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 this July.
1. Wander through twinkling light installations at Lightscape
Head to Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne this July 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.
2. 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.
3. Stay out late for NGV Friday Nights
The popular NGV Friday Nights is back. Expect a massive line-up of live performances, DJ sets, bars and Spanish-inspired dining, with inspiration from Parisian nightlife. Friday Nights will continue through the cold winter months, and end on October 7.Learn more here.
4. 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.
5. Burn the night away at Firelight Festival
Dance with the flames and keep the cold at bay when Firelight Festival returns to Docklands over three nights. See light shows and fire sculptures, try wintery food and drink, and listen to live performances. This will run from Friday July 1 to Sunday July 3.More info here.
6. Explore the lovely Winter Night Market
It’s been three years since we’ve been able to enjoy the iconic 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.
7. Go on a truffle tour at Queen Vic Market
Celebrate truffle season at Queen Vic Market, by going on a truffle tour. Learn all about truffles from your guide, and indulge in some delicious truffle treats along the way.
Bookings are essential. Learn more here.
8. Feel connected to nature at Melbourne Museum’s digital exhibition, Tyama
Explore Victoria’s natural, nocturnal world at this immersive exhibition. Journey from the night sky, through caves and into the sea. Engage your senses and explore stories inspired by First Peoples knowledge and the environment when Tyama opens at Melbourne Museum on Friday July 22.More info here.
9. Lose yourself in a mirror maze at Kaleidoscope
Enter a world of shifting illusions in this mesmerising installation made of glass, steel, mirrors and moving prisms. Explore Kaleidoscope at Arts Centre Melbourne from now until July 24.More info here.
10. Watch a digital Spirit Eel weave its way around Hamer Hall
Ancestral Memory is a digital work of art created by Maree Clarke and Mitch Majoney. See this projection of a Spirit Eel loop around the façade of Hamer Hall, from July 1 to 31.Learn more here.
11. 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 will play at the Arts Centre’s State Theatre, with previews starting on July 10. The season will officially start in Melbourne on July 14, and run until August 28.See more here.
12. Roam through edible fog and more at Bunjil Place
London-based creative studio Bompas & Parr will create a fully immersive, sensory installation for the Casey Winter Arts Festival at Bunjil Place. This installation, Casey Cornucopia, will feature fruit-flavoured fog, fruit sculptures and more. Wander through the cornucopia from now until July 17.Find more info here.
13. Warm up your bellies with this soup series from Hanoi Hannah
Hanoi Hannah is returning with their annual Soup Series, which highlights authentic but lesser-known flavours. Slurp down a rotation of four different soups for four weeks, starting on Monday June 27, and ending on Sunday July 24.
14. Find some winter magic at foodie paradise Grazeland
Celebrate winter every weekend in Melbourne’s west. Frolic underneath falling snow, warm up with mulled wine, admire gorgeous LED lights and more. Grazeland will transform into a winter wonderland every weekend, from now until July 31.
15. Discover the cosmos at Neighbourhood Earth
Journey through the solar system in this immersive exhibit. Developed with the help of NASA’s George C. Marshall Space Flight Center and the US Space and Rocket Center, 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. It’s going to be out of this world!Get your tickets here.
16. 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 French music, from ’60s Yéyé to ‘80s French Disco and ‘90s French Touch. This adults-only dance party will take place in North Melbourne’s Meat Market on Saturday July 9, from 5pm to 11pm.More info here.
17. Celebrate Bastille Day at this French festival in Fed Square
The annual Bastille Day French Festival is coming back to Fed Square this July. Explore a delightful French Winter Market, try some food masterclasses, see live entertainment and much more. Pop the champagne and check out this festival on Saturday July 16 and Sunday July 17.More info here.
18. Sip on theatrical cocktails at Curious
Venture down into Curious, a cocktail bar at W Melbourne, and enjoy a night of creative concoctions. The award-winning team from Sydney’s Maybe Sammy is coming to Curious for one night only. Entry is free, but bookings are required. This takeover will happen on Tuesday July 12.
19. Warm up at the European Night Market
This laneway in Melbourne CBD will transform into a bustling marketplace inspired by 1920s Europe this July. Across four Fridays, you’ll indulge in cheesy comfort food, Bavarian pretzels, mulled wine and more winter favourites. European Night Market will return to Madame Brussels Lane from July 8 to 29.
20. Stay up all night for this massive Twilight marathon
Cinema Nova is screening all five Twilight movies in one night. Douse yourself in glitter, warm up your vocal chords, and get ready for a night of singalongs, giveaways and more. This Twilight marathon will run on Saturday July 30.More info here.
21. Skate your way to this Roller Disco Brunch
Roll your way back to the ’80s, when this Roller Disco Brunch comes back to Melbourne. So, round up your friends, pop on a leotard and dance your way back in time at this nostalgic event. Roller Disco Brunch is taking over The Line in Footscray, on Sunday July 24.
22. Get into a festive spirit with this Christmas pop-up in Docklands
Celebrate Christmas in July at Tinseltown, a festive pop-up coming to The District Docklands. There will be merry decorations, Christmas anthems, an Instagrammable cocktail menu and more.
Tinseltown will be open from Wednesday to Sunday every week in July, starting from July 6.
23. Be enchanted by the Melbourne Magic Festival
Suspend your disbelief and enjoy the spectacle of the Melbourne Magic Festival. This festival is the largest of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere, with over 130 performances of 30 different shows to discover. It’s on now, and running until July 9.
24. See Looking for Alibrandi at Malthouse Theatre
Watch this beloved novel and film unfold on stage for the first time at the Malthouse Theatre. This iconic story takes a look at 1990s Mediterranean culture, and discusses systemic racism in Australia from a migrant perspective. Previews start on July 9, with opening night on July 13.More info here.
25. 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 July 31. Learn more here.
26. 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.
27. 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.
28. 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.See more here.
29. Head to the Commons Collective for cabaret, Christmas and more
Escape the winter chill and warm up inside The Commons Collective. Under one roof, you’ll find heaps of eclectic spaces that will light up the colder months with the glitz of cabaret, the sparkle of bottomless brunch, the glow of Christmas and much, much more.See more here.
30. Immerse yourself in Imaginaria
Lose yourself 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. It relaunched earlier in June, and is now ready for you to explore.Learn more here.
31. See The Picture of Dorian Gray at Arts Centre Melbourne
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.
32. 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.
33. 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. Head to the Ian Potter Centre in Fed Square for music, performances and more on July 9. Check out the launch of APY Art Centre Collective, a First Nations artist-owned gallery, on Victoria Harbour. Support local First Nations business at the Sunday Market along St Kilda Road. And more! NAIDOC Week will run from July 3 to 10.
34. Enjoy a Christmas in July feast and bottomless brunch at Appartement 26
Take a step back in time at this lavish Parisian salon, filled with gorgeous antiques. Enjoy a Christmas feast paired with delicious wine at their Christmas in July dinner, from July 6 to 8. If high tea is more your style, enjoy delicious sandwiches, pastries, desserts and bottomless champagne on July 9 and 23.
35. Fall in love with Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella
The Tony Award-winning Broadway musical, Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella now playing at the Regent Theatre in Melbourne. This romantic production is packed full of moments that will take your breath away, with familiar scenes that we all know and love, as well as surprising twists and turns.Learn more here.
36. Taste a dreamy Cinderella high tea at The Westin
Get ready for Cinderella by indulging in the Enchanted High Tea at The Westin Melbourne. Enjoy three tiers of themed treats, both sweet and savoury. Then, head to the Lobby Lounge and sip on Magical Cocktails.Learn more here.
37. Feel amazed by a massive sculpture of the Earth at St Paul’s Cathedral
Artist Luke Jerram is back with another incredible installation. Prepare to be dazzled and humbled at the same time, when you gaze at a seven-metre sculpture of the Earth. This detailed installation, known as Gaia, will be displayed at St Paul’s Cathedral Melbourne, from now until July 10.Learn more here.
38. Rethink everything you know about the Tudor wives at 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.
39. Tantalise your taste buds by Dining in the Dark
Juliet Melbourne is dimming the lights on select Wednesdays in July and taking you on a journey with their Dining in the Dark experience. Simply choose between vegan, meat or seafood options, and let the chef take care of the rest.Make a booking here.
40. 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.
41. 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.
42. 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.
43. 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.
44. Meet Horridus the Triceratops at Melbourne Museum
See the world’s most complete triceratops fossil at Melbourne Museum this July.Learn more here.
45. 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.
46. Indulge in a treat from the Lobster & Co pop-up
Lobster & Co is back on Arts Centre Melbourne’s forecourt. Warm up with lobster chowder and a sourdough bowl, from May 31 to July 10.
47. Stumble across some animal sculptures along the Yarra River
Walk along Yarra’s Edge, and see 20 life-sized endangered animal baby statues, and their mother gorilla. These sculptures were created by internationally renowned Gillie and Marc. This interactive exhibition is all about raising awareness about endangered animals. There’s QR codes on each sculpture, so you can make direct donations to WWF Australia.
Each sculpture also needs a name! Enter a competition and submit a suggested name, with an explanation of 25 words or less. Winners will receive naming rights to the animal, which will be engraved on the plaque of each statue. They will also receive a limited-edition print, and $100 will be donated on their behalf to WWF Australia.Learn more here.
48. Taste this mythical cake by Black Star Pastry and Koko Black
Get ready for Theobroma: Food of the Gods. This decadent, seven-layer cake celebrates the origin of the cocoa fruit. It’s available for one day only, on Thursday July 7.
49. Dive into Sea Life Melbourne Aquarium
Check out Colourful Creatures at Sea Life Melbourne Aquarium this July. Go through 14 immersive zones at the aquarium, and document your experience in an underwater adventure booklet. It’s a great activity to try for the school holidays. After that, check out their Dive into the Deep exhibition, and learn all about the weird and wonderful creatures that come out after dark.
50. 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.
51. 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.
52. Have fun at the Finders Keepers Market
After two years, the Finders Keepers Market is back in Melbourne this July. Head to the Royal Exhibition Building and discover independent art, design and food stalls. This market will run from July 8 to 10.
53. 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.
54. Have fun at Adventure Park’s Winter Glow
Adventure Park has brought back their dazzling Winter Glow experience. 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. Feel mesmerised by the twinkle of 2.7 million lights, and hundreds of glittering installations dotted around the park. See it from June 23 to July 10.More info here.
55. Have a fun day out at Healesville Sanctuary’s Wine and 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 run from Saturday July 16 to Sunday July 17.More info here.
56. 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 July 1 to Sunday July 3. Then, when the festival is over, stick around during the colder months for some whale-watching.More info here.
57. 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 Friday July 15, and continue until Sunday September 4.More info here.
58. Escape to Ballarat for the Ballarat Winter Festival
Head out of Melbourne this July and get into the festive winter spirit at the Ballarat Winter Festival. See the magical Winter Wonderlights at Sovereign Hill, go ice skating, see fiery knights at Kryal Castle and more! This festival ends on July 17.See what’s on here.
59. Discover Elvis: Direct from Graceland in Bendigo Art Gallery
In this exclusive exhibition, you’ll explore the life and style of the famous Elvis Presley. See a wide range of costumes, memorabilia, and treasured items straight from the Graceland archive. This incredible exhibition is now open at Bendigo Art Gallery, and will stick around until July 17.
60. Explore East Gippsland for their wonderful winter festival
East Gippsland is celebrating winter with pop-up events, winter feasts, art installations and more. Taste local produce, warm up with wine and more over the winter nights, from Gippsland Lakes to the High Country.
This festival is on now, and will run until July 10. Browse through the full program here.