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Photograph: Supplied/Paul Kane

57 things to do in Melbourne this weekend

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

Adena Maier
Written by
Adena Maier
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January 25, 2023: The sun is beating down on Melbourne this week, so make the most of it with some of our city's finest outdoor events. From catching a game at the Australian Open and playing a round of Pixar Putt to a drinks sesh on Arbory Afloat and the opportunity to zipline across the Yarra River, there's no shortage of things to do this week. 

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
  • Collingwood

For many people, their dogs are their children. Unlike normal children, however, they never stop being cute, rack up huge phone bills or get tired of your hugs. They also never go to school – but that doesn’t mean they can’t have a daggy-cool school photo taken. Dog Photog, a specialty dog photography studio, is hosting a school photo day for very good boys and girls this January. Bring your canine along and they’ll get their portrait expertly taken against the classic blue marble background from your school days. 

  • Things to do
  • Fairs and festivals
  • Ashburton

Midsumma Festival, one of Melbourne’s most loved celebrations of LGBTQIA+ communities, is coming back in 2023, bringing an electric program of over 200 events exploring queer culture and amplifying marginalised voices through visual arts, theatre, film, cabaret and more. From January 21 to February 12, all sorts of Festival Hubs across Melbourne will come alive with performances and events for all interests and ages. The Victorian Pride Centre is a new venue addition for 2023, as is the launch of A Safe(R) Space, an artistic journey into the intersectionality of queer communities featuring 21 works from artists exploring the changing meaning of safe spaces.

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  • Theatre
  • Musicals
  • Melbourne

Disney's famous magical nanny is packing her bottomless bag and hitching a ride on a flying umbrella all the way down to Melbourne for a mainstage musical production of Disney Theatrical’s Mary Poppins. Take a spoonful of sugar and get your singing voice ready to belt along with classic songs like the tongue twisting ‘Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious’ and put out your tuppence a bag for ‘Feed the Birds’. This rave-reviewed Tony and Olivier Award-winning show (which Time Out Sydney gave a whopping 5 stars) flies onto the stage at Her Majesty's Theatre from January 29, 2023. 

  • Things to do
  • Pop-up locations
  • Melbourne

Are you scared of the idea of being trapped inside your body? Hearing people around you making decisions, talking about you, without being able to respond? Well this may (or may not) be your next opportunity to confront your fears.

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  • Things to do
  • Pop-up locations
  • Melbourne

Ever thought about what it would be like to be a ghost? Floating around, haunting a hotel ravaged by fire? Eulogy is the latest immersive sound experience from Melbourne company Realscape Productions, the team behind the brilliantly scary Séance, which has had two successful runs in Melbourne. That experience was legitimately terrifying, conjuring up nefarious spirits inside a shipping container using nothing but cutting edge 3D sound design and some lowkey seat vibrations. 

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Things to do
  • Pop-up locations
  • Melbourne

You know the drill: check your boarding pass, find your assigned seat, stow your baggage in the overhead bin and fasten your seatbelt. Make sure your tray table is in the upright position, and make sure your window blind is open for takeoff. On a monitor in front of you, a flight attendant in a blue uniform details the safety features of this aircraft. She explains that you should take a minute to find your nearest exit, bearing in mind it might be behind you. As she adjusts her pink scarf, she... wait a minute, wasn't her uniform blue? The screen flickers and she's back to blue, and you wonder if you imagined the pink. And then the lights go out. 

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  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Things to do
  • Pop-up locations
  • Melbourne

Séance is an immersive sound experience created by Brits Glen Neath and David Rosenberg, in collaboration with Melbourne team Realscape Productions. It relies on psychology and our inclination towards superstition to alter guests’ perception of reality, all while never leaving the shipping container. 

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  • Music
  • Music festivals

Just an hour’s drive from Melbourne, Festival 23 returns with three days and nights of electronic music, creative experimentation and nature-based adventure. The intimate, community-built and inclusive festival will be held on the lands of the Dja Dja Wurrung, Taungurung and Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung People. Running from January 27-29, spend the days and nights revelling against the backdrop of the Macedon Ranges' undulating views and swimming in the freshwater dam or infinity pool.

  • Things to do
  • Fairs and festivals

Calling all green thumbs: Creative Harvest, West Gippsland's beloved open food garden weekend, is back from January 28-29. This time, it'll feature 15 private food-producing gardens ranging from small suburban backyards to large family farms, as well as 30 artists and creatives across a variety of crafts. 

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  • Sport and fitness
  • Tennis and racquet sports
  • Melbourne

On Sunday, January 29, Barty and tennis greats Casey Dellacqua, Jim Courier and Alicia Molik will play a doubles match on a custom-made court in front of Myer's flagship Melbourne store. The event is sponsored by Myer and Mastercard, and after the foursome battles it out, Myer ambassador Kris Smith will see how he fares against these legends. 

  • Music
  • Classical and opera

 

Nicholas Buc will conduct the Oscar-winning score at the Plenary, Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre. Tickets will start at $69 and they are bound to disappear faster than the Millennium Falcon can do the Kessel Run (that's just over 12 parsecs). If you're a fan, you need no further convincing. If you've never seen Star Wars, then this is one hell of a way to start. And if you've never been to an orchestral concert before then congratulations: you're about to take your first step into a larger world.

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  • Things to do
  • Fairs and festivals
  • 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.

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  • Things to do
  • Pop-up locations
  • Melbourne

If you haven't heard of Among Us, it's quite possible that you've been living under a rock, so let's get you up to speed. Released in 2018, the online space-themed game has players working as astronauts; most players are crewmates, but a few are imposters tasked with slyly killing crewmates and bluffing their way to being the last ones standing. It's an addictive game of social deduction, and now a real-life version called Saboteurs has made its way to Melbourne. 

  • Things to do
  • Walks and tours
  • Werribee South

Werribee Open Range Zoo is bringing back its Sunset Safari for a fifth season, inviting visitors to embark on an immersive safari adventure at dusk when wild animals tend to be most active.  Every Saturday from January 13 until February 25, visitors can hop onto a bus at the zoo and watch as the sun sets and illuminates the open range. You'll get to witness majestic animals like giraffes, rhinoceroses, ostriches and lions and learn from zoo guides about efforts to protect them from endangerment and extinction.

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  • Things to do
  • Pop-up locations
  • Melbourne

Want to watch the tennis outside but don't want to shell out for a ground pass? A pop-up bar along the banks of the river could be the perfect place to catch the action, drink in hand. The Canadian Club Racquet Club pop-up runs parallel to the Australian Open, so head down to the bar to watch match highlights between DJ sets from some of the most talked-about names in the business. 

  • Things to do
  • Fairs and festivals

Live music and summertime go hand-in-hand just like a refreshing beer and sunset. In the wise words of Taylor Swift, the good people from the District know this all too well, as District Live is once again returning to the area this summer, and we’re pretty excited about the line-up.

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  • Music
  • Melbourne

With lockdowns squarely in the rearview mirror, 2022 became the year that life finally returned to the city. In the spirit of this grand urban renaissance, Fed Square hosted a series of free blockbuster gigs that proved so darn popular, 2023 is now set to score its own line-up of open-air live shows to keep the party going.

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  • Things to do
  • Food and drink
  • Melbourne

To celebrate the state’s incredible produce and the warm sunny weather, Victoria is teaming up with local gin gods Four Pillars to bring you an elevated Sunday escapade on the terrace. Think endless Four Pillars cocktails, wine and beer paired with a seven-course seasonal menu curated by executive chef Alejandro Saravia. Sounds like a dream to us. Kicking off on Sunday, January 15, the Sunday Summer Sessions will run weekly for 12 weeks with two sittings: 11.30am and 2.30pm (note, the sessions will not run on January 29 and February 5, 2023 due to private bookings). 

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  • Museums
  • History

Catherine Martin's costumes from Baz Luhrmann's acclaimed movie Elvis have arrived at the National Film and Sound Archive in Canberra, joining the exhibition Australians and Hollywood as a major drawcard.

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  • Film
  • Outdoor cinema
  • Melbourne

The Moonlight Cinema has once again taken over the Botanic Gardens this summer, with a stellar line-up of blockbuster hits and cult classics for keen filmgoers to watch under the stars with a choc top in hand. The season kicked off on December 1, and will run until March 26, 2023.

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  • Things to do
  • Games and hobbies
  • Frankston

Kick some serious putt at Pixar Putt, a pop-up mini golf experience that’s back in Melbourne this December. The experience is inspired by some of Disney Pixar’s most famous films, with 18 different holes drawing on classics like Toy Story, The Incredibles, Finding Nemo, A Bug’s Life, Ratatouille, Monsters Inc and Wall-E. 

  • Things to do
  • Exhibitions
  • Southbank

One of Melbourne’s favourite evening activities, NGV Friday Nights, is back for another season this summer, bringing with it a smoking line-up of musical acts, food, drinks and groundbreaking art. The 18-week season will run every Friday night from December 16, 2022 to April 14, 2023, and feature some of Melbourne’s most boundary-pushing artists across the disco, glam rock, jazz and soul genres. Three-time Grammy Award nominee and neo-soul superstar Nai Palm will headline on opening night, with Electric Fields, Kee’ahn, Banoffee and Billy Davis also on the program. See the full line-up on the NGV's website

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  • Film
  • Animation
  • Carlton

If you haven’t heard already, the sequel to the global blockbuster Avatar is now out in cinemas, which is Pretty Huge News seeing as though the OG came out 13 years ago. Gasp! James Cameron’s Avatar remains the highest-grossing film of all time (and IMAX Melbourne’s most successful release), so it’s safe to say the stakes are pretty high for the second instalment. What’s Jake Sully and co been up to? What’s changed in the world of Pandora? Will we be able to rock the 3D glasses like it’s 2009? So many questions! So little time.

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  • Art
  • Film and video
  • Melbourne

Celebrate Indigenous artists and filmmakers as they invite you to imagine a future unbound by representations that seek to curb and control. Spanning moving images, installations, documentaries, photography and video games, How I See It will amplify new visions from eight Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander creatives at this latest exhibition from ACMI.

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  • Art
  • Southbank

An exhibition of one of the world's most influential and innovative fashion designers lands in Melbourne this summer. Alexander McQueen: Mind, Mythos, Muse invites visitors to enter the conceptual, encyclopaedic and creative mind of this boundary-pushing fashion designer through more than 100 clothing pieces accompanied by more than 70 historical artworks. 

Collingwood Children's Farm Farmers' Market
  • Shopping
  • Abbotsford

Set in the pastoral oasis that is the Collingwood Children's Farm and open the second Saturday of each month, this gourmand's paradise offers a fleeting taste of country life in the heart of Abbotsford. The Collingwood Children's Farmers' Market was dates back to 2002 and was actually the first farmers' market to hit the inner suburbs of Melbourne. 

 

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  • Things to do
  • Fairs and festivals
  • Melbourne

A little south of Melton and just 40 minutes from the Melbourne CBD is the vibrant 3,000-person community of Eynesbury where you’ll soon be able to attend a range of free events to see you right through the silly season and summer. 

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  • Things to do
  • Exhibitions

It’s not often you get the chance to marvel at an entire collection of rare, natural diamonds, but the Melbourne Museum is here to make all your shimmering dreams come true. Museums Victoria has partnered with New York jeweller LJ West Diamonds – which also happens to be one the largest collectors of natural colour diamonds in the world – to showcase more than 100 rare gemstones from the Australian Kimberley Region at the Pink Diamonds Exhibition.

  • Art
  • Ballarat

Beating About The Bush is a new exhibition at the Art Gallery of Ballarat that combines the best of traditional Australian Impressionism with works from contemporary Australian female photographers. Since early colonisation, the Australian ‘bush’ as a subject has largely been portrayed in art and literature by men. This exhibition juxtaposes these traditional portrayals against a series of contrasting styles and feminist perspectives to challenge the rigid male-gaze that has endured for so long.

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  • Art
  • Installation
  • Melbourne

Following a successful season of Patricia Piccinini's hyperrealist installation, 'A Miracle Constantly Repeated', it is uber popular street artist Rone who will be the second artist in residence in the enigmatic ballroom space above Flinders Street Station. His new, immersive installation, 'Time', will be spread across 11 themed rooms, all featuring Rone's distinctive female figures flanked by vintage-style objects by interior set decorator Carly Spooner and a building team led by Callum Preston. Composer Nick Batterham joins with a haunting soundscape to accompany.

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  • Theatre
  • Musicals
  • Southbank

We've spoken about ghosts at the Arts Centre Melbourne before, and the lights left on to keep them company. But now the greatest phantom of them all is set to haunt the performance hall. Opera Australia, in association with the Really Useful Group, are striking up the discordant organ to announce, with a caped flourish, the arrival of arguably Andrew Lloyd Webber's most famous musical.

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  • Art
  • Carlton

Naadohbii: To Draw Water has arrived at the Melbourne Museum. A trinational exhibition curated in partnership with New Zealand’s Pātaka Art and Museum, and Canada’s Winnipeg Art Gallery, it exhibits over 20 pieces of art from First Peoples artists from Australia, New Zealand and Canada. 

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  • Art
  • Southbank

Get ready to explore themes of spirituality and contemplation, power and prestige, compassion, auspicious symbols, belief and obsession, mythology and the importance of the natural environment when China: The Past is Present opens at the NGV on October 15.

  • Things to do
  • Exhibitions
  • East Melbourne

A carefully considered connoisseur’s cumulation of sterling silver ranging from the late 16th century to the mid-19th century, the exhibition features work by silversmiths William Cawdell, Matthew Boulton, Paul Storr, Hester Bateman, Ann Bateman, Susannah Barker and more.

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  • Things to do
  • Southbank

What could possibly improve on the grandeur of the Harry Potter film series? Seeing it on a huge screen with the magnificent Melbourne Symphony Orchestra performing the score live. The Harry Potter Film Concert Series is a global concert tour celebrating the boy wizard films all over the world, and it kicked off in Melbourne in 2017. Over the last few years, Melburnians have gotten to hear the awe-inspiring scores from films one through six, and now it's finally time for the series to draw to a close with the last two films of the Harry Potter series. 

  • Bars
  • Cocktail bars
  • Melbourne

Following its winter hibernation, Melbourne's OG floating bar and restaurant is returning for its seventh season on the Yarra. Last year, Arbory Afloat was decked out in the style of the picturesque Turquoise Coast in Turkey — and this year, it's returning as a sun-drenched take on the Balearic Islands. 

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  • Art
  • Street art

Before Hozier Lane had the tourist pull it does now, over 20 years ago the legendary street artist, Invader, created a Space Invaders styled mosaic in secret location in Melbourne. Now, after saving the work from being destroyed in the Arts Centre’s 2018 renovations, the iconic piece is the standout of City Gallery’s latest exhibition, Off the Grid.

 

  • Things to do
  • Exhibitions
  • Carlton

It's been an incredible year for Lego fans, with a new Lego Certified Store popping up in Melbourne Central and Ryan 'the Brickman' McNaught's The Bricktionary hitting shelves. All good things come in threes, so from September 3, Melbourne Museum will host an exhibition inspired by McNaught's new book filled with creative builds and insider tips. 

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  • Art
  • Street art
  • Melbourne

Supported by the City of Melbourne, Flash Forward is Melbourne’s most ambitious street art project, with over 40 large-scale works commissioned and set to hit the laneways of Melbourne. Among the program are familiar names like Celeste Mountjoy (filthyratbag), Jarra Karralinar Steel, Olana Janfa, Aretha Brown, DREZ, and Ling, with more lighting, music and creative installations in the works. 

  • Museums
  • Melbourne

In a quiet gallery of the State Library of Victoria sits a fascinating new exhibition that investigates the historical importance of crafted and handmade items – from mapping the stars in a way no one has ever seen before, to the undergarment makers who sent their wares to the stars, and First Nations artists who craft their contemporary artworks with a close connection to traditional methods.

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  • Things to do
  • Games and hobbies
  • Hawthorn

Saw, arguably, is the original escape game. Heck, the film franchise’s Jigsaw Killer even infamously says “I want to play a game”. So it makes perfect sense that Rush Escape Game drew inspiration from the classic horror film to create an escape room for its second venue. Hacksaw is the first escape room built at Rush Escape Game’s second venue in Hawthorn (the original Rush is still open for business in South Yarra). As with the movie it’s inspired by, you’ll start Hacksaw chained up and will have to solve some very creative riddles if you want to escape alive (don’t worry, for legal reasons all guests do escape alive). 

  • Things to do

Calling all wannabe detectives and fans of The Amazing Race – this one is definitely for you. To celebrate the launch of Experios’ newest online escape room, Mayday, an exciting outdoor manhunt is coming to the Melbourne CBD. The Hunt: Mayday Edition is a free event that will take place on May 1. The aim of the game is to track down one of three themed characters that appear in the virtual escape room. They will be hidden around the city and surrounding inner suburbs, and you’ll need to rely on all your super-sleuth skills to find them.

 

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  • Things to do
  • Games and hobbies
  • Melbourne

Aussie bowling alley and all-around funhouse Strike has released its newest collab – a project to turn humble bowling balls and shoes into a thing of art. From Tuesday, February 21, players can get their hands on specially designed attire by Australian artist Steen Jones. Because, as the saying goes: 'Look good, play better'.

Known for reinventing classic forms of entertainment, Strike Bowling wanted to elevate the usual alley experience and inject some style into the classic red, black and white colour palette. "It’s turned out to be such a cool (and bad-ass) collection," says artist Steen Jones. "Truth be told, I don't think I've ever had so much interest, hype or excitement for a collaboration, which is another reason why this project has been so great to be a part of"

Steen's artistic style is recognisable from previous projects with Vans, Lego, Sailor Jerry, Rolling Stone and Converse, just to name a few. For $25, players can opt to upgrade to the High Rollers pack, which includes a custom design bowling ball, bowling shoes and High Rollers socks to keep. You also score a free stein of Furphy, express check-in and a High Rollers sticker pack.

The High Rollers upgrade is available from February 21, ongoing – for players aged 18+ only. For more information or to book a lane, click here

High Rollers is available all week at Stike QV, Melbourne Central and Eastland.

  • Things to do
  • Games and hobbies
  • Maribyrnong

Once you've reached adulthood, you realise that you really took for granted those good old days of childhood birthday parties filled with arcade games, putt-putt and stuffing your face with pizza until you feel sick. Well, we're here to tell you that those days don't have to be behind you: the Funderdome has arrived at Highpoint, and it's 2,000-square-metres of maximum fun for all ages. Put your putt-putt skills to the test on the two-level, 18-hole mini-golf course or head to the old school arcade and grab a joystick, pretend it's 1985 and play classic games like Space Invaders and Pacman.

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  • Things to do
  • Fairs and festivals
  • 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 2023 tournament begins on Monday, Monday 16. Day and night sessions are available, and adult tickets start at $59. Best to book your tickets sooner rather than later. You can click the 'buy ticket' button above to get yours and learn more about session options at the website.

Looking for more things to do? Check out our guide to the best things happening in Melbourne this week.

Time Out's 100 Days of Summer calendar is here to help you plan your entire summer in Melbourne.

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