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Karaoke at Goros
Photograph: Anna Kucera

Late-night activities that don't involve drinking

Just because you're off the booze, doesn't mean you can't enjoy a big night out. Melbourne is full of after-dark alcohol-free activities – here are our favourites

Adena Maier
Written by
Adena Maier
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Trying to make after-dark plans with friends that don't involve buying multiple $20 cocktails? We've got good news: here in Melbourne, there are heaps of alcohol-free activities to partake in once the sun goes down. And if you do want to imbibe, many of these venues have fully stocked bars. 

Pre-plan your midnight feast with our top late-night eats, or, if payday is still a ways off, check out our round-up of the best free things to do in Melbourne.

Alcohol-free activities in Melbourne

  • Things to do
  • Games and hobbies

Did you know that a British anthropologist discovered evidence that bowling was played in ancient Egypt, as far back as 5200BC? That probably has a lot to do with how simple the game is; if you have a ball and a few pins, you can bowl. To this day, it's remained a fun, inexpensive and inclusive sport for all ages and skill levels. Whether your bowling prowess is akin to the Dude from The Big Lebowski or you're the type to be throwing goose eggs without the help of gutters or a bowling ramp, it's still going to be a good time.

  • Things to do
  • Games and hobbies

There are many things to like about laser tag: it's thrilling and competitive, it's not as painful as paintball and it's an excellent way to get your steps in. Are you a sniper who slinks into dark corners and wait for your prey? Or a more brash player who prefers to take risks, guns blazing? We've rounded up our favourite laser tag arenas in Melbourne, so gather your mates, put together a dream team and see who will win in a fight to the finish. 

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  • Things to do
  • Games and hobbies

Video games are fun and all, but it's hard to fully immerse yourself when the corners of your room are still visible on the periphery. If you're keen on a truly all-encompassing experience, give virtual reality a try. It's come a long way since the first headset was created in the late 1960's, when it was mainly used to provide training across skills like aviation and surgery. Now, you can visit one of these centres across Melbourne, strap on a headset and enter everything from cyberpunk universities and zombie apocalypses to racecar simulators and the surreal, mind-bending world of Alice in Wonderland.

  • Things to do
  • Games and hobbies

Not quite ready to tackle the big holes yet? Rather not spend the better part of your day on the green? That's OK – putt your way through these miniature courses instead. Mini golf is like regular golf's goofy younger sibling, with punny and themed holes, quirky obstacles and pumping tunes. Many of these venues also feature arcades and well-stocked bars, so the fun doesn't stop once you've played through your round. 

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  • Nightlife

'Total Eclipse of the Heart'. 'Rock Lobster'. 'Someone Like You'. 'Man! I Feel Like a Woman!'. What do these songs have in common? They're all A-grade bangers that will help you slay your next karaoke set and leave your fellow singers gasping. Who needs alcohol when you've got clean, wholesome sing-offs?

Hungry?

If you don't mind dancing sober...

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