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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

  • Things to do
  • Fairs and festivals
  • price 0 of 4
  • Brunswick

If you only do one thing for this year's Brunswick Music Festival, then make it the famous opening party. This mammoth one-day, free music festival takes over the Brunswick's main street, sprawling across seven outdoor stages and seven venues down Sydney Road, and will feature a bunch of musicians playing rock, hip-hop, reggae, soul, jazz, gospel and everything in between. Across the huge Sunday, more than 90 artists will perform. To try and catch as many as you can, hop between stages and duck into venues including Stay Gold, Brunswick Ballroom, the Bergy, and the Retreat Hotel, who will all be getting in on the action. Artists to pencil into your schedule include Bumpy, Our Carlson, Porpoise Spit and Dole Manchild, to name just a few.  You can also expect plenty of food, 150 market stalls, a First Nations artist market over at Blak Dot Market, roving street performers and plenty more. It's all happening for one day only on Sunday, March 3, and it's well worth the visit. Find out more here.  Looking to check out more live music in Melbourne? Check out this guide. 

  • 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

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  • 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

  • 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.

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  • 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

Turkish Pazar Festival
  • Things to do
  • Fairs and festivals
  • Melbourne

Feast on borek, gozleme and Turkish delights this March when the Turkish Pazar festival returns to Queen Victoria Market. This year marks the 16th year the Pazar rolls into town to celebrate Turkey's rich culture.  Held over the first weekend of March, the festival replicates the atmosphere of an authentic Turkish bazaar right in the middle of Melbourne. At the pazar you'll discover the vibrant tastes, colours and sounds of Turkey through food, music, arts and crafts and cultural displays. Numerous food stalls will entice taste buds - with delicious plates of gozleme and kebabs as well as sweet treats like Turkish Delight and like baklava, plus authentic Turkish coffee.  There'll be live acts and traditional entertainment, including The Australian Ottoman Marching Band, the first of its kind to perform outside of Turkey. During the weekend you can also browse Turkish arts and handicrafts, plus learn more about Turkish culture from stallholders. There will even be ebru demonstrations – the art of paper marbling.  You can visit the Turkish Pazar at the Queen Victoria Markets on Saturday, March 2 and Sunday, March 3 from 10am to 4pm. All ages are welcome and entry is free. Looking for more things to do in Melbourne? Here's our guide to what's on this week. 

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  • Things to do
  • Fairs and festivals
  • Port Melbourne

It's hard not to love Melbourne's annual Wine and Cheese Fest, an event that brings together all the best cheese producers, wine and cider makers and other small goods producers. And for its eleventh iteration at Timber Yard in Port Melbourne this March, it's back bigger and better than ever.  The one-day festival is set to be a 'gouda' time, with more than 50 local wineries, cheesemakers and artisan producers gathered under one roof. Learn techniques from on-stage masterclasses conducted by experienced chefs and cheesemongers and enjoy plenty of free tastings throughout the day.  This year, the likes of That's Amore Cheese, Schulz Organic Dairy, Boatshed Cheese, L'Artisan Cheese, Pizzini Wines, Rob Dolan Wine, Clarnette Wines, Pizzini Wines and John Gehrig Wines will be exhibiting their goods, among many more exciting names on the lin-up. DJS and roving artists will also be around to keep the vibes high, and your little ones can hang out in the dedicated kids' zone complete with face painting, lawn games and more. Best of all, the annual Grape Stomp Competition is back. If you're up for some fun and want to try your hand at making some wine the traditional way, sign up here. Tickets to the Wine and Cheese Fest are on sale here and start at $60, and this year attendance will be split between two sessions: one from 11.30am to 3pm and another from 3.30pm to 7pm. Tickets include free tastings, a tote bag and a festival glass.  After more fine vino? Here are the best Yarra Valley

  • 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

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  • Music
  • Music festivals
  • Brunswick

Merri-bek dwellers are spoiled for choice when it comes to musical talent, never more than during the annual Brunswick Music Festival, when international and local acts come together for a celebration of great music. This year, you can look forward to nine jam-packed days, featuring more than 60 gigs and 30 venues across the suburb and surrounds. Everything kicks off with the famous Sydney Road Street Party on Sunday, March 3. This mammoth, free one-day festival takes over Brunswick’s main road (which happens to be the longest continuous shopping strip in the southern hemisphere). There’ll be seven outdoor stages, more than 90 artists and a whole heap of market stalls, too. Estonian House on Melville road will once again host major performances, including a special appearance from boundary-breaking legends Yothu Yindi on March 5. US shoegaze sensation Wednesday and Zambian psych rockers Witch will also grace the Estonian House stage, as well as a musical feast called Highly Contagious headed up by dance punk outfit Gut Health.  Quirky local venues are where Brunswick Musical Festival shines. For example, neighbourhood icon A1 Bakery is being transformed into a “party reminiscent of nightclubs in Beirut and beyond” on March 10. Think drummers, belly dancers and more. For those happy to travel a little further north, the Australian Art Orchestra will present a concert celebrating the Coburg Town Hall organ on March 6.  The festival will conclude on March 11 with Music for the M

  • 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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