Wondering what to do in Melbourne in March? 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 March
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.
In 2017, Melbourne suffered a mighty blow. Dracula’s, arguably Melbourne’s premiere theatre restaurant and cabaret venue, closed its glittery doors after 37 wild years of G-strings, pasties and ghost train rides. Luckily, Melbourne’s other two theatre restaurants were available to fill that void: Witches and Britches and Williamstown’s Titanic Theatre Restaurant. But in 2019 something new came along to add to the list. Say hello to the Gaol Experience, a dinner and show experience. As you might have guessed, it takes place in the Old Melbourne Gaol and dredges up the site’s 174-year history for a show that combines burlesque, sideshow and comedy. Guests are served a two-course dinner in the original cell block of the City Watch House, which is the place where felons were brought to face justice when the jail was in operation. Fancy taking things up a notch? VIP guests can serve more time, kicking back cocktails in old jail cells as the evening goes on. The show itself includes the talents of a team of inmates (also known as cabaret performers Queen of the Damned) and includes lots of classic songs – think anything from Tina Arena and Queen to Wolfmother and Beyoncé. And because it’s burlesque, you should expect some risqué scenes – these inmates were charged with indecent exposure, after all. The show takes over four areas of the old jail and includes anything from laser beams to wanted photos and even a flash mob. Tickets start at $75, and you can organise special hen
Now that K-Pop has taken the world by storm, why not jump on the bandwagon and discover some of the biggest names in Asian pop? Frontier Touring is joining forces with Arts Centre Melbourne for Asia Pop Fest at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl on Friday, March 13, 2020. The inaugural Asia Pop Fest in 2017 brought thousands of people together celebrating Melbourne’s diverse community and strengthening the ever-growing relationship between Australia and Asia. The amphitheatre will once again come alive next March with activities, food, drink and entertainment from artists from across the Asia Pacific region. The all-ages event will take place as part of the Asia-Pacific Triennial of Performing Arts (Asia TOPA), and will bring together a dynamic program of contemporary music. The exciting headline acts will be announced very soon! For more information on Asia Pop Fest and to be one of the first to hear about the full line-up announcement, sign up on the website.
It’s been more than 30 years since Pixies released their first studio album, Surfer Rosa. The album introduced the world to a nonchalant, quiet-but-loud form of alternative rock that would go on to influence everyone from Nirvana to PJ Harvey. In 2020 Pixies are returning to their roots with a world tour that showcases the band’s seminal releases. The Come on Pilgrim...It’s Surfer Rosa tour gives you exactly what it says on the box – that is EP Come On Pilgrim and album Surfer Rosa played in full. That means punters will be blessed with bangers like the twangy, surprisingly surfy hit ‘The Holiday Song’; the mellow pop-rock of ‘Gigantic’; and of course the spine-tinglingly good ‘Where is My Mind’. As well as playing their earliest releases in full, the Kim Deal-less Pixies (the current line-up features Black Francis, David Lovering, Joey Santiago and Paz Lenchantin) will perform old and new tracks from their 30 years in the biz. Pixies’ will perform at the Palais on Monday, March 9 and Tuesday, March 10 2020. Tickets go on sale at 1pm on Thursday, August 8.
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 March 2020, Folds is returning to Australia to showcase 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. “In these concerts, the orchestra is my band. When I perform with an orchestra, I tell audiences that I’m expressing myself through a different form than what they have come to expect in a rock show, a form that happens to be done by people who are among the best musicians on the planet and who do it all the time,” says Folds. Ben Folds will be performing with the Melbourne Symphony orchestra on Sunday, March 22 2020 at Plenary (at the Melbourne Exhibition and Convention Centre). This isn’t the first time that Folds has collaborated with the MSO, back in 2014, he joined them in a concert that included a improv jam session. Tickets are on sale now.
Even if you missed his Tony-winning musical Matilda (and more fool you if you did), even if you missed his scene-stealing turn as Judas in Jesus Christ Superstar, and even if you missed his Back tour when it first came to Melbourne in 2019, all is not lost for Tim Minchin fans. Tim Minchin is bringing Back back to Melbourne in March 2020 for an encore tour. The original 2019 iteration of Back was the first time Minchin had toured Australia in a decade, an absence that was acutely felt if the 69,000-strong attendance is anything to go by. The irreverent Minchin describes Back as "old songs, new songs, fuck you songs". And he certainly has plenty of the latter – Minchin's version of 'I Still Call Australia Home' provided a small beacon of light during Australia's shameful marriage equality plebiscite debacle, and his 'Come Home (Cardinal Pell)' which threw pointed barbs at Cardinal George Pell (who has since been convicted of child sex offences). Tickets flew out the door last time Back toured so you can expect them to go just as quick this time too. Pre sales start August 26, with general sales starting midday August 28.
The sister festival to December's Meredith Music Festival is held at the dazzling Supernatural Amphitheatre in Meredith, a small township just over an hour outside Melbourne. Golden Plains boasts one stage, no corporate sponsorship, a famed 'no dickhead policy' and eclectic line-ups that put scrappy local musicians beside international indie acts. So let's cut to the chase, shall we? The line-up for 2020 is a tasty selection of big-name headliners, off-the-radar talents, and local acts. The Supernatural Amphitheatre won't know what's hit it. Leading the pack are post-punk pioneers Pixies, party band Hot Chip, local great Sampa the Great, Smog's Bill Callahan, disco queen Evelyn Champagne King and Mondo Freaks and avant-pop foursome Stereolab. Joining them will be DJ Sprinkles, Sleaford Mods, Floorplan, Wayes Blood, Electric Fields and plenty more. It all goes down over March 7, 8 and 9 at Meredith Supernatural Amphitheatre. The full line-up is below. PixiesHot ChipSampa the GreatBill CallahanEvelyn Champagne King + Mondo FreaksStereolabDJ SprinklesSleaford ModsFloorplanWeyes BloodElectric FieldsJoe Camilleri and the Black SorrowsParsnipEzra CollectiveCivicMoonchild SanellyInjury ReserveBananagunGeneral Levy PrequelSimona CastricumC.FirmJ. McFarlane's Reality GuestYirindaMwanjéSlim Set
New York artist KAWS (aka Brian Donnelly) has brought his larger-than-life sculptures and paintings to the NGV this summer for KAWS: Companionship in the Age of Loneliness. Alongside this mega exhibition will be something for the littlest art fans. KAWS: Playtime is a free and immersive exhibition for kids that includes a number of hands-on activities that draw inspiration from KAWS’ work, especially his BFF character which is inspired by popular cartoon characters. The exhibition is on display until April 13 at NGV International and it’s free to attend.
Melbourne is growing and developing at a rapid pace, but how much do you really know about it? Now you can learn about some of the state’s most influential people, events and icons. Velvet, Iron, Ashes is an exhibition located in the State Library's newly refurbished Victoria Gallery. The exhibition will showcase more than 200 items from the Library's own collection plus additions from other major institutions and private collections. It gives visitors an opportunity to learn some illustrious stories about Ned Kelly, the Ashes Urn, Yalloum Power Station and even Nappie Wash. Visitors can learn how fairy floss is linked to fancy dress, how the Freddo Frog is tied to one of the greatest air races in history, and what the Ashes Urn and Ned Kelly’s armour have in common. A retro-style Map-o-matic device allows visitors to print out a map, opening up a world of storytelling to a new generation of Victorians. The exhibition is open to all ages and runs from October 24, 2019, until July 12, 2020. It is free to attend. The Ashes Urn is exclusively loaned from Marylebone Cricket Club in London and will be displayed from November 2019 until February 2020, so don’t miss out on seeing it in the flesh.
More things to do in Melbourne this month
Looking for a movie to see this week in Melbourne? Check out the latest releases in Australian cinemas, all reviewed by Time Out critics.
These are the best places to eat in this city right now: the freshest, most inventive and memorable venues, ranked by our expert local editors.
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.
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.
Find all the best art exhibitions in Melbourne over the next few weeks.
This November is a great time for theatre-loving Melburnians, with shows in just about every corner of the city; and just about every entertainment box ticked. Melbourne Theatre Company is donning its dance shoes for Kiss of the Spider Woman, while Malthouse is taking on Christmas with the help of cabaret chanteuse Meow Meow. There's plenty of indie theatre happening in our smallest and most daring venues and some international comedy superstars headed our way.
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.
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.
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.
From food to laneways, drinking to ghosts, these tours are the best way to get to know a different side of Melbourne.