It’s the last month of winter, so it’s the last chance to truly enjoy wintery things like cosy igloos and tasty hot chocolate. But, if you were worried about the chill, there’s heaps of indoor things to try as well, like film festivals and art exhibitions. Here are some of the best things to see and do in Melbourne this August.
1. Experience the best of cinema at MIFF
Celebrate the platinum anniversary year of the Melbourne International Film Festival this August. There’s 257 feature films, as well as shorts, documentaries and XR works. The festival will run from August 4 to 21, with films available to stream from August 11 to 28.
Click here to learn more about the festival and program.
2. Wander through twinkling light installations at Lightscape
Head to Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne this August for a magical, after-dark experience. Meander through a garden paradise, and admire vibrant bursts of light from colourful installations. This winter wonderland ends on August 7.Learn more here.
3. Relive the ’90s at The Throwback Lounge
Put on some double denim and get ready to relive your childhood at The Throwback Lounge. This walk down memory lane is all about the ’90s, with iconic arcade games, performances, a cereal bar and much more! Find The Throwback Lounge opposite Uniqlo and H&M at The District Docklands every Friday, Saturday and Sunday in August.
4. Try delicious flavours at the Hot Chocolate Festival
Escape to chocolateries in the Yarra Valley, Great Ocean Road or Mornington Peninsula to try 31 different flavours of hot chocolate this August. There will also be workshops where you can make your own personalised flavour to take home.
Discover more about the festival here.
5. Experience the magic of Candlelight at the Aquarium
Dive into the depths at Sea Life Melbourne Aquarium, and listen to some of the best film scores in this dazzling Candlelight concert experience. This event will take place on Saturday August 6.Get your tickets here.
6. Catch The Picture of Dorian Gray before it goes
This powerful adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s classic tale is a one-person show. See actor Eryn Jean Norvill transform and play all 26 characters in a masterful feat of storytelling. See The Picture of Dorian Gray Arts Centre Melbourne’s Playhouse from now until August 7.More info here.
7. Celebrate at Preston Market’s Italian Day Festival
After a three-year hiatus, the Italian Day Festival is coming back to Preston Market. Discover cooking demonstrations, free activities, tastings, live entertainment, and of course, tasty Italian dishes from pop-up food stalls and regular Italian traders. This event will take place on Sunday August 28, from 11am to 3pm.More info here.
8. See over 70 works of art from Tate at ACMI
Journey through 200 years of art history, involving painting, photography, sculpture, drawing, kinetic art, installation and the moving image. Think classic works from Claude Monet to more contemporary creations from Yayoi Kusama. Light: Works from Tate’s Collection will stay in town until November 13.Find more info here.
9. Check out costumes and props from Thor: Love and Thunder at ACMI
In this free exhibition, you’ll see costumes worn by Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Christian Bale and other stars from the blockbuster film, Thor: Love and Thunder. You’ll also see props from the film on display, including Thor’s famous hammer, Mjölnir. Find this showcase inside The Story of the Moving Image exhibition, from now until July 28 in 2023.
10. Stay out late for NGV Friday Nights
Have fun at NGV, with a massive line-up of live performances, DJ sets, bars and Spanish-inspired dining. Friday Nights will continue through the cold winter months, and end on October 7.Learn more here.
11. Discover a world-exclusive Picasso exhibition at NGV
Visit NGV and marvel at The Picasso Century. See over 70 of Picasso’s famous works, as well as over 100 pieces by his contemporaries. This extraordinary winter exhibition was curated by Didier Ottinger, Deputy Director of Centre Pompidou’s Musée National d’Art Moderne. It will end on October 9.More info here.
12. Put on your cowboy boots for a western drag night
Get ready for Drag Me Home, a shoe-tapping country drag extravaganza. Feel blown away by spectacular lip-sync and comedy performances from some of the finest drag queens and kings around the city. This event will take place at The Gasometer Hotel on Smith Street on Thursday August 18.
13. Taste award-winning wines at the Halliday Sip Series
After a two-year hiatus the Taste the Awards: Halliday Sip Series is back. Try the best Australian wines over one pleasant evening. On top of the wine tastings, there will be tasty canapes, and a special gift bag to take home. The Halliday Sip Series will take place on Thursday August 4, at Sophia inside Prahran Arcade.
14. Indulge in a deluxe dining experience at Nobu
Nobu has partnered with leading Australian wine label, Petaluma, to create a decadent Omakase menu. This six-course experience is ready to try from Wednesday to Sunday in July and August.
15. Explore the lovely Winter Night Market
Head to Queen Vic Market every Wednesday night from now until August 31, and enjoy roaring fires, hot street food, cool market vendors and more.See more here.
16. Go on a Meat Lovers tour at Queen Victoria Market
See the butchers at work in this iconic market, and learn the many ways in which meat can be prepared, cooked and preserved. After that, sample the best meat that the market has to offer. This tour will run on Saturday August 20, from 10am to 12pm. Bookings are essential.
17. 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 event will run on Saturday August 27 from 9am to 4pm.
18. Discover Mr Miyagi in the Big Smoke at QT Melbourne
Windsor restaurant Mr Miyagi has popped up at QT Melbourne’s ‘Hot Sauce Laneway’. Enjoy a specially-curated menu of slow-cooked meats and Japanese flavours. This pop-up will run for six weeks, on Thursday to Saturday evenings, from June 30 to September 2.More info here.
19. Sip cocktails in a cosy robe at The Stolen Gem
Enjoy gorgeous city views from the comfort of your own toasty robe at this rooftop bar. Simply order one of their Winter Warmer cocktails, and receive this limited-edition robe. These robes are now available, and will last until the allocation of robes is exhausted.More info here.
20. Nibble on Dimmies & Dumplings at Welcome to Thornbury
Celebrate all the tasty variations of dim sims and dumplings at this festival from Welcome to Thornbury. This will take place on Saturday August 20 from 12pm.More info here.
21. Go roller skating at the Collingwood Artisan Market
Head to Hoddle Street and have fun at this artisan market. Skate your way through a full-size retro roller rink, then browse through stalls, try gourmet food and listen to live music. The market will run from 11am to 4:30pm on Sunday August 28.Learn more here.
22. Listen to Tales by Torchlight on this walking tour in Spotswood
Take a step back in time and wander around Spotswood Pumping Station. In this adults-only walking tour, you’ll explore the shadowy nooks and crannies of this heritage-listed building. Listen to your expert guides, as they tell you scary, tragic and inspiring tales from the past. Torchlight Tales will take place every Friday this August.
23. Take a historic steam train into Gippsland
Hop on a steam train, settle in to your compartment, and journey into Gippsland for a delightful winter experience. Choose between a trip up to Mount Baw Baw, and play happily in the snow, or a trip into the historic town of Walhalla for something a little warmer. If mountains aren’t your thing, opt for a leisurely afternoon in Traralgon. The Snow Train experience, run by Steamrail Victoria, is running Saturday August 13.Learn more here.
24. Experience a Mad Hatter G&Tea party at State of Grace
Fall up the rabbit hole to this CBD rooftop, and enjoy plenty of drinks and bites at the Mad Hatter G&Tea Party. There will also be familiar characters, including Alice and the Queen of Hearts. These Mad Hatter parties will run on Saturdays, from now until August 27.Find more info here.
25. Feel spellbound by Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
The magical 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.
26. Enjoy this special collaboration between Lollo and La Sirène
Lollo at W Melbourne has paired with artisanal brewery La Sirène to create a special six-course sharing menu. This event will be hosted by Founder and Chief Brewer of La Sirène, Costa Nikias, alongside Lollo’s Creative Culinary Director, Adam D’Sylva. The meal will take place on Wednesday August 31, from 6pm.
27. Immerse yourself in Imaginaria
Be immersed in a futuristic installation of light and sound. Located in Docklands, Imaginaria is a playful space where imagination and technology combines into an amazing experience.
Click here for more info.
28. Wander through a nocturnal world at Tyama
Go on a multi-sensory journey through Victoria’s natural world at this stunning exhibition. Informed by First Peoples knowledge, this exhibition features interactive worlds that respond to movement and sound. Journey from the night sky, through caves and into the sea at Melbourne Museum this August.
29. Discover Open Horizons at Melbourne Museum
See some extraordinary artefacts from the National Archaeological Museum in Athens, and go on a journey through Ancient Greece. This fascinating exhibition is now open at Melbourne Museum, and will stay in town until August 14.Learn more here.
30. Meet Horridus the Triceratops
See the world’s most complete triceratops fossil at Melbourne Museum this August.Learn more here.
31. Stay out late with Saturday Sessions at Melbourne Museum
Enjoy a night at the museum in this monthly series. Check out all of their cool exhibitions, then enjoy a line-up of performances, listen to DJs, check out the pop-up bar, listen to curator talks and more. The museum will stay open until 9pm on Saturday August 27.
32. Hear the bells at Hairspray the Musical
Get ready to shake and shimmy when the feel-good and fabulous Hairspray the Musical comes to town. The Tony-award winning Broadway production of Hairspray is grooving and moving into the Regent Theatre this month. Listen to your favourite bops, and see the nicest kids in town, live on stage.See more here.
33. Watch surf, snow and music collide at Urbnsurf
Prepare yourself for the Boost Mobile Winter Jam at Urbnsurf, which will see some of Australia’s leading surf and snow athletes in one place. Watch surfers catch the perfect wave in the lagoon, then, see a winner-takes-all snowboard rail jam just metres away. Dance the night away with live DJ sets, and keep your energy up with food and drink from custom bars and food trucks. This fun event will take place on Saturday August 27.
34. Stay toasty in this winter chalet experience in Maribyrnong
Gather your friends and warm up in a winter chalet at Anglers Tavern. There’s plenty of heating, blankets and cushions to keep you warm, as well as a Canadian Club bar stacked with drink specials. Keep your bellies warm with some comforting winter favourites on the menu, and keep the party going into the night. The Winter Chalet experience at Anglers Tavern will continue until Friday September 2.
35. Throw some axes at Lumber Punk
Are you ready to sling some steel? Lumber Punks is a thrilling venue to try out in South Melbourne. Over a 90 minute session, you’ll play some games and learn how to throw some axes, from the little ones to the bigger ones. That’s one way to get rid of your stress!Book your tickets here.
36. Stay cosy in your own private igloo
Enjoy a bit of winter magic at four restaurants around Melbourne. Enjoy a private dining experience in a warm igloo, and try different food and beverage packages at each location.Find more details here.
37. Dine in a private après-ski lodge
Head to the rooftop of Richmond’s Fargo and Co, and indulge in boozy hot chocolate, gourmet bites, a pink chocolate fondue fountain and more.See more here.
38. Feel uplifted by the musical Come From Away
Tony and Olivier award-winning musical, Come From Away, is returning to Melbourne for a limited season. This production follows the real-life journey of 7,000 air passengers, who were grounded in Canada after the tragic events of September 11. The small community in Gander, Newfoundland, welcomed these passengers into their lives, and provided hope and compassion to those that desperately needed it. See it at the Comedy Theatre from August 27.See more here.
39. Set the alarm for Dolly Parton’s 9 to 5 The Musical
See this sensational show, inspired by the hit film from the 80s. It includes a stellar Australian cast, with familiar names like Marina Prior and Casey Donovan, as well as a score from Dolly Parton herself. This show is now on at the Arts Centre’s State Theatre, and will run until September 17.See more here.
40. Discover the cosmos at Neighbourhood Earth
Journey through the solar system in this immersive exhibit. Neighbourhood Earth features a 360-degree theatre experience, museum-quality astronaut suits, a full-size replica of one of the Space Station’s key modules and much more.Get your tickets here.
41. Take a journey inside the Darkfield shipping containers
Step into one of four white shipping containers around Melbourne, put on headphones and be enveloped in darkness. Your other senses will heighten and the narrative experience, which uses binaural audio, sensory deprivation and special effects, will take you on a journey that feels real. So real that you might want out.
Darkfield will stay in town until August 31. Learn more here.
42. Discover the work of Bruce Munro at the Heide Museum of Modern Art
Feel amazed by indoor and outdoor pieces from internationally celebrated artist, Bruce Munro, at Heide. Discover over twenty works inside the museum itself, as well as an immersive outdoor installation that will illuminate the surrounding parklands every night. Bruce Munro: From Sunrise Road is on now, and will run until Friday October 16.More info here.
43. Immerse yourself in the LUME
See Van Gogh’s masterpieces come to life in this multi-sensory exhibition at the LUME. Then, take it up a notch and attend a yoga session surrounded by breath-taking works of art, or try delicious food at Café Terrace 1888.Find more info here.
44. Lose your head over Six the Musical
This witty and sensational musical about the six wives of Henry VIII is now playing at the Comedy Theatre. Feel like you’re at a pop concert, and watch the queens sing their heart out, taking inspiration from iconic performers like Beyoncé, Ariana Grande and Britney Spears.See more here.
45. Experience the magic of a Candlelight Concert
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, St James’ Old Cathedral and Fed Square. With more venues being added to the growing list, it feels like there’s a Candlelight concert around every corner.
Discover the music of Tchaikovsky, accompanied by a live ballet dancer, then watch tributes to BTS, Hans Zimmer, Queen and more. Check out all the upcoming performances here.
46. Explore the life of fashion provocateur Helmut Newton
Head to the Jewish Museum of Australia and learn all about Helmut Newton, the King of Kink. This iconic fashion photographer was known for pushing the boundaries and challenging the way that we view femininity, sexuality and desire in the media.
The Helmut Newton: In Focus exhibition will run at the museum from now to January 29 next year. Find more info here.
47. Enjoy high tea at the Royal Botanic Gardens
Nestled in the Royal Botanic Gardens, you’ll enjoy a Botanical Wonderland High Tea. Nibble on sweet and savoury delights from Atlantic Group and Lisa Van Zanten, creator of Get Caked by Lisa. Enjoy unlimited teas, coffee and hot chocolate, and receive a complimentary flute of champagne on arrival. This high tea will run every Sunday from now until August 28.Learn more here.
48. Join the revolution and see Hamilton
Don’t throw away your shot! The ground-breaking musical, Hamilton, is here. Be swept away by the thrilling score and lyrics, which blends hip-hop, jazz, R&B and Broadway.
Rise up and see it at Her Majesty’s Theatre. Check out their website for booking information and more.
49. See comedian Chris Rock on his world tour
Chris Rock is coming back to Australia for the first time in over five years. See him live at Margaret Court Arena on August 10 or 11.
50. Solve the murder at Labassa Mansion
Labassa Mansion is home to an interactive and immersive Murder Mystery experience where players get to roam its rooms and search for clues. Do you have what it takes to put two and two together or will the true assassin/s of Labassa Mansion’s wealthy widow escape justice?Get your tickets here.
51. See stories from the Great Sandy Desert unfold at SandSong by Bangarra Dance Theatre
Head to Playhouse at Arts Centre Melbourne, and see Bangarra Dance Theatre present SandSong: Stories from the Great Sandy Desert. This performance tells the unique story of this Place and the survival of its People. Despite displacement and disruption, when Aboriginal people were removed from their Country between the 20s and 60s, the people of the Western Desert maintained a connection to their land, keeping stories and kinship strong.
See it from August 24 to September 3. More info here.
52. Get your green thumb ready for the Melbourne Houseplant Festival
Both new and seasoned plant parents are invited to this festival. Listen to experts, try out some workshops and go shopping for all of your plant needs. Find it at The Wool Mill in Brunswick East on Sunday August 21, from 10am to 6pm.More info here.
53. Check out Anna K at Malthouse Theatre
Anna Kay, a top-rated journalist, has become a news subject herself. After deciding to leave a loveless marriage and pursue an affair with a recent source, her credibility was lost as she incurred the wrath of the haters. See the story unfold at the Malthouse Theatre, from August 12 to September 4.Learn more here.
54. Check out the Holy Water Craft Distillery Festival
Head to Seaworks for this winter festival. Discover 30 of Victoria’s best distillers, then try masterclasses, dining experiences and unlimited tastings. There will also be food trucks, cocktails, live music and more.
The festival will run from August 26 to 28. Learn more here.
55. See Alice Pung’s award-winning book, Laurinda, come to life on stage
Melbourne Theatre Company has adapted this award-winning book into a fresh new play. Watch as Lucy Lam, a 38-year-old woman, is thrust back to the year in which she won a scholarship to a prestigious private school. At 15, she was not prepared for this new world of wealth and opportunity.
Laurinda will run from August 6 to September 10. More info here.
56. Head to Royal Exhibition Building for Boho Luxe Market
Browse through a wide range of goods at this boho market, and discover fashion, accessories, homewares, skin care, pet goods and more. There will also be a creative workshop, a psychic and wellbeing zone, a fashion show, a wedding space, food, drink and live music.
Boho Luxe Market will run from August 26 to 28.
57. Go on a staycation at Portarlington Grand Hotel
Whisk yourself away to the Bellarine Peninsula and stay at the historic Portarlington Grand Hotel. After a multi-million dollar renovation, there’s new boutique rooms and refurbished dining spaces to discover. Hotel bookings are available from August 1, so you can treat yourself to a little getaway.
58. See the wonders of Aurora Borealis in Daylesford
Head to Daylesford this winter, and marvel at BOREALIS on the Lake. Technology and art will combine to replicate the colourful wonders of this natural phenomenon. This mesmerising experience will continue until Sunday September 4.More info here.
59. Follow the darkness to WinterWild Festival
Escape to the Southern Otways, and enjoy a festival of live music, theatre, gourmet food, bonfires, performances, cemetery tours and much, much more. Surrounded by rainforest and ocean, this festival is all about embracing and celebrating the winter elements. It will take place across two weekends, from August 12 to 14 and August 26 to 28.Learn more here.
60. Feel dazzled by Moama Lights
Art, technology and nature will combine into an immersive light and sound trail at Moama Lights. Journey along the boardwalk, past towering trees and towards the Murray River, and discover fleeting images, colourful effects, theatrical fog and more.
Moama Lights will run from July 31 to August 21. More info here.