Things to do in Melbourne this weekend

The weekend's best events in one place – it's your social emergency saviour for fun things to do in Melbourne this weekend
1000 Doors // Christian Wagstaff & Keith Courtney
Photograph: Supplied
By Rebecca Russo, Nicola Dowse and Cassidy Knowlton |
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Wondering what to do in Melbourne this weekend? We can help. Check out our curated guide to all the fun things to do in Melbourne this Friday, Saturday and Sunday, including free attractions, art exhibitions, theatre shows, activities for kids and so much more. Plus, if it's a rainy day, consult our guide to Melbourne's best indoor activities instead.

Things to do in Melbourne this weekend

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Harry Potter
Film, Fantasy

Potterfest: A Harry Potter Marathon

icon-location-pin St Kilda
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Watching all eight Harry Potter films in one feverish marathon is a bit like taking a road trip across the entire country or starting a vegetable patch: it's a feat often talked about, but rarely acted upon. Potter fans, now is the time to make the dream a reality. The Astor Theatre is again putting on the entire Harry Potter saga from 11am onwards on Saturday, October 20. For anyone still awake, the marathon also includes a screening of the 70mm version of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. This is an emotional rollercoaster lasting almost 24 hours; casual fans need not apply. For those hardcore enough to settle in for the entire journey, make sure you accio tickets ASAP, because tickets will sell out faster than the time it takes for Neville Longbottom to lose Trevor, his pet toad.

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Scary clown
Photograph: Tom Roberts / Creative Commons
Things to do, Fairs and festivals

Hauntville

icon-location-pin Burnley
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A huge, immersive Halloween festival is coming to Melbourne for the first time this October. Hauntville is a festival celebrating all things spooky, scary and macabre, and it's popping up at Burnley Circus Park in the lead-up to Halloween. Scaredy cats are advised not to come – Hauntville isn’t for the faint-hearted. At the festival you’ll find two hair-raising haunted houses, creepy performers, carnival games, food trucks, the ‘Fright Night’ bar and a haunted graveyard (tread lightly lest you wake the dead). Scared of clowns? You will be. Hauntville’s Cirque du Slay haunted house is crawling with demonic clowns and creatures summoned by dark forces. Make it through alive and you’re ready for the Yarra River Coffinworks, a dank and musty haunted house infested with snakes, spiders, rats and the screams of the undead. If you need a breather after that, drop into the haunted food festival, where you can grab a bite from food trucks like Bavarian Bangers, Poke Time and 196 Below. 

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People shopping at Finders Keepers Market Melbourne
Shopping, Markets

Finders Keepers

icon-location-pin Carlton
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[Sponsored] Australia’s longest running indie design and art fair is returning to the Royal Exhibition Building for three days. As always the Finders Keepers is about giving designers, makers, artists and crafters a platform to showcase their wares. A line-up of both established and up-and-coming designers will descend on Melbourne to show off their handcrafted and meticulously designed goods. It's the perfect place to get your Christmas shopping done early, particularly for those people who are impossible to buy for. 

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Layla and Majnum by Mark Morris Dance Group
Beowulf Sheehan
Things to do, Fairs and festivals

Melbourne Festival

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The Melbourne Festival is a world-renowned celebration of the finest art from across the country and the globe. Melburnians have come to expect some serious talent headlining their festival, and this year is no exception. If you're after something spectacular, the Royal Botanic Gardens are being taken over by some epic fire sculptures. On the complete opposite end of the scale is a magical miniature theatre work experienced in a private booth. See our highlights from the 2018 line-up.

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Royal Botanic Gardens generic
Photograph: Adrian Vittorio
Shopping, Sales

Spring Plant Sale

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Need some greenery in your life? Make a beeline for the Royal Botanic Gardens over the weekend of October 20 and 21 for a bonza spring plant sale. The sale will take place on the Acmena Bed Lawn, opposite the Tropical Glasshouse, which you can reach via Gate E. Throughout the weekend you’ll be able to choose from a variety of plants including Australian natives, herbs, succulents and shrubs. The sale will run on Saturday, 10am to 4pm and Sunday, 10am to 3pm. All proceeds from the plant sales will go to support the work of the Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria.

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1000 Doors
Photogaph: Supplied
Things to do

1000 Doors

icon-location-pin Southbank
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1000 Doors a maze of doors, some locked, some open, some leading to corridors and rooms, and some leading to cupboards and dead ends. Visitors will be able to walk through the installation, opening whatever doors they fancy and discovering new and interesting pathways through the maze. The work is designed by Christian Wagstaff and Keith Courtney, who were also behind House of Mirrors. 1000 Doors appears as part of the Melbourne International Arts Festival line-up.

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Art, Photography

Polly Borland: Polyverse

icon-location-pin Melbourne
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It’s unlikely that any photographer boasts a portfolio like Australian artist Polly Borland’s. It’s as chock full with celebrities as it is with fetishists – Borland spent five years documenting the surreal lives of adults who get their kicks by dressing up as infants. But it’s the wild diversity of her work that is perhaps its most distinctive quality. In Polyverse, the showcase of her new and recent work at the NGV, another facet of Borland’s photography will be on display. These otherworldly images feature human subjects distorted with stockings, gags and lumps of padding; smeared with make-up; bodies straining and restrained in poses that are both sexually charged and monstrous. It’s a collection that toes a fine yet powerful line between shock and awe.

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Bir Yıldız Doğuyor
Film, Drama

A Star is Born

In this new take on the tragic love story, Bradley Cooper plays seasoned musician Jackson Maine, who discovers – and falls in love with – struggling artist Ally (Lady Gaga). She has just about given up on her dream to make it big as a singer, until Jack coaxes her into the spotlight. But even as Ally's career takes off, the personal side of their relationship is breaking down, as Jack fights an ongoing battle with his own internal demons.

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Particle/Wave // Melbourne Planetarium and Museum Victoria
Image: Andrew Watson
Film

Particle/Wave

icon-location-pin Spotswood
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Particle/Wave, a new audiovisual work presented in the Melbourne Planetarium as part of Melbourne Festival, brings artists and scientists together to create a 60-minute experience about the first ever detection of gravitational waves, on September 14, 2015. According to one of the scientists involved in this project, directed by Alicia Sometimes, that detection marks the world’s most significant scientific discovery in several decades. Not only does Particle/Wave make all of this easily digestible (although please don’t ask us non-science folk to explain gravitational waves to you without the aide of a program), it’s a surprisingly moving experience that inspires wonder in its audience.

Time Out says
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Tomas Ford
Photograph: Supplied
Nightlife

Tomás Ford's Crap Music Rave Party

icon-location-pin Fitzroy
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The Crap Music Rave Party returns this October to enable all your terrible music choices. If you missed it last time around, Tomás Ford – Australia's alt-cabaret prince – will play any tune so long as it's shit. Seriously, all those songs that your average party DJ refuses to spin are fair game, so prepare for an eve of pop, dance and disco at its trashiest. Previously the party has taken place at the Gaso and at (the now closed) Bella Union, but it's now found a slightly more permanent home with a residency at Evie's Disco Diner in Fitzroy. You can now find Ford spinning so-bad-they're-good beats at the '80s-inspired venue. Expect everything from Hanson, Britney and the Backstreet Boys to John Farnham, Alanis Morissette and "that smooth jazz song from Community".

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More things to do in Melbourne this weekend

Tree of Codes
Photograph: Joel Chester Fildes
Theatre

The best theatre and musicals in Melbourne this October

This month we welcome the happy mayhem of Melbourne Festival – and boy howdy are you spoilt for choice, whether your tastes run to blockbuster musicals, independent theatre, new writing or experimental dance. Don't spend all your dollars, though: Melbourne Theatre Company and Malthouse have announced their 2018 seasons, as has the Australian Ballet.

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People browsing through clothing at a market stall
Photograph: Supplied
Shopping, Markets

The best markets in Melbourne

Borrow your nanna's tartan shopping trolley and venture out to one of Melbourne's best markets for farm-fresh produce, designer homewares, vintage fashions and tasty street food.

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Pouring drinks at Bar Liberty
Photograph: Graham Denholm
Bars, Cocktail bars

The 50 best bars in Melbourne right now

Here is Melbourne viewed through the bottom of a glass: from its world-beating cocktail lounges to its down-and-divey saloons. These bars represent the pinnacle of Melbourne drinking.

Princes Bridge. Melbourne
Photograph: Robert Blackburn
Things to do

The best free things to do in Melbourne

Guess what? Not everything in Melbourne costs a bunch of money. From art shows to coffee tastings, there are a bunch of things to do in this fine city that you can do for free – here are our favourites.

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Great Otway National Park
Photograph: Robert Blackburn
Travel, Short getaways

The best day trips from Melbourne

If you're looking for a break from the inner-city grid, there's no better cure than a day trip from Melbourne. The state of Victoria is full of friendly neighbourhood towns, whether you're in the mood for a winery tour, a road trip or a national park to explore.

Or try our favourite Melbourne activities

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