Get us in your inbox

Search
A beer garden with bright projections on a tall wall.
Photograph: Supplied

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
Advertising

February 19, 2024: Taylor Swift may have left Melbourne, but another pop mega-star is landing in our city to take her place, with Pink performing two massive shows this weekend. For the fashion-forward, Melbourne Art Fair kicks off with heaps of events, large-scale installations and more. 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, 90s rock musical Rent hits the stage, plus classics Grease and Rocky Horror are lighting up Melbourne's stages. 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
  • Melbourne

One of the city's most beloved street parties is back for a 36th year, with another weekend of vibrant festivities. The Greek Antipodes Festival is on February 24 and 25 this year, taking over Lonsdale Street, Melbourne CBD's unofficial 'little Greece' (we would argue Oakleigh is the more official one). It's two days of great Greek street food, traditional dances, and live music performances from local and international Greek acts. Expect 90 pop-up market stalls, an array of delectable Greek food vendors and heaps more at this free event. There'll be three stages of entertainment, highlighting the talents of more than 700 performers, showcasing everything traditional dances to contemporary beats. Headlining the festival is beloved Greek singer Melina Aslanidou.  As usual, the event will also see the city's biggest Greek chefs turn it on for live cooking demonstrations. And don't forget to bring your dancing shoes for the Zorba 'Til You Drop dance competition. For all the details, check out the website.  Looking for more things to do in Melbourne? Check out our guide to what's on here. 

  • 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

Advertising
  • 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

  • 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.

Advertising
  • Things to do
  • Pop-up locations
  • Carlton

Deep within the arty West Village neighbourhood of New York lies a basement piano bar so lauded, even celebrities queue to get in. Fans of the hit Darren Star series Younger will know Marie’s Crisis as the bar where the main characters go to have a crisis of their own. On the other hand, musical theatre nuts will know it as the place where stars like Alan Cumming and Darren Criss go to mingle with the masses for a hearty dive bar singalong.  Now, Melbourne is getting taste of the show tune-filled piano bar for three rambunctious nights only. From February 23-25, you can book in to sing (and sip) away your troubles alongside two entertainers direct from Marie’s Crisis itself. All the action is going down at the Fringe Common Rooms at Carlton’s Trades Hall.  Kennedy Green-Tilford and Adam Tilford will play musical theatre songs ranging from popular classics (think Wicked, Grease and The Sound of Music), to cult Sondheim show tunes, and a whole lot more in between. These evenings are designed to be unplugged and spontaneous, so you never know exactly which delights you’ll receive on the night. The only thing that’s not off the cuff is the need to make a booking at the Melbourne Fringe website, before the limited sessions sell out.  Want more show tunes right from the source? Here's the best theatre, shows and musicals in Melbourne this month.

  • 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

Advertising
  • Theatre
  • Drama
  • Southbank

The year is 1886, and the very first edition of the Oxford English Dictionary is being drafted. A four-year-old called Esme Nicoll hides under the sorting table as her father and fellow lexicographers discern what words should stay and which should go. As the scraps flutter to the floor, Esme collects them and begins to compile her own radical dictionary. A sweeping historical tale, The Dictionary of Lost Words, traces Esme from her childhood in the 1880s into adulthood at the height of the women’s suffrage movement and the dawn of World War I.  Directed by Jessica Arthur and adapted for the stage by Verity Laughton, this production from Sydney Theatre Company and State Theatre Company South Australia will run at Arts Centre Melbourne from February 17 until March 17, 2024. Brenna Harding will take on the role of Esme Nicholl alongside Carlos Sanson Jr. as Gareth/Mr Crane. Joining them will be Brett Archer, Rachel Burke, Ksenja Logos, Angela Mahlatjie, Chris Pitman and Anthony Yangoyan, who are continuing with the company following sold-out seasons in Adelaide and Sydney. The award-winning novel, written by Pip Williams, captured the imagination of hundreds of thousands of readers worldwide (including by book club trendsetters like Reese Witherspoon) and was translated into 28 languages worldwide. An enchanting, lyrical and thought-provoking celebration of words, The Dictionary of Lost Words celebrates the power of language to shape our world and our experience of it. After

  • 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

Advertising
  • 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

  • Things to do
  • Fairs and festivals
  • South Wharf

A seminal fixture on the Australasian cultural calendar, the Melbourne Art Fair (MAF) returns this year to orbit around the unifying theme of ‘ketherba’ – a Boonwurrung word used to express togetherness.The progressive fair – which will now run annually – will braid together 60 of the region’s leading galleries and Indigenous art centres, spanning 7,500sqm at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre.  Running from February 22 until 25, MAF will spotlight gallery presentations alongside a broader program of interdisciplinary practices, installations, video works, performances and conversations, alongside the 2024 Melbourne Art Foundation Commission, awarded to contemporary artist Julie Rrap. The expansive schedule features more than 50 events, including four large-scale installations and six performances. A snapshot of the participating galleries includes 1301SW/Starkwhite, Anna Schwartz Gallery, Blackartprojects, Charles Nodrum Gallery, Darren Knight Gallery, Fox Jensen, Jan Murphy Gallery, Martin Browne Contemporary, Olsen Gallery, Sullivan+Strumpf, Tolarno Galleries, Vivien Anderson Gallery, Wagner Contemporary and many, many more. MAF will also present 11 young galleries established after 2016 as well as four Indigenous art centres. Award-winning contemporary dance company Lucy Guerin Inc will perform a reimagined adaptation of the site-responsive work Newretro – which marks the first time dance has formed part of an MAF line-up.  The Conversations program will bring

Recommended
    You may also like
    You may also like
    Advertising