It’s the first month of spring! And Melbourne is coming alive with dreamy floral events, as well as cool exhibitions, performances and food festivals. If you’re looking for inspiration, here are our recommendations on things to do, see and eat around Melbourne this September.
1. 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.
2. Explore the new festival Now or Never
Melbourne will soon be transformed with dazzling projections, live music events, 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.
3. Have a smoking good time at the BBQ Beer Festival in Grazeland
Celebrate Father’s Day weekend with heaps of barbequed meats and craft beers at Grazeland’s BBQ Beer Weekend. There’s all sorts of cuisines to try, from Argentinian to African, as well as an exclusive beer area. There will be live music to soundtrack the weekend, and an interactive kids zone to keep the little ones happy. This event will run from September 1 to 3. More info here.
4. Have fun at the Malaysian Festival
Visit Queen Victoria Market and celebrate Malaysian food and culture. Feel transported to a vibrant hawker market, with tasty dishes like Char Kuey Teow, satay and durian. There will also be activities like lantern making and a mooncake cooking demonstration, as well as entertainment like lion dancing. This festival is on from 9am to 4pm on September 2 and 3. See more here.
5. Spark your imagination with RELICS: A New World Rises at Melbourne Museum
Perth duo Jackson Harvey and Alex Towler have channelled their creativity to create 15 different LEGO worlds. See an imagined future, and discover LECO minifigures living in discarded treasures. RELICS: A New World Rises will open at Melbourne Museum on Friday September 1.
6. Visit Archer’s for their whisky dinner series
Archer’s at Marriott Docklands is hosting a special event, once a month, to showcase different Victorian distillers. This time, they’re showcasing Morris Whisky. Enjoy a four-course dinner matched with four of their finest whiskies. This dinner is available on Saturday September 2. Bookings are essential.
7. 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. Check it out at Hanover House in Southbank. Grab your tickets here.
8. Let loose at Funlab’s Day of Fun
For one day only, all Funlab venues will have $5 deals to help you have a Day of Fun. All the profits will go towards headspace, a foundation that supports the mental health of young people. Sing some karaoke, play laser tag or go bowling on the cheap, at 20 venues around Melbourne. Funlab’s annual Day of Fun will take place on Tuesday September 6. Bookings are available now.
9. Catch a movie at the Korean Film Festival
The Korean Film Festival in Australia (KOFFIA) is returning to Melbourne this September with a number of excellent films lined up. Discover the biggest blockbusters, rom-coms, thrillers and more! See it at ACMI from September 7 to 11.
10. Return to the Melbourne Royal Show
The iconic Melbourne Royal Show is coming back to town for another season of family fun. Look forward to over 100 free experiences, explore new animal precincts, enjoy live entertainment and feast on delicious food. Find it at Melbourne Showgrounds from Thursday September 21 to Sunday October 1.
11. RESET yourself at Fed Square
For the whole month of September, Fed Square will focus on sustainability, biodiversity and nature at their festival, RESET. Check out free and family-friendly events and workshops that will get you thinking about how you can help reduce, reuse, recycle and repair. Key events include a Zero Waste Festival on September 2 and a Vegan Market on September 9. For the full program, click here.
12. Feel whisked away to Mexico at Arbory Afloat
Melbourne’s original floating bar and restaurant, Arbory Afloat, is emerging from hibernation, and transforming into Afloat Viva Mexico. Sip on margaritas and feast on tacos and more. Arbory Afloat will open exclusively for walk-ins in early September.
13. See the transformed Studley Park Boathouse
After a multi-million renovation, the historic Studley Park Boathouse will reopen on August 31, just in time for spring. To celebrate, on the first three weekends of trade, from September 2 to 17, you can enjoy free roving pizza, complimentary boat hire sessions and more from 2pm to 4pm.
14. Discover arts and culture at Darebin’s FUSE Festival
Streets, parks, venues, theatres, galleries and other public spaces around Darebin will be transformed into hubs of culture and creativity. Explore this multi-arts festival from September 2 to 17.
15. Explore glowing animal installations at Electric Kingdom
A free and immersive outdoor experience is taking over Birrarung Marr this September. Enter the exciting Electric Kingdom, and see glimmering installations, roving performances, ambient soundscapes and more. Presented by A Blanck Canvas, this illuminated dreamscape will light up Melbourne from Thursday to Sunday nights, and run from September 7 to 17.
16. Dive into the immersive theatre experience Love Lust Lost
Hop aboard the E.V. Nautilus, and descend into an underwater theatrical playground at the choose-your-own-adventure production, Love Lust Lost. Explore 38 intricately designed spaces across over 1500 square metres at The Austral in Collingwood. Go at your own pace, and become active participants in the story. Love Lust Lost will run from Friday September 8.
17. 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.
18. 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.
19. Have fun at the NGV Teens: Art Party
For one night only, teenagers are invited to head to NGV for an exclusive event. Check out the Pierre Bonnard exhibition, then dance the night away with DJs. K-pop dance group, NV Dance studio, will host a dance competition, and hair stylist James Hatton will be there to style your hair with colourful blossoms and leafy sprigs. This event is for those aged 12-18 with a valid high school ID. The NGV Teens: Art Party will take place on Saturday September 9.
20. 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.
21. 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.
22. 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.
23. Feel spellbound by Maho Magic Bar
Head to Chinatown and discover a Japanese-themed pop-up bar. Enjoy delicious drinks, and feel captivated by musicians as they perform close-up magic at your table. Maho Magic Bar will open on September 15. Get your tickets here.
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. Neon Nights will end on Sunday September 24.
25. Pass go and discover Monopoly Dreams
Australia’s first Monopoly-themed attraction is coming to Melbourne Central. Immerse yourself and wander around Monopoly City and Mr. Monopoly’s Mansion. Monopoly Dreams is set to open in September, but an opening date has not been confirmed yet.
26. 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.
27. Stay out late at Goddess Nights
Explore the ACMI exhibition, Goddess: Power, Glamour, Rebellion after hours. Then, keep the party going with DJ sets, food from Hero, and drinks from Campari and Handpicked Wines. Goddess Nights will take place on Thursday September 28 from 7pm.
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. Get your tickets here.
29. 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.
30. 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.
31. Stay out late with the Melbourne Museum Nocturnal program
The electrifying, after-hours event, Nocturnal, is coming back to Melbourne Museum. Explore exhibitions, and enjoy tours, curator talks, trivia and DJ performances. Nocturnal will take over Melbourne Museum on the second Thursday of each month, starting on Thursday September 14.
32. Tantalise your senses at Dining in the Dark
Surprise your senses and test your taste buds at Dining in the Dark. Pop on a blindfold and journey through a three-course menu. This experience will take place on Wednesday September 13 and 27. Get your tickets here.
33. 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.
34. Listen to traditional Jewish folk music at Live at Toorak
On Wednesday September 20 the Toorak Synagogue will be opening its doors for a special one-night concert event, Live at Toorak. The evening’s performance will include globally renowned cantor Dudu Fisher, honey-voiced Aaron Max, rising star Menachem Feldman, and the 6-piece klezmer band 5th of Nisan. Get your tickets here.
35. Have a sweet time with Winnie the Pooh
See your favourite childhood characters live on stage at Winnie the Pooh: The New Musical Stage Adaptation. After wowing audiences on Broadway and the West End, you’ll see Winnie the Pooh and his friends brought to life with stunning puppetry, to tell a new story in the Hundred Acre Wood. This musical will play at the Comedy Theatre from September 21 to 24.
36. 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 September include a celebration of movie soundtracks, tributes to Taylor Swift, a dreamy ballet performance and more. See what’s coming up here.
37. See Arthur Miller’s timeless tale, Death of a Salesman
Death of a Salesman is playing in Melbourne for a limited season. This masterpiece by Arthur Miller explores the American Dream and its consequences, providing insights into the human psyche and portraying our vulnerability, hope and despair. This Pulitzer Prize-winning story is on at Her Majesty’s Theatre from September 1 to October 15.
38. Keep your spirits up at the Melbourne Cocktail Festival
The Melbourne Cocktail Festival is back for its fourth year this September. Go on the Bar Safari and try $15 cocktails at 40 venues, then check out masterclasses, pop-ups and more! The festival is on from September 18 to 24. Learn more here.
39. Attend Olivine Wine School at Pentridge Prison
Olivine Wine Bar is launching their Wine School. The first event, ‘The Spanish Revolution’, will focus on Spanish wine. Sip your way through eight different drinks and learn more about the regions and producers. You will be able to purchase food if you’re hungry. The event will take place on Wednesday September 20.
40. Try some Poolside Pilates at W Melbourne
Visit WET at W Melbourne on Tuesday mornings and get moving with their Poolside Pilates sessions. Strengthen your core and focus on alignment in the dreamy poolside setting over 50 minutes. Then, dip in the water after class for a swim. Find out more here.
41. Celebrate at the Chinese Traditional Cultural Festival
Immerse yourself in Chinese culture in Melbourne this September. Take part in activities, see traditional performances, explore photo-worthy attractions and more. The Chinese Traditional Cultural Festival will take place at Fed Square on September 23 and 24. Learn more here.
42. Celebrate at the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival
Head to Queen Vic Market for the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival. Feast on traditional mooncakes and mouth-watering street food, then check out some live music, cultural performances and activities. The festival will run from 9am to 4pm on September 23 and 24.
43. Have a (n)ice time at the NHL Global Series
The world’s most famous ice hockey league is coming to us, as the NHL Global Series heads to Melbourne on September 23 & 24, with a pair of preseason games at Rod Laver Arena. This will be the first time that the NHL Games have ever been held in the Southern Hemisphere.
44. 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 September 30 from 9am to 4pm.
45. Feast on Sundays with Victoria by Farmer’s Daughters
Treat yourself this month with the help of Victoria by Farmer’s Daughters at Fed Square. Try their Spring Sunday Sessions, and enjoy seasonal shared grazing plates and bottomless Four Pillars cocktails. Or, book yourself in for The Sunday Grill, and enjoy a seasonal BBQ feast of shared plates. More details here.
46. Feel like you’re in a period romance at The Garden at Broughton Hall
Set against the rolling hills of West Gippsland, overlooking the man-made Tarago Reservoir, The Garden at Broughton Hall offers a dreamy landscape that’s perfect for an afternoon stroll. And it’s reopening to the public on Thursdays to Sundays, from September 2.
47. Feel pretty in pink at this Cherry Blossom Festival
Drive out to the Yarra Valley and celebrate spring at the Blossom Festival by CherryHill Orchards. Take your family, your friends, and even your dog, and explore the stunning rows of blooming cherry trees. During the festival, there will be workshops to try, delicious food to eat, photography packages and more. This year, the Cherry Blossom Festival will run from September 16 to October 1.
48. Wander through colourful fields at the Tesselaar Tulip Festival
Drive out to the Dandenong Ranges and feel delighted by the visual splendour of the Tesselaar Tulip Festival. There’s nearly one million bulbs spread across five acres to discover. On top of the tulips, there will be food, drinks and entertainment. The Tesselaar Tulip Festival will run from Saturday September 16 to Sunday October 15.
49. Find fairies and more at Blue Hills Cherry Blossom Show
Blue Hills Berries & Cherries are bringing back their delightful Cherry Blossom Show. Feel a touch of whimsy at this cherry farm, and discover a fairy garden, stunning flowers and face painting. On the weekends, there will be live music and a roaming Blossom Fairy. The Cherry Blossom Show will run from Saturday September 23 to Sunday October 1. Learn more here.
50. 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 run until Sunday October 1.
51. Amble along the Cornella Canola Walk
Shiraz Republic and Cornella Brewery have teamed up to create the Cornella Canola Walk. Take a day trip to Cornella and traipse through a special track and viewing platform within their 100 acre fields. Cornella Canola Walk is open from Friday to Monday from 11am to 5pm, from now until mid-September.
52. Admire the Bendigo Annual Tulip Display
Head to Pall Mall and Conservatory Garden to see this year’s Bendigo Annual Tulip Display. There, you’ll find over 53, 000 tulips with a whole range of colours, sizes and blooming times. The tulips usually start blooming from mid-September to mid-October. Check here for more information.