Top 25 fun (and free) things to do in Melbourne

Written by in Moving on August 10, 2017

Melbourne is a beautiful city to visit, but tourists can be put off by the potential price tag attached to its pricier attractions. In the interests of being fun yet frugal, here are more than two-dozen activities and adventures you can have in Melbourne – for next to nix.

1. The National Gallery of Victoria

Take a stroll through the NGV, one of Australia’s most popular art museums. The NGV often holds many free exhibitions and features over 70,000 different artworks.


2. Hosier Lane

Hosier Lane is the epitome of the Melbourne urban art scene. Admire the laneway before stopping in at one of the bars or restaurants nearby.

3. The State Library

Grab a cuppa and a good book at The State Library. A historic masterpiece at over 100 years old, it is home to more than 2 million books, a bookstore, art exhibitions and a café.


4. The Creator’s Market

Head to The Creator’s Market on August 26 for an afternoon of browsing beautiful handmade art and homemade treats. The family-friendly atmosphere means everyone will have fun!

5. Parliament House

If you are so inclined, the guided tours of Parliament House are a great way to learn about Melbourne’s political history.

6. City Circle Tram

The City Circle Tram is a free tram that travels around the CBD. A great way to hop on and hop off and explore all Melbourne has to offer.

7. The Australian Centre for Contemporary Art

If progressive, modern art calls your name, the ACCA should be on the top of your to do list!

8. The Yarra River

The Yarra River runs right through the CBD and is a whopping 242 km long. Stroll along here and you’re guaranteed to see some interesting sights, whether it be mother nature or the locals!

9. The Carlton Gardens

Pack a lunch, grab your picnic blanket, and head to the Carlton Gardens. A world heritage listed garden that spans 64 acres, it is a beautiful place to sit back, relax and enjoy some good food and company.

10. Bicycling

Get your heart pumping and hire a bike at one of the kiosks around the city and cycle the streets thanks to Melbourne Bike Share (the first 30 minutes are free!).

11. Queen Victoria Market

Melburnians love their markets, and the Queen Victoria Market is the biggest and most popular. Here you’ll find plenty of handmade food, second-hand trinkets and gourmet food samples.

12. St Kilda

Soak in the sea views and walk along the pier, go window-shopping on Acland Street or visit Luna Park for a selfie in front of that world-famous grin.

13. The Koorie Heritage Trust Cultural Centre

Appreciate authentic Aboriginal artwork and learn more about the traditions of the Wurundjeri people at the Koorie Heritage Trust Cultural Centre in Federation Square.

14. The churches

Adelaide may be called The City of Churches, but Melbourne’s are just as beautiful. St Paul’s Cathedral, St Michael’s Uniting Church or the Scots Church are just a few of beautiful religious structures worth seeking out.

15. The architecture

Melbourne is full of impressive architecture, from Flinders Street Railway Station, Block Arcade, the ANZ building or the Nicholas Building, and exploring these sights makes for a fun day.

16. The Shrine of Remembrance

The Shrine of Remembrance, built in 1934 in memory of the men and women who fought and lost their lives in WWI, is a moving place to pay your respects.

17. Live Music

Melbourne is always brimming with free gigs. Check out one of the local papers to find out where they’re at during your visit!

18. The Wheeler Centre

Part of the city library, the Wheeler Centre is a great place to attend free speaking events and workshops about books and writing.

19. Town Hall

The Town Hall is an enormous, historical building that holds a wide variety of concerts and theatre all year round – some of them for free!

20. The Royal Australian Air Force Museum

The RAAF Museum is where the Australian Flying Corps and the Royal Australian Air Force were first created, and is a fascinating insight into part of Australia’s history.

21. Docklands fireworks

If you’re in Melbourne during winter, head to Docklands to enjoy free fireworks every night in July and August.

22. Walk the CBD

Wandering through this beautiful city is a stellar way to kill time and soak in the sights, smells and sounds. Join one of the free walking tours that begin in Federation Square from 10am or 2pm each day.

23. Brighton Beach

Home to those iconic brightly coloured bathing boxes, Brighton Beach is a fun spot to visit as the weather warms up.

24. The Ian Potter Centre

Inside the NGV, the Ian Potter Centre always holds a wide variety of free art exhibitions.

25. The Old Treasury Building

See the original vaults in the Old Treasury Building where gold bullion was kept during the gold rush, and then head next door to Fitzroy Gardens to see the Fairies tree and the conservatory.


Considering having a more permanent stay in Melbourne? Moving to Melbourne: What you need to know