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People watch a film from a hot spring
Photograph: Supplied

Things to do in Melbourne in February

February's best events in one place – it's your social emergency saviour for fun things to do in Melbourne in February

By Rebecca Russo, Nicola Dowse and Cassidy Knowlton

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, socially distant music festivals 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 February

Angels Garden Party, 2014,
Photograph: Supplied/Jewish Museum

1. Mirka

Art Jewish Museum of Australia, St Kilda

It’s hard to fully comprehend the impact that artist Mirka Mora had on Melbourne. The French-born artist emigrated to Melbourne in 1951 following the Holocaust, and quickly set about ingraining herself and her playful art within the city’s growing bohemian scene. There have been many exhibitions on Mora, but none quite like this. The Jewish Museum of Australia has announced that this February it will host Mirka: the most extensive survey of Mirka Mora ever. The museum will be turned into an “immersive Mirka-world” for the exhibition, which will feature never-before-exhibited works from the Mora family and Mirka’s studio archives.

People watch a film from a hot spring
Photograph: Supplied

2. Bathe in Cinema

Film Outdoor cinema Peninsula Hot Springs, Fingal

Peninsula Hot Springs is Victoria’s first geothermal mineral springs and day spa. It’s here you’ll find more than 50 bathing experiences, including shared thermal mineral pools, wet and dry saunas, a hydrotherapy pool, Turkish and Moroccan hammams and the frequently Instagrammed hilltop pool, which boasts 360-degree views over the farmlands of Fingal. Naturally, it’s very popular. One event that drives its popularity even higher is the Bathe in Cinema. Returning in 2021, this cinema lets you watch a film from the comfort of your own hot spring, spread out among the Bath House Amphitheatre, which is located on the Peninsula Hot Springs property. 

Macbeth - Australian Shakespeare Company
Photograph: Supplied / Australian Shakespeare Company

3. Shakespeare Under the Stars: Macbeth

Theatre Drama Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria, Melbourne

They say you should never speak 'Macbeth' while in a theatre, lest you invite tragedy. The cast of the Australian Shakespeare Company's latest foray into the Scottish Play need not worry about that particular superstition, however, as they will be performing William Shakespeare's Macbeth outside in the Royal Botanic Gardens this summer. 

A photograph of two women, one of which is Frida Kahlo, standing against a bright teal wall. A hawk rests on a man-sized vase behind them
Photograph: Courtesy of the artist Silin Liu and Migrant Bird Space

4. Photo 2021

Art Photography Around Melbourne, Melbourne

Photo 2020 – which was set to be the largest and most significant photography event in Australia – was just about to really get started when a certain something put the whole world on pause. However, the huge event was rescheduled, not cancelled, and will re-emerge as Photo 2021 from February 18 to March 7, 2021. Photo 2021 brings together free exhibitions and a massive public program to Melbourne and cities across Victoria. Works in the inaugural event are based around the central theme of ‘the truth’ and features photographers from around the world.

Pasta Face food truck
Photograph: Pasta Face/Supplied

5. Food Truck Stop

Things to do Food and drink Queen Victoria Market, Melbourne

So it might not be the Summer Night Market that we remember, but Queen Victoria Market is still keen to get you enjoying summer surrounded by good food. After a successful launch at the end of 2020, Queen Vic Market is bringing back its Food Truck Stop festival for an additional four nights. Every Wednesday night from February 3, some of Melbourne’s best food trucks will be gathering near the hallowed market sheds to sell everything from bao buns to burgers, tacos, smoked barbecue meats and mango lassis.

Crowd watching the stage at Sidney Myer Free Concerts
Photograph: Supplied/Matt Irwin

6. Sidney Myer Free Concerts

Music Classical and opera Sidney Myer Music Bowl, Melbourne

Some people like to go for a swim on a warm summer evening – and then some people like to listen to symphonies. If you're the latter, then you're in luck, because the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra is bringing back its free concerts at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl this summer – now in a socially distant way.

Three monochromatic faces painted on three silos
Photograph: © Rone

7. Rone in Geelong

Art Street art Geelong Gallery, Geelong

Over the last 20 years, street artist Rone has cemented himself as one of Australia’s most successful street artists. The artist (real name Tyrone Wright) has carved himself a niche in the world of urban art by routinely taking over abandoned places and distressed spaces and filling them with large, despondent portraits of women. What you might not know is that Rone is from Geelong and he’s returning there for his first survey exhibition.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Photograph: Matt Murphy

8. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Theatre Drama Princess Theatre, Melbourne

Performances of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child will resume Thursday, February 25. Tickets are on sale now for shows between February 25 and August 25. Those who hold tickets for shows between January 20 and February 24 will be automatically moved to a new date from July 21. Click through to read our (spoiler free!) review of the show.

Giraffes at Sunset Safari
Photograph: Supplied

9. Sunset Safari at Werribee Open Range Zoo

Things to do Walks and tours Werribee Open Range Zoo, Werribee South

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. 

Melbourne Music Week Extended
Photograph: Supplied / Melbourne Music Week

10. Melbourne Music Week Extended

Music Music festivals Around Melbourne, Melbourne

Every year Melbourne Music Week explores the undercurrent of Melbourne’s vibrant local music scene in some of the city’s most forgotten corners. Usually, the "week" is more like ten days but in 2020 the event has really outdone itself in regards to stretching said week. Now, MMW will run all summer long to give Melburnians all the live gigs they've been missing (and to also allow for maximum events and artist opportunities while adhering to health restrictions). 

Angelique Kerber of Germany takes on Serena Williams of the United States on day thirteen of the Australian Open in Melbourne, Australia on Saturday, January 30, 2016.(Ben Solomon/Tennis Australia)
Photograph: Ben Solomon

11. Australian Open

Things to do Fairs and festivals Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne

Every year, thousands head to Melbourne Park to watch the superstars of tennis battle it out in the fierce summer heat. Despite the heatwaves that occur regularly during the event (temperatures of 35 degrees or higher are common) the Australian Open continues to attract the world's best tennis players and their fans to the southern hemisphere's only Grand Slam tournament. The 2021 tournament has been postponed and will now begin on Monday, February 8. To ensure everyone's safety, the AO experience won't look exactly like it used to.

Two doll heads on a yellow backdrop with a wooden boomerang in front of them
Photograph: Supplied © Destiny Deacon

12. Destiny Deacon: Destiny

Art Photography The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia, Melbourne

It’s difficult to believe that it’s been 15 years since Destiny Deacon has had a solo exhibition. The Torres Strait Islander artist’s work offers a darkly funny and frequently poignant look at contemporary Australian life. Deacon is best known for her photography, but there are more than 100 multidisciplinary works on show, including video, sculpture and installation, drawn from 30 years of work.

Come from Away 2019 Comedy Theatre
Photograph: Jeff Busby

13. Come from Away

Theatre Musicals The Comedy Theatre, Melbourne

Come From Away returns to Melbourne from January 19 2021. It will be the first major production to return to Melbourne's stages following lockdowns, with an encore season at the Comedy Theatre until March 21. Click through to read our review.

Installation view of Refik Anadol 'Quantum Memories 2020' at NGV Triennial
Photograph: Tom Ross

14. NGV Triennial

Art Sculpture and installations NGV International, Southbank

The hotly anticipated NGV Triennial is back and runs until April 18, 2021, showcasing 86 thought-provoking, eye-widening works from more than 100 artists. Of those 86 works, 34 have never been seen before and were commissioned by the NGV explicitly for the Triennial. The gallery has managed to score some of the world’s top artists and designers for the blockbuster exhibition, with names like Jeff Koons, Refik Anadol, Porky Hefer, Kengo Juma, Fecal Matter and Hannah Brontë. 

Visitors enjoy the garden at NGV International
Photograph: NGV

15. Triennial Extra

Things to do Fairs and festivals NGV International, Southbank

The NGV is so extra right now, and we're loving it. To accompany the second epic NGV Triennial the NGV has relaunched Triennial Extra: a free, month-long series of after-hours art parties, running from Jan 15 to Feb 14. Make no mistake: Triennial Extra isn't your standard gallery-open-late situation, nor is it the same as the gallery's Friday Nights series. Visitors can expect to experience the Triennial in a completely new light, with DJs, pop-up bars and restaurants, performances, dance and plenty more surprises.

Photograph: HiSylvia Photography

16. That’s Amore Cheese Ricotta Festival

Things to do Food and drink That's Amore Cheese, Thomastown

Ricotta might be one of the most versatile cheeses. You can spot it in many Italian desserts or you might find it nestled in between layers of ragu and lasagna sheets. It’s so great that the folks over at That’s Amore Cheese have announced Australia’s first-ever Ricotta Festival.

Artist render of a billboard with "Never Alone" on it about the Wilsons Carpark on Bourke St
Photograph: John Betts

17. Uptown

Art Bourke Street, Melbourne

Bourke Street is one of Melbourne's most famous thoroughfares – so it makes perfect sense to transform it into an outdoor gallery celebrating the city and its people. Uptown: an art exhibition about our city is a free, 24/7 outdoor gallery running across Bourke Street's eastern end this summer. Curated by longtime friends and local creatives, Fiona Scanlan and Robert Buckingham, Uptown is intended as a gesture of goodwill towards, and a celebration of, Melbourne's arts and artists after a bloody hard year. 

Person at Sunda
Photograph: Graham Denholm

18. Summer Exp

Restaurants 1 Bourke St, Melbourne

Modern Southeast Asian diner Sunda’s spin-off venue is set to make its debut on December 5. Sunda will preserve its lockdown collect and delivery service (Sunda Exp) in a semi-permanent residency known as Summer Exp at 1 Bourke Street. The pop-up will be headed by chef Nabil Ansari, known for his delicious side hustle Indian delivery concept Ansari, and its menu was designed by pâté-en-croûte-obsessed executive chef Khanh Nguyen.

Live at the Bowl
Photograph: Supplied

19. Live at the Bowl

Music Sidney Myer Music Bowl, Melbourne

Big things are happening at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl this year, with Arts Centre Melbourne announcing the first acts in its revitalising Live at the Bowl series. From January 2021, dozens of Australia's best bands, solo artists and comedians will take to the huge outdoor stage (it's the largest of its kind in Australia) for socially distanced performances. 

Face (with Yellow Background)c.1947brush and ink and gouache o
Artwork: Supplied / ©Joy Hester/Copyright Agency 2019

20. Joy Hester: Remember Me

Art Paintings Heide Museum of Modern Art, Bulleen

Heide Museum of Modern Art is celebrating the 100th anniversary of Joy Hester’s birth with a huge survey of the artist’s work. Joy Hester: Remember Me encompasses more than 130 works from the Melbourne artist, spanning her earliest drawings as a student to her famously emotive ink paintings. Hester shares a strong connection with Heide. She was a member of the Angry Penguins movement which was based at the homestead of John and Sunday Reed – which now forms part of the Heide Museum of Modern Art complex. 

A woman wearing a bright red bandeau top and matching head wrap speaks into a headset mic
Photograph: Ricky Manso

21. MPavilion

Things to do Talks and discussions Around Melbourne, Melbourne

Things are warming up in Melbourne, summer is upon us and MPavilion will once again be taking up residence at the centre of the Southbank Arts Precinct. As in previous years, MPavilion is home to 400 free cultural events and interventions, lively talks, performances, workshops, installations and kid-friendly experiences. But in this year like no other, MPavilion is also running a mix of online and in-person events, all of which respond in some way to the many, many challenges of 2020.

People sitting on the lawns at Heide Sculpture park
Photograph: Supplied / Articulate PR

22. Heide Summer Festival

Things to do Fairs and festivals Heide Museum of Modern Art, Bulleen

The art in Heide's sculpture garden will be a little livelier this summer. From January to March 2021, Heide MoMA is hosting its first Heide Summer Festival: nine weeks of outdoor events set in the plush surrounds of the Heide Sculpture Park.

A man and a woman in a joined ballet pose
Photograph: Pierre Toussaint

23. Summertime at the Ballet

Dance Ballet Margaret Court Arena, Melbourne

The 2021 Australian Ballet season kicks off in Melboure with a stadium gig Summertime at the Ballet, at Margaret Court Arena. Summertime fields excerpts from various hits including Lucas Jervies’ Spartacus, George Balanchine’s Pas de Deux and Themes and Variations, and Ronald Hynd’s The Merry Widow. “There are no sets or scene changes,” says Australian Ballet artistic director, David Hallberg. “It’s the dancers, great repertoire and the orchestra. That’s such an amazing way to boil everything down and show the talent.”

Three women crammed on a single tram seat
Photograph: Robert Blackburn

24. Single Ladies

Theatre Comedy Red Stitch Actors Theatre, St Kilda

Playwright Michele Lee is the brain behind 2018’s frank and funny Going Down and before that, the award-winning Rice. Now she’s back with Single Ladies, a tale of multiculturalism and female friendship set in Collingwood. Taking place over the course of a single day, it follows the adventures of Anne, Lilike and Rachel, who, despite coming from different generations and backgrounds, forge an unlikely friendship after a chance encounter at their local Coles.

Inflatable Fun Park 2021 aerial shot
Photograph: Supplied

25. Inflatable Fun Park

Things to do Games and hobbies Soccer5s Dandenong, Dandenong South

Are you a bit of a puzzle solver? We suggest trying out Australia’s largest inflatable maze that heads to Melbourne this summer as part of the Inflatable Fun Park. This pop-up experience includes numerous attractions including a silent disco, trampolines, paddle boats, mini golf, a slip and slide, climbing wall, waterslides, the aforementioned inflatable maze and heaps more.

Guy Pearce with grey hair and a moustache peers out from behind an ornate door in JIFF film The Last Vermeer
Photograph: Supplied/JIFF

26. Jewish International Film Festival

Film Film festivals Multiple venues

Collecting 50+ fascinating stories from some 19 countries all around the world, the Jewish International Film Festival (JIFF) returns for another all-star run this year.

Imaginaria immersive play
Photograph: Imaginaria/William Hamilton-Coates

27. Imaginaria

Things to do The District Docklands, Docklands

The District Docklands gets a glow-up with Imaginaria –  a magical "future play experience". In layman's terms, Melbourne, its a giant, glowing, otherworldy all-ages playground to explore. Imaginaria allows (let's be honest, event-starved) Melburnians to explore fantastic custom-built, interactive structures like a giant inflatable bubble, glowing light maze, and a "cosmic abyss". The whole installation features bespoke sound, light and even scents that are activated as guests explore the dreamscape.

Ben Folds
Photograph: Supplied

28. Ben Folds: the Symphonic Tour

Music Classical and opera Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, South Wharf

Ben Folds is one of the world’s most versatile musicians, having carved out a 20-year career spanning piano pop rock, soundtracks, experimental collaborations and contemporary orchestral compositions. In 2021, Folds is showcasing the latter, teaming up with Australia’s symphony orchestras for a genre-bending tour. If you’re familiar with Folds, don’t come expecting the same honky-tonk from his album concerts.

Vada Pav
Photograph: Annika Kafcaloudis

29. PopeIsh

Things to do Food and drink Pope Joan, Melbourne

Sometimes your standard eggs and bacon on toast won’t cut it for brunch. It’s times like those you need something a lot more exciting than a piece of white bread, and you’ll be delighted to hear that Pope Joan City is not only reopening its doors but joining forces with Indian diner IshThe result? A six-week menu of classic, all-day Pope Joan dishes inspired by Indian flavours.

Beginner Sheep Heart Corrosion Casting Workshop
Photograph: Supplied/Rest In Pieces

30. Beginner Sheep Heart Corrosion Casting Workshop

Things to do Classes and workshops Around Melbourne, Melbourne

Do you possess an interest in the dying arts (literally)? Have you ever been beguiled by a taxidermied animal specimen, an articulated skeleton in a museum, or the corrosion casting and plastination techniques used to present real human bodies in touring exhibitions like Body Worlds and Real BodiesThese fascinating specimens are the results of skilled craftsmanship, and now, you have the opportunity to learn this art form yourself with Rest in Pieces, an educational institute specialising in the time-honoured skills of preserving and presenting animal specimens.

More things to do in Melbourne this month

Cocktail at Romeo Lane
Photograph: Nathalie Saldumbide

The 50 best bars in Melbourne right now

Bars Cocktail bars

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.

Princes Bridge. Melbourne
Photograph: Robert Blackburn

The best free things to do in Melbourne

Things to do

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.

Torch the Place Melbourne Theatre Company 2020 supplied
Photograph: Justin Ridler

Melbourne theatre and musicals in February

Theatre Musicals

Melbourne's theatre scene has really kicked into top gear this February, with our major companies starting their mainstage seasons in grand style. Malthouse Theatre has a brilliantly funny two-man take on The Importance of Being Earnest, while Melbourne Theatre Company is premiering the debut play by Benjamin Law. There's plenty of brilliant queer performance around the city thanks to Midsumma Festival, while Asia TOPA is filling our stages with surprising and eclectic shows from the Asia-Pacific region.

Great Otway National Park
Photograph: Robert Blackburn

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.

People browsing through clothing at a market stall
Photograph: Supplied

The best markets in Melbourne

Shopping Markets

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.

Food at Dari Korean Cafe
Photograph: Graham Denholm

The best new restaurants in Melbourne right now


If you love food and live in Melbourne, your 'must-try' list of new restaurants, cafés and bars probably takes up your phone's entire storage capacity by now. Luckily, we've put together a curated list of the newest, hottest and coolest restaurants our critics are raving about. 


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