Winter is here and just because the nights are longer doesn’t mean Melbourne is starved for activities. There’s so many exhibitions to discover, food to try, and shows to see. No matter your age, you’ll be sure to find plenty of things to do in Melbourne and Victoria this July.
1. Get lit at Firelight Festival in Docklands
This fiery winter festival is returning to Docklands. Feel dazzled by fire sculptures, fire twirlers and more free entertainment, like live music, roving mythical creatures and African drumming. Then, feast on wintery food. Firelight Festival will run from June 30 to July 2.
2. Have a sip at the Australian Sake Festival
Celebrate Sake, food and Japanese culture at the Australian Sake Festival. Set at Queen Vic Market, this ticketed event will have over 200 varieties of sake available for tasting, as well as delicious food and performances. Check it out on July 1 and 2, from 10am to 4pm. Learn more here.
3. Skate your way over to Disney on Ice
Explore a whole new world of magic and enchantment at Disney On Ice. Watch your favourite characters come to life, while performing high-flying acrobatics, surprising stunts and of course, world-class ice skating. The event this year will be celebrated as Disney on Ice presents 100 Years of Wonder, so you can expect the show to feel truly special. Find it at Rod Laver Arena from June 28 to July 2.
4. Head to Phillip Island for the Island Whale Festival
Phillip Island is celebrating the annual whale migration with this special festival. Enjoy some fun, whale-themed activities from Friday June 30 to Sunday July 2. Then, when the festival is over, stick around during the colder months for some whale-watching. Learn more about the Island Whale Festival here.
5. 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.
6. 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.
7. Check out some local events for NAIDOC Week
Celebrate and recognise the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples at NAIDOC Week. Visit Fed Square for NAIDOC in the City and listen to performances on July 7. Support local First Nations business at the Sunday Market along St Kilda Road on July 2. Listen to the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra celebrate the legacy of Archie Roach on July 5 and 6. And more! NAIDOC Week will run from July 2 to 9.
8. Have fun at the Finders Keepers Market
The Finders Keepers Market is back in Melbourne this July. Head to the Royal Exhibition Building and discover over 250 independent art, design and food stalls. This market will run from July 7 to 9. More info here.
9. Go skating at The Rink at Rising
Go ice skating under twinkling lights at The Rink at Rising. Then, grab a bite to eat, and take part in fun activities like art workshops. This event is open until July 8. Get your tickets here.
10. Feel swept away by the Melbourne Magic Festival
See the largest magic festival of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere, right here in Melbourne. This year, feel enchanted by over 130 performances of 30 different shows. Some of the guests this year have even fooled Penn & Teller! The Melbourne Magic Festival will run from now until July 8. More info here.
11. See Harry Potter and the Cursed Child before it goes
After enchanting Melbourne audiences for four years, and selling over one million tickets, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is finally leaving Melbourne this July. See your favourite characters before they go at the Princess Theatre. Harry Potter must end on July 9.
12. Hop aboard the Train of Lights by Puffing Billy
Rug up this winter for an unforgettable moving light show. Journey through the Dandenong Ranges at night in an illuminated steam train, and see bright projections, hypnotic patterns and more. This experience ends on July 9.
13. 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.
14. Stay out late for NGV Friday Nights
The popular NGV Friday Nights is back this winter, in celebration of the 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 from now until October 7.
15. 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.
16. Find a sense of magic in Fantastic Beasts: The Wonder of Nature at Melbourne Museum
An enchanting 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.
17. 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.
18. Do the time warp at The Rocky Horror Show
The Rocky Horror Show is now playing at 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.
19. Find some winter magic at foodie paradise Grazeland
Rug up and celebrate winter every weekend at Grazeland, the paradise for foodies in Melbourne’s west. Frolic in the snow, warm up with mulled wine by the fire, admire gorgeous neon lights and more. Grazeland will transform into a winter wonderland every weekend, from now until July 30.
20. 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.
21. Attend the Bastille Day Soirée by So Frenchy So Chic
Dance under a giant mirror ball and feel transported back in time at the So Frenchy So Chic Bastille Day Soirée. Shake your body to the best of French Disco and 90s French Touch. This dance party will take place in North Melbourne’s Meat Market on Saturday July 15, from 5pm to 11pm. More info here.
22. Celebrate Bastille Day at this French festival in Queen Vic Market
The annual Bastille Day French Festival is returning to Melbourne this July. Explore a delightful French winter market, try some masterclasses, see live entertainment and much more. Pop the champagne and check out this festival at Queen Vic Market on Saturday July 8 and Sunday July 9.
23. 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.
24. Visit Queen Vic Market for African Festival Melbourne
The beloved African Festival is back in Melbourne this July. The bustling market will come to life with food, art, dance, live entertainment and activities for the kids. Check it out on Saturday July 15 and Sunday July 16 from 10am to 4pm. See more 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. 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.
27. Warm up at the European Night Market
Madame Brussels Lane in Melbourne CBD will transform into a bustling marketplace this July. Step into a winter wonderland and find Bavarian beer, hearty comfort food, cocktails and more. European Night Market will run on Fridays, from July 7 to July 28.
28. 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.
29. 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 until July 29.
30. Challenge your senses and go Dining in the Dark
Feel like taking your taste buds for a test run? Put on a blindfold in a darkened, candlelit room, and enjoy a mysterious three-course meal. Just let the restaurant know your preferences, and let them take care of the rest. Dining in the Dark will take place on Wednesday July 19 at Juliet Melbourne. Click here for tickets, times and more info.
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. 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.
33. Have a laugh at Replay Festival
Did you miss out on a show at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival? Head to Comedy Republic this July and see all the highlights, including award-winning shows, musical comedies and stand-ups. There’s over 30 encores for you to discover. Replay Festival is on from now until July 23. More info here.
34. Celebrate the season at Montsalvat WinterFest
Visit the beautiful grounds of Montsalvat and enjoy an evening of art, dance, fire twirlers, live music and poetry readings. Stay warm by the fire, and indulge in some delicious food and mulled wine. WinterFest will take place on Saturday July 8, from 5pm to 9pm. General admission tickets are $25 for adults. Find out more here.
35. Go ice skating and more at the Eynesbury Winter Festival
Eynesbury is transforming into a delightful winter wonderland for two weeks. Travel 40 minutes to Melbourne’s west for magic shows, ice skating, workshops and more. The Eynesbury Winter Festival will take place over the school holidays, from Friday June 23 to Sunday July 9.
36. Find the finest wines and winter produce at Fireside Yarra Valley
Fireside is returning to the Yarra Valley for its fifth year. At this 16-day winter festival, you’ll celebrate the sights, sounds, smells and tastes of the region, with culinary experiences, a twilight market and more. Escape to the picturesque landscape of the Yarra Valley and warm up by the fire from Saturday July 8 to Sunday July 23.
37. Check out the Melbourne Documentary Film Festival
This iconic festival is back for its 8th edition. See over 50 incredible Australian documentaries, alongside the best flicks from around the world. The Melbourne Documentary Film Festival will run in cinema from July 21 to 30, and stream online from July 1 to 31. Learn more here.
38. Feel dazzled by Rialto Aglow
Head to the Rialto Piazza in Melbourne CBD for a winter lights festival this July. Find interactive light installations, nightly live entertainment, cocktails, food and more over ten days. Rialto Aglow is free to attend, and will run from July 19 to 29. Learn more here.
39. Feel enchanted by Midnight: The Cinderella Musical
Loosely inspired by the classic Cinderella story, Midnight the musical features Ella, a feisty young heroine, and The Prince, who is captivated by her and finds himself in uncharted territory. See this revamped fairy tale at the Comedy Theatre for a limited season.
40. Warm up with fondue at Transit Bar
Head up to Transit Bar and indulge in three types of decadent fondues for a dreamy $15. Pair your fondue with cocktails, churros and gorgeous Melbourne views for the perfect day out. This experience is available all day on Wednesdays and Thursdays this winter. Find it on Level 2 of Transport Hotel at Fed Square.
41. 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.
42. 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.
43. 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.
Here’s our pick of the very best Candlelight concerts happening in Melbourne in July:
🕯 July 14: Candlelight: Mozart’s Best Works and more
🕯 July 20: Candlelight: Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake & More ft. Ballet
🕯 July 22: Candlelight: 100 Years of Warner Bros
🕯 July 27: Candlelight Soundtracks: Rings & Dragons
44. Have fun at Adventure Park’s Winter Glow
Adventure Park is bringing back their dazzling Winter Glow experience this year. Escape to their delightful winter wonderland, and frolic in the snow, go on the rides, and marvel at the fire twirling and ice sculpting displays. This event will kick off on June 16, and run on select days until July 16.
45. Have a fun day out at Healesville Sanctuary’s Wine & Wildlife
Over one weekend in July, you’ll wander around Healesville Sanctuary while sipping on delicious wines from the Yarra Valley. This winter weekend is all about trying lovely drinks while supporting the health of local animals. Wine & Wildlife will take place on Saturday July 22 and Sunday July 23. Learn more here.
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. Head out of town for the Ballarat Winter Festival
Get into the winter spirit in Ballarat, with heaps of fun experiences. Gaze at the Winter Wonderlights in Sovereign Hill, go ice skating and more! The Ballarat Winter Festival is on now and will end on July 16.
48. Explore East Gippsland for their wonderful winter festival
East Gippsland is celebrating winter with pop-up events, winter feasts, art installations and more. With over 100 events in the festival calendar, there’s lots of reasons for you to drive out of Melbourne and explore the region this July. The East Gippsland Winter Festival is on now and will end on Sunday July 9. See what’s on here.
49. Escape to the snow this winter
50. See the Murray River illuminated with the beauty of Moama Lights
Moama Lights is returning and it’s bigger and brighter than ever. Taking over the NSW town of Moama and its twin Echuca across the water in Victoria, the festival is totally worth the drive out of town. Check it out at Horseshoe Lagoon from June 30 to July 23.