The days are longer, the nights are warmer, and the city is packed with events every day of the week. Summer in Melbourne means a full social calendar, a Christmas break and the relief of not having to leave the house with ten layers on. Whether you’re in the mood for night markets, blockbuster shows or exhilarating sports events, we’ve got you covered with our summer hit-list. Tick them all off, and take summer to the max.
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Events to max your summer in Melbourne
Spend your Wednesday summer nights surrounded by food, design stalls and entertainment for the 20th edition of Melbourne’s biggest market. More than 60 street food stalls will be serving delicious snacks like smoky American barbecue, bao sandwiches and tasty toasted sandwiches. No matter what you fancy, you're likely to find a winner.
Fans of Australian music – the museum of your dreams is here. This summer, Arts Centre Melbourne is launching a permanent exhibition space dedicated to celebrating Australia’s vibrant musical history, with recordings, images, instruments and memorabilia from luminaries like Archie Roach, Kylie Minogue, Nick Cave, Silverchair and AC/DC.
When it was announced Beyoncé was performing at this year’s Coachella festival, no one would have anticipated the incredible, history-making two-hour set that followed. The performance was so phenomenal, the festival was dubbed Bey-chella out of respect. Still reeling? First nations choreographer and dancer Amrita Hepi has decided to bring a little Bey flair to the Toff with a Bey-chella dance class. Hepi will be paying homage to Bey’s two Coachella performances with two very special dance classes on Monday May 28. During these one-hour classes, punters will learn steps from some of the best parts of Bey’s historic performance. The classes are for beginners, so don't worry if you struggle to get into Formation.
Attention sweet tooths: arguably the state’s sweetest destinations – Yarra Valley Chocolaterie and the Great Ocean Road Chocolaterie – are throwing a month-long Rocky Road Festival of Flavours this May. The chocolateries will be taking this old time favourite treat to new rocky heights, reinventing the traditional mix of chocolate, nuts and marshmallows into a line-up of 31 different flavours. European Chocolatiers will use couverture milk, dark and white chocolate, as well as a few seasonal ingredients to handcraft rocky road creations. Some favourite flavours like cookies and cream, salted caramel popcorn and rum and raisin will be returning, as well as some new varieties like cherry matcha, Turkish delight and satay peanut. For young chocolate connoisseurs there will also be a few special themed flavours available like Unicorn (white chocolate with rainbow marshmallows, mini freckles and berry jellies), the Cookie Monster (white chocolate with cookie balls, Oreo chunks and blue and white marshmallows) and the Snap Crackle Pop (milk chocolate with peanuts, chocolate crackle chunks and popping candy). A special menu of rocky road infused desserts, ice creams, sundaes, waffles and hot chocolates will be available at the venue's all-day café. Rocky road fans can also take part in Rock around the Block tasting classes where you'll learn how to make your own rocky road to take home. Classes are $18 per person and bookings are essential.
This is not your ordinary tour bus. The Melbourne Music Bus Tour, a collaboration between Arts Centre Melbourne and the Australian Music Vault, takes 22 lucky people on an almost four-hour tour of Melbourne's famous music venues, laneways, recording studios, rehearsal spaces, artists' homes and important Indigenous music spots. The tour visits current live music hotspots like the Tote and the Palace, as well as famed venues of yesteryear like the Crystal Palace and the Espy (currently undergoing renovations but destined for live music greatness once again). It also visits recording studios including Mushroom Records, Bakehouse Studios and the Dogs in Space house, and even stops by Molly Meldrum's house. Musicologist Bruce Milne (of 3RRR, Au-go-go Records and now Greville Records fame) leads the tours. It's a must-do for any Melbourne music lover.
Located in the Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria, the Melbourne Observatory is a perfect place to get started on an astronomical quest. Every Monday, the Gardens run night time astronomical tours that see the roof of the Melbourne Observatory rotate and open up to the Australian night sky. Visitors will get the chance to see constellations and distant planets using the Observatory’s powerful heritage telescopes used under the guidance of experts from the Astronomical Society of Victoria. Tours go ahead in all weather conditions and begin at 8pm (9pm in daylight savings months).
Melbourne's electronic music scene in the 1960s and '70s was groundbreaking and edgy, and at the heart of it all was the analogue synthesizer, produced by EMS (Electronic Music Systems). The Grainger Museum at the University of Melbourne was at the forefront of that musical experimentation, when composer Keith Humble returned from Paris to establish an avant-garde music studio there. Synthesizers: Sound of the Future celebrates that period of musical history at the Grainger Museum with dozens of important instruments on display, incluidng the EMS VCS-1 – one of only three in the world – and an EMS VCS-3, which was used by Pink Floyd, Brian Eno and Jean-Michel Jarre. In addition to the exhibition display, Synthesizers also includes live performances in association with the composition and interactive composition programs at Melbourne Uni, as well as experimental sound group Liquid Architecture. One piece that will be performed is a take on Keith Humble's 'Music for Moments' improvisatory piece.
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). If you’ve seen an episode of the History Channel’s Vikings program (highly recommended for those who have a Game of Thrones shaped hole in their bingeing schedules) you’ll know that viking culture is one that’s quite misunderstood, having raided and traded themselves across Northern Europe from the 8th to the 11th century. Vikings isn't even the correct name for the group of people – vikings was a something people did, like farming or fishing, rather than the name for everyone who lived in Scandinavia at the time. In addition to the viking weapons, jewellery and tools the exhibition has some hands-on activities too. 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. Make sure you also check out the skeletal remains of a viking ship, and some of the intricate viking metalwork (like Thor’s hammer pendants). Vikings: Beyond the Legend is on a
Burn City Smokers is making a return to the city center and taking over the Grand Hyatt's kitchen for a three-month stint. Due to the overwhelming support of 2017's pop-up, Burn City's three-month takeover was extended to a six-month residency, and this year's menu is tipped to be bigger and better than the last. In addition to their signature smoked brisket burger and jalapeno poppers, the team at Burn City Smokers have added wood-fired pippies, their take on the Chiko roll, a gut-busting, barbecue-lover's meat platter and fried camembert to their menu. Who said hotel dining peaked with the club sandwich?
If you’ve got a while to go before payday but you’re craving some fine food then let us introduce you to Burma Lane’s Cheap Date Mondays. Every Monday Burma Lane do two-for-one ‘feed me’ banquets. That means you get enough food for you and a mate on Burma Lane’s $39 or $50 lunch menus, or on their $69 or $85 dinner menus. It’s one of the best ways to indulge in fun modern Asian dishes without blowing your budget. Start your week right with a cheap dinner date at Burma Lane. To take advantage of this economical offer make sure you mention it at the time of booking.
As the mercury in Melbourne continues to drop, we're always on the hunt to find the best ways to warm up in the city. Thankfully we can add Australia's first chai van to our list. The Original Chai Co is the all about delivering an authentic and aromatic cup of chai – so no lattes, saccharine syrups or sticky mixes here – it's all about using a traditional blended masala spice mix. The founders are husband and wife team Apoorv and Gauri, who grew up in India before moving to Melbourne. They looked but were unable to find a true cup of chai in the city, so the pair set out to recreate the comforting taste of home from their mother's recipes. The result is a naturally sweet mix of black tea leaves, ginger, cardamom and milk, which is brewed like a traditional tea. So you can get a taste for this classic Indian pick-me-up, they've opened a colourful pop-up van that is pouring hot cuppas each Monday through Friday. You can choose from masala chai in the morning, and in the afternoon there are chocolate or turmeric blends starting at $4. They also do cute take-home tins for $15 and sell traditional clay cups. You'll find the van parked at Melbourne Central's Knox Lane near Boost Juice from 7.30am-5.30pm.
As much as we might think it, Melbourne isn’t the only place in Australia with trams. Head up to Bendigo and you’ll discover how the Bendigo Tramways team are using trams to celebrate Indigenous history. The Dja Dja Wurrung Tram takes you on a journey through both Bendigo and through the culture and traditions of the region’s first people, the Dja Dja Wurrung. The inside and outside of the tram has been painted with art by local Indigenous artist Natasha Carter. While riding you’ll learn about the Dja Dja Wurrung thanks to recorded commentary created by the Dja Dja Wurrung Clans Aboriginal team, with the accompanying music provided by David Bridie. You can hop on the Dja Dja Wurrung tram every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday at 10am from the Central Deborah Gold Mine.
Score vintage treasures, designer items, crafted goods and op shop finds at the Round She Goes vintage market at Coburg Town Hall. The market features more than 60 stallholders selling handpicked and vintage clothing and accessories for cheap. Stallholders are carefully handpicked by the Round She Goes team so that quality is ensured and prices are kept reasonably low. Shoppers can also expect to find preloved designer goods from the likes of Gorman, Sass and Bide, Miu Miu, Karen Walker, Camilla and Marc, Zimmerman and more. Go early to fetch a good bargain and don't worry, there's coffee and food inside to keep you going.
Looking for love (in all the wrong places)? Northcote Social Club is here to help. The bar will be hosting four separate speed dating events for people to find their one and only (or ones and not-only). NSC's resident love doctor, Joe, will host all four events: straight, gay, lesbian and GSD (gender and sexuality diverse). The event promises "no pressure, no pretence and no posers" and aims to be fun, friendly and welcoming for people of all genders and sexualities. It's just like Tinder – but in real life. So put down your phone and open your heart to the possibility of finding love.
You don't have to get out of town to a country winery to buy delicious wines at cellar door prices because Cumulus Up, the wine bar upstairs from Cumulus Inc on Flinders Lane, is hosting the City Cellar Door and Wine on the first Saturday of each month this year up to October. It's a gold coin donation at entry, which will go to directly to OzHarvest. Each month will focus on the wines from a particular region of Victoria, with the final event in October to showcase Victorian sparkling wines. Hungry? The Cumulus kitchen team will be roasting a whole hog for each event for tasty pork rolls to go with your wine tastings. Want more? August and October will feature two winemaker lunches for a country-style collaborative feast with yet-to-be-confirmed winemakers at $85 a head, which you can book directly through the restaurant. Watch this space.
Handmade is back for its fifth year and will bring 50 of Australia's most exciting wine producers and distributors to the Builders Arms Hotel for a whole day. The pub will be transformed into a multi-room tasting train where you'll be able to sample a range of minimal-intervention wines from all over the world while rubbing shoulders with industry legends, novices and everyone in between. No need to feel intimidated. Expect to sample the wares of Patrick Sullivan, Steve Crawford (Frederick Stevenson), Jordy Kay (Chèvre), Andy Joy (Pyren Estate), David Mackintosh (Arfion), Timo Mayer, Pat Underwood (Little Reddie), Andrew Guard, Sue Dyson and Roger McShane (Living Wines), AJ Hoadley (La Violetta), Troy Jones and Ben Payton (Payton & Jones), Dane Johns (Momento Mori) and Rhen Dodd (Ephemera). Food, as always, is as important as the wine. Cutler and Co's head chef, Chris Watson, will be assuming his alter-ego and operating 'Wats-on the BBQ' from the courtyard and cooking up meats from Meatsmith. Hector's Deli will be upstairs stacking up those slutty sangas, and the bar will be running a line of special bar snacks designed for one-handed eating so you won't have to put that wine glass down. If past years are anything to go by, you'll do well to buy your tickets now. They're guaranteed to sell out soon. Planning to stick around after Handmade? The afterparty will run from 5pm at no extra cost or entry fee with snacks by Fratelli Paradiso and 10 William St. Don't forget to hyd
Rice Paper Sister's Ross Magnaye is joining forces with Andreas Papadakis of Osteria Ilaria and Tipo 00 to do something no man has done before. They're daring themselves to bring the ultimate of cultural mash ups and fusing their cuisines in a one-day-only lunch banquet. We know what you're thinking. Don't think that. Dishes won't be as disparate as you think. Expect an eight-course family-style sit-down banquet that includes riffs of some of their most popular dishes. Tipo 00's much-loved grilled tongue dish receives a Filipino update with a prickly ash almond puree in place of the usual flair of pink peppercorns, and the seasonal pine mushroom and chestnut tortellini gets an introduction to Magnaye's 16-hour slow-cooked goat shoulder. Tickets are selling fast, and bookings are essential through Rice Paper Sister.
Melbourne's newest pop-up bar isn't in Melbourne at all, it's in the suburb of Werribee. A speakeasy-style bar has popped up at Mansion Hotel and Spa at Werribee Park, and guests can take in the feeling of the roaring '20s, play a spot of pool or snooker, enjoy cocktails from the Everleigh Bottling Co and indulge in Mumm champagne, all in the gorgeous surrounds of the 1877 Werribee Mansion. To get to the bar, you must first knock on the door to Werribee Mansion. You'll be greeted by 'Mr Duncan', Lady Mary Chirnside's faithful butler. He will take you on a theatrical tour of the mansion, and you'll also get to meet the lady of the house, Mary herself. 'Mary Chirnside', done up in elegant flapper fashion, is excited to welcome her guests to her secret bar. The bar itself is styled in pink and rose gold, with cocktails by the deft hands of the Everleigh. It's on a balcony on the first floor of the mansion, a space previously not open to the public. The hotel offers several packages to visit Mary's Secret, from the $80 bar entry (which includes a glass of champagne and one cocktail) all the way up to the $1237 package, which includes two nights' accommodation, daily breakfast in bed, a three-course dinner and a one-hour massage. Mary's Secret will be closing in mid-June, so if you want a midwinter treat you'll have to get in quick.
Gearing up for Avengers: Infinity War? You can get your superhero fix IRL at a world-class Avengers exhibition in Melbourne. Marvel's Avengers STATION is an immersive experience that integrates science and NASA-developed technology with replica movie props. Basically, you’ll be diving headfirst into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the shared comic book universe that encompasses all your favourite jacked-up superheroes: Iron Man, Captain America, Black Widow, Hulk, Thor Ant Man, Black Panther and more. The Avengers assemble (!) at Birrarung Marr behind Federation Square in a purpose-built 2500m2 structure. Here you can get your hands on an extensive range of replica Avengers props, including Captain America’s uniform and shield, Iron Man’s MK 45 suit, the Hulkbuster suit (which is an Iron Man suit designed to take down the Incredible Hulk) and Thor’s famous hammer. Having toured New York, Seoul, Paris and Las Vegas, Marvel's Avengers STATION (an acronym for Science, Training and Tactical Intelligence Operative Network) lets visitors simulate recruitment as if they were training as agents of SHIELD. The exhibition will feature a dose of science and technology provided by NASA to amplify the scientific themes that are central to Marvel's storytelling, all in an effort to encourage STEM pathways for high school students.
This hands-on walking photography course is all about giving you the tools to maximise one of the most powerful photographic tools that you have at your fingertips – your smartphone. These days handheld devices are giving traditional cameras a run for their money and this single-day course is all about teaching you how to ensure you're making the most of it. The Smartphone Photography Course will see you walking around Melbourne to capture stunning images. You'll learn about the best photography apps and cover the basic principles of photography such as lighting, composition and editing. You'll get one-on-one feedback and tips from your host. Following the course you'll get to join the Smartphone Photography Facebook group, so you can continue to finesse your skills, exchange photography tips and get constructive feedback on your photos.
The first Sunday of every month in Castlemaine is Artists Market day. From 9am to 2pm the town’s Western Reserve on Forest Street hums as the shoppers descend looking for locally made treasures. The market boasts more than 60 different stallholders selling everything from handmade leather goods to designer clothing. In addition to the beautifully made products the market also has live music, entertainment, food stalls and fair trade organic coffee.