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8 fun events you can't miss this summer in Melbourne

Make the most of the warm weather with these top activities around town
Arbory Afloat
Photograph: Supplied
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The long days, mild nights and glorious weather mean it’s time to experience the best Melbourne has to offer. Whether you're looking for drinks with a riverside view or fabulous festivals, summer in the city has it all with art, markets, food, film and more. Plus if your wallet is looking a little thin post-holidays there are plenty of free and cheap events as well.

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NGV Friday Nights audience
Photograph: Supplied
Things to do

Friday Nights at the NGV

icon-location-pin NGV International, Southbank
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The NGV's Friday Nights series is back for another round, and this time they’re pairing a string of gigs alongside the new Escher X nendo | Between Two Worlds exhibition. Few things go hand-in-hand like music and art, and NGV Friday Nights’ set-up is the best way to take in the latest NGV exhibition after dark while enjoying the best in local and international acts. This season’s line-up boasts headline electronic artists and DJs including Melbourne duo Confidence Man, record producer Jonti, Australian/Filipino artist Chela plus a special Saturday night DJ set from San Cisco on Saturday, April 6.

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Yarra River with skyline at Arbory Afloat
Bars, Cocktail bars

Arbory Afloat

icon-location-pin Arbory Bar and Eatery, Melbourne
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Oh buoy! The team behind massive outdoor eatery and beer garden Arbory Bar and Eatery have brought back their famed floating bar and restaurant Arbory Afloat for summer. The giant, nautical-themed floating pontoon has moored itself alongside Arbory’s permanent fixture beside platform 13 of Flinders Street Station. As well as boasting 360-degree views of the Yarra River and the CBD skyline, Arbory Afloat has an extensive cocktail list (think fruit-driven cocktails like Pomegranate Daquiris and Watermelon Sangria) and a Mediterranean-inspired wine list. Hungry? You can dig into fresh seafood including grilled southern calamari and eight different wood-fired pizzas. Entertainment has been curated by Sky Lab and will feature some of the country's buzziest DJs who will be soundtracking your balmy evenings all throughout summer.

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Queen Vic Night Market
Photograph: Ewen Bell
Things to do

The Night Market at Queen Vic Market

icon-location-pin Queen Victoria Market, Melbourne
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Spend your Wednesday nights surrounded by food at the Queen Victoria Market's legendary Night Market. Rows and rows of street food stalls, festival bars, as well as more than 130 art, fashion, homewares and general knick-knack merchandise traders will feature alongside a rotating line-up of musicians and entertainment. Over 60 food stalls will be cooking up delicious snacks all night long, including anything from charcoal skewers, Japanese sliders, Greek doughnuts and so much more. If you're thirsty, the Garden Bar will be serving Canadian Club and Coldstream cider, Mitchelton Winery will be showcasing a range of wines and their fun Prosseco spritzes, plus market faves Brick Lane Brewing Co will be pouring two new craft brews alongside the usual favourites.

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Birrarung Marr
Photograph: Roberto Seba
Things to do, Fairs and festivals

National Sustainable Living Festival

icon-location-pin Around Melbourne, Melbourne
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Sustainability might have become a bit of a buzzword lately, but the National Sustainable Living Festival has been flying the flag for decades. The organisation has been around for nearly 20 years, encouraging Australians to adopt more eco-conscious lifestyles. The 2019 festival runs throughout the entire month of February and will feature sustainability experts from Australia and across the globe. One of the festival highlights will be the Big Weekend happening between Friday, February 8 and Sunday, February 10. Held at Birrarung Marr and Fed Square, the weekend will showcase around hundreds of exhibitors championing sustainable products, services and programs.  Expect plenty of free talks, forums, workshops and demonstrations across the three days.

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Moonlight Cinema Opening Night Melbourne
Photograph: Supplied
Film, Outdoor cinema

Moonlight Cinema

icon-location-pin Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria, Melbourne
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There's nothing quite like a film under the stars in the evening cool of the Botanic Gardens. Settle back with friends and family for a movie and as always, the Moonlight Cinema food truck and bar can supply you with comestibles, but you're welcome to BYO food and drinks too. This summer's programming has the usual mix of acclaimed Oscar hopefuls, kids' favourites and retro screenings to satisfy the nostalgic urges. Look out for a screening of The Favourite which portrays the outrageous rivalry of two cousins in the court of England’s Queen Anne in the 18th century, with Olivia Colman, Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone. You must also see Gaga and Bradley Cooper in the stunning A Star is Born; Joel Edgerton’s directorial triumph Boy Erased, about 'gay conversion therapy'; refreshing comedy Crazy Rich Asians; clever family film Smallfoot; and we’ll throw in a shout-out for Richard Curtis’s immortal Christmas romcom, Love Actually – because we’re really just softies at heart.

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Zoo Twilights
Photograph: Ian Laidlaw
Music, Music festivals

Zoo Twilights

icon-location-pin Melbourne Zoo, Parkville
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We'd be lion if we said that Zoo Twilights wasn't our summer highlight. The concert series kicks off in January and attracts some pretty big names in music. International acts like Cat Power, Hanson, the Internet, Rufus Wainwright, Marlon Williams and Aloe Blacc will all be hitting the stage, as well as local heroes Client Liason, Briggs and Archie Roach, Sampa the Great and Remi, Daryl Braithwaite and Ross Wilson, Vera Blue and The Cat Empire. Topping the line-up, of course, are the Zoo's wild residents. All proceeds from the Zoo Twilights summer concert series will be going back towards the zoo's conservation work, including work to save the Eastern Barred Bandicoot from extinction.

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Lonsdale Street Greek Festival
Things to do, Fairs and festivals

Lonsdale Street Festival

icon-location-pin Greek Centre, Melbourne
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This summer's event marks the 32st birthday of Melbourne’s biggest Greek street party, Lonsdale Street Festival, so make your way down to Melbourne CBD's unofficial 'little Greece' for two days of great Greek street food, traditional dances, and live music performances from local and international Greek acts. As usual, the event will see the city's biggest Greek chefs turn it on for live cooking demonstrations. Bring your dancing for the Zorba 'Til You Drop dance competition, and sign up for the Loukoumadomania for the most delicious eating competition of all... the winner will down the most loukoumades in one minute.  The two-day festival features 60 food, drink and craft stalls alongside three stages of free entertainment, children’s rides and more.

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