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Three women in activewear sitting around drinking wine
Photograph: Supplied

Things to do in Melbourne this week

Stay home this week and enjoy all these great online activities including virtual events, tours and food delivery

By Rebecca Russo, Cassidy Knowlton and Nicola Dowse
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Check out our curated guide to all the fun things to do at home in Melbourne right now. Many performances, museums and venues have closed and cancelled, but creative Melburnians have translated things online so you don't have to miss out. Here's a list of things to do at home while we all stay safe.

RECOMMENDED: What you can and can't do in Victoria right now

Here are Melbourne's current physical distancing rules explained and a guide to helping your fellow Melburnians who might be struggling.

Things to do in Melbourne this week

Room of people enjoying a drag night
Photograph: Supplied

1. Settle in for some Self Bingolation

Things to do Your Place, Melbourne

Shortly after the first round of shutdowns were announced in mid-March, Pride of our Footscray brought us a livestreamed drag night – a way to celebrate pride inside. After a brief hiatus, the bar and its drag queens are back hosting good old fashioned drag bingo nights but updated for the online realm. Self Bingolation combines all the fun of drag bingo, with all the fun of staying at home and protecting the community from coronavirus. Aurora Arsenic will be your host as you play along at home and enjoy a night of comedy, singing, drag and bingo.

Farm Cafe produce box
Photograph: Supplied

2. Get your groceries from these (closed) restaurants

Restaurants

The government has announced closures of restaurants and bars. Some venues have pivoted to takeaway and delivery, but not all menus are delicious once transported. Instead, some cafes, restaurants and bars have transformed into grocers, offering you stunning produce, direct through restaurant suppliers for you to cook at home.

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Hope in the Dark, installation view at Gertrude Contemporary, featuring work by Amrita Hepi and Sarah Brasier
Photograph: Christian Capurro

3. Spy the 'Hope in the Dark' exhibition

Art Gertrude Contemporary, Preston

Melbourne’s galleries have now all shut down... again. Indie gallery space Gertrude Contemporary has found an ingenious way to keep exhibiting art, even if its doors remain closed. Since the first shutdowns in March, Gertrude Contemporary has been hosting Hope in the Dark – a street-facing exhibition that uses the windows at Gertrude Contemporary (Preston) and Gertrude Glasshouse (Collingwood) to showcase works.  To be clear: viewing an art exhibition is technically not one of the four current reasons to leave home. However, if you live in the vicinity, there’s no reason why you can’t swing by for a sticky beak.

Meshel Laurie and Emily Webb
Photograph: Supplied/Australian True Crime Live

4. Watch 'Australian True Crime' Live

Things to do Your Place, Melbourne

Exploring true crime beyond the headlines, Australian True Crime is a stand-out show that cuts through the noise in an overcrowded genre in the podcast scene. In a move made to suit the physically distanced era, the Australian True Crime team are hosting a live virtual event with special guests that you can join from the comfort of your home with a livestream starting at 8pm on Saturday, July 18.

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Pizza slices at Slice Shop
Photograph: Melanie Desa

5. Order takeaway from these Melbourne restaurants

Restaurants

The government has announced closures of restaurants and bars in metropolitan Melbourne, but takeaway and delivery services are still available. This is a list of restaurants and bars still able to offer you food from their menus, rescue packs and even produce boxes that can get you through these tough times.

Paper craft koi fish making class with ClassBento
Photograph: Supplied/ClassBento

6. Try one of these online classes or workshops

Things to do Classes and workshops

Always dreamed of learning another language? Have a lot of hoarded wine and want to start boozily slapping pigments on a canvas in a Zoom class full of other tiddly painters? Well, you've certainly come to the right place. Now is as good a time as any to upskill (or sit on your butt and watch an online tutorial without moving a muscle, no one's judging) and luckily for us, many Melbourne institutions have opened their virtual doors to help us out.

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Two people mould clay vessels in their hands, there are instruction sheets and tools in front of them.
Photograph: Supplied/Crockd

7. Order a pottery kit to try at home

Things to do

With many of us spending more time just pottering around the house, there’s never been a better time to try your hand at being a literal potter. Although they’ve had to close their studio doors to the public, a bunch of ceramics studios have adapted their businesses so you can get busy moulding your own mugs, vases and assorted sculptural vessels at home. Go on, allow the tactile task of rolling clay between your hands to remind you of the sensation of human touch as you re-enact that classic scene from the 1990 romantic hit Ghost.

A still from film Billie and Emma
Photograph: Supplied / MQFFO

8. Watch the online Melbourne Queer Film Festival

Film Film festivals Your Place, Melbourne

Melbourne Queer Film Festival is returning for its 30th anniversary in 2020 with a strong line-up of queer films that share ‘stories in every colour’. After its original March dates became untenable due to shutdowns, the festival is back and online this July, continuing to promote inclusion, community and the celebration of all LGBTQ+ people. Over three days from July 17 to July 19, MQFF will host five online film screenings from its 30th-anniversary festival program, including its regular collection of Australian short films.

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Photograph of a woman artistically fanning a red dress on a flat beach under a almost cloudless sky
Photograph: © Dana Scruggs

9. View the New Black Vanguard exhibition

Art Photography Bunjil Place Library, Narre Warren

In 2018, Tyler Mitchell became the first African-American photographer to shoot the cover of US Vogue, when his image of Beyoncé became the face of the magazine’s September edition. Mitchell is one of 15 emerging and established Black photographers featured in The New Black Vanguard: Photography between Art and Fashion, which comes to Bunjil Place Gallery as part of the Photo 2020 International Festival of Photography.

Farm Cafe produce box
Photograph: Supplied

10. Restaurants and bars now selling groceries in Melbourne

Restaurants

The government has announced closures of restaurants and bars. Some venues have pivoted to takeaway and delivery, but not all menus are delicious once transported. Instead, some cafes, restaurants and bars have transformed into grocers, offering you stunning produce, direct through restaurant suppliers for you to cook at home. Please be sure to check the social media accounts of your favourite venue to keep up with what they're doing. We endeavour to keep this list as up to date as possible. If you would like your venue featured or know of any changes, please get in touch via email. Here's just what you can and can't do in Melbourne (and Victoria) right now.

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T Form Pilates Melbourne
Photograph: T Form/Supplied

11. Get inspired by Melbourne's best online workouts

Things to do

During times of uncertainty, a reliable routine can really help. If fitness is part of your daily ritual, you might be a little rattled with the fact that gyms are closed (again) in Melbourne. But don't worry, we've picked out some handy online workouts by local experts, so you can still get your heart pumping and those endorphins flowing in the safety of your own home.

Actor Shane Jacobson
Photograph: Supplied / Arts Centre Melbourne

12. Listen to 'Keeping the Curtain Up'

Theatre Your Place, Melbourne

Sadly, Australians aren’t going to be seeing any new, live musicals for some time yet. We can, however, revisit some of our favourite musicals from the past decade. Arts Centre Melbourne hosting a one-night-only livestream featuring performances from some of the country's biggest musical hits. Keeping the Curtain Up is bringing together past performances from some of Australia's favourite musicals on Saturday, July 18.

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13. Get some takeaway hot chocolate

Restaurants Cafés

The humble hot chocolate has come a long way from the days of Nestle powder. We're particularly spoiled here in Melbourne, with venues taking to mugs of gooey, molten chocolate with the same sort of all-consuming fixation usually applied to coffee. Head to one of these venues for Melbourne's best hot chocolate. At the moment you can get takeaway only, but hot chocolate is surely an essential service. 

'Ngurlu manu pirdijirri Jukurrpa' (Seeds and seed cake Dreaming), Unknown artist1986
Photograph: National Gallery of Victoria

14. Explore 60,000 years of Indigenous culture virtually

News Art

Australia’s Indigenous nations are the oldest living cultures in the world, with at least 60,000 years worth of history, knowledge and art underpinning them. But while the symbols and stories of Indigenous communities are ancient, it has only been in the last 50 years that they have been shared as art. The NGV’s Marking Time exhibition examines the iconography of Indigenous nations from across Australia, and how these markings have endured and evolved through time. The best part? You can view it extensively online right now.

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The Sugarfoot Ramblers
Photograph: Supplied / MIJF

15. Hear the (virtual) Melbourne International Jazz Festival

Music Jazz

Melbourne International Jazz Festival's 23rd year looks a little different. The festival has gone online to keep presenting top the range jazz to Melburnians during the crisis. After launching in May, MIJF is back at the end of June with its These Digital Times program. From 10.30am on Saturday, June 27, MIJF will be livestreaming perfomances from some of the best jazz performers from Australia and around the world (highlights include Joey DeFrancesco and Federico Casagrande). There will also be workshops for kids and families and career development panels, all of which will be broadcast for free on YouTube.

Generic truffle
Photography: Anthony Georgeff

16. Get truffles delivered directly to your door

News Restaurants

Seeing as restaurants will be operating at partial capacity for the foreseeable future, Robert Perrone from Premier Foods is now selling (and delivering) truffles around the Melbourne metro area for the whole truffle season. Depending on the truffle, you're looking at $1.50-$2 a gram. The truffles he is currently selling around town are from Ballarat, but will soon switch over to Manjimup from WA as the season progresses. In case you're wondering, Perrone is the real deal. Restaurants that he stocks truffle to include Ides, Amaru and Carlton Wine Room.

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Three women in activewear sitting around drinking wine
Photograph: Supplied

17. Try virtual Yoga and Wine

Things to do Classes and workshops Your Place, Melbourne

It is important (perhaps now more than ever) to prioritise our health, both physically and emotionally. With that in mind, Handpicked Wines is hosting virtual yoga and wine tasting classes every Saturday through until mid July. The online yoga and wine classes are led by experts and held live over Zoom. First guests participate in a 45-minute yoga class followed by a 30-minute wine tasting session hosted by a Handpicked Wines sommelier. The online sessions cost $95 but includes three bottles of wine that are sent to your house prior.

Delorean in the desert
Photograph: Supplied

18. Stream the Melbourne Documentary Film Festival

Film Documentary Your Place, Melbourne

Melbourne Documentary Festival goes online for its 2020 edition but promises a superb line-up of gripping, thought-provoking non-fiction movies. More than half the films shown will be Australian, more than 45 are from women directors, and more than 90 are coming direct from major international festivals such as Slamdance, Tribeca, Rotterdam and Hot Docs.

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The Melbourne Box
Photograph: Supplied

19. Order a Melbourne Box that's filled with local products

News Style & Shoppng

Usually, we’re all for people getting out and having a rollicking good time in Melbourne. However, that’s proving to be difficult this year, so you’ll have to enjoy the best of the city at home. It’s a task made slightly easier by the fact that you can now get a box of all-Melbourne goodies delivered to your doorstep. Each Melbourne Box contains five products from local makers. You’ll get something to eat, to drink, something for your home, your body and some art. The specific items are randomly selected, although you do get to choose between tea or coffee because some divides are too deep to cross.

A woman in activewear doing a ballet pose
Photograph: Supplied

20. Take online ballet classes with the Australian Ballet

News Theatre & Performance

The Australian Ballet is ensuring your time spent indoors is truly en pointe. The dance company has launched online adult ballet classes that you can enjoy for the humble price of $25. The Australian Ballet usually runs its adult classes from the Primrose Potter Australian Ballet Centre in Southbank, but while it’s shut the classes are going online. All aspiring dancers can take part, with classes offered at beginner, intermediate and advanced levels.

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A blank canvas propped up next to paints, a wine glass and a phone playing an instructional video.
Photograph: Supplied

21. Sip and paint with these digital classes and art packs

News City Life

As we while away the time at home under physical distancing rules, unleashing on a creative project or pouring a glass of pino are vices many of us are turning to for passing the time. But, especially if you haven’t picked up a paintbrush since a high school art class, a blank canvas sitting before you can be a bit of an overwhelming prospect. Thankfully, local ‘sip and paint’ studios are now offering at-home options so you can have an instructor on hand to guide your creative spark (it’s just up to you to keep your wine glass topped up).

State Library of Victoria Ian Potter Queen's Hall 2019
Photograph: Patrick Rodriguez

22. Download the State Library's huge collection of books, music and photos for free

News City Life

The State Library of Victoria’s physical doors may be shut for the time being, but it doesn’t mean you can’t explore the best parts of this mega library online. Everyone now has access to the library’s massive digital collections, which includes thousands of photographs, personal manuscripts, magazines, journals, newspapers, comics, theatre programs and advertisements – even video archives. You can also access more than 19,000 ebooks, music and a huge range of journals and articles.

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Adam Hills
Photograph: Supplied / TS Publicity

23. Watch Easey's virtual comedy night

Comedy Your Place, Melbourne

When things are bad (*cough* 2020 *cough*) sometimes all you can do is laugh. That will certainly be easier thanks to the news that Adam Hills is hosting a new digital comedy night. Every Thursday nights from June 25, Hills is hosting Easey Comedy – a Zoom comedy night featuring some of Australia’s most rib-splitting comedians. Line-ups will be different every week, but we can confirm at-home audiences will be able to enjoy jokes from the likes of Dilruk Jayasinha, Cal Wilson, Nath Valvo, Tom Ballard, Michelle Brasier and Jude Perl in the first week alone.

Before I Fall
Photograph: © Open Road Films

24. Watch these great films that feature a time loop

Film

Does anything feel a little… familiar about the current circumstances? Yes, metro Melbourne is going back into lockdown for another six weeks for what we’re calling Iso 2: The Virus Strikes Back (alternative titles include Iso 2: Electric Boogaloo and Lockdown 2: 2 Lock 2 Down). The current circumstances have got us feeling a little bit of déjà vu, which is defined as the feeling “that one has lived through the present situation before”. It’s all very familiar – so why not lean into it by watching some of our favourite films featuring time loops. 

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Margerita pizza at SPQR Pizzeria
Photograph: Graham Denholm

25. Get top notch pizza delivered to you

Restaurants Pizza

Light crusts, rich tomato bases, fresh toppings: that's amore, pizza-lovers. We've eaten our way around Melbourne to find the best slices; in no particular order, here are 15 favourite pizza restaurants. Plus we've scoped out all their delivery details, so if you're staying in (and between July 9 and August 20 you really should be) you can still have the best slice of pie.

Staying inside?

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Time Out

Time In: The best things to do at home

Things to do

We've collected the best ways for you to experience Melbourne while staying at home here into this hub, so you can stay sane, comfortable, fed, watered and entertained at home – while helping small business owners, hospitality workers and creative people who desperately need your business.

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