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Things to do in Melbourne today

It's your social emergency saviour for fun things to do in Melbourne today

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Wondering what to do in Melbourne today? We can help. Check out our curated guide to all the fun things to do in Melbourne right now and here's a list of things to do at home if you'd rather not venture out.

Want more? Check out these great free things to do, or head outside on a hike or bike ride. Want to plan for the weekend? Here's our guide to this weekend's events.

Things to do in Melbourne today

  • Film
  • Outdoor cinema
  • Hawthorn

Lido Cinema’s rooftop cinema makes a triumphant return this summer for another series of films under the stars.  Should restrictions lift on schedule, Lido on the Roof will host its first al fresco session on Friday, October 22 with a screening of Zola – a roadtrip movie from A24 in which a waitress and an exotic dancer head to Florida to make their fortune before things spiral wildly out of control. Other films currently lined up include Marvel Studio's new outing Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, a Halloween screening of the new Candyman remake, and Australian director Justin Kurzel's new film Nitram (based on the events in the lead up to the Port Arthur Massacre).  Lido is also screening Daniel Craig's long-awaited final James Bond film, No Time to Die, on its rooftop. The cinema is showing it several nights in a row, beginning with a 12.07am (or in 24 hour time, 0007) screening on November 11. No need to BYO snacks: Lido's food and drink counter serves up great movie treats, from choctops and vegan-friendly popcorn to edamame and craft beers.  Check out the full program to see what's showing this year.

  • Film
  • Outdoor cinema
  • Belgrave

Belgrave's Cameo Cinemas operate an outdoor cinema every summer, showcasing a mix of epic summer blockbusters and arthouse films in among the green forests of the Dandenong Ranges.  This summer's program launches October 22 with Marvel's latest film Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. While more films are added regularly, others currently lined up include Ridley Scott's all-star film The Last Duel and a Halloween screening of the Candyman remake. For the optimal film-watching experience, Cameo Outdoor Cinema features a 14m wide screen, headphones for the best sound quality, and a picnic area for deckchair and bean-bag seating. The outdoor cinema opens an hour before every film screening, giving moviegoers enough time to take in the breathtaking surroundings and grab treats like sweets from the Sassafras Sweet Co and hand-made choc tops.  Dogs are welcome to come too, just make sure to clean up after them. 

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  • Film
  • Outdoor cinema
  • Elsternwick

Classic Cinemas holds the claim to fame as is the longest continuously operating cinema in Victoria. It boasts ten indoor screens as well as the Classic Rooftop, with nightly screenings all through summer and until Easter. The rooftop cinema has comfortable director's chair seating on staggered levels, while sound is delivered through headsets. Melbourne loves a rooftop bar, and the Classic Rooftop naturally has one too. You can enjoy the bar whether or not you're seeing a film.  While you'll be able to enjoy drinks from the rooftop bar from October 22, 2021, you'll have to wait until November for a screening (the rooftop cinema is undergoing repairs). The outdoor film season will officially start November 11 with a 12.07am (that's 0007 in 24 hour time – geddit?) of Daniel Craig's final James Bond film, No Time to Die.  Seats are properly socially distanced, and there are enhanced cleaning protocols in place. The season features cult classics, old favourites and plenty of new-release films.  Tickets are on sale now.

  • Art
  • price 0 of 4
  • Melbourne

The weather has long been the go-to topic, especially in Melbourne (talk about four seasons in one day, am I right?). The weather is more than just small talk, however – it is intrinsically linked to the climate and the environment.  Big Weather explores Australia's weather – and specifically the knowledge, stories and perspectives on the weather as told by First Nations artists. The exhibition showcases works from Indigenous artists that are related to the weather, including representations of ancestral rain, hail and storm spirits; works exploring climate change-induced extreme weather events; and the place of animals and how they're affected by the environment and weather. The exhibition is laid out by theme, with one room representing fire, one representing water and flooding, one representing air and wind, and so on. Curator Hannah Presley created the exhibition during last summer's devastating bushfires (remember those?), and it was originally slated to open in March 2020 as a direct response to the fires. But Presley says the themes of the show are just as relevant now.  "This conversation is actually timeless," she says. "We've all had this quiet time, and we're thinking about things a little differently. We want to feel grounded and safe, and that is part of how Indigenous people feel connected to country." Presley wants visitors to the exhibition to think differently about the weather and about climate change, learning from the Traditional Owners of the land and the

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  • Things to do
  • Food and drink
  • Melbourne

If you regrettably didn’t receive an invitation to Hogwarts when you were a child, this October you’ll have an opportunity to live out your wizarding dreams with an enchanting Harry Potter-themed high tea.  Have a frothy glass of butterbeer and munch on themed snacks as you spend time with interactive roaming characters from the novels and enjoy activities like a potion-making class.  To add to the mystery and magic, the location, menu, activities and final surprises will be revealed through clues to ticket holders leading up to the event.  The event will run from October 22-24, and on each day there are two daybreak sessions for all ages as well as an adults-only twilight session with ‘cursed’ cocktails and Polyjuice potions. You can purchase individual tickets or a family pass which includes two adults and two children.  Dust off your wizarding robes and wands and get your tickets before they sell out. 

Mirka
  • Art
  • St Kilda

It’s hard to fully comprehend the impact that artist Mirka Mora had on Melbourne. The French-born artist emigrated to Melbourne in 1951 following the Holocaust and quickly set about ingraining herself and her playful art within the city’s growing bohemian scene.  There have been many exhibitions on Mora, but none quite like this. The Jewish Museum of Australia has announced Mirka: the most extensive survey of Mirka Mora ever. The museum is turning into an “immersive Mirka-world” for the exhibition, which features never-before-exhibited works from the Mora family and Mirka’s studio archives.  Alongside these works, Mirka tells the artist’s story through her sketchbooks, letters, diaries and audio recordings from the Jewish Holocaust Centre’s archives. Mora and her family evaded the Nazis during World War II by hiding in French forests. The Jewish Museum of Australia planning to depict all the colours of the artist’s life from her Parisien childhood to the founding of Tolarno Galleries in Melbourne.  If you can't make it to see Mirka during the day, head to the Jewish Museum of Australia after dark on July 17. There are three evening sessions on this date, at 6.15pm, 7.30pm and 8.15pm. These after hours sessions are ticketed separately; book your spot here.  Mirka opens February 14 at the Jewish Museum of Australia and runs until December 19.

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  • Music
  • Jazz
  • Melbourne

Melbourne International Jazz Festival didn't let a little thing like lockdown stop it during 2020, so you can be certain it sure as hell won't be letting anything stop it from running when it returns in 2021. The 24th annual Melbourne International Jazz Festival is back in 2021, running from October 15 to 24. Jazz, of course, is an artform all about improvisation – true to its nature,  MIJF will be collaborating and innovating to make sure this year's festival can proceed. For those who've missed the thrill of live performance, we can confirm that the festival will feature several in-person gigs, including the 2021 Opening Night Gala. Hosted by Eddie Perfect, the gala features a collaboration between the MSO, Jazz at Lincoln Center'sChristopher Crenshaw and Melbourne-based composer Vanessa Perica alongside performers Katie Noonan, Vince Jones, Harry James Angus, Kylie Auldist andThando. MIJF will also feature three world premiere commissions, 13 album launches and 20 Australian premieres. All up, you can expect a whopping 120 events across the city, as well as the return of the festival's Jazz Hub to the Toff, giving you the chance to enjoy jazz in a live space every night of the festival. In a nod to the precarious times in which we live, MIJF is streaming several of its events online, with the ability to scale up its digital offering should the situation necessitate it. Other highlights of MIJF 2021 include A Night at the Museum (a concert series taking place in the various

  • Art
  • Photography
  • Ballarat

One of Victoria's biggest goldfields towns becomes a hub of art this spring as the Ballarat International Foto Biennale returns.  We can't stress how big of a deal this is: the biennale features 260 artists who will take over 100 venues during town-wide exhibition. There will also be 25 Australian exclusive exhibitions running as part of the biennale, as well as a world premiere. While Melburnians will have to wait a little longer to visit, the biennale will open to regional Victorians (except those from Shepp) from September 15. The good news is that the festival has been extended until January (it was originally due to end in October) so there should hopefully be plenty of chances for everyone to visit. The event has a habit of turning Ballarat itself into a canvas and 2021 is no different. In addition to exhibitions at venues, BIFB also features public art, projections across the city, talk, foto walks and food and drink experiences that run alongside the program.  And what a program it is. Highlights for this year include: Linda McCartney: RetrospectiveCurated by Paul, Mary and Stella McCartney, Linda McCartney: Retrospective features more than 200 photographs and gives a glimpse into the 1960s music industry alongside intimate photographs of the McCartney family and the photographer's time in Australia. Steven Arnold: Notes from a Queer MysticArtist, queer revolutionary and Salvador Dali protégée Steven Arnold took photographs that merged camp, glamour and celebrity cult

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  • Things to do
  • Exhibitions
  • Carlton

We currently can't make it to London to see the city’s most impressive museum. But don’t stress. Some of the Natural History Museum’s oldest, rarest and strangest items now are in Melbourne. Treasures of the Natural World features 200+ items from the Natural History Museum’s enormous (and world-famous) collection. Every item holds some kind of significance within our understanding of the natural world.  There are objects from the personal collection of Charles Darwin including extinct animals (a massive sabre-toothed cat is a highlight) as well as the world's biggest butterfly. Melbourne Museum will also be including the addition of First Peoples narratives, acknowledging the complex history of some of these items and the vast knowledge of First Peoples.  Treasures of the Natural World is now open at Melbourne Museum. Tickets are on sale right now.

  • Art
  • Digital and interactive
  • Melbourne

Update 14/09/2021: Both the Melbourne and Cranbourne botanic gardens are currently open to residents within 5km for exercise. Please check-in on arrival and obey all current restrictions. The world's most ambitious augmented reality art exhibition will open at Melbourne's two Royal Botanic Gardens in September 2021.  Seeing the Invisible is an alfresco art exhibition showcasing works by some of the world's top contemporary artists, including Ai Weiwei, Refik Anadol (who you might remember did the massive quantum computer work, 'Quantum Memories', for the 2020 NGV Triennial), El Anatsui, Isaac Julien, Mohammed Kazem, Sigalit Landau, Sarah Meyohas, Pamela Rosenkranz and Timur Si-Qin. From September 2021 until August 2022, visitors to the Botanic Gardens can explore Seeing the Invisible for free, viewing the artworks via an app available on smartphones and tablets. When you visit Seeing the Invisible you'll also be taking part in an exhibition that's happening simultaneously around the world in 12 different locations. Melbourne's Botanic Gardens are the only Australian location taking part, with other venues including the Eden Project in Cornwall, Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden in Cape Town, the Royal Botanical Gardens in Ontario, and the San Diego Botanic Garden.  Seeing the Invisible is on at both the Melbourne and Cranbourne botanic gardens from September 2021 until August 2022 (the exact dates will be announced soon).

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