Wondering what to do in Melbourne in February? We can help. Check out our guide to all the fun things to do in Melbourne, including mega NGV art exhibitions, summer music festivals, rooftop cinemas and more. Plus there's plenty of free attractions, art exhibitions, theatre shows, activities for kids to get amongst as well.
Best things to do in Melbourne in February
Spend your Wednesday nights surrounded by food at the Queen Victoria Market's fantastic Summer Night Market. Expect rows and rows of street food stalls and festival bars as well as art, fashion, homewares and general knick-knack merchandise traders – there are 130 stalls to explore in total. Food stalls will be cooking up delicious snacks all night long, with plenty of wine, beer and cocktails also on the menu. New traders for this season include Portuguese tarts from Casa Nata, chilled chocolate drinks and desserts from Mork Chocolate, African barbecue from Tasty Suya, traditional Filipino cuisine from Kuya's Simply Pinoy and Israeli falafel pita pockets from Falafel Arayes. The highlight of the 2019/2020 summer season will be the Palm Springs Bar, a pop-up watering hole filled with giant pink flamingos, desert plants and fruity perfect-for-summer cocktails. The summery fun continues with a full-sized beach volleyball court popping up within the market. You can play a match with your friends (or complete strangers), watch professional players in action or take part in a volleyball tournament or workshop. To kick off the summer season on Wednesday, November 20 the Queen Victoria Night Market is teaming up with Melbourne Music Week. A stack of musicians are taking over the city stage on Queen Street – on the line-up is Zeitgeist Freedom Energy Exchange, Sunnyside, Memphis LK, Loure, Pjienné and Toni Yotzi. Right in the heart of the city, the markets make a great dinner
Have you ever wanted to be a part of your own Japanese game show? Well, wonder no more, because Tokosan holds pub trivia, Japanese-style, on the first Wednesday of every month, called Ninja Nite Battle. There are no ninjas, so you'll just have to use your imagination. Instead of flexing your brains, Ninja Nite Battles pits teams against each other in eating competitions, sumo wrestling, human curling (we don't know what this is, but we imagine it is ridiculous and awesome), takoyaki mouth catching (yes, that is catching a hot octopus fritter with your mouth) and many more – all performed while under the safe and calming influence of alcohol. Aside from being extremely fun and potentially embarrassing, you get to win prizes along the way, as well as go up for larger prizes like a $100 dinner for two, bar tabs and merchandise. It is free to participate, but you do have to register each month.
South Melbourne Market's annual night market will be returning in 2020, kicking off a killer summer on January 8. Returning for five consecutive Wednesday evenings, Melburnians can enjoy a balmy night of eating, drinking, and dancing as live music performers take the stage. You can expect food trucks, food marquees and food carts, with many of the market's regular food traders also open. The festivities kick off from midday, which means you can head over for lunch and stick around for a few hours of shopping, live entertainment and more food. The full program will be announced in December, so stay tuned.
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 are divided up into two groups, Kipenzi and Lataba (named after two of the zoo's seven rhinos). There are three activities on the night, but the order changes by group. Everyone gets a welcome drink on arrival, after which the groups go their separate ways. One part of the night is an African drumming and dancing performance, which includes a workshop on how to do some of the simpler moves. A second part is an African feast, where visitors can enjoy tagine, couscous, salads and other delights, all topped off with a chocolate fountain, into which you can dip marshmallows, strawberries and meringue pieces. The best part, and the reason for the event, is the safari itself. 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. The luckiest group goes out at the same time as the truck that delivers their food, which is sure to bring the animals running from all corners of the savannah. Proceeds from the ni
There are three things you need to make a good day trip: nice weather, delightful drinks and some form of entertainment. Healesville Sanctuary is stepping in to offer up the latter two in its Acoustic Afternoons event, so all you have to do is check the forecast and pick the day. Across the weekends of November 30-December 1, December 7-8, February 15-16, and February 22-23, visitors are invited to roll out a blanket and enjoy live music provided by the likes of Anita George, This Way North and the Tuck Shop Ladies. A pop-up bar is offering local beer, wine, cider and Four Pillars gin cocktails, and you can keep sated with a barbecue and charcuterie featuring local Yarra Valley produce. Once you’ve filled your tummy you’ll have plenty of time to wander the grounds and see the animals, or maybe just relax on the big lawn. There are giant games for kids (we doubt they'll be checking IDs though, so you can have a go too). The afternoons start at noon and run until 4pm. It's complimentary with entry into Healesville Sanctuary, and tickets to get you through the door range from $19 for a child to $37 for an adult.
After a hiatus for the past two years, Melbourne’s favourite way to mess about in boats is back for 2020. And the Inflatable Regatta is now even bigger, with the ability to paddle down not only the Yarra but also the Maribyrnong River. That means more than 4,000 people will be jumping in inflatable dinghies and paddling down one of Melbourne’s rivers in February 2020. You can paddle solo or bring a friend in a two-person boat. Tickets include rental of boats, oars and life jackets. The course is roughly two kilometres long and food trucks, bars and music await salty seadogs at the finish line. If you want to sail down the Yarra you'll be casting off on Saturday, February 1 from Yarra Bank Reserve in Hawthorn, while westside sailors will depart from Footscray Rowing Club on Saturday, February 29. The last time the Inflatable Regatta was held, in 2018, there were 2,000 able seamen navigating their way down the Yarra. With two rivers now open for boating, the event is going to be even bigger. Ahoy!
UPDATE: This event has been cancelled. It’s the biggest show of the decade, the show that got people watching television again, the crossover hit that tells human stories in a fantasy world… yada yada yada. You get it. Game of Thrones has finished its eight-season run in 2019, but it doesn’t mean this classic show has been stabbed and left to die (too soon?) The Game of Thrones Live Concert Experience is a performance series featuring the show’s Emmy Award-winning composer, Ramin Djawadi. This series has held performances across North America and Europe in the past few years, allowing audiences to relive the show’s biggest musical moments alongside footage from the show. Daa da da-da daa da, da da da... are you ready for it? Tickets go on sale at noon on Friday, August 16. As well as the regular seated tickets, there are a few VIP packages to choose from, including a pre-show Medieval Banquet, butler service, priority entry and, of course, photo opportunities with the (replica) Iron Throne.
Whether you recognise his heartwarming sound from beloved films, know him from his early, politically strident and satirical albums like Sail Away and Good Old Boys, or prefer the 75-year-old’s 21st century releases like Dark Matter, you’ll have been charmed by Randy Newman. The prolific American composer, pianist and singer-songwriter has about as many awards on his mantlepiece (Grammy, Emmy and Recording Academy) and inductions to famed halls (Songwriters Hall of Fame and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame) that you could imagine one artist might achieve across a very busy five-decade career. Yet his gentle crooning remains effortlessly relatable and relevant, from musings on US foriegn policy in the 1972 track ‘Political Science’, to the 2017 callout of Russia’s president in ‘Putin’ and, of course, the unforgettable Toy Story theme song ‘You’ve Got a Friend in Me’. And even if you’re not into politics or Toy Story, Newman’s epic discography includes scores from, well, scores of hugely popular films. You’ll recognise his work in the tear-jerking horse racing flick Seabiscuit, the ’90s animated film A Bug’s Life, 1981 drama Ragtime, George Clooney's football comedy Leatherheads, Disney’s The Princess and the Frog and a slew of other cartoons and feature films. We’re looking forward to hearing these tracks and other tongue-in-cheek classics like ‘Birmingham’, ‘Short People’ and ‘Naked Man’ when Newman beguiles fans at Hamer Hall on Sunday, February 2 2020. Tickets are available
There are a lot of movie screenings in Melbourne with live symphonic accompaniment – Harry Potter, Star Wars, Love Actually, 2001: A Space Odyssey – but this is the one most likely to draw tears and wrap audiences up in a nostalgic blanket of Japanophilia. Legendary composer-conductor Joe Hisaishi, who composed the music to all the great films of Hayao Miyazaki, is coming to Melbourne’s Sidney Myer Music Bowl. After a successful 2018 tour, Hisaishi is returning to conduct the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and the MSO Chorus, which will perform a concert of highlights from My Neighbor Totoro, Howl’s Moving Castle, Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away and more, with scenes from the films playing on the bowl’s big screen. You can expect the sublime, Wagneresque music from Ponyo – as well as its charmingly naive theme song – plus those catchy songs from Totoro. Hisaishi will also be conducting a full children’s choir and a marching band. The music has always been a key part of the impact of Studio Ghibli films, so fans can expect an emotional concert experience in February.
Spleen is a room equally loved by crowds and comics alike. Not wanting to waste a second of atmosphere, comics always bring their best material. If there is a room that attracts big names wanting to try their new stuff, this is it, and it’s worth getting along just to see who might drop in. If you want a seat, you’ll need to get in early – Spleen packs out with crowds standing all the way to the front door. There is even a live feed to the TV at the bar for those who can’t quite get a full view of the stage – it’s in black and white so get in early for the full colour spectrum. This dive bar offers the appropriate food – there’s burgers, fries and dawgs. The only thing hotter than their dawgs is the comedy and the only thing cheesier are our jokes. By the way, Spleen is open until 5am… So stick around and see if you can make real life look black and white too.
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