A guide to autumn in Melbourne

Autumn in Melbourne is packed with fabulous festivals, world-class exhibitions, big plays and musicals and a host of events. Why not make the trip here and get involved?
Photograph: Robert Blackburn

Melbourne is a city of style and substance – and at no time of the year is this more apparent than in autumn. As the weather cools, locals head to events like the Melbourne International Comedy Festival and pack out cosy wine bars and the hottest new restaurants. We've got you covered for all the best events, plus included suggestions on where to shop and where to eat while you’re here.

To plan your ultimate Melbourne getaway, visit our Time Out Guru to get tailored recommendations on where to stay, what to eat and all the best things to do.

All the best autumn events

at the ACIM Wonderland Exhibition


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If you have fond memories of falling down the rabbit hole with Alice in the 1951 Disney animation or venturing into Tim Burton’s dark Wonderland in his 2010 live action film, then we’ve got good news: Alice is coming to ACMI this autumn. Wonderland is a highly immersive and experimental exhibition developed by ACMI as its 2018 Winter Masterpieces offering. Wonderland will trace the legacy of Lewis Carroll’s story (written in 1865) through its many film iterations (40 of them, to be exact), and working with some of the country’s most cutting-edge artists and designers to make Wonderland an interactive experience.

Vikings Beyond the Legend at Melbourne Museum
Things to do, Exhibitions

Vikings: Beyond the Legend

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The vikings have dropped anchor at Melbourne Museum. The museum's major new exhibition, Vikings: Beyond the Legend, is the largest collection of viking artefacts ever in Australia, and it's the furthest the norse men have ever traveled from their hearths. This international blockbuster (nearly two million people have visited the exhibition worldwide) features more than 400 artefacts from one of history’s most fascinating civilisations, as well as 40 replicas (including a huge replica viking longship). Live out your archaeologist dreams and try to excavate a virtual viking ship, or challenge your mates to a viking board game. You can even see what it felt like to wield a viking sword.

While you're here...

Making cocktails at Beneath Driver Lane
Photograph: Graham Denholm

Visit the best new restaurants and bars in Melbourne

When it comes to dining in Melbourne, it’s all about staying ahead of the curve. Head north of the city to trendy Gertrude Street and treat yourself to an unbeatable (and always surprising) meal at Cutler and Co – chef Andrew McConnell’s sleek fine-diner that underwent a complete overhaul in 2017. For something a little more spicy, Fitzroy’s brand new South Indian restaurant Madras Brothers does the trick (our tip: order a Chai Martini). If the weather’s warm, toast a cheers to your Melbourne adventure with a cocktail on Fitzroy’s latest rooftop, the Provincial.

Staying in the city? One of the most anticipated openings of the year was Thai restaurant and bar Longsong – and it's well and truly lived up to the hype. For a Mexican feast you won't soon forget, make your way to Bodega Underground for mezcal cocktails, incredible tacos and great tunes. For a real hidden gem, make sure you check out the recently opened Beneath Driver Lane – the cocktail bar located in an old bank vault, serving Reuben sandwiches at 2am.

If you're feeling adventurous, head to Melbourne's buzzy inner-west suburb of Footscray and check out two of the city's most exciting recent openings. The nearly-hidden Mr West offers 26 local and rare beers to try, not to mention killer cocktails. Get your slice of top-notch pizza from the nearby Harley and Rose, helmed by two of Melbourne's brightest chefs.

Photograph: Robert Blackburn

Dress for the occasion

Melbourne is unbeatable for its range of shopping options, from small boutiques selling work of local designers to precincts packed with international brands. Start in the heart of it all, Emporium in the CBD – and head straight up to level two, where you’ll find one of the largest collections of Australian designers. One of Melbourne’s most diverse shopping strips is Brunswick Street in Fitzroy, home to the likes of local favourites Gorman, Alpha60 and Bul, plus a host of vintage shops. The adjacent Gertrude Street is dotted with quirky design boutiques to suit every taste.

Melbourne is also famous for its design and second-hand markets, where you can pick up pre-loved treasures and fashion by local makers. Our top picks are the Rose Street Artists' Market, Footscray Finds and the Heide Makers' Market.  

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