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Dylan Jardine

Cheap hacks for Melbourne's winter culture

As the weather gets chillier, why not save on pennies and explore Melbourne's arts, theatre and music scene on the cheap

Saffron Swire
Written by
Saffron Swire

Winter is here, which means it's well and truly the season for heartwarming broths, duvet-like trenchcoats and piping hot lattes. While the desire to igloo'ify your home and retreat under the safety of a weighted blanket may burn, why not take shelter in a gallery, theatre, or cinema?

There's no better time to be indoors, and luckily, there's plenty of art, theatre and music happening in Melbourne to sink your teeth into (and a lot of it is free or super cheap). From pubs with live music to free art exhibitions, check out our cheap hacks for getting your culture fix this winter.

Plans this weekend? Why not get your skates on and go ice skating in Melbourne.

Get discounted tickets to Arts Centre Melbourne shows

1. Get discounted tickets to Arts Centre Melbourne shows

Every Tuesday from 12pm you can access a variety of discounted shows across Arts Centre Melbourne venues like the State Theatre, Playhouse, Fairfax Studio and Hamer Hall. Enter the promo code ‘TIXAT12’ and click apply before continuing to seat selection. To be the first to find out about Tix at 12 offers, follow Arts Centre Melbourne on Instagram and Facebook for weekly updates. The code will only work from 12pm until 11.59pm on Tuesdays so be sure not to rest on your laurels.

Open until August 20, Melbourne Now is an NGV exhibition that spotlights new and ambitious local designs. Head to the Ian Potter Centre in Fed Square and discover more than 200 projects, including painting, sculpture, architecture, ceramics, video, printmaking and more. Highlights of the exhibition include a room-sized ‘temple’ comprised of thousands of computer fans and a textile-based feline figure covered in colourful pom poms. Learn more about the exhibition here.


When pooling together all of the live music that happens in Melbourne, it’s no surprise the city holds the crown as the music capital of Australia. On Mondays Northcote Social Club has free live music every week with $10 pints all night. Every Tuesday at the Toff, there is free entry and you can listen to live jazz and local DJs while slurping on $15 cocktails. On Wednesday, the Catfish in Fitzroy hosts Blues Roulette, where Australia’s best-known blues artists are put on the spot to create a one-time-only performance. If you want to discover our calendar of all the gigs that happen every day of the week, click here.

Beat the post-weekend blues with a trip to the cinema on a discounted night. Every Monday, Cinema Nova in Carlton offers the cheapest tickets priced at $7 for sessions before 4pm and $10 for sessions after. In the CBD, Kino Cinemas also offers $8.50 tickets every Monday. The larger Palace cinema group is the one to pick on Tuesdays, with $10 tickets for all Palace Movie Club members and $12 tickets for regular patrons. Similarly, Hawthorn’s Lido Cinema offers $12 tickets for non-members every Tuesday. You can discover all the cinemas in Melbourne with discounts here.


Situated in the heart of Federation Square and by the banks of Birrarung Marr, the Koorie Heritage Trust is home to a rich and complex history of Aboriginal art and culture. You can see one of the largest collections of Koorie art and artefacts on permanent display; an annual exhibition program spotlighting local Aboriginal artists; and purchase handcrafted locally made gifts. Until July 9, catch the exhibition Second Skin - Essence of Country, which celebrates the ongoing history and use of animal pelts to create cultural belongings and works of art, from possum skin cloaks to kangaroo skin headdresses and jewellery. 

Open until June 17, Break the Binaries at the Science Gallery includes installations from local and international artists that depict a playful and kaleidoscopic view of identity and genders and their relationship with science, technology, culture, race, sexuality and creativity. Other works at the Science Gallery include Housewives Making Drugs, We Are All Heroes, Word of Mouth, Vocable Code, Bugs against the Binary and Wayfinding. Discover more here.


Why not try out the city’s longest-running comedy night every Monday at Spleen Bar where tickets are priced at $10? Comedy at Spleen has hosted everyone from Wil Anderson to Dave Hughes and Kitty Flanagan, as well as Australia’s up-and-coming talent, making the CBD bar a bastion for all things bright and banterful. Plus, what better way to tackle Blue Monday than with a knee-jerker of a night out? 

Take a trip through the past, present and future of the moving image with interactive experiences and engrossing stories at ACMI’s free exhibition, The Story of the Moving Image. Discover how inventors and artists at the turn of the 20th century used light, split time and captured motion to see the evolution of the craft become what it is today. Collect moments with Lens, a free tool that lets you pick your favourite objects, artworks and creations in the exhibition.  


TodayTix is your digital gateway to snag cheaper tickets to live shows, arts and cultural experiences. On the website, you can set an alert for last-minute theatre tickets for Melbourne shows like Mary Poppins, & Juliet, the Rocky Horror Show, plus many more. Whether it’s a big blockbuster musical, a ballet performance or a comedy gig, the website has shows at the best prices. It also offers exclusive access to a digital lottery. For more handy tips on how to get cheap theatre tickets in Melbourne, click here

Looking for affordable theatre all year round?

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