga session at the Lume, surrounded by blissful projections. If you want to take it up a notch, stick around on Fridays and Saturdays for a three-course dinner.
22. Dive in to Sea Life Melbourne Aquarium
Go on an immersive journey with their digital exhibition, Submerged, and see the wonder of underwater worlds. Start on a shimmering shoreline and dive below the depths into the bioluminescent unknown.
23. Embrace every moment at this 24-hour arts festival in Werribee
Head to Melbourne’s west for 24, a festival that will feature plenty of durational live art works, live music, moving screenings and more. It all kicks off at 6pm on Saturday May 6, and will run until 6pm on Sunday May 7 in Werribee.
24. Check out South Side Festival
Head down to Frankston this May for heaps of installations, performances, art, food and more at South Side Festival. This festival will run from May 5 to May 14. See the full program here.
25. Unleash your creativity at Chaos Lab
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. Find it at The District Docklands. Tickets are on sale now.
26. Have a practically perfect time at the Mary Poppins musical
Everyone’s favourite nanny is has flown into Melbourne. See Mary Poppins, Bert and more beloved characters come to life in this spectacular stage adaptation by Disney and Cameron Mackintosh at Her Majesty’s Theatre.
27. Explore the dome of the Royal Exhibition Building
The dome of the Royal Exhibition Building is now open to the public. Head up there and see it for yourself, and take in gorgeous views of the Melbourne skyline.
28. Find inner peace with the Wellbeing Within program
Take a break and experience meditation, mindfulness, movement, meditative sound baths and yoga at the Immigration Museum. Wellbeing Within will run every Wednesday from now until May 31.
29. Be whisked away to Hogwarts with Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
The magical story of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child has been reimagined as a one-part play. See a whole new generation of young wizards take the stage, with fascinating illusions, a heartfelt story and more. Return to Hogwarts at the Princess Theatre.
30. See some incredible celebrity chefs
May seems to be the month for celebrity chefs in Melbourne. Enjoy an evening with Nigella Lawson at Hamer Hall on May 19, and listen to her chat about food, life and everything in between. Then, join Marco Pierre White at Hamer Hall on May 30 for his first ever live-on-stage tour.
31. See a show by Melbourne Theatre Company
This May, Melbourne Theatre Company is delighting us with three separate shows. Watch comedian Judith Lucy in the absurdist play Happy Days from May 1 to June 10. Fall in love with modern-day romance with I Wanna Be Yours from May 11 to 27. And check out Jacky from May 22, a world-premiere from Aboriginal playwright Declan Furber Gillick about life in contemporary Australia. See the full program here.
32. Go on a frothy adventure at Good Beer Week
Quench your thirst when Good Beer Week returns to Melbourne and Victoria. Back for its 11th year, this celebration of great beer and delicious food has a stacked range of events across the state. Good Beer Week will run from Saturday May 20 to Saturday May 27.
33. See the best of Wes Anderson every Thursday
Head to Palace Westgarth in Northcote and see a Wes Anderson movie every Thursday night in May and June. Explore the filmmaker’s cinematic canon before the release of Asteroid City on June 22, with films like The Darjeeling Limited, The Grand Budapest Hotel and Fantastic Mr Fox.
34. See the pop-tacular Shakespearean musical, & Juliet
See Shakespeare get a remix with some of the most beloved pop anthems in upcoming, Olivier-Award-winning musical, & Juliet. Find it at the Regent Theatre this month. More info here.
The candlelit performances have taken place at venues like The Athenaeum and The Astor Theatre as well as at The Timber Yard, the Meat Market and Fed Square. With more venues being added to the growing list, there’s a Candlelight concert around every corner.
Candlelight concerts in May feature tributes to Queen, Hans Zimmer, Australian icons and more. See what’s coming up here.
36. Celebrate Formaggio Month at Richmond’s Baby Pizza
Warm up this month with a cheese-filled menu at Baby Pizza. Indulge in arancini, gnocchi al gorgonzola, cacio e pepe, pizza with four cheese, cheesecake and more! Bookings are recommended, but walk-ins are certainly welcome. Learn more here.
37. Have a splashing good time with WET Sunday Sessions
Spend your Sundays lazing by the gorgeous pool in W Melbourne, sipping on cocktails and admiring the gorgeous Melbourne skyline. These poolside parties take place every Sunday and run from 2pm to 6pm.
38. Immerse yourself in First Nations stories and culture at YIRRAMBOI Festival
Over ten days, Melbourne will celebrate the work of First Nations creatives at YIRRAMBOI Festival. Discover performances, exhibitions, workshops and more from emerging and established artists, as well as local and international First Nations creatives. This festival will run from May 4 to 14 in plenty of different venues around the city. Find out more here.
39. Move to the beat at Ballet Revolución
From funky hip-hop to exhilarating Cuban dances, Ballet Revolución has delighted audiences from London to Paris over the last ten years. Enjoy a memorable evening of dance performances to hits from artists like Dua Lipa, Justin Bieber, Adele, Daft Punk and Justin Timberlake at the Palais Theatre on May 26 and 27.
40. See the Children’s International Film Festival
Do you have a budding film buff? Take them to the Children’s International Film Festival! Perfect for those aged 3 to 16, this festival features a curated collection of feature length and short films. Expect a mix of non-verbal, foreign and English-language films.
In Melbourne, this festival will run at Classic Cinemas in Elsternwick, Lido Cinemas in Hawthorn and Cameo Cinemas in Belgrave. It will start on May 27, and play until June 12. Find more info here.
41. Find something wonderful at this craft fair in Queen Vic Market
At CRFT*WRK, you’ll discover locally-made goods from independent creators at Queen Vic Market. Find art, ceramics, jewellery, homewares and more. This festival will run on Saturday May 27 from 9am to 4pm. See more here.
42. Find peace at this luxurious wellness retreat in Jackalope Hotel
Unwind in the Mornington Peninsula with Pilates, meditation sessions and more wellness activities at Jackalope Hotel. Pair it with healthy dining, wonderful wine and luxurious accommodation for the perfect getaway. This event will take place on Thursday May 11 and Friday May 12.
43. Step back in time for the Ballarat Heritage Festival
Head to Ballarat for ten days of tweed, gaol tours, heritage buildings, food and more! The Ballarat Heritage Festival will run from May 19 to 28.
44. See the beauty of the Great Ocean Road at this running festival
Take in gorgeous seaside views from Lorne to Apollo Bay at the Great Ocean Road Running Festival. On top of the running, there’s also heaps of fun activities and entertainment to discover, including live music and a kite festival.
This running festival will take place on Saturday May 20 and Sunday May 21. More info here.
45. Escape to Mansfield for Harvest Moon Festival
Celebrate autumn at the Harvest Moon Festival at Delatite Wines. This event highlights the beauty of the region, and you’re encouraged to explore the area while you’re there. The Harvest Moon Festival features plenty of interesting activities, including a beekeeping workshop, a yoga and sound healing session, and a bonfire with food trucks. The festivities start on May 5 and end on May 7.