Winter is a truly magical season, and now that we’ve made it to August, is our 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 71st anniversary of the Melbourne International Film Festival this August. Look forward to a massive line-up of 267 films, with features, shorts, restorations, retrospectives and XR experiences. The festival will run from August 3 to 20, with films available to stream from August 18 to 27. Click here to learn more about the festival and program.
2. Create a masterpiece at Art and Glow in the Dark
In this unique paint and sip experience, you’ll sit in the dark and create something beautiful with a neon mixture of classic and fluorescent paint. This class includes a complimentary drink. This event will take place at Hanover House from August 9. Grab your tickets here.
3. Feel terrified by 2:22 A Ghost Story
A spooky new production is taking over Melbourne this August. 2:22 – A Ghost Story has thrilled audiences in the West End and LA, and has since snowballed into a cult phenomenon around the world. Find out what makes it so special by seeing it for yourself at Her Majesty’s Theatre, from July 25 to August 20.
4. Sip on whiskey at the Long Play Listening Bar in W Melbourne
Pop over to W Melbourne and enjoy a drink with The Gospel Whiskey. They’re taking over a Wow Suite to hold a masterclass. While you go through the range, there will be a DJ playing sophisticated tunes on vinyl. The session includes a cocktail and light snacks to pair with the tasting. This event will run on August 1 and 2. Bookings are essential. Find out more here.
5. Try new cocktails at the The Ugly Duckling’s tattoo party
The Ugly Duckling is launching 13 new, winter-inspired cocktails. Try them for yourself, and celebrate by getting a tattoo! Cholo from tattoo studio, Fine Lines, will be there, ready to ink you up for free! This tattoo party will help you skip the six-month waitlist. This event will run from 8pm to 10pm on Thursday August 3.
6. Feel enchanted by The Princess Bride in Concert
Experience the beloved film, The Princess Bride, alongside a full symphony orchestra. This cinematic concert experience will take place at Hamer Hall on August 4. Find out more.
7. Sip your way through The Penfolds Collection
Try newly released wines in the immersive tasting experience, Transcend by Penfolds. Over 90 minutes, you’ll enjoy a guided tasting session that combines soundscapes, storytelling, visuals and lighting to bring the Collection to life. Check it out at Aerial in South Wharf from August 3 to 6. More info here.
8. Check out the International Film Festival of Australia
August is Melbourne is all about film festivals, and this new one is sure to excite. Head over to The Palms at Crown on August 5 for the International Film Festival of Australia. See local and international films, documentaries and digital media. Find out more here.
9. Admire the Gertrude Street Projection Festival
The Gertrude Street Projection Festival is back for its 15th year. Wander along the street and feel amazed by projections from 11 artists-in-residence, and check out a series of special events, parties, talks and screenings. The festival will run from July 27 to August 6.
10. Plant yourself at The Vegan Market
Visit The Vegan Market and shop from 100 local plant-based businesses. Find everything from vegan ice cream to vegan cacao, as well as psychic readings and DJs. The market will take place at Seaworks in Williamstown on Sunday August 6, from 10am to 4pm. Entry is free! Learn more here.
11. Go on a wellness retreat at Aurora Spa & Bathhouse
Feeling stressed? Make some time for yourself and go on a wellness retreat at Aurora Spa & Bathhouse. Calm your mind with customised treatments in the spa and unlimited bathhouse access. Take part in wellness workshops, yoga classes and coastal walks. Stay at the Intercontinental Sorrento hotel and enjoy nutritious meals during your stay. This retreat is on from Sunday August 6 to Wednesday August 8. More info here.
12. Wander through twinkling light installations at Lightscape
Head to Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne this July for a magical, after-dark experience. Wander through the green heart of Melbourne with a new trail that stretches just over two kilometres. As you journey along the path, you’ll discover shimmering lights, large-scale sculptures and more. Lightscape will illuminate Melbourne during the winter nights, from now until August 6.
13. Have a fun time at the FIFA Fan Festival
Fed Square is the hub for all things football with the exciting FIFA Fan Festival. Watch matches, soak in the atmosphere and find entertainment in celebration of the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023. You can catch all of the matches on the big screen, as well as enjoy a program filled with live music, family-friendly activities, food trucks and more. The festival will run on select days from now until Sunday August 20.
14. Watch the FIFA Women’s World Cup at some fantastic pubs
Watch the game and indulge in a drink or two, and feast on some hearty pub fare. Click here to see our recommendations.
15. Explore the new festival Now or Never
Melbourne will soon be transformed with dazzling projections, dreamy art trails, a 360° pop-up dome cinema and more as part of Now or Never. This inaugural festival will explore the intersection of art, ideas, sound and technology, combining the success and resources of both Melbourne Music Week and Melbourne Knowledge Week. The festival will run from Thursday August 17 to Saturday September 2.
16. Feel a sense of Connection at The Lume
The Lume is celebrating First Peoples art and music with their immersive exhibition, Connection. Feel amazed by swirling projections around the 3,000 square metre gallery space, and check out a display of original art. Over 110 visual and musical artists are featured, making Connection the largest representation of First Peoples art and culture ever assembled.
17. Stay out late for NGV Friday Nights
The popular NGV Friday Nights is coming back this winter, in celebration of the upcoming Pierre Bonnard exhibition. Expect a massive line-up of live performances, DJ sets, bars and dining inspired by regional French cuisine. NGV Friday Nights will run until October 7. Grab your tickets here.
18. See the most extensive Australian exhibition on Rembrandt at NGV
Head to NGV International and explore over four decades of prolific artist Rembrandt. Discover over 100 etchings and see iconic pieces loaned from public collections around the world. The exhibition is now open and will stay in town until Sunday September 10.
19. Check out the NGV exhibition, Pierre Bonnard: Designed by India Mahdavi
NGV has partnered with France’s Musée d’Orsay to present their Melbourne Winter Masterpieces exhibition, Pierre Bonnard: Designed by India Mahdavi. It features over 100 works by Bonnard, a 20th century French painter, presented within a contemporary scenography by award-winning architect and designer, India Mahdavi. The exhibition will run until October 8.
20. Return to the wonderful Winter Night Market
Head over to Queen Vic Market and warm up with roaring fires, toasty street food and blazing entertainment. Winter Night Market will run from 5pm to 10pm, from June 7 to August 30.
21. Have fun at the Indian Festival at Queen Vic Market
Celebrate the sounds and flavours of India at the Indian Festival at Queen Victoria Market. Feast on authentic and flavoursome bites like naan bread and curry, and sip a warm cup of chai. See energetic performances and browse the market stalls. The festival is on from Saturday August 12 to Sunday August 13. Learn more here.
22. Have a glamourous time at Drag Expo Melbourne
Head to Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre this August for Drag Expo. Meet local and international drag stars, check out informative panels, see runways with Q&A sessions, explore a drag market and more! This expo is on from August 12 to 13. More info here.
23. Have a pawsome time at Theme Bark
Show your doggos that you care by taking them on a fetching day out to Theme Bark. After a sell-out event last year, this doggy playground is bouncing back to Melbourne for another round of fun. Your pooch can show off their skills at a giant dogstacle course, play in a ball pit, take part in dog yoga, eat treats and more! Theme Bark will take place at Port Melbourne Industrial Centre for the Arts (PICA) on Saturday August 12, from 10am to 5pm.
24. Find glow in the dark desserts at Dessertopia by 196below
Dessertopia by 196below has brought glow in the dark desserts to South Melbourne. This special event, known as Neon Nights, features glowing cakes, luminous ice cream and everything in between.
25. Head to Royal Exhibition Building for Boho Luxe Market
Check out stunning treasures from emerging talents around Melbourne, as well as more established local designers and creators at Boho Luxe Market. Find plenty of fashion, accessories, homewares, skincare, pet goods, vegan products and more. On top of that, there will also be sound healings, workshops, food and live music. This marketplace will run from Friday August 18 to Sunday August 20.
26. Watch the highly anticipated comedy Miss Peony
After two false starts due to COVID, Michelle Law’s Miss Peony is making its Melbourne debut at the Fairfax Theatre this August. In this glitzy comedy, Lily’s grandmother pushes her into entering the competitive Miss Peony beauty pageant. Despite Lily’s protests, her grandma won’t take no for an answer. And to make things more complicated, grandma is a ghost. This show will run from August 2 to 20. More info here.
27. Have an adorable time at the Top Dog Film Festival
The Top Dog Film Festival celebrates that special bond between humans and dogs, with a variety of heart-warming movies on the festival program. You can catch the film festival at The Astor Theatre on Tuesday August 29, from 7pm to 9:45pm. You can also see it at Village Cinemas in Geelong on Wednesday August 9, from 6:30pm to 9:15pm. Grab your tickets and find out more about the festival here.
28. 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.
29. 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.
30. 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. Grab your tickets here.
31. 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.
32. Celebrate science and technology at National Science Week
National Science Week is on from August 12 to 20. To celebrate, Museums Victoria has a stacked program of events at Melbourne Museum, with workshops, talks, special events and more. Find out what’s on the program here.
33. Find a sense of magic in Fantastic Beasts: The Wonder of Nature at Melbourne Museum
An enchanting new exhibition is now showing at 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.
34. 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.
34. Feel amazed by Cirque du Soleil CRYSTAL
Cirque du Soleil are hitting the ice for the first time with their new show CRYSTAL. This production combines circus acts with ice skating. Look forward to swinging trapeze, synchronised skating, aerial straps and more. Find them at John Cain Arena from August 17 to 27.
36. Have a spectacular time at Moulin Rouge! The Musical!
After a sold-out premiere season, Moulin Rouge! The Musical! is coming back to Melbourne this August. Celebrate truth, beauty, freedom and love at the Regent Theatre from August 20.
37. Dance over to Ballet International Gala
At Ballet International Gala (BIG), you’ll see curated performances from shows like Giselle and Sleeping Beauty. Each repertoire is under ten minutes, with ten individual dances tying together into one spectacular show. See a blend of contemporary and traditional styles. BIG will take over Hamer Hall on August 27. More info here.
38. 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 and Fed Square. With more venues being added to the growing list, there’s a Candlelight concert around every corner.
Candlelight concerts in August feature tributes to Taylor Swift, the Beatles and more. See what’s coming up here.
39. Visit the Teddy Bear Hospital at Chadstone
Children can bring their teddies to Chadstone for a visit to the Teddy Bear Hospital. From teddy X-rays to teddy music therapy, every bear will have a thorough check-up, and teach kids that visiting the doctor can be a positive experience. Bookings are recommended, and ticket prices start at $20 for one adult and child. All proceeds will go to the Good Friday Appeal, to support patients and their families at the Royal Children’s Hospital. The Teddy Bear Hospital will run on August 19 and 20. Learn more here.
40. Stay cosy in your own private igloo
Enjoy a bit of winter magic at three restaurants around Melbourne. Enjoy a private dining experience in a warm igloo, and try different food and beverage packages at each location. Find out where to go here.
41. Explore an immersive installation at Eastland
Art and technology studio ENESS has created 12 science-inspired sculptures for you to check out at Eastland. Alongside the sculptures, there will be also be workshops and discovery sessions to boost STEM confidence in children. It’s Not Rocket Science is on from July 27 to August 20. More details here.
42. Find something beautiful at the Affordable Art Fair
Explore a mixture of emerging and established artists from galleries around Australia at Affordable Art Fair. After a successful debut in 2019, this art fair is returning to Melbourne and setting up shop at Royal Exhibition Building. Check it out from August 31 to September 3. Learn more here.
43. Experience a Yarra Valley pop-up at Evergreen
Visit Evergreen at Crown and take your taste buds to the Yarra Valley over a delectable four-course meal. This pop-up event highlights some top wineries from the region, alongside fresh Victorian produce. Try it from Friday to Sunday, from August 4 to 20. Learn more here.
44. Relax at the Peninsula Hot Springs Bathe In Cinema
It’s the last month of winter! Stay warm this August by heading out of Melbourne and going for a tranquil soak in the geothermal waters at Peninsula Hot Springs. They’re running Bathe In Cinema sessions, so you can watch a comforting movie in the amphitheatre while unwinding in the mineral pools. This event runs from 6:30pm on Thursday nights.
45. Warm up at the fun Hot Chocolate Festival
Escape to chocolateries in the Yarra Valley, Great Ocean Road or Mornington Peninsula to try 31 rotating flavours of hot chocolate this August. There will also be workshops where you can make your own personalised flavour to take home.
46. 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 start on Thursday July 20, and run until Sunday October 1.
47. Taste your way through the pie trail in Ballarat
This August, 20 pies from 19 chefs, restaurants, cafés and venues will compete for the title of Ballarat’s Best Pie. Awards will be given out on August 5, but you can try the pies for yourself from August 1 to 31. Find more info here.
48. Go on a Highland adventure at Kryal Castle
Feel transported to Scotland at Kryal Castle’s Highland Spectacular. Listen to pipe bands, see highland dancing, watch warriors on mighty steeds, find out about your ancestry at a clan tent, take part in a four course whisky feast and more. The festival will run on August 19 and 20. More info here.
49. Follow the darkness to WinterWild
Embrace the dark beauty of winter in the Otways, and enjoy a festival of fiery feasts, masterclasses, performances and more at WinterWild. Surrounded by rainforest and ocean, this festival is all about celebrating the winter elements. WinterWild will run in Apollo Bay from Friday August 25 to Sunday August 27.