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Things to do in Melbourne in December

All the best things to do in Melbourne in December in one place – it's your social emergency saviour for fun things to do this month
Dog and audience at Moonlight Cinema
By Rebecca Russo, Cassidy Knowlton and Nicola Dowse |
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Wondering what to do in Melbourne in December? We can help. Check out our guide to all the fun things to do in Melbourne, including mega NGV art exhibitions, summer festivals, rooftop cinemas and more. Plus there's plenty of free attractionsart exhibitionstheatre showsactivities for kids to get amongst as well. 

Too hot to trot? Here are the best ways to beat the heat in Melbourne. Plus, it's Melbourne, so there's a chance it will rain. If so, consult our guide to Melbourne's best indoor activities instead.

Best things to do in Melbourne in December

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Luke Jerram’s Museum of the Moon at the University of Bristol 2017
Photograph: Carolyn Eaton
Museums, Science

Museum of the Moon

icon-location-pin Scienceworks, Spotswood
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Think you can’t see the Moon indoors? Think again. Scienceworks has announced an exciting new exhibition for December, which lets visitors take in a replica of the Moon close up. Museum of the Moon is essentially a seven-metre diameter spherical sculpture that features large-scale NASA imagery of the lunar surface. It’s shown at a scale of 1:500,000, which means each centimetre of the sculpture represents five kilometres of the Moon’s actual surface. Created by UK artist Luke Jerram, Museum of the Moon has travelled over the world in recent years. What’s cool about the installation is that it blends detailed lunar imagery, internally illuminated “moonlight” and a specially designed soundtrack created by BAFTA award-winning composer Dan Jones. Entrance into the exhibition is included with museum entry (free for children and concession and $15 for adults). 

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Day and Night by M.C. Escher
© The M.C. Escher Company, the Netherlands. All rights reserved.
Art, Drawings

Between Two Worlds | Escher X nendo

icon-location-pin NGV International, Southbank
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The National Gallery of Victoria is bringing a world-first exhibition of works by MC Escher to Melbourne this summer. Between Two Worlds | Escher X nendo will feature more than 160 prints and drawings from the renowned Dutch artist as well as an immersive Escher-inspired environment created by Japanese design studio Nendo. We can't wait to see how they'll respond to Escher's most iconic image: the physically impossible, Hogwarts-esque staircases. The works are on loan from the Gemeentemuseum in the Hague and will be joined by an immersive experience created by Nendo design studio. By manipulating geometry, space and perception like Escher, Nendo will create a never-before-seen exhibit that will bring the artist’s work to life.

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Evita 2018 Opera Australia supplied image of Tina Arena 2014
Photograph: Supplied
Theatre, Musicals

Evita

icon-location-pin Arts Centre Melbourne, Southbank
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Move over My Fair Lady: the next vintage production coming to Australia is the original Evita, with Australian pop princess Tina Arena starring as Eva Perón. Opera Australia and John Frost are collaborating to revive the 1978 West End production of Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s blockbuster musical, directed by Tony Award-gobbling musical theatre veteran Harold Prince. Appearing alongside Arena is a starry international cast: as Juan Peron is Brazilian operatic baritone Paulo Szot, who won a Tony Award for his performance in the 2008 Broadway revival of South Pacific. London-based Australian performer Kurt Kansley will play Che, the narrator, while Wicked star Jemma Rix will play Evita at some performances.

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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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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. 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 kicks off on December 7 with the line-up boasting some headline electronic artists and DJs including songwriter and producer Andy Bull, Melbourne duo Confidence Man, Sydney's Nicole Millar, record producer Jonti, Australian/Filipino artist Chela plus a special Saturday night DJ set from San Cisco on Saturday, April 6. While there, guests can also get amongst the Bombay Sapphire Gin Garden for a fun after-dark frolick. The internationally recognised gin brand has transformed the NGV Garden Restaurant into a space inspired by the words of nendo and MC Escher.

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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. Time Out is especially looking forward to The Favourite – the new film by the director of The Lobster that 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. Mary, Queen of Scots pits Mary (Saoirse Ronan) and Elizabeth I (Margot Robbie) against each other in a struggle for the throne of England. Meanwhile, Widows promises to knock your socks off: Viola Davis and Elizabeth Debicki star in crime thriller about widows banding together to pull off their late husbands’ big heist. The director is Steve McQueen (Shame, 12 Years a Slave).

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Art

William Wegman: Being Human

icon-location-pin NGV International, Southbank
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Plenty of people dress up their pets in human clothes and take photographs of them to share with the world. But you wouldn't call those photos art, would you? American artist William Wegman is the exception to that rule. He's made a career out of photographing his Weimaraners, the large grey dogs that serve as his artistic muses and sometime collaborators. Since 1970, he's dressed them up in all variety of clothing and shown them in all sorts of unusual settings and configurations. His first major subject was his dog Man Ray, who helped Wegman break through to the big time. When Man Ray died in 1982, he was named Man of the Year by the Village Voice. Now the National Gallery of Victoria is due to host this major survey of Wegman's work, featuring more than 100 photographs, spanning more than three decades. There are 50 works in the mix that have never been seen before and were selected by the artist.

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Art

Lucky?

icon-location-pin Bundoora Homestead Arts Centre, Bundoora
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We all hear that we’re in the lucky country, but did you know the label was coined by historian Donald Horne, in his book of the same name? He says, “Australia is a lucky country run mainly by second rate people who share its luck.” Apparently Horne was referring to the fact that settler Australia never had to earn its own democracy – we never had to work for it. It was transposed with colonisation. Curated by Bundoora Homestead Art Centre’s senior curator Claire Watson, in collaboration with guest curator Sophia Cai, Lucky? can be interpreted from many angles. The exhibition shakes up Horne’s perspective, with the inclusion of Indigenous voices, voices that were historically shunned by White Australia (especially during and after the gold rush), and western voices. The curators say, "In today’s climate of highly divisive politics and growing inequality across cross-sections of society, Lucky? forces us to confront ideas surrounding Australian identity."

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Mirka Mora - Heide Museum 2018
Mirka Mora, Untitled (sketchbook page), 1983, © Estate of Mirka Mora
Art

Mirka Mora: Pas de Deux – Drawings and Dolls

icon-location-pin Heide Museum of Modern Art, Bulleen
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Until her death last August at the age of 90, artist Mirka Mora was a Melbourne institution, loved as much for her flamboyant personality and contribution to the city’s cultural life as for her distinctive artworks, which combine elements of folk art and surrealism with daydreams and fairytale characters. To commemorate her life and career, Heide Museum of Modern Art will host a retrospective exhibition, Mirka Mora: Pas de Deux - Drawings and Dolls, bringing together drawings and the soft-sculpture dolls for which she was known (“my dolls are my drawing in three dimensions,” Mora said), many which have never been on public display.

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Giraffes at Sunset Safari
Photograph: Supplied
Things to do, Walks and tours

Sunset Safari at Werribee Open Range Zoo

icon-location-pin Werribee Open Range Zoo, Werribee South
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What do zoo animals get up to when all the daytime visitors have headed back to their cars? Quite a lot, it turns out, with many African animals most active at dusk. That makes Werribee Open Range Zoo's Sunset Safari the perfect time to see giraffes, rhinoceroses, elands, zebras, scimitar-horned oryxes, hippopotamuses and other incredible African animals.  Visitors pile onto the safari buses and travel out to the 45-hectare open savannah section of the zoo. Sunset is the best time to see the magnificent creatures who live here, and safari guests will get to see all kinds of cool African wildlife at their most active. 

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More things to do in Melbourne this month

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Princes Bridge. Melbourne
Photograph: Robert Blackburn
Things to do

The best free things to do in Melbourne

Guess what? Not everything in Melbourne costs a bunch of money. From art shows to coffee tastings, there are a bunch of things to do in this fine city that you can do for free – here are our favourites.

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Pouring drinks at Bar Liberty
Photograph: Graham Denholm
Bars, Cocktail bars

The 50 best bars in Melbourne right now

Here is Melbourne viewed through the bottom of a glass: from its world-beating cocktail lounges to its down-and-divey saloons. These bars represent the pinnacle of Melbourne drinking.

People browsing through clothing at a market stall
Photograph: Supplied
Shopping, Markets

The best markets in Melbourne

Borrow your nanna's tartan shopping trolley and venture out to one of Melbourne's best markets for farm-fresh produce, designer homewares, vintage fashions and tasty street food.

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Great Otway National Park
Photograph: Robert Blackburn
Travel, Short getaways

The best day trips from Melbourne

If you're looking for a break from the inner-city grid, there's no better cure than a day trip from Melbourne. The state of Victoria is full of friendly neighbourhood towns, whether you're in the mood for a winery tour, a road trip or a national park to explore.

More to explore

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