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A group of women posing at the entrance to the Wine and Cheese Fest.
Photograph: Supplied / Wine and Cheese Fest Melbourne

Things to do in Melbourne this weekend

We've got you covered for the best things to do in Melbourne this Friday to Sunday

Liv Condous
Written by
Liv Condous
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February 26, 2024: The famed Le Dîner en Blanc returns for another year on Saturday, with an extravagant party taking place at a mystery city location. Melbourne Fashion Festival sashays into its second weekend, with heaps of events that are perfect for those of us with a passion for fashion. Plus, foodies have plenty of options for satiating cravings, with Wine and Cheese FestTurkish Pazar Festival and Flavour Fest all plating up this weekend. In the theatre world, smash-hit production Groundhog Day the Musical (which garnered a five star review from our arts and culture editor) is in town for a limited run and 90s cult-classic musical Rent has hit the stage. If you're up for a road trip, Long Hot Summer festival in Lorne has free gigs and good vibes this weekend too.  

There's always something happening in this fair city of ours, so don't let the week pass you by without popping a few fun events into your social calendar. To help you plan, we've rounded up all the best activities happening this week, so all you have to do is scroll, pick and embark on your adventure.

When in doubt, you can always rely on our catch-all lists of Melbourne's best bars, restaurants, museums, parks and galleries, or consult our bucket list of 101 things to do in Melbourne before you die.  

Looking for more ways to fill up your calendar? Plan a trip around our beautiful state with our handy travel guides.

The best things to do in Melbourne this weekend

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Theatre
  • Musicals
  • Southbank

“Still thirsty?” asks Calista Nelmes’ Maureen, as she reaches the milky peak of the drawn-out, cow-themed performance art piece she performs within Rent. The answer comes swiftly in a not-so-quiet whisper from the stalls: “Yes please!” It’s been a while since Rent – Jonathan Larson’s legendary ‘90s rock musical, known for its anti-establishment attitude – has been treated to a large-scale national tour in Australia, and there’s a strong sense on opening night that the audience has been hankering for a show like this. Nearly three decades on from Rent’s Broadway premiere, this fresh Australian production prevails in bringing new life to a narrative which follows a close-knit group of artists in New York’s East Village. The key? A diverse, youthful cast brimming with talent that leaves audience members audibly enraptured. For those unfamiliar, Rent’s central struggle is that of New Yorkers trying to succeed in the midst of poverty, gentrification and the HIV/AIDS epidemic. These friends have been pursuing their dreams (and sometimes just getting by) living rent-free thanks to their former housemate-turned-landlord Benny (Tana Laga’aia), until he suddenly backflips and asks them to cough up last year’s rent. Chaos unfolds as the young creatives try to keep a roof over their heads without losing track of who they are. The narrative flow is deliberately fragmented, as each character is pushed into survival mode – this is a city where Santa brings basic groceries (or hard drugs) in

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Theatre
  • Musicals
  • Melbourne

The “Matilda for grown-ups” comparisons are true: this Australian premiere burrows all the way down into the depths of despair and climbs triumphantly back out again, all within two snappy acts.  As per the classic 1993 film starring Bill Murray, Groundhog Day takes place on a very big day in a very small Pennsylvanian town. Each year on February 2, a large rodent emerges from his burrow to predict when winter will end. The Olivier Award-winning and Tony Award-nominated Andy Karl stars as Phil Connors, the jaded weatherman who gets sucked into a time loop covering the perky celebration over and over (and over) again.  A musical adaptation of a film about becoming a better person runs the risk of feeling twee. However, Tim Minchin’s zingingly clever lyrics and Danny Rubin’s gutsy book take the essence of the film and wring out considerably more depth and grit to give the musical its own more mature personality. What would you really do if you were trapped repeating the same average-at-best day forever? Groundhog Day takes this premise and stretches it to all its thorny extremes, and isn’t afraid to get dark as hell in the process. This is a musical that fully embraces its format, combining unabashed theatrics with some A-grade scumbag antics and moments of heart wrenching depression from Phil. Each scene takes things a step further than expected, whether that be into malarkey or melancholia, and is all the better for it. Andy Karl’s performance as Phil is nothing short of supe

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  • Film
  • Outdoor cinema
  • Melbourne

It's officially that time of year again when the Moonlight Cinema returns to Melbourne for the summer. There's just something special about snuggling into a bean bag and catching a film under the stars in the Royal Botanic Gardens – with an ice cream or wine in hand, of course.  Australia's favourite outdoor cinema has revealed its March line-up of movies, with blockbusters, nostalgic favourites and plenty of romcoms on the program. Highlights include The Iron Claw, Wonka, All Of Us Strangers, Dune: Part Two and Poor Things. Those looking to splurge can opt for either the Platinum Experience, which includes a deluxe double bean bed for two with waiter service and a hamper of goodies from Victoria's High Country or the AAMI Gold Grass Experience, with a range of food and beverages delivered straight to your bean bag. And new this year is the Official Aperol Spritz Bar, where you can sip on the iconic orange cocktail all summer long. Screenings kick off at sundown (around 8.45pm) and even your pooch is welcome. Tickets are now available via the website. A new in-cinema diner that takes 'dinner and a movie' to the next level has just opened in Brunswick East.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Theatre
  • Drama
  • Southbank

At some point in your life, you may have sat around a dining table and questioned your companions: if you were stranded on a deserted island, what object would you wish for? How would you cope? Imagining these worst-case scenarios can be a morbidly entertaining party game – and Melbourne Theatre Company’s production of Meet Me At Dawn begins by playing out this hypothetical proposition. But what starts as an extrapolation of a classic ‘what if?’, blurs into a melding of reality and imagination, where loss and grief surface.  The play, penned by award-winning Scottish writer Zinnie Harris, frantically begins with a couple washing up on a strange shore after they capsize their boat. Helen, played by Sheridan Harbridge (Prima Facie) and Robyn, played by Jing-Xuan Chan (The Family Law), are two middle-class academics whose spontaneous recreational boating trip comes to an abrupt watery end after they overestimate their sailing abilities.  As the pair realise they are completely disoriented on an unknown island, a sequence of bickering, frustration and panic ensues, a recogniseable dynamic for many couples. Director Katy Maudlin adeptly infuses a surprising number of comedic moments into this frightening scenario, complimented by the chemistry between Chan and Harbridge who depict an amusingly relatable relationship. The smattering of chuckles from the audience is emboldened by Harbridge’s masterful comedic chops and choice of a humorous, somewhat posh accent (kind of like Moira R

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  • Things to do
  • Spotswood

Scienceworks invites visitors to explore Earth and the cosmos with a series of after-hours and adults-only film screenings on the huge Planetarium dome, with a drink in hand. Every Friday night, those over 18 can explore the universe through immersive documentaries and wonder at the magic of the universe. You won’t go spacing out at these shows either, as they’re loaded with amazing visuals and stellar content. Each night features two screenings, one at 7.30pm and the other at 9pm. The February film picks are Unveiling the Invisible Universe, a doco on space exploration, and Dimensions: Once Upon Our Reality, an educational film combined with a rollercoaster ride of visuals and music. For March, it's Phantom of the Universe, a doco narrated by Oscar-winning actress Tilda Swinton that delves into dark matter, and a visual version of legendary rock band Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon.  Plus, each night you can take a guided tour of what's in the sky that night, taking you through all the astronomical sights. You can buy tickets to both sessions, or to either the early or late session. It's a unique way to unwind on a Friday night, with a drink in hand and a trip into space. Find out more details and book via the website.  For more cosmic experiences, check out the best places to go stargazing in Melbourne, and the state's best planetariums and observatories.

  • Art
  • Installation
  • St Kilda

If you had 30 minutes to spend with yourself surrounded by nothing but darkness and the rain, what would you do? This is something the Rain Room by luxe hotel Jackalope and London-based collective Random International wants us to consider. The exhibition has reopened its sliding doors for its third season and invites us to all take a moment for ourselves to practice mindfulness and embrace the present in the rain. For those who aren’t familiar with it, the Rain Room is an immersive artwork by Random International that fills the ceiling of a darkened room with motion sensors and little droplets of recycled water that imitate rain. The result? An experience that you can walk through slowly without getting a single drop of water on you, even though you’re surrounded by what feels like a storm. The experience stimulates your senses and if you’ve ever been caught in the rain in Southeast Asia, this evokes a similar feeling. It’s slightly warm as the sound of falling rain crescendos but if you walk an inch too quickly you’ll feel the sensation of getting tapped on the head by water.  ‘Rain Room’ is one of Random International’s most famous works and has previously been shown at the Barbican in London, MoMA in New York and at the Yuz Museum in Shanghai.  Also, a word to the wise: make sure not to wear heels or shoes that you will slip in or you might end up wearing a pair of Crocs that the team hands to you instead.   Rain Room will be open until the end of March, 2024. Book your se

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  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Theatre
  • Drama
  • Southbank

When we first meet the star of The Dictionary of Lost Words, Esme Nicoll, it’s 1886 and she is under her father’s desk learning new words. She tries them on for size, testing out their definitions in sentences and quotes – “bondmaid”, “fashionable”, “Lily”. She’s curious and questioning, bright-eyed in a red Shirly Temple wig and Victorian smock.  An adaptation of Pip Williams’ best-selling 2020 novel of the same name, The Dictionary of Lost Words is a three-hour epic spanning decades and covering everything from the Great War to the early suffrage movement. Two things pull us through the show’s century-long timeline: the construction of the Oxford dictionary, and Esme, who comes of age while constructing a dictionary of her own from the words discarded and deemed unsuitable in the process. Yet we never quite lose sight of the bright-eyed and bushy-tailed Esme escaping under a wooden desk, child-like as she collects these ‘unseemly’ words and learns more of their meanings, uses and origins.  Verity Laughton’s adaptation had a middling reception when it premiered last year at Sydney Theatre Company. Critics applauded the show’s impressive design and at times affecting dialogue but took issue with its exposition-heavy script and crowded plot. Upon its arrival at Arts Centre Melbourne, many of these criticisms still stand.  Jonathon Oxlade’s design remains as impressive as ever, surrounding Esme in a grid-work of luminescent pigeonholes overlooked by a rectangular screen that di

  • Art
  • Sculpture and installations
  • price 0 of 4
  • Southbank

Robotic dogs. Yoko Ono. A dragon-imprinted McDonald's sign. Tracey Emin. After years of waiting, the NGV Triennial truly is back and better than ever. In an electric fusion of contemporary art, design and architecture, the 2023 iteration will feature more than 75 projects and invites us to reflect on the world as it is while asking how we would like it to be. Running from December 3 to April 7, 2024, the three key thematic pillars are 'Magic, Matter and Memory', and you can expect the works from 100 artists, designers and collectives to traverse all four levels of NGV International. The line-up features artists from around the world, such as Sheila Hicks (USA), Agnieszka Pilat (Poland), Tracey Emin (UK), Betty Muffler (Australia), David Shrigley (UK), Yoko Ono (Japan), Shakuntala Kulkarni (India), Tao Hui (China), Schiaparelli (France) and more.  With more than 25 world-premiere projects commissioned by the NGV exclusively for this exhibition, the Triennial will reveal the ways in which leading and emerging artists and designers have responded to the most relevant and critical global issues of our time.  Agnieszka Pilat will train Boston Dynamics robot dogs to paint autonomously, and audiences will be able to see these dogs paint a monolithic durational work. In a special collaboration with Paris haute couture house Schiaparelli, the NGV has invited artist director Daniel Roseberry to present a selection of works from recent collections alongside a number of gilded surrealist

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  • Things to do
  • Exhibitions
  • Carlton

The world's most extensive and authentic exhibition about the famed (and doomed) Titanic will sail into Melbourne Museum this December. Coming directly from a sold-out run in Paris, Titanic: The Artefact Exhibition will transport visitors inside the famous ship more than a century after its demise via an intricate recreation of its hallowed halls that feature real relics.  Melburnians will have the chance to step back in time to the year 1912, collecting a boarding pass to relive the historic day when the Titanic embarked on its ill-fated maiden voyage. Inside the exhibition are meticulous recreations of the ship’s interiors, including the grand staircase, first-class parlour suite and verandah café. For fans of the beloved James Cameron film, this is a chance to be immersed in the settings that inspired some truly iconic cinematic moments.  The landmark exhibition will also include more than 200 genuine artefacts retrieved from the site of the shipwreck in the depths of the Atlantic Ocean, many of them possessions of the passengers and crew onboard. Visitors will be able to dive into the human stories of the people who took the fateful voyage, exposing the eye-opening reality of the infamous tragedy. It's sure to provide an incredible insight into the harsh truth of the Titanic – but unfortunately, it won’t give any further intel as to whether both Jack and Rose could have fit on the door.  'Titanic: The Artefact Exhibition' opened exclusively at Melbourne Museum on December

  • Things to do
  • Food and drink
  • Abbotsford

Prosecco: refreshing, versatile, bubbly. It's a winning combo. Melburnians will once again be able to indulge their love of the Italian white wine when the Prosecco Festival takes over the Abbotsford Convent on Saturday, March 2. Returning for its seventh year, the event will feature more than 45 international and homegrown bubbles from brands like Rigoni, Cester Camillo, Rebuli, Dal Zotto, Babo, Pizzini Wines, Brown Brothers, See Saw Wines, Tar and Roses, Vinea Marson and De Bortoli. Our very own Kylie Minogue will even be in attendance (well, kind of), with her prosecco rosé available to sample. If you're sober curious or the allocated deso driver, Edenvale is one of the official partners and will have you sorted with a range of alcohol-free vinos and cocktails. Plus, all the growers, makers and importers will be on-site to chat about their wine. But it's not all about the bubbles. To line your stomach there will be sweet and savoury treats from local vendors like the Pav Queen, Milawa Cheese, Yes Porketta and Arancini Art. Vegetarian and gluten-free options will also be available. You can even book in for a VIP masterclass with Melissa Brauer (aka the Prosecco Queen and founder of the event), which will teach you everything there is to know about the effervescent tipple. You'll get to taste four different styles of prosecco paired with antipasto snacks and cheese. Adorn Cosmetics will also be in attendance as an event partner, to provide make-up touch-ups during the day. M

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